Extended travelling by car - 6 month trip to México
Replies: 28 - Last Post: Aug 19, 2012 7:58 AM Last Post By: Elenamex
Aug 14, 2012 10:35 AM
Extended travelling by car - 6 month trip to MéxicoHi,
I’m Portuguese guy who lives in Lisbon and I’m thinking about to take a 6 month trip to México and Central America but I don’t want to travel to the tourists and “mainstream” places.
I was thinking about buying a cheap car so I can drive whatever I want. I want pick up people along the way to help share expenses. I think this will be a good way to meet other travelers and make friends with some locals too.
What do you think? Is this something that people often do? Is this really hard to arrange?
Thank you a lot guys for any answers.
Aug 14, 2012 11:06 AM
1It's almost impossible for a temporary visitor to buy and register a car legally in Mexico. Insurance is also mandatory in some states and will be difficult to arrange without a bank account or Mexican address. And it will not be cheap as generally cars in Mexico are more expensive than similar ones in Europe.
It would make much more sense to use the bus system to get around - buses go everywhere from the major cities to the smallest of villages. And it's a LOT less hassle.
Aug 14, 2012 12:31 PM
2A car will largely insulate you from most contact with Locals...If you must, it is best to Purchase,title,prepare for extensive travel,and insure a vehicle in the US...Planning a round trip, reselling (for what you can get)in the US.The process is time consuming but understandable & legal...Options in Latin America are NOT... In Mexico you will be made drive,not merely steer... carracar
Aug 14, 2012 1:48 PM
3Agree with the suggestion to take the local public transportation. It isn't expensive, you'll meet locals, and get to out of the way places. I visited Sola de Vega, Oaxaca the other day, saw no other tourists, and got to meet the presidente of one of the municipalities. I counted at least four transport companies serving this place.
Aug 14, 2012 2:42 PM
4Take the bus or a local shuttle van. Head to Chiapas and hang out there. Photos of Chiapas area on my website wolfcalls.com.
Aug 14, 2012 3:38 PM
Aug 14, 2012 8:04 PM
Aug 15, 2012 8:46 AM
7Like Queretaro says it is not possible without a resident visa here to register and insure a car. Very risky to do it illegally, you can be arrested and your car confiscated and if you are in even a teeny accident you are screwed. Cars are pricey here too. The bus system goes everywhere as many people live without cars here, its a much safer bet. Also as you are planning Central America too each country has their own car importing systems with payments, a big hassle as well as expensive.
Aug 15, 2012 10:41 AM
Aug 15, 2012 11:10 AM
9Driving in Mexico
Go with the driving. We have driven around Mexico for extended periods, up to four months at a time. Over the last fifteen years more than 100,000 miles. It is not a problem meeting the locals. Meeting people is all wrapped up in how a person approaches life. You can make friends with locals merely by showing up in their pueblo! Hanging out in the square in the evening. The people are great! We like the freedom of having a vehicle. I am sure that we could not have visited so many beaches, ruins, pueblos and cities by traveling on the bus. And the food. Getting to local food means getting get off the beaten path. Many of the places that we have visited would take forever to get to by bus, or impossible. There is also a safety factor. Although it does not happen often, if a place feels dicey, don't stay, or just get in the van and leave. As far as crossing the border with the van into and out of Guatamala, it was hectic, but actually went pretty well, and was not expensive. You can sell your vehicle in Guatamala. Although we never pick people up on the road, when you start meeting people, or staying in a small pueblo, someone always needs a ride to the store, the MD, the beach, etc. Other travelers are always wanting a ride, probably to get off the buses! Repairs and gas are cheap, and there is no car repair that cannot be done under the tree in the mechanics backyard. Drive a cheap car or small Toyota truck. Avoid the big fancy truck. We take an older all wheel drive van which is very useful on the back roads and the beach. Take lots of pencils, tablets, and toys to give to the kids. Giving pencils to kids will get you in with the locals right away. Take lots of fishhooks and fishing tackle to give away at the beach. The next thing you know, the locals will be taking you fishing! Don't take anything that you cannot afford to lose. We have never had anything stolen, but there will be a time. Don't drive at night. Because we drive a van, we can just sleep in the back if we run out of daylight. You may find that Queretaro and Carracar (#1 & #2) are right, and you would need to buy and license your vehicle in the United States. You should be able to buy a good car and license it in Tucson AZ in a day or two. All and all driving in Mexico and Guatamala has been a fantastic experience, BUT, everyone drives like a bat out of hell! Everyone ignores all traffic rules. Expect the unexpected! Try to be holed up in a hotel or beach over Xmas and Easter, because all of Mexico is out on the road. CRAZY! So be awake, and drive safe. See you there!
Aug 15, 2012 11:20 AM
10#9... for a first-time visitor who has never been to the region and totally unfamiliar with Mexico and Central America? Perhaps not.
Aug 15, 2012 12:13 PM
11JFontes, Overlanding through Mexico and Central America is Lots of fun and not as difficult as people make it out to be.
I agree you should buy a cheap vehicle, preferably a Toyota as they just keep going. And if you happen to need a repair you can pick parts up virtually anywhere in Mexico and Central America.
We just published a free ebook titled "Don't Go There. It's Not Safe. You'll Die. And Other More Rational Advice for Overlanding Mexico and Central America." When we first set out on the trip that is what we constantly heard from family, friends and strangers. After spending 8 months in Mexico and Central America I can tell you that although there are troubled areas it is not nearly as dangerous as the media and gossip mongers make it out to be.
If you want a Free copy please go to liferemotely.com/download-the-ebook
Good luck! And let us know if you need any advice!
Aug 15, 2012 1:22 PM
12You guys, this guy is coming from Portugal. Is not a US citizen. He/she at least needs a US address to register a car in AZ, and to get insurance which is legally mandated in USA and certainly a very wise idea in MX. This process plus the car buying - 2 wks? - is already cutting in big into the budget. I also have great times with local rides and with my car here in MX, but for 6 months? Think on. Its an enormous hassle.
Aug 15, 2012 6:35 PM
13Bunch of bad info about cars. He probably can't buy and register one anywhere .... that leaves him with the option to buy one illegally in Mexico and take his chances.
Also in Mexico you won't find hitchhikers at every highway entrance .... in fact you may never see one. Take the bus !!!
Aug 15, 2012 8:50 PM
(4 star Hotel)
From US$289.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$271.00 per night
Las VegasBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$95.00 per night