So it seems that prices on flights are running a bit high these days???
Not a problem, if you are moving, visiting, or just temporarily going to live in Mazatlan for a few months out of the year, there are a growing number of ways to make it here the good old fashion way……….DRIVING!!!
There are soon to be two great roads that lead you directly to Mazatlan. The first, already known to many is driving down form the Arizona border beginning in Tucson, through Navojoa, and continuing down into Mazatlan. The second, currently under construction, is the highly anticipated highway that begins in Matamoros, Tamaulipas (on the Texas border), down through Monterrey, Torreon, and leading up to Mazatlan. Both directions will get you here efficiently as well as offering amazing scenic beauty, and an interesting look at the dramatic contrasts of our beautiful Mexico.
Like any new country you enter, identification is important and Mexico is no different. When crossing the border you will be asked to identify yourself and you will be issued a visitor’s visa that is valid for up to 6 months. Now do keep in mind that when entering back in to the US, Immigration services will require you to present a valid US or Canadian Passport.
A deposit of $200 USD on your registered vehicle will be required. This is only to ensure that the vehicle will be coming back with you, and not to worry, the deposit will be refunded upon your return. The payment for this deposit can be made in cash, but only if it is in US dollars. In the case of credit cards, customs agents prefer the use a major non-Mexican issued credit cards. It is highly recommended that you purchase an insurance rider at the border to cover you in Mexico. Shop around on the internet and purchase when you cross. Last but not least, you must carry a valid driver’s license.
ALREADY IN MEXICO?
It is just as safe to drive on Mexico’s “major” highways as it is in the United States or Canada. If you are polite and friendly to those whom you encounter you will find that people are more than gracious and try to help you even if you can’t converse in the national language. Mexican people are genuinely friendly by nature.
The “Autopista” is Mexico’s version of the turnpike. It provides a limited access environment most of the way to Mazatlan except when going through towns and cities. There are few loops or bypasses. The speed limits from the Autopistas range from 80km (50mph) to 110km (70mps). Stop signs are red with white octagons that say “ALTO”. A handheld translator or book might come in handy. There are toll booths along the way to pay your “Cuota” and this stop can also give you a break from the journey because you’ll usually find rest rooms and a snack bar. Having Mexican pesos to pay the toll is best. They always give you a “Nota” (receipt), but do count your change.
Make sure you fill up your tank at reasonable intervals; in other words, half full is good idea until you get more acquainted with these routes. “Pemex” gas stations (the only choice) are more abundant these days, but just to be safe, remember to fill up when you are in a populated area. The choices in grade are Magma or Premium. Most passenger vehicles run fin on Magma (regular). Make sure the pump is set at “0” before the attendant starts pumping. It is best to have Mexican Pesos available to pay, and once again, always ask for a “nota” along with counting your change. Some stations, not all, accept major credit cards. Gas prices in Mexico increase a couple of centavos every month to keep up with inflation. There are no spikes in prices and you will find that the cost to fill your tank is now a lot lower here than it is at home.
If you become hungry or tired during the drive, your best bet for a good restaurant or a clean & comfortable motel will be in the cities along the route.
In the case of an emergency, SOS phones are placed along the high-way (dial 066). Federal Police and Green Angels will rescue you and that’s a guarantee!!
If you are concerned about your safety and security based on the bad publicity about Mexico that is heard over the news you need not worry. Violence for the average person in Mexico is at the same odds as any other country in the World. Most cities in Mexico are pretty safe, especially for foreigners. The violence you hear about on the news, as they fail to mention, is usually dilemma’s that are kept within a long history of people that have been fighting within themselves for years. Every country has its problems, though you have to be smart and careful wherever you go, odds are you need not worry too much while driving or staying in Mexico.