Notes on Driving to Mexico

Jan 13, 2008

Here are some things that I would recommend to anyone who is driving to Mexico, some of them we did and some of them we just wish we had done.

1. Stop in Texas and buy some food for traveling. We bought a big box of granola bars that were really lifesavers when we couldn't find a breakfast place in Tampico. We also bought bread and PB and J so we could make sandwiches. We found that we passed lots of cute restaurants where we're sure the food was delicious, it just was never at the times that we were hungry. When we were hungry we were often in the middle of nowhere.

2. Buy a few gallons of drinking water so you can refill your bottle along the way.

3. Bring your GPS. Even though it doesn't have the streets in the various cities, it did show the main highways and the direction you're driving. The main highway goes in to most of the large cities (I think Merida was the only exception here) and is generally poorly marked or not marked at all. It can get very confusing. We used the GPS to tell us where the highway was in relation to us so we could make the appropriate turns and get back on it.

4. Bring hand sanitizer or baby wipes. We had oranges that we were peeling and then had to ride with sticky hands until the next bathroom stop.

5. Speaking of oranges, buy oranges in Veracruz. yum.

6. Bring earplugs or ask for an interior-facing room. You never know when your room is going to face the exterior of the building and it can be really noisy at night. We barely slept in Tlalcoltapan where we got a room without A/C (it was cool there). The rooms with A/C face the courtyard. The ones without face the street.

7. Bring extra car stuff: tire patch or plug kit (there are tire repair shops but you never know where you'll be with a flat and AAA isn't gonna come get you), replacement bulbs for all your exterior bulbs (turn signals, headlights, etc.), a set of belts, a tire pump or canned air, Windex (you're going to kill lots of bugs- we were killing big ones like dragonflys).

8. Bring your camera or video camera. We shot a lot of stuff, it's really pretty.

I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of off the top of my head for now.


sarah swan said...

Thank you for your feedback on driving to mexico. I'm taking a job a job in Cancun and I have drive down in my honda, but husband rides a bike. What are your thoughts on this?

mexpat said...

We were behind two guys on Harleys with Quebec plates, so riding is definitely possible (and it will be a beautiful ride for him). I'd want to make sure my rear could handle all the time in the saddle before I left.

Now that we've lived here for a while we realize that we were feeling really overwhelmed during the ride down. Unless you're accustomed to Mexico, this might be unavoidable.

If we were to do it again I would make sure to stop and eat at the little restaurants that look like huts, buy the juice the guys sell in bags on the side of the road and generally just relax and enjoy it more. I would also make it more of a scenic trip by stopping by Monterrey and Puebla and maybe other cities for some sightseeing.

Regarding a Honda in Mexico- I believe there is a dealership in Cancun- I know there's one in Playa del Carmen. Just make sure it's in good shape before the trip- you'll be fine. You're gonna love Mexico!