For those of you daring enough to try the drive, we salute you. Actually it's really not that bad, there is a bit more to it than just getting in your car and heading down the road though. Here are a few things you should think about.

  • To drive in Mexico all a foreigner needs is the drivers license from their home country.
  • It is not law to have insurance to drive in Mexico, however if you are involved in an accident you must provide immediate proof of ability to pay for it or you will go straight to jail. For this reason, and the fact that almost no foreign insurance companies cover in Mexico. It is a very good idea to get Mexican auto insurance. It is generally not as expensive as in the States or Canada.  We recommend looking up "Mexican auto insurance" on the internet and visiting some of the sites listed to get an idea of how they work.
  • By Mexican law, foreigners can enter Mexico with their cars but can only travel a certain amount of miles from the border; to go any further you will need to have a car permit. They are relatively cheap at around $11-15US and are good for six months. On your way out of town at which ever border crossing you use you will come upon a check point where they check everyone for the necessary papers. Usually you can get them at Mexican consulates, some banks, or at the permit office when you go in.
  • If you stay on the main highways the roads are usually safe and well kept.... except after dark. It is not safe! There are generally two sets of roads going to all major cities; cuota (toll) and libre (free). We recommend taking all cuota roads. Local banditos are apparently too cheap to pay the tolls and keep to robbing on the libre highways. The cuota roads are safer, nicer and usually don't drive through the middle of every little two-shed town on the way to your destination...which, trust us, saves you a great deal of time. Tolls vary depending on which stretch of road you're on, which are each privately owned.
  • Along with the toll stops, along certain stretches of the highways are check points manned by the army. They are checking for drugs leaving/entering the area but will stop you and check you just the same. YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO PAY THESE PEOPLE ANYTHING. Generally once they see you are tourists they look over your car and then wave you by. Occasionally if they are bored, or like your car and want to check it out a bit, will ask you to get out and then go through some of your stuff. Just play along with them, you'll be fine as long as you are not carrying drugs or weapons. When travelling north, you will encounter a lot of checkpoints, especially the closer you get to the US border.
  • All gas stations in Mexico are PEMEX (Petroleo de Mexico) which is the government owned company. All stations on your way down will have unleaded gas (magna sin). Prices are higher than in the States and Canada, almost twice as high. As all the stations are all government owned, you wont just find a better price down the road. It is easiest to pay for your gas in pesos but if necessary, the stations should be able to accept US dollars. Depending on the kind of vehicle you are travelling in you should expect to pay $150-250US for gas on the way down to Mazatlan.
  • There are a number of trailer parks in the Mazatlan. Most of them are found in the Golden Zone which is the principal tourist beach area. Consult the lodging page for more information.
  • For directions we suggest using a recent Mexico tourist map. Also quite good are the directions provided at the website . At their site you type in your starting and ending locations and they give you a readout of the directions you should use.
  • We also thought we would try to help those of you who might be lacking a bit in the Spanish department. Although it is not necessary to speak any Spanish to get here, we thought it might be nice to give you the Spanish translations of some common things you might need to know on the road.  Click here to see a list of the vocabulary for the road

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