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Some thoughts on Mexico


PeterAndMargaret

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We have for some time been wanting to tour Mexico and had thought that we would do so in our Class A towing the Honda CRV. As it turned out I was busy doing a project in the USA and when this project came to an end the next one was suddenly canceled leaving me in San Diego with about two months with nothing to do. We considered taking the RV out of storage and heading for Mexico and then got an opportunity to house-sit a house in Merida in the Yucatan for June and July. It was settled! As we had to get to Merida rather quickly we left the RV is storage and headed for Merida in the Honda. Am I glad we left the RV behind!

 

We have now been in Mexico for just over 2 weeks and drove from San Diego to Merida - a distance of about 2 500 miles. These are my thoughts on Mexico, the traffic and RV's. They are not meant to stir up debate (although I am more than happy to engage in constructive debate) but merely to give those contemplating a trip to Mexico in their RV a different perspective. I am also sure there will be many who will disagree with my views. We have benefited greatly from the views of others on this site and hopefully some will benefit from our views.

 

I am of the opinion that the majority of those people who write books about RV'ing Mexico (and we have some of their books) have only done so in a smallish Class C. There is no way that I would bring my Class A into mainland Mexico (I have not been to Baja so I cannot comment on that part of Mexico). The roads fall into 3 general categories - really terrible free roads that are very narrow, good toll roads but with very expensive toll fees (the toll fees for our Honda where steep and I hate to think of what it would have cost for the RV and the Honda), and the occasional good free national road. There is a really good reason for all the Topes (speed bumps) throughout Mexico (more on this later) and some of these are very difficult to see. Hitting one of these in the RV with the Toad behind could be a very expensive exercise! The roads and traffic in the city centers are something else! We did not travel anywhere near Mexico City (although I have been there before) but did go through Guadalajara (the second largest city in Mexico), Pueblo and Merida. Taking a big RV into any of these cities is, in my opinion, just dangerous. The roads are narrow and many in poor condition with many topes and the Mexican drivers are very impatient.

 

As for the drivers in Mexico they are, again in my opinion, some of the worst drivers in the world. Just in case you think I may not be familiar with third world driving conditions, I work in many third world countries in Africa and South East Asia and I am familiar with driving conditions in these parts of the world. I find the majority of Mexican drivers very impatient (we purposely have a New Zealand flag in the back window to make it clear that we are foreigners - not that it makes any difference), they lack courtesy and simply disregard the rules of the road. It makes for an interesting time on Mexican roads!

 

Does that mean you shouldn't come to Mexico? Not at all!! We love it here! Just be aware of what you are getting yourself into if you bring your big RV. I personally think it would be far better and cheaper to bring a vehicle and stay in motels. The motels are fairly inexpensive (just check the reviews on Tripadvisor first) and comfortable. From what I have seen, many of the RV parks charge what the motels do. The fuel and toll fee saving on the RV alone would make it cheaper.

 

One last thing, we would strongly suggest that you do not travel in Mexico without a gps. We have 2 and still struggle to get around. We went into a Telcel store in Mazatlan and purchased two prepaid packages for our smartphones and use the gps facilities on these phones.

 

 

 

Peter

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We have RV'd in Mexico & Baja for over 15,000 miles in a 37' Triple Axle Toyhauler (total length 57') & a 36' Diesel Pusher Motorhome with a toad for over 20 years. The first trip is the hardest and lots will be learned. If you return with an open mind, you may change most of what you have posted upon your second return to the States. I too am not going to get into a back & forth but many travel in Mexico in large RVs and have a GREAT winter.

 

rocmoc n AZ/Mexico

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We have traveled Mexico in everything from a truck camper to a 35 ft. Bluebird. We know others with 40 ft. MH's who have been doing this for years. It's not for everyone but is not like the OP described. Some free roads are actually OK. We prefer the toll roads. Some are better than Interstates in the USA. One trip to one area is not enough experience to like or dislike the roads and the drivers. Denver drivers are worse than anything we have encountered in 25 years of visiting Mexico. Besides it is a cultural experience that one cannot get without crossing an Ocean. I am having trouble understanding why the OP posted. Almost like reviewing a new high end auto when you never took the car out of the showroom.

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We have done Baja with a 28' TT, and then three times to Yucatan/Belize/northern Guatemala in 34' 5th wheel. Have to read the blogs (Mexico Mike etc) and State Department. The book by the Church's is a requisite but it is out of date and many of the RV parks wet out of business. There were only two RV parks extant in Belize and there is a parking area for RV's at Tikal. Basically, keep to toll roads for quite a distance south of the border and do not drive at night. You do have to watch for the topes and I think we counted over a hundred in the Yucatan. Hit one about 5 miles south of Tulum that we thought had done in the 5th wheel. Stopped and found nothing wrong: solar panels, batteries etc were in great shape. Our friends from Quebec who wished to caravan with us back to US had a 40' Newmar. The fuel pump went out and they limped into Orizaba. It took a few days to get the parts and the local mechanics fixed it for half the price in the US. Orizaba is the main trucking route from Vera Cruz to Puebla and Mexico City and has authorized truck dealerships and repair shops. We spent 5 days with them camped in an all-night Pemex truckers' stop and had a great time seeing the sights. We knew a guy from Tulum who had relatives in town and they showed us a lot of great sights. There was a National Park, the 500 Steps only 500 meters away. The truckers who spent the nights as well were delightful, courteous and protective. A trip is what you make of it.

Reed and Elaine

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Firstly, when driving in Mexico, NEVER make a left hand turn signal.

The flashing left turn signal of the driver in front of you means that it is safe to pass him.

If you use your left hand turn signal for a left turn, you could cause a serious accident. Pinche gringo!

:)

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I did read your post. I still don't know how anyone can form an opinion with little or no knowledge. You accuse some of having a vested interest in disagreeing with your quickly formed opinion. I don't think anyone in this forum has a vested interest. There are many who love the country. Others who enjoy RVing in Mexico. Vested implies a financial interest????? Had you written your post a little different it might have had some merit. There is no way you could know much about Mexican roads after one trip. Imagine if I visited the United States and went to Louisiana . Then I wrote a 1.5 paragraph about how Americans ( not Cajuns) do not know how to drive and are hard to understand. Or if I got off a plane in LA and after driving I-5 through SC I wrote about how the roads suck! If you knew that regular visitors disagreed with you maybe you should have thought there is a reason. They have experienced Mexico and you have not. Your not wanting to RV in Mexico is valid. You are probably not up to the task and should not attempt a trip. Narrow roads can be intimidating.

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