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How to drive through mexico

Hi all,
I am a Canadian looking to drive from the USA to Central America and am quite nervous about driving through Mexico in July 2017. I have heard both good and bad but with all the upset going on between the US and Mexico right now I am worried it is a really bad time which is going to be even worse in the coming months. I drive a 1984 VW Vanagon with a mere 87 hp and a gas tank that forces me to stop for gas every 250km (155 miles). It is beat up so I am hoping not to stick out and it also has Canadian plates which I am hoping is enough to get me through. Anyone know how safe this truly is and what routes I should be taking.

I wouldn't try it.  Why not consider sending the van by sea.  Some freighters will even take you on as a passenger/  Once you pay all the things  you will have to pay to travel through Mexico ( and every gringo is an open target!) it will not be any more expensive and a whole lot safer.   Older vans are desired items and you can't "outrun' anyone in one.  And you can't take any gun(s) to protect yourself.  My advice is DON'T DO IT!!!!!

Second idea:   Sell you van and buy another used vehicle  at your destination and fly to that destination.   Again DON"T DO IT!!!!!!!

Do it. The van will be fine and if it has problems, remember that Mexicans can fix any VW van.

Don't listen to anyone afflicted with the Chicken Little Syndrome.

If you're going to Central American, tell them at the border crossing where you will get the vehicle permit. They will give you a time limit to cross the country, a route which you can't vary from and with this you will not have to pay the temporary import fee on you credit/debit card.

Hi, the things you need is a "guia roji" map of Mexico the spiral detailled one (can get it at a PEMEX gas station. Organise your route, if planning on camping in Mexico get the "Chruch & Church, Terry & Mike - Mexican & Central américain book" http://www.rollinghomes.com/mexico%20book.htm a bit outdated but still relevant. Try to stay on major highways.
My wife and I have travelled Mexico for 10 years and never had a problem (slide in camper, small 5th wheel and big 5th wheel). Never drive after dark...overnight in secured PEMEX gas station  (ie: La Estacion near San Luis Potosi or at the PEMEX on the toll road (toll booth) to bypass San Luis de Potosi).
Also good, is the "streets and trips software - Microsoft" as the most recent info for Mexico. Be carefull with GPS might send you the wrong way.
As far as the vehicule, I am not an expert, you should be aware that like in the Canadian rockies there are steep hills in Mexico.
Get prepared, read, search the internet, talk to people that travelled recently and you should have a great trip throught out Mexico.

Buena suerte, GyC

Ok, So I have done this several times, not from Canada mind you , but from the U.S to the Yucatan area. The import fee isn't that bad, and you get it back when you leave, so in order to get more flexibility I would do that as well as get Mexican auto insurance. Other insurance carriers do not cover problems in Mexico. I would cross in Arizona, and avoid Texas completely.

As someone else said do not drive at night, for several reasons. The biggest of which is potholes and speed bumps. The lighting is poor and either one of those could kill your car. Also people are very casual about walking in the road after dark. So it is just much safer to be in a hotel before dark.

You can actually google a route. If it were me, I would be crossing at Sonora ( a much better crossing), stopping overnight in Hermosillo, then sticking as much as possible to the larger towns. Road wise, stick to toll roads. Yes you pay a toll, but the roads are much better, and the toll includes road assistance.  The people are very helpful if you show respect, and they don't blame us for what is happening in the U.S. Pay the fees , follow the rules, use toll roads and you should be fine. If you speak Spanish all the better.

Buen viaje

i DO NOT have the chicken little syndrome as suggested.  What I do have is personal familiarity with  two of this kind of attempts, neither of  which went well.  Fortunately no one died but both parties came rather close. Bad things can and do happen often.  Why chance it?

Tourists don't have guns, banditos do.  What would you do if while traveling on a major highway albeit through a rather non populated area and supposedly relatively cartel free area, if you were forced to stop and surrounded by 10-12 Mexican men wielding clubs and Machetes trying to force their way into your vehicle, breaking the windshield and windows as well as headlights? Why would you risk that?

Ann guns are not the solution to all problems. You live in the Tijuana area when you are in Mexico. Yes crime does happen in Mexico as well as the U.S.  Tijuana is better than it was yet it ,as well as places like Acapulco have a history. I have no historical information about your 'what if story'. I know of no such incident like what you are describing. Yes there were some recent drug related incidents in Cancun, but where there are tourists, money alcohol and  possible drugs the incidence of such things can rise. Vegas is an example of that. That won't stop me from visiting Cancun. It will just reinforce my resistance to hanging out in clubs at night.

Those of us who live in Mexico, travel in Mexico, so we have a pretty good grip on whats going on. I too have heard tales of violence in both countries. You have to take that into account and adjust plans, yet still I feel much safer here than I would in the U.S. One of the reason's I came here is they do regulate guns.

Hi to all again and specially to "vantravels", just a reminder, that, yes things has happened to visitors travelling Mexico by RV, car or other means and could still...but I think it's useless to go over it all the time.

For "vantravels" here is the link for the lastest updates from Terry and Mike Church http://www.rollinghomes.com/madds3.htm the last sad events were reported in 2012...so also updates to campgrounds are from 2016...so good information available.

This year as in the past many RVers are in Mexico and enjoying it (great majority from Canada) and a lot of Americans travelled by car!

This said, travel is always wonderfull if you have prepared/planned it.

Buena suerte otra vez y va a bien, GyC.

Hi, I have looked at the same thing, I am going to try to drive on the coast. Some of the advice I was given was only to drive during daylight hours, and have the 911# which is "088 Auxilio "
I am currently in the state of WA. If you need a companion to travel with let me know.

Jose & Shree
U S Army Retired

The equivalent to 911 is different in parts of Mexico if that is what you are referring to. It could be 911 in some areas, or 411,  Hwy police in some areas is 074. it depends. They have been working on that. Yes not driving at night is a good plan for many reasons. potential very bad roads being the top one. police cars tend to have the emergency number on them just like in the states.  Plus if you are going down the coast , people in the Tijuana area speak English for the most part. Your name (Jose) indicates you may speak Spanish.

Hi again, you should also refer to the SCT info for a good "ruta" route.  Either on internet   http://ttr.sct.gob.mx/mappir/movil/inde … #routepage or Twitter https://mobile.twitter.com/mappir_ . It gives you a secure route with the time and cost of tolls. Also,there is the "Programa Paisana" In spanish with various info. http://www.gob.mx/inm/acciones-y-progra … no-del-inm
Buena suerte, GyC.

Hi, yes I'm fluent in Spanish.  The 088 # is provided by SEGOB, Secretaria De Gobernacio .
It's given to be used in the entire country of Mexico. for "Any" Emergency. I'm assuming once they're called,  they then call the local authorities. I wouldn't want to be the one to find out, so proper planning will definitely help out .

Considering the lines I have stood in dealing with any government issues, I can only imagine. My friends have not shared that with me, but who knows, like you I would prefer not to try it. I have had three occasions to require police help , and the local line was effective. The hwy number was given to me by a native local friend to use if needed traveling .

Bien viaje

anne stromberg :

Bad things can and do happen often.

Anne, you may have had this happen to you, but I can assure you these events DO NOT occur "often" in all parts of Mexico.

Where did this happen to you?

"I am a Canadian looking to drive from the USA to Central America and am quite nervous about driving through Mexico in July 2017. "

I would be much more nervous about driving through some parts of Central America! My husband and I traveled extensively in Mexico in 1993-95 in a 27' motor home and experienced nothing but friendly and helpful people. I recently drove a little more than 600 km. from Coatepec to San Miguel de Allende (and back) on great roads, even though they are inadequately signed. We had a GPS and it was perfect. I plan to go again soon to go to see the Monarch butterflies.

Babs G. :

I plan to go again soon to go to see the Monarch butterflies.

Excellent plan. Just got back from seeing them a few weeks ago. If you want to see them this year you don't have much time left. They are reportedly only here for about 1.5 months.

We saw them in a place near Zitacuaro, Michuacan (about 1.5 hours west of Mexico City). We rode on horseback for 45 minutes up a dusty mountain trail and saw many, many butterflies. The place we stayed at has 4 different tours (one of which, I believe, does not involve horseback). It was quite the experience. Our particular tour cost $90 US on top of the accommodations which were, I think, $72 US.

There are other locals as well. There was somewhere around San Miguel. But the one around Zitacuaro was highly recommended.

I believe there is also a place around Morelia (a place I want to visit as the photos I have seen show a beautiful heavily treed area around a lake).

The toll roads from Laredo TX to San Miguel de Allende had emergency phones, water stations (though we wondered if there was really water there!), and turnarounds fairly frequently. And the Green Angeles patrol to give assistance. Stay alert, drive by day (and recharge each night), learn /obey the driving rules, be patient and respectful. If you are religious, maybe say a prayer. Adventure doesn't come worry - free..... Buena suerte!

AzSpottie :

The toll roads from Laredo TX to San Miguel de Allende had emergency phones, water stations (though we wondered if there was really water there!), and turnarounds fairly frequently. And the Green Angeles patrol to give assistance. Stay alert, drive by day (and recharge each night), learn /obey the driving rules, be patient and respectful. If you are religious, maybe say a prayer. Adventure doesn't come worry - free..... Buena suerte!

http://www.businessinsider.com/jalisco- … ico-2017-3

http://www.businessinsider.com/cartel-g … der-2017-6

"some areas of the country have become hotspots for violence — border cities, and their entryways to the US, in particular."

These are Texas borders. You were lucky AzSpottie, but given that one must drive through these areas if they use Texas borders, I wouldn't push it, or recommend it.

The toll roads from Laredo TX to San Miguel de Allende had emergency phones, water stations (though we wondered if there was really water there!), and turnarounds fairly frequently. And the Green Angeles patrol to give assistance. Stay alert, drive by day (and recharge each night), learn /obey the driving rules, be patient and respectful. If you are religious, maybe say a prayer. Adventure doesn't come worry - free..... Buena suerte!

Just finished driving the route from San Miguel de Allende to Nuevo Laredo and back and no problems. No threats of any kind anywhere along the route (including at the border). Drove by myself traveling only in the daytime and using toll roads. My only thought is that it is a long drive (roughly 1800 kms roundtrip). If I happen to do this again I will take the bus (even if I have a car) and let someone else do the driving. Then I can just relax.

Another thing I noticed, during my recent trip, was that the police don't care if you drive at 120km/hr even in an 80km/hr zone. Many cars were traveling about that speed along with myself. Even radar traps did not bother us. Many cars were traveling above 120km/hr. I only saw one person pulled over, but have no idea how fast they were going at the time.

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