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Mexico and Central America Ride Planning and Road Wisdom

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

  1. cp.parker

    cp.parker n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3
    Hey all, I will be crossing from Mexico to Guatemala n the next few days and am in need of some advise. I plan to live in Guatemala for a unknown period of time and have a 6 month mexico visa. Im debating on doing the correct paperwork on the way out or just go through and return before the six months. When i return to mexico will they check my papers and fine me for not doing the exit process? If not will I be able to just continue on to the states? If I exit Mexico and stay gone past the 6 months then return do I just go through the same process and pay all the fees?
    I know its a lot of questions but im trying to figure out the most economical and easiest way to do this. If the consequences are no more than a slap on the wrist i would rather just shoot through the border without doing the exit process.
    Any input would be greatly appreciated.. I havent had time to do a ride report but here is a link to my blog.. clayparker.blogspot.com
    Thanks
    Clay
  2. Super Suz

    Super Suz N00b with B00b

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    May 5, 2008
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    alrededor de la bahía
    Good thread, folks. Thanks for the info. :clap
  3. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Aug 19, 2008
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    2,590
    Location:
    USA
    Just to add to the general theme here, and I know this has been covered in mutliple threads, but not sure it's in this sticky...I crossed yesterday at the Colombia Bridge from MEX back into the US. There was a whole three (3) cars ahead of me. The wait to do the same crossing in nearby Nuevo Laredo averages in the hours for the afternoon crossing that I did. However, the ride adds about 50 miles if your intended destination is Laredo, TX. Nevertheless, recommended to me by tricepilot, this is a good crossing that at first I thought would be unecessary for my return route. However, I would rather be riding than waiting, so the suggestion proved to be very worthwhile. Just another crossing point to consider for those on the return who need to cross in the vicinity.

    You can cancel the TVIP right there at the bridge. Immigration MEX is nearby, so I also cancelled the FMT and also had my passport stamped with the exit. US Border Patrol asked a few questions at entry, but seemed mostly interested in the motorcycle and the ride.
  4. pdgoodman

    pdgoodman Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Oakland
    Thanks to Jeff for a super informative post, and to all the other posters for their insights. Looking forward to a trip later this year.
  5. August

    August August

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    103
    Location:
    McCall Idaho
    Travelling down Baja and then over to mainland for a month. Can any of the required paperwork/permits/visas be secured ahead of time on-line?

    I have my international drivers license and insurance

    Thanks
  6. Denalidirt

    Denalidirt High Plains Drifter Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
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    Location:
    Denali, Ak.
  7. egwags

    egwags Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    Oddometer:
    25
    I'm heading down Baja and then over to the mainland via Mazatlan two-up with my girlfriend, who is Mexican. She is usually fearless when it comes to travel, but she has expressed some concern about our upcoming trip after spending a week in Monterey (her home growing up).

    I know there have been a lot of posts regarding this safety, but some of them are a little dated as things are happening so fast in Mexico right now.

    I'm wondering if anyone can comment on our route with any direct or secondary experience.

    We're planning the following:
    Phoenix - La Paz (crossing in either Mexicali or Tijuana - not sure which)
    Ferry over to Mazatlan
    Head down to Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco
    Head over to Guanajuato and up through San Luis Potosi
    We'll explore along the way maybe stopping in Monterey
    Cross the border in Nuevo Loredo?

    I'd be interested to hear any insight anyone has about an particulars about the trip. We have both traveled extensively in Mexico with a long road trip last year throughout the Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Chipas, Tobasco, and Campeche, and I have always felt incredibly safe. But the north seems to have its share of troubles these days, and while we're all about the adventure, I don't want to do anything stupid - particularly, and obviously, I don't want to put her in danger.

    My original plan was to head south from Phoenix and cross at Nogales and then head down through the Copper Canyon, but my girlfriend was nervous about traveling through Sonora and Sinaloa. It seems to me like these problems are really limited to the cities and at night, but like I said, I have precious cargo, so I want to take the proper precautions.

    I would really appreciate any assistance you can provide. I need to pull the trigger on this trip soon, and I'm really on the fence.

    Thanks a lot.
  8. macgart

    macgart johnny mac

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    194
    Location:
    It Depends...
    I did not see it listed here, but does anyone know how much of a block they place on your credit card for the vehicle importation? It was noted that someone tried with a maxed out card and was denied.

    Just curious how much and if it is a block (and for how long) or other.



    Outstanding info by the way. Wish I'd found this sooner.
  9. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan aka SkiddMark ;^)

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
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    13,185
    Location:
    Austin, Tx.
    Calexico/Mexicali is universally recommended over TJ.

    If you pass through Monclova (N. of Saltillo) take the libre through town
    and avoid the bypass as there is an extortion racket along that road.

    Don't know where you're heading after Nvo. Laredo but if it's north I high-
    ly recommend crossing upstream (north west) from Nvo. Laredo at the
    Colombia Bridge crossing. It's a full service crossing with very little non-
    commercial traffic (mostly NAFTA trucks) and private vehicles queue up in
    a different lane. VERY quick and easy so long as your lady has her papers
    in order (been there, done that). If not then you must enter the US
    Customs bldg to resolve the issue before entering US.
  10. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    [​IMG]
  11. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
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    5,566
    Location:
    Alaska
    EDIT: Last week at El Amatillo I was required to produce an original title to bring my bike into Honduras. Maybe everyone else is immune to this rule but this is what happend to me.

    I'm sure that if you dont have it, there are ways around it, but it will cost you time and money.

    So just a heads up, the title or titulo WAS REQUIRED FOR ME and yes they know what a title looks like as well. A registration card was not good enough for them. A copy of the title did not work, I had to have the original. These aduana people are not stupid, they can tell the difference. So if you try to use a copy, it better be perfect.

    BTW my crossing into Honduras at El Amatillo took only an hour and cost 35 bucks, Crossing into Nicaragua took only an hour as well and IIRC was about 3 bucks, then 12 bucks for insurance. All the officials were pleasant and helpful. The El Amatillo crossing was a smooth as any other. That surprised me after all the nightmare stories I have heard.

    No bribes were paid.
  12. Zarks

    Zarks Zarks

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    Comox, British Columbia, Canada.
    Hi All,

    Have been reading this thread and learning a lot (hopefully!), and was wondering if anyone has had to obtain a "transmigrant permit, or transmigrant visa" if going through Mexico to Central America for the bike or for themselves?

    Was on Sanborns (Insurance) website last night, and they said that is what you need when going 'through' Mexico as opposed to in and out of Mexico?

    Another question, which I hope is not redundant, but the $400 dollar deposit paid for a vehicle (motorbike) newer than year 2000 upon entering Mexico, if one is crossing from the USA into Mexico and departing Mexico into Central America, please tell me getting the deposite back at the exit point is possible? :)

    Thanks, and hope this are not repeat questions!

    Cheers,

    Ian
  13. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
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    San Antonio
    Respectfully Disagree :wave
  14. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Location:
    Alaska
    OK, let me rephrase that. At El Amatillo last week on Saturday at approximately 1100 hours with a chubby light brown haired gal working at Aduana, I was required to produce an original title in order to enter Honduras.

    I'm not making this up, it really happened. I did not misunderstand anything.

    I didnt think I had the title on me, but after searching through all my stuff, I did have it on me and was out of there in less than an hour. No problems.

    If I did not have the title, I would have probably had to go to another crossing, pay a bribe, or wait there a helluva lot longer and argue the point to get things sorted out.

    Whether or not a title is actually required was irrelevant in my case. I've always been a little "special":D I was required to produce one to get through in a timely manner. So my advice would be to bring your title. Obviously yall can do whatever you like. Just thought I would impart my experience and maybe save someone a big headache if it were to happen again.

    Bob, I'm sure that you are correct about the actual rules. However the actual rules didnt really matter in this case. :lol3 This is what I had to do to get through. If they were playing a little game with me i didnt really see the point. I paid no extra fees or mordidas (nor did they even hint at one) and it only cost me the time it took to find where I had hidden my title.

    If I had not found my title, I would have gone back to El Salvador and tried to enter Honduras from another place before I would have paid a mordida or killed all day sitting at that border.
  15. Motojournalism

    Motojournalism motojournalism.com

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    Montreal via BC
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/antontrax/4390904067/" title="Way out West-1310041 by antontrax, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4070/4390904067_7ac40c0c33.jpg" width="373" height="500" alt="Way out West-1310041" /></a>


    Yep, I needed that too. Canadian registration sort-of doubles as title (we don't have titles). They were happy with that. No bribes, no helpers. Lot's o' photocopies.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/antontrax/4390903865/" title="Way out West-1310038 by antontrax, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4012/4390903865_9ebdf0327f_b.jpg" width="1024" height="731" alt="Way out West-1310038" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/antontrax/4391673070/" title="Way out West-1310046 by antontrax, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2738/4391673070_dd0f0f9faa.jpg" width="296" height="500" alt="Way out West-1310046" /></a>
  16. tjrockit

    tjrockit One day closer...

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
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    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I read through most of this thread and had a general question.

    What over the counter meds would you recommend taking with you.

    I think the obvious ones are Pepto Bismol, Advil/Tylenol, Benadryl.

    I've heard rumors that there are good natural meds you can take that help with food digestion etc.

    Any recommendations? - thanks!! :freaky
  17. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    558
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Immodium AD (or Pepto if you prefer), and Tylenol or Advil go with me. If you need anything else, you can talk to a pharmacist there and get what would be a prescription drug here. If you are uncomfortable with that approach, talk to your doc here and try to get some ciprofloxacin in advance. Cipro has been effective for me at ending battles with intestinal bacteria.

    Not sure on natural remedies that you can take in advance or on the trip. There are probably a lot of options there...

    Aside from basic precautions (drink treated water, wash your hands), I'd say don't worry too much. I think added worry just makes the risk of sickness that much higher.

    Enjoy your trip, and keep us posted!
  18. swamp

    swamp Shut up. Ride.

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,714
    Location:
    lower appalachia, Alabama
    hello all.

    im going to be crossing into baja via Tecate.

    will be staying in the dirt and camping as much as possible on my way down to Cabo San Lucas.

    ive never been to baja (or mexico) before.

    are there any safety issues / bad areas that i should be aware of ?
  19. tjrockit

    tjrockit One day closer...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,251
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Here are 2 whole threads on that question. It would be nice to keep those conversations there. Personally, I've grown exhausted of hearing about it for the last 2 months of my planning. In my opinion, be wise but if you're overly worried about safety, then don't go. Plenty of places in America to enjoy!! :thumb

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=546927&page=82

    http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46564
  20. river-rider

    river-rider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Davenport, Iowa
    <TABLE id=table1959 border=0 cellPadding=3 width="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top><TABLE id=table1981 border=0 cellSpacing=3 cellPadding=5 width="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=top>Three Motorbikes Stolen At Gunpoint In San José Daily

    Riding a motorcycle in San José has always been risky, but now even more as "hampones" (thugs) are now targeting motorcycles, with an average of three motorcycles are taken by gunpoint in San José.

    The term in Spanish is "método del bajonazo" and the favourite method by at least three gangs identified by police authorities, who have been very active in the past several months, the latest over the weeking in Aserri, where 18 year old, Deivis José Vega Covaleda, lost his life trying to defend his two wheels.

    Deivis was unharmed and died after being shot point blank in the chest by one of the assailants.

    Police say that the thugs have no qualms in shooting at victims who resist the attack.

    Unfortunately, in the face of the circumstances, all police can say is "be very careful".

    Pablo Bertozzi, subdirector of the Fuerza Pública (police) recommends not to ride in solitary areas and not to park bikes on the street.

    "If you are being held up at gunpoint, do not resist", are the recommendations of Bertozzi.

    According to police statistics, downtown San José, Desamparados, Goicoechea, Tibás, Alajuelita and Escazú are the worst areas. The statistics also include areas of Alajuela and Pococí de Limón areas of high incidents of bike thefts.

    According to figures of the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ) between January 2009 and March 2010, a total of 1.221 motorcycles have been reported stolen.

    The majority of the thefts were of new or late model bikes, especially those with motors of 125cc, 200cc and 250cc.

    The OIJ believes that the bikes are taken apart to be sold for parts, while others are sold on the black market in rural areas.


    </TD><TD vAlign=top>







    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD>[​IMG]</TD></TR><TR><TD><!-- Include the Google Friend Connect javascript library. --><SCRIPT type=text/javascript src="http://www.google.com/friendconnect/script/friendconnect.js"></SCRIPT><!-- Define the div tag where the gadget will be inserted. --></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>