How many of you have actually hitched Mexico/Central America recently?
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Aug 12, 2012 12:29 PM Last Post By: sailornyanko
Jul 28, 2012 2:05 PM
How many of you have actually hitched Mexico/Central America recently?Just curious, safety, kindness, sense of adventure etc.
I have heard horror stories and i have heard that, unless you are in the border towns, you only need to worry bout basic pick pockets and basic robberies while hitching more south. Any stories?
Jul 28, 2012 6:27 PM
1Well, if you're going to go there, at least be clear about what you mean. If you're talking about hitching long distances, zero people are going to respond in the affirmative, because they just don't do it. I'd be happy to eat those words if someone proves me wrong (and I know that one or two people around here have in fact done it...)
If you're talking about being in a rural area like Copper Canyon or the Mixteca and hitching on trucks with workers or finding friendly people to bring you to the next town, that's another question, something I and many folks have done many times in the last few years... and it's always very tied to the specific place you're talking about, not a vast, varied landscape.
In many places it's not a lack of kindness that will lead people to not pick you up, it's common sense on their part and the fact that the practice is virtually non-existent, outside of a few pockets of Costa Rica or Chile. It's not a part of their culture, and they'll wonder why someone with obvious means is going for a free long-distance ride when even poor people pay for that stuff. That's not to say that others won't find you... an attractive passenger, "adventure"-wise (ahem).
Some folks have posted on here over the years insisting they were going to try it, no matter what anyone else said. I can't remember even one of them following up with details of their success.
Jul 28, 2012 6:28 PM
Jul 28, 2012 7:57 PM
3Enroutesiglo gives excellent advise above. The distinction that he makes between long distance hitching (probably neither wise nor practical) and accepting rides from locals in isolated rural areas (an accepted part of some local scenes) is important.
My Take on Long Distance Hitching in Mexico:
I've spent about 14 months in Mexico, visiting most of its states over the course of 39 years. During that time I have never seen anyone, either Mexican or foreign, attempting to hitch hike along a major highway in Mexico.
As a student in the 1970s I hitched about 5,000 miles in the USA. Most of those miles were along interstates. I sometimes camped out at night under a plastic tarp. So, to get to Mexico to study Spanish in Cuernavaca in 1973, I first hitched for 3 1/2 days from Ohio to the border crossing at Eagle Pass, Texas. From there I continued that trip riding on Mexican buses. Mexican buses in the 1970s were (and they arguably still are today) relatively cheap in the larger scheme of things, a bargain which makes it possible for travelers to economically cross large areas safely in relative comfort.
My Take on Accepting Rides in Isolated Mexican Rural Areas:
People living in many small, rural Mexican communities access the broader world via public transportation--typically aging buses, vans/collectivos, taxis. or the beds of pick up trucks. Whenever such services are available, I use them as a paying customer, just as I take fancier buses when traveling between major cities.
But, I sometimes also trek into scenic places where poor road conditions and/or low population densities have prevented any regular public transportation from becoming established. I have seen drivers in such locations provide rides to others, either free of charge or in exchange for small payments. And, I've accepted (and on other occasions given) such "free" back country rides myself.
I personally would not try, simply to save money, to hitch hike between major Mexican cities, or to hitch to tourist destinations. If my funds were so limited that I could not afford to pay for Mexican bus fares, instead of hitching I would delay crossing the border until I had first earned and saved more funds.
Jul 28, 2012 8:28 PM
4"...i have heard that, unless you are in the border towns, you only need to worry bout basic pick pockets and basic robberies while hitching more south. Any stories?"
Whomever told you this has probably not spent very much time, if any, hitch hiking in Northern Mexico. If they had done so (or hitched or camped much themselves in the southwestern USA) they would be warning you instead about several real, albeit less melodramatic risks: (1) being picked up by highly inebriated drivers; (2) being hit, or narrowly missed, by speeding vehicles as you stand beside the roadway; (3) dying of boredom because no one will pick you up; (4) hot desert days; (5) cold, windy desert nights; (5) experiencing exhaustion, dehydration, heat stroke, and/or hypothermia.
Jul 29, 2012 7:52 AM
Jul 29, 2012 9:09 AM
Jul 29, 2012 1:24 PM
7Nice hitching name, #6 :D
Sadly, we've been suckered again (duh). See OP's string of posts on Matamoros, the latest one saying "I need to hop on a random bus to get out of Matamoros, the must brutal part of Mexico! Oh, and I'm hitching which I've done before!'
I'm guessing it's either a long-time poster having a right laugh, or a 13 year old doing what 13 year olds do... pretty silly.
Jul 30, 2012 8:18 AM
Aug 12, 2012 12:29 PM
9As a solo woman traveler I seldom EVER do it for obvious reasons (wouldn't like to get mugged, raped, kidnapped or found in some ditch ripped apart). However, if it's a small rural area where everyone knows everyone and it's for a short 1 hour trip max to a well known destination and the driver offers and they seem to look like decent family folk with kids in the car, I will consider it. I have done it a few times when the bus I need to take never shows up and I don't have the $ for a solo taxi; you should try to inquire about how much they are willing to charge you for the annoyance. Sometimes they won't charge you anything at all out of kindness (if you live in the village area and they know who you are they are less likely to charge you), sometimes they charge you the same cost as the bus fare.
If a guy traveling solo in a car offers a solo woman a trip after dark and doesn't state he knows who you are and you don't know who he is, I wouldn't risk it. I've only hitched 5 minute short trips from solo men after dark if I knew exactly who he was and knew he wasn't a dangerous fellow. Better to sleep all night in a bus station or pay a taxi and be safe than be sorry.
I would never do a long hitch trip in Mexico, especially since I'm a solo female traveler.
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