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New horizons...Mexico?


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So I've read good and bad things about driving over to Mexico. There are some beautiful places there and having a chance to see the Aztec/Mayan ruins is a great opportunity. I would love to hear the good and bad from first or secondhand experience.

The family did 15K+ miles last fall across the US. So not a newbie by any means. We're adventurous but don't want to bring the kids over to the cartel's doorstep either.  Mexico isn't Brazil, but it can act like it at times.

Fortunately, the coach carries quite a bit of water on board 😉

Shoot me some wisdom!

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Posted (edited)

Baja is beautiful and the roads are good. There are some really nice gated RV parks on the ocean about half way between Rosarito and Ensenada about 40 miles South of the border. Border entry is San Yasidro, just S. of San Diego. Stay all the way to the right as you enter,  (follow the buses). The car lanes are too narrow, so take all the time you need to get over all the way to the right. Where it says "items to declare" in front of the buildings is where you want to cross.  Mexican insurance is a must, get it before you cross, avail online. Also  check with your US insurance company to see what they cover for additional peace of mind. Friday afternoon is heavy traffic going in so best to avoid it. Once through the border stay right and enter the freeway (toll road). Bring pesos for tolls. You will need 30 dollars or so (charged by the axle) to get South Dollars or Pesos. We stay at Clam Beach RV park or Baja Seasons on the Pacific Ocean. Beautiful spot, amazing people, great food and incredible sunsets. Tips: No Firearms or ammunition or pot, medicinal or otherwise. Get pesos at you local US bank before you cross the border. Pay with pesos it will save you money on the exchange rate. We don't drive at night in Mexico for the same reason we don't drive after dark in the states. Happy travels.

*Fantasy Rv tours does caravans for RVs into Mexico. I have Not done one with them, but have talked to people who have gone with them and had a good experience. Too pricey for my budget, but  a good way to take that first trip down South...

Edited by Schooner
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You have to buy the insurance at the border or in the US before you leave. I did not and had to pay a penalty which I think ended up in the police's pocket and wasted a few hours. 

I would not take the RV because it's too big of a juicy target. We took only the toad and stayed in motels which added a lot of local color, and totally enjoyed the trip.

 

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In the 70's through the 90's I used to travel to Mexico often either for work or pleasure. My last trip there was in the early 2000's to Cancun. I've been to the Yucatan Peninsula, mainland Mexico all around Mexico City area and the Puerta Vallarta area many times, Acapulco too.

No desire to go back as the risk is a lot higher now than back then. Why go if you have to stay in your luxurious hotel versus being able to go out and explore the countryside.

I still have many places here in our country that are in my "bucket list" to see.

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43 minutes ago, Dr4Film said:

In the 70's through the 90's I used to travel to Mexico often either for work or pleasure. My last trip there was in the early 2000's to Cancun. I've been to the Yucatan Peninsula, mainland Mexico all around Mexico City area and the Puerta Vallarta area many times, Acapulco too.

No desire to go back as the risk is a lot higher now than back then. Why go if you have to stay in your luxurious hotel versus being able to go out and explore the countryside.

I still have many places here in our country that are in my "bucket list" to see.

Same here 71 and getting ready to go explore our great country. 01 Monaco Dynasty Jack 38

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Went to Baja last February and had an absolute wonderful time, bought the insurance before we left so wasn’t an issue. 
at no point did I feel worried about our safety going back this next February and March ,nice parks in San Felipe . get away from border towns the sooner the better 

2006 Beaver Marquis 

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Having lived on the border for over 50 years and having traveled in Mexico, my advice would be don't go by yourself.  If you must go, go with a well established travel agency that caravans.  In Mexico You have NO rights, NONE, and there will be little or no police protection.  You can't trust the cartel or the police. Be aware you are not allowed to have any type of firearm to protect yourself or your family.  If your MH is searched and they find 1 and I can't emphasize enough, 1 cartridge, your MH will be confiscated and you will spend time in a Mexican prison. You have NO rights, NONE when you are in Mexico.  Mexico is a beautiful country with interesting places to visit and history.  The common people are the most accomodating and friendly people you will ever meet.  Just be aware of the issues that are rampant due to the cartels.  God Bless, Ed & Sylvia

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I have a little different slant on this conversation. I have been riding and driving in Baja for 40 years and thousands of miles, including border to Cabo. I love it down there, and love the people. We have never felt threatened by anyone.

But those miles were all off road. A couple of weeks ago my wife and I took our Jeep down with five other couples, drove 840 miles, almost entirely on what they call "highways." We were scared s**tless a few times (and I'm fearless). For the most part the highways are in good condition, but they are narrow and have little or no shoulder. The truck traffic was terrific, and some of the drivers were downright dangerous. Oncoming trucks veered into our lane on more than one occasion.

At one point we were keeping up with traffic on a hilly, curvy section of highway and I was watching a truck several vehicles behind us as it passed those vehicles. The truck was on the left side of the two-lane road (in the oncoming lane) for over two miles, around blind corners and over blind hills. As it approached us it saw oncoming traffic just in time, and pulled in behind us. And I mean right behind us. All I could see in the rear view mirror was radiator. After a mile or two like that we finally came upon a place to pull off the road and let it pass, and we did so.

More than once we said to each other "Good thing we weren't in our motorhome." And NEVER drive down there a night.

YMMV.

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Michael J, feelings of safety do not negate the truth of what goes on in Mexico.  You are fortunate you have not run into any trouble in Mexico.  I do not live in fear, but neither do I live in a fantasy world.  I have had bullets flying over my head in Mexico and choose not to venture into the interior anymore.  Would love to do so, my wife is Hispanic and speaks the language. Which is a great tool when traveling over there.  Neither of us will go into Mexico under the current conditions.  Your life is meaningless to the cartels.  God Bless, Ed & 

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Thanks ED and thanks everyone. It seems to be a bit of a mixed bag. I've been willing to go into some tough areas but your depiction of "NO RIGHTS" is a bit too much for me at this time.  I don't carry an arsenal but I do carry protection with me. Crossing the border with the rig would require some careful consideration and preparation to ensure I'm not out of bonds on legal. I also don't enjoy people having free reign in my space. Police are otherwise.

The idea of parking north of the border and venturing south in the toad seems to be the right compromise. I'll continue to do my homework and appreciate the wisdom provided.

Not discounting going there. But pretty sure I'll be hitting Canada and Alaska before crossing south.

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Posted (edited)

Good decision Bryan.

Drug Cartels are in control. They control the police, the government, the border, women & child trafficking, prostitution, you name it. They are the Kingpins in Mexico. They are just as bad as the Isis in the Middle East if not worse. They will take everything you own and then they will take your head off.

If you have to go to Mexico, fly in and get a reputable service to drive you to your hotel. Enjoy the view from your room and pool, then fly back home. Oh, and choose a destination that is not one of the cartels hot spots where all of the rich people like to hang out.

Edited by Dr4Film
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Bryan, you may not travel in Mexico with any firearm at all.  Cannot stress that enough! If you have any ammunition even just 1 cartridge on your person or in your vehicle you are breaking Mexican law and you will spend time in a Mexican prison.  I have been on several church missions to the interior of Mexico and we don't do that anymore.  As Dr4Film indicated the cartels are in charge of everything, including the local governments and the police.  We do venture into Progresso, Mexico just across the border for shopping and lunch.  That's as far as we go.  God bless you and your family in your adventures, Ed & Sylvia

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There are so many places and things to see & do in the good ol USA it would take several lfe times to make a dent. 

We seem to have an idea we must go to far away places when we haven't seen half the things near us,  I'm the same way.

I wish I could explore Mexico, but it ain't gonna happen, too dangerous.

For those that don't believe it is dangerous, they may be watching the wrong news channels.

Mexico is a foreign country with laws and customs that may not be like we expect

Regarding guns etc, many yrs ago we were vacationing in So Tex along the border so we decided to go across.  It was not considered dangerous then. We toured the shops and ate then we decided to drive out of town a little ways site seeing.  Nice road with traffic, then we stopped, inching our way forward  we came upon a road block of dozens of Federales ( troops ) with machine guns.  They were litterally draggin men out of their vehicles onto the ground.  When they saw us gringos they made us turn around and get out of there.  I was more than happy to oblige them.  We learned in town they were looking for weapons.

              

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We live in Mexico 6 months of the year. Have traveled all of the West coast as well as Guad , Oaxaca and Chiapis. Have done this in  a van,truck camper and an 88 FC Wanderlodge. We currently have a Wanderlodge in Mexican shop. We have not gone further south for many years. Although the cartels have no interest in RV,s We have never had problems and do not wish to test our luck. I would suggest that you try some places that are not too far into Mexico.  We are in Bahia de Kino Sonora. 300iles south of Tucson. Safe drive on mostly 4 lane road. A bonus is our free guide service 

 If any Monacoer is coming when we are in Mexico would be happy to show you around and share our plus 30 years if knowledge.

Another safe place is Puerto Penasco. 

 

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Mexico has never been 100% safe.  Watch some cowboy movies.

You have to know when and where you can travel safely, but even then, all it takes is one individual to mess up your day.  My roommate in college told me that the "banditos" set up ambushes in the remote areas, take all your money & and anything else they want (wife, kids?), and if you resist they have no problem with disposing of you.  That was in the 70's.

Now that the clandestine operations from US are entrenched and in complete control via the cartels, with corruption at every level, it has gotten really bad.  I would feel like a juicy 12 inch fish swimming by myself in a large pool of sharks, just waiting for the sharks to notice me.

The best advice from those who really know is travel in caravans, maybe even hire security.  Never travel at night.  If you don't know the area bring someone who does, and if there is any question take another route.  Check daily with the locals, and remember they might be scouts for the cartel.  Don't talk too much about yourself or your family, don't bring in anything you wouldn't want to lose.

With all that said, I hope you have a wonderful time and never have these issues while there.  If you do and survive - you will have an interesting story to tell.

Here's some study material:  https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mexican+banditos+ambush

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