Driving down the Pacific coast of Mexico
Replies: 44 - Last Post: Nov 5, 2012 3:18 AM Last Post By: BOOMER1
Oct 20, 2012 3:09 PM
Driving down the Pacific coast of MexicoMy husband and I are Canadians who are considering driving down the Pacific coast of Mexico. We understand you need Mexican insurance but wonder if anyone has tips on a good insurance company and more importantly driving safety issues, particularly crossing the border.
Oct 20, 2012 9:12 PM
We will be driving down again soon. Our approach at the border is to leave Tucson around 4 AM. Get your insurance online before you depart. Cross with $5000 pesos acquired in Tucson (or more). Hide spare money in the various places in your car. Get your insurance online before you depart. Take the bypass around Nogales. There is a customs stop about ten miles in, where you get your visa. Be sure to stop, they won't stop you. If you get beyond the Sonora zone with no visa, they can impound your car.You have to leave your car, take your passport and car documents. First go to the copy shop, and make sure you have the right copies before you walk to the office. Wait in line, get the visa, put the sticker in your windshield,and hit the road, hopefully about daylight. We like to stay in Alamos, or el Fuerte. There has been recent violence around el Fuerte, but it is a great destination. Conquistadors and Pancho Villa. Or you can camp on the beach in Las Bocas, south of Navajoa. It is worth the effort, if all goes well, you can make Matzatlan, and the Hotel Belmar on the first day. I believe that it takes about $80 - $100 dollars to pay the quota to Matzatlan. No matter where you end up, make sure your hotel has a compound to park in. Be very aware of scams at the Pemex, and of gangs of youth trying to wash your windshield. They are not always trustworthy.They will steal things from you. Search this forum for different scams. Drive only in daylight, and get way from the border early. At this time of year, xmas coming, there are a lot of cars with placas de norteno going south. One of the biggest safety issues is the crazy drivers, and lack of shoulders on the road. Get your road game on!
From Matzatlan it is all open road to the Pacific beaches.
See you there.
Oct 20, 2012 10:04 PM
2We've tried a couple of insurance companies that handle Mexican policies and although we never had any trouble in the country, we liked dealing with Lewis and Lewis, a Los Angeles company. They have had a lower deductible at 500 $ than some. Get a poilicy with that gives you access to a Mexican lawyer. Their website on line. If you're like us, from British Columbia, you can submit insurance expenses to your home insurance companies for reimbursement. Lots of good advice from gortman. We drive down in an rv so take it slower, with stops in San Carlos, Los Moochis and Mazatlan, Rincon de Guayabitos and the Melaque area if we're sticking to the coastal roads exclusively.
Do not drive at night, if you ever have car trouble in the dark you are taking your life in your hands, there is seldom any shoulder on these roads. So plan to stop relatively early, leave yourself a couple of hours of daylight to find a place to stay. Watch for truckers who signal for you to pass by using their left turn signal, you will have to figure out yourself (1) that he's NOT turning left and (2) that it is indeed safe to pass.
You will need to pay a deposit, either cash, or money off a credit card, when you go for your Temporary Importation Permit, there are three levels of tarifs to pay depending on how old your vehicle is, the range is 200 USD to 500 USD I think. When you exit the country you will be reimbursed that money. For Very good information, go to rv.net, select the "Mexico and South America" forum and near the beginning find a "sticky" that is full of information on your drive. Copies of Guia Roji Mexican maps and Church and Church's Guide to Mexican Camping ae very useful. Safe traveling!
Oct 21, 2012 8:09 AM
3I always recommend 2 ATM cards, one as the primary and the second as a back up in case the first stops working or gets lost. Before you cross make sure both work and you know the pin´s.
There are ATMs all over Mexico and they are the best source of pesos at a good exchange rate. Do not plan on cashing travelers checks or exchanging money, if you even do find a place will to do these transactions it will cost you hours of time.
Most Pemex stations will take a credit card or debit card, some of the nicer 3 star and above hotels will also but most stores will not accept credit cards. mexico is pretty much a cash society.
Oct 21, 2012 8:47 AM
4"more importantly driving safety issues"
1, Make sure your defensive driving skills are up to date. Expect the 'unexpected'.
2. The passenger is a 'navigator' who should assist in watching for unmarked 'topes' (speed bumps), which if hit at speed, will take out mufflers and other important parts.
3. In general do not make a left turn directly from a highway. Rather pull to the right shoulder or a lateral and once all lanes are clear make your turn.
4. Do not pass another vehicle at a 'tope'. If there is a cop around, you will likely get a ticket.
5. Wear seat belts. Transitos (traffic cops) love to spot a gringo not wearing one and you will likely get a ticket.
Before you leave, call your bank/credit card company and have them flag your account/s for use in Mexico. Otherwise you are likely to have charges denied and will have the hassle of making an international call.
Oct 21, 2012 10:44 AM
Oct 23, 2012 9:34 AM
6Joan, we wrote a free ebook on Driving down Mexico and Central America. You are more than welcome to download a copy.
In there we give you advice on where to go, camp, a daily budget, common scams and more importantly what to do at the border crossings.
Mexico is a awesome country, with friendly people and fantastic food.
Oct 23, 2012 5:22 PM
Oct 23, 2012 6:43 PM
8I wouldn't drive in Mexico without liability insurance.
Oct 24, 2012 7:32 PM
Oct 25, 2012 7:51 AM
Oct 25, 2012 9:33 AM
Oct 25, 2012 2:28 PM
Oct 25, 2012 9:48 PM
Oct 26, 2012 6:18 PM
14Here is what rollybrook.com says about car insurance in Mexico.
Liability insurance is required in some states and not in others. You’d be crazy to drive in México without it. If you have an accident in México without insurance, the damage to your car is likely to be the least of your problems as you and/or your car sit in jail – no matter who was at fault – while the authorities sort out what happened, and until you and the other party come to an agreement on damages and injuries. This could take days. Get insurance!! There is more on this subject on the Automobile Insurance page.
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