We’ve put together some of the best free apps for traveling in Baja. Whether you’re planning your route, wondering what the gas prices are going to be, looking for a great place to stay or trying to figure out how many pesos you’re getting for your dollar, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of our favorite, useful (and free!) smartphone tools to help you get the most out of your Baja trip.
The best thing about this maps application is that it doesn’t rely on data so you can use it even without internet connection. You can enter addresses, GPS points, mark your own GPS location, save favorite spots and route directions. After you download the app, be sure to take the extra step to download the maps and routing for Mexico before you leave home.
This app gives you the ability to check out the current border wait times (as reported by the CBP) as well as see average historical wait times at the different border crossings. The most accurate way to get an idea of the current wait time is to check the “iReports” to see what people have recently reported as their wait time in the border line. There’s a timer you can use once you get in line at the border that will help you to record your own wait time which you can then submit to the app as your own “iReport.” This will help us all to know the most accurate border wait times.
This app shows you all of the Pemex gas stations that are nearby you and gives their address, information and price of gas. It also shows restaurants, hotels, spas and gives you emergency contact numbers for the police, roadside assistance, red cross and the Green Angels.
If you’re a frequent traveler through northern Baja, getting a IAVE pass in order to travel sans cash through the toll booths will save you a lot of hassle. You can track your IAVE movements and actions with the TuTag app. The app will give you your recent history, let you know how much credit you have left on your tag and even help you with planning routes (and letting you know how much you’ll pay in tolls along the way). If you have a Mexican bank account, you can even recharge your IAVE directly through the app. The app, along with the IAVE, is valid throughout all of Mexico.
Still struggle with remembering how warm 30 degrees Celsius is or how many miles 125 kilometers is? Yeah, us too. That’s why we use Units Plus to help us figure out exactly how many gallons of gas we’re getting when we fill up at a Pemex and to calculate how many centimeters are in six inches.
This app is the best tool for giving you the current bank rate for the day. This will let you know what rate you’re getting pesos out of the ATM and help with currency conversions.
There are lots of translation apps out there. We like Google Translate because in addition to the normal type-it-in translation, it also has a nifty new visual translation tool. That means you can hold the app up to a sign or plaque written in Spanish and it will translate it into English before your eyes.
TripAdvisor is still the leader for checking out hotels, restaurants and activities before you go. You can now book your hotel directly with the app as well. Discover Baja has a few of our own TripAdvisor recommendations and reviews you can use to help plan your trip.
If you prefer a more local’s experience, renting a house or a room in someone’s house may be a good alternative to staying at a hotel. Airbnb has lodging options throughout the peninsula. Rent a penthouse in Cabo or an oceanfront house in Ensenada for an affordable price.
If you’re planning a trip to the Valle de Guadalupe for some wine tasting, this app will help you discover and locate wineries, restaurants, hotels and other attractions in the valley. The app is in Spanish, but it has a helpful map as well as a directory of the establishments with contact information. It will even give you routing on the map to help you arrive at the establishment.
This app will help you organize and keep track of everything you need for your trip – hotel reservations, flights, car reservations, etc. You can also use it to safeguard information about your important documents such as passport, SENTRI card, Mexican auto insurance, drivers license, etc.
Allows you to make calls over a wifi connection without having to pay for a phone plan in Mexico.
A messaging application that allows you to communicate over a wifi connection. If you haven’t enabled a plan for your phone to allow texting while in Mexico, this is a great way to message people and stay in touch.
This is an app from the Mexican government that allows people to make an emergency call to 066 (Baja’s version of 911) giving your GPS location, have an emergency chat session giving your GPS location, or use the panic button to send a distress signal. You can also fill out the Medical Profile in the app with your vital medical information (ailments, allergies, current medications, etc) in the case of an emergency. The main menus are in English, but more specific menus are only in Spanish.