Mexico and Central America Ride Planning and Road Wisdom

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Jeff Munn, May 30, 2006.

  1. BirddogVet

    BirddogVet Anticipating... on the road again.

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    ""How long to get to so-and-so?" was futile, as most rural dwellers had no concept of time and distance in a vehicle"

    It seemed so straightforward getting from point A to point B with the Andes inbetween. Had even gone so far as to Google map the route.
    Towards the end of each day's hard riding, had to stop out of frustration and ask, " much further?" "Not far."
    Live and learn.
  2. Buck83

    Buck83 Adventurer

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    First and foremost, thanks for taking the time on this write-up!! I'm looking forward to doing this next year, minus customs and paperwork.
    Second, Regardless of travel methods, the tip about the fake wallet is a must when travelling out of the country! $20 USD converted to local currency is usually enough to get someone another fix of whatever addiction they might have. It's also cheaper than a trip to the ER. It could make the difference between going home or spending the next few hours getting stitched up (or worse). Or maybe you're a hero/rambo type who will attack or fight back to keep your precious $20? Sweet, enjoy spending the next 2 hours filling out police reports to an officer who doesn't speak English. If $20 was that important to me I'd just stay home.
    In Brazil I had a money belt with larger quantities tucked inside. When the fake wallet ran dry I'd go to a bathroom and transfer a little more spending cash over to the wallet.
    Jeff Munn likes this.
  3. Phlyn' Phil

    Phlyn' Phil Been here awhile

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    Recently returned from MX on the bike, $23 for myself, then $467 was charged to my card for the TVIP, and $417 was returned on the card couple days after I returned. I don't remember there being a 50$ fee for the vehicle, but whatever, that's what they got me for this round. Just a heads up.
  4. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    The permit fee is standard at about $45, has been for some time as well as the tourist visa charge. Since your deposit was charged on your CC the refund depends on the exchange rate fluctuations. You may get more or less depending on the currency market. I bet you didn't know you were playing in the high stakes world of international finance when you got your permit.
    BIGCOD and Dan Diego like this.
  5. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Remember Phil, and everybody else , tourist card (FMM) and the TVIP are cost items to you .
    The TVIP SECURITY DEPOSIT is the ONLY item which is refunded. The $467 you describe was for the TVIP plus the Security Deposit combined. The "$23 for myself " was for your FMM.
    Considering the volatility of exchange rates you did not do badly . As TC states the TVIP cost " about $45" , US dollars that is .
    Because you paid with your credit card these transactions had your money converted twice for your visit to Mexico . First your dollars went into pesos into the Banjercito account , and then for the refund they were turned back into US dollars for your CC account.
    No wonder you had a little bit of "currency bleed " - varying days exchange rates and a bit for the CC company's work.
    If you want to be be completely sure of what was paid and refunded then make the TVIP SECURITY DEPOSIT in CASH US dollars . Then your refund will also be given in CASH US dollars to the EXACT same amount as you put in at the start whether it is USD $200, $300, or $400.
    matthewg123, 9.5isCanadian and Cal like this.
  6. BirddogVet

    BirddogVet Anticipating... on the road again.

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    Having settled back into routine after a Mexico / Central American trip, it's time to catch up.

    Mexico is a bit of a border pain in her vehicle deposit requirement. Other Latin American countries do not have it. Then again, sure beats having to arrange a Carnet. There is that annoying 'exit tax' which needs taking care of if you ever plan on returning. Whatever the perceived hassle, it is nothing compared to what must be dealt with down the line south. Evidenced by the lack of 'helpers' at Mexican borders.

    That exit tax may not exist in some Central American countries. However, a coyote may ask you to cough up for one, 'in advance.' Dodged it.

    Mexico, of all the 'northern' Latin American countries is by far, this rider's favorite to explore.
    Kiko, Jeff Munn and SkizzMan like this.
  7. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    The vehicle deposit or bond is a futile attempt to keep US vehicles out of Mexico without paying import duties and fees. Yes, vehicles are confiscated for not having a vehicle permit but mainly the problem is cars entering the border zone where no permits are requiered then being taken south and used as daily transport. Not talking stolen vehicle, but let's call them 'undocumented." The governor of the state of Sonora estimates that there are upwards of 300,000 undocumented vehicles in the state. She would like the feds to come up with an affordable plan to "regularize" them so they know who's driving them.
    The Breeze likes this.
  8. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

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    If anyone is interested - I wrote a Central America Border Crossing guide a few years back which has 'some' updated information from my experiences and includes a lot of the info the OP stated but more up to date.


    I have it formatted so you can download it on your phone for ease of use right at the border without wifi
    Beenriding, tsimmons, knight and 4 others like this.
  9. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA

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    Thanks for that - I found your guide referenced in another thread and got a copy. Will be very useful on our upcoming trip.
    Jim
    rtwpaul likes this.
  10. CrazyBrad

    CrazyBrad Been here awhile

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    Anybody riding to Central America or at least the very Southern tip of Mexico in the next 8 to 10 days...Today is Dec 18th. Starting at one of the Texas borders.
  11. Dvvjd

    Dvvjd Adventurer

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    When are you leaving. I’m planning on heading out 1 or 2 weeks into January.
  12. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    Just bought one off Blurb. They’re twice the price on Amazon.

    I’ve been following your ride. Looking forward to the book.
  13. Chriswyper

    Chriswyper n00b

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    Thanks @rtwpaul - just bought the book. Worth $4 easily
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  14. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    Don't really understand the fuss about crossing the borders. You show up, smile, comply, produce what they want, be polite, don't be pushy, give them the copies they need, pay your local insurance, and if asked fir a bribe, don't understand, smile andbe friendly. About 40 land borders later, all good...
    BirddogVet, ApexJeff and SkizzMan like this.
  15. BirddogVet

    BirddogVet Anticipating... on the road again.

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    re-Thought about what tools to take along, after spending some time yesterday talking to some guys planning this kind of trip.
    If I were to do it all over again ( and who knows)........my tool kit would center around my tubeless rear tire:

    1. A hard plastic head mallet to bang rims back into shape (sometimes accomplished with a 2 X 4 and a rock).
    2. A tire pump compressor with a pig tail battery attachment for a quick connection.
    3. A flat tire repair kit. (maybe an inner tube suitable for your tubeless rear tire)
    4. The only wrench would be to re-tighten a loose mirror or to access a filter.
    5. Tire pressure gauge.

    Pretty much anything else mechanical is so readily accessible south of the Rio Grande/Bravo.

    As one who does his own bike work, every time the rear rim hit the edge of a pothole, just wish my bike weighed that much less.

    On extended trips, the rider's daily mechanical focus should be tires, chain and oil.
  16. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    I would question the need for #1, especially given the weight/size of the mallet. There are plenty of tire repair shops everywhere, even the smallest towns, if you can limp to one, they can use their tools to bang the rim "straight" for you. If it's that bad that it's losing air, a rock and a piece of wood will work for emergencies.

    Gustavo
    SkizzMan likes this.
  17. BirddogVet

    BirddogVet Anticipating... on the road again.

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    Yup, agree that 'one can make do,' without the mallet.

    However, a wooden handled hard plastic mallet does not weigh anywhere near the same as a hammer. Much less likely to crack a rim and takes up a lot less space than the set of sockets and wrenches my newbie friends were planning on taking.

    When I finally limped to the motorcycle repair shop, was warned that the rim might crack if hammered. Having few options i agreed, but before hammering began found an old inner tube to soften the blow between hammer and rim.
    That didn't do it, so we went off to a tire repair shop. More banging and some black sealant for the tire to hold pressure, but that was an iffy fix. We finally ended up at a rim shop that hydraulically pressured the rim into alignment.

    That held until Costa Rica when I started losing air pressure again and had to succumb to the inner tube.
  18. Drifter

    Drifter Long timer

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  19. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    Very confused reporting
  20. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    Why would you be driving anywhere at 03.30am?
    Cal likes this.