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#1 hillbilly

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 10:10 AM

My wife and I were sitting around this morning getting more stuff ready for our drive down to Cozumel. As usual the topic of driving came up again and we were thinking that from all we have read on numerous websites that saturday or sunday is best for crossing as the various types of people that might possibly bother us are typically using the weekend to relax shall we say.
Any body have any input as to whether it makes any difference as to Saturday or Sunday? Route is thru Laredo down on toll roads close to mexico city and then easterly.
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#2 Ron

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 04:13 PM

Do not know about the weekend but get to the boarder crossing early very early bad guys sleep in
And maybe Sunday will be best because if they party hard on Sat. They are no good until 12 noon so hit the boarder as soon as it opens. Just a guess
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#3 John D

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:34 PM

I would stay away from Nuevo Laredo if it were me driving down. Just my personal opinion.
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#4 mlfoto

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 09:31 PM

Hillbilly, i guessnyou are crossing at Laredo because of recommendations (mine included) or recent research. If you have not been in touch with Marcos Mohoric for moving or border crossing assistance, I suggest you contact him. Security and border situations are prone to change.

We used Laredo, following Marcos'advice in Septembernof 2010 because it was controlled by the Gulf cartel and there was little chance of getting caught in the crossfire. At the time del Rio and Eagle Pass ,further up the river, were both battlegrounds.

Make sure this is still the situation in Laredo. The Zetas are bad news and a force to be avoided.

I think Sunday morning is better than Saturday. Go early, go with Marcos or one his friends to help you across the border. They will show you where to buy pesos before crossing and will be escort you to the first checkpoint.

Regardless of the day, if you have goods to declare, you will likely be in line for hours. Much better to go through with a light load and let a Mexican mover deal with the border, customs and legalities Without a gringo standing around hoping for a fair shake.

Once you cross, you have good highways and easy driving to San Miguel for your first night in Mexico.

I think I have gone through our experiences with you before. Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions. Just bear in mind that the best advice comes from someone who did the crossing in the last month. Not someone who has read about it.

Safe travels.

M
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#5 hillbilly

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 06:57 AM

Thank you all for the responses. Another friend of ours is moving there July 9th from Colorado and Marcos is moving them as they have a household to move. We can go and meet him at least and see what he recommends. That is an excellent suggestion as I have read the last couple of years on this forum. I will PM to Mlfoto and ask a few more questions as you are correct, you have been a big help.
100 more days and our big adventure starts. What a cluster
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#6 cozdaddy

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 09:05 PM

Driving down, My wife and I are the friends of hillbilly driving down to ozumel the 9th of July is when marcos arrives to pack our things and once he's done we're on the road. We were originally going to cross at Brownsville and take the coast road until I read an article talking about the different crossing points and found out the route we were going to take was considered the slowest and most dangerous. So I talked with Marcos Mahoric who is moving our stuff down and he told me the only point he crosses anymore is through Laredo/Nuevuo Laredo. He said it was the safest and faster than most other routes, So that was why we chose to cross at Laredo.

I plan on doing a road trip report complete with pictures once I figure out what jpeg resoultion to shoot at so I can download photos onto this website. I/ up for any suggestions.
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Breath in Breath out move on

#7 J_CozDiver

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 09:00 PM

Driving down, My wife and I are the friends of hillbilly driving down to ozumel the 9th of July is when marcos arrives to pack our things and once he's done we're on the road. We were originally going to cross at Brownsville and take the coast road until I read an article talking about the different crossing points and found out the route we were going to take was considered the slowest and most dangerous. So I talked with Marcos Mahoric who is moving our stuff down and he told me the only point he crosses anymore is through Laredo/Nuevuo Laredo. He said it was the safest and faster than most other routes, So that was why we chose to cross at Laredo.

I plan on doing a road trip report complete with pictures once I figure out what jpeg resoultion to shoot at so I can download photos onto this website. I/ up for any suggestions.


??? Well, that sure IS news to me. I have been waiting for him to bring the rest of my items. Marcos brought some of my items to me on June 19th but could not load one of my pieces of furniture and several large boxes (all my clothes) and some light fixtures I had for my business. He told me he was coming back in 10 days. After 10 days (June 30th), I emailed him and asked him where he was and he told me that he would be leaving from Laredo, TX on Tues or Thurs June(4th or 6th) to head back toward Cozumel with the rest of my belongings. I guess things have changed once again. I was fully expecting him to arrive here in the next 2 days with the rest of my things.

If he is going to meet you in Denver and then pack your home - then obviously there is no way I will have the rest of my things any time soon.

I was very, very happy with the drive with him, but not so happy with communication when I don't hear from him for 7-14 days at a time. I'm a little frustrated. Sorry. Communication is #1 in my book and its not been so good, as of late. Especially if it's going to be 4-6 weeks later than the promised date. I can deal with changes, but if you are not even going to contact me for 10 days at a time, then I tend to get more than frustrated.

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#8 Coz2wonder

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 07:41 AM

communications is not one of his strong points, I will give you that. I have had discussions with him regarding this, and how it does cause concerns for the client.

Lots of things happen on the way from there to here. I can't swear to why he is late in your delivery, but it seems logical that he would want to come down with a full load, and top it off with your items.

I am not justifying his lack of communications, but having been the first one to use Marcos, and have recommended him many times, I am familiar with how he works, and the concerns it has caused from not communicating delays.

I will continue to recommend him, like others have done after they have used his service, but always with the mention of delays, and limited communications.

It is frustrating, and does cause concern. But, it will arrive.
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#9 Kandy

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 08:49 AM

communications is not one of his strong points, I will give you that. I have had discussions with him regarding this, and how it does cause concerns for the client.

Lots of things happen on the way from there to here. I can't swear to why he is late in your delivery, but it seems logical that he would want to come down with a full load, and top it off with your items.

I am not justifying his lack of communications, but having been the first one to use Marcos, and have recommended him many times, I am familiar with how he works, and the concerns it has caused from not communicating delays.

I will continue to recommend him, like others have done after they have used his service, but always with the mention of delays, and limited communications.

It is frustrating, and does cause concern. But, it will arrive.


This is interesting. Marcos moved our things a year and a half ago. Everything arrived in perfect condition and his communication with me was excellent. I do continue to recommend him.
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#10 J_CozDiver

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 02:28 PM

Helloooo. I did not say I didn't recommend him.
Of course, I highly recommend him!! What I did say was that I was expecting him to arrive here in Cozumel this week and I knew nothing of the contrary until I read the post from CozDaddy, which means the rest of my things will get here eventually but it would have been nice to know this in advance given the time I have been waiting. Things change and sh-- happens and I like to know in advance, whenever possible.

On the very positive side, let me talk about the route we took starting in Laredo, Texas and my trip in general with the brothers, Mahoric! :D

This is just a quick synopsis of the route. Trip report to come later as soon as I finish w my photos. I do plan to insert some links to the blog when it is finally finished. There is soooo much to write about! It was a fantastic experience and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

BTW, I drove there from the East Coast towing a trailer. What horrible gas mileage I had--so pitiful, about 11-12 m.p.g. I also hit a severe line of thunderstorms through North Carolina/South Carolina and part of Georgia so I white-knuckled it for several hours. I was so very happy to be able to drop the U-Haul trailer and continue on without it in Laredo!

I met Marcos at the warehouse in Laredo, Texas where he and several others helped unload the trailer. A few funny pics to show later w Marcos standing on the forklift! lol
The plan was to leave my belongings (other than what I could fit into my truck and car carrier)and continue the drive on through Mexico. Crossed the border at Nuevo, Laredo. We got a late start from Laredo Texas so crossed a little later than expected. (My fault as I hit a traffic jam coming out of Corpus Christi Texas.)I was delayed with getting my car and papers in line so we made the decision to skip traveling in the dark to get to San Luis Potosi.

So, we stayed overnight in Nuevo Laredo in a secure clean hotel that had 24 hr security and was gated. I felt completely safe, however, I would highly recommend not walking about there, especially after dark. When I was there, was about a week after the cartel had hung 9 people from the bridge in Nueveo, Laredo. Again, this is gang/cartel violence. It is important to note that Nuevo Laredo is under martial law and you will only see soldiers in trucks patrolling the city. I never questioned the decision to wait until morning to cross. We got up and had a very nice buffet breakfast at the hotel and headed out the door to complete getting the car through. This time, I had all the papers ready and went through without a hitch getting my papers and sticker to make me legal. I paid my money to bring the car in and on we went without delay. I will also add, that the Banjercito location to bring your car through is not located near the customs office at the border and is quite tricky to find and poorly marked. So very glad Marcos knew exactly where to go as I could have never found it on my own!

We took the Expressway Toll Roads the entire way (jumping off only in one section while traveling through Chiapas)and I can not stress enough how much safer this made our trip. The roads were in good shape, we made pretty good timing for the most part and every bathroom and rest stop was spotless. It is because you have to pay a small amount to use the restrooms, but for that reason they stay very clean. For those of you taking this route, I kept all my receipts in a log book from every toll I paid until we reached Playa del Carmen and my grand total was $1,413 pesos. I also drive an SUV and kept all my gas receipts, so I can give you an estimate on that, as well. Mileage from Nuevo Laredo to Playa del Carmen was 1,831 miles, but I did take a side trip, so, mas o minus, 100 miles.

Marcos is extremely knowledgeable about the best routes to take (understatement) and even knew the best Pemex gas stations to stop at and the stops where we could rest and eat some decent food. On a side note, the one thing I heard over and over again from various Mexicans we talked to was to stay away from the coastal roads from the north until you get closer to Vera Cruz. I would absolutely reconsider taking that route right now.

BTW, the map I used was a nice large, fold-out full Map of MEXICO I purchased from Barnes & Noble from International Travel Maps. www.itmb.com It was pretty much right on. BTW, my GPS (Garmin Nuvi), which I updated w maps of Mexico for the trip, was not even close and kept jumping from state to state, totally confused to my location. The large, fold-out map I preferred over the spiral book of maps as I could see the entire route more clearly vs. flipping from page to page trying to connect the routes. I would highly suggest purchasing both the Atlas of Mexico from Guia Roji for greater detail of the cities and routes.

http://tienda.guiaroji.com.mx

You can purchase the fold-out map on Amazon.com.
Internationall Maps - Map of Mexico

I was just in an OXXO on 65th yesterday and they had about 5 of the spiral bound atlases, but I forgot to see the date of publication. A while back, I ordered a CD-rom of Cozumel and Playa from Guia Roji and it was mailed to me in the states, so there is no problem with ordering online. You can click on an English link if needed.

From the border or Nuevo Laredo we had a beautiful drive through Monterrey and then South, South-West through Saltillo and on through San Luis Potosi and then arriving in the state of Guanajuato and to the beautiful city of San Miguel de Allende. I chose to stay there and rest up and explore for two days as I was pretty much exhausted from my trip from Washington DC. Marcos made sure I had a lovely place to stay and everyone was very welcoming. I thought the town was breathtaking and the cathedrals incredibly beautiful. The climate was as near perfect as you can imagine in Mexico and the nights were chilly. I can't wait to share my photos seeing the sights around this beautiful town.

From San Miguel de Allende, we changed drivers and I continued my travels with Marcos's brother, Poncho. (I just couldn't ask Marcos to miss his 10th anniversary for me!) Poncho also has done this trip numerous times with Marcos and was a wonderful driver and companion. The two of them coordinated the route and he was just as knowledgeable about where to stop and the routes to take. We headed on toward Pueblo and toward Vera Cruz. We did get caught up in a large traffic jam passing through the mountains of the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas. There is a lot of construction so plan accordingly for delays. This was a breathtaking ride! I did get to see a little more than I had imagined, since there was a lot of road construction and we sat for about an hour up in the mountains on the toll road with about 50 tractor trailers and cars. So, be forewarned that you will probably hit construction delays going through these mountains. So what. I got some beautiful photos! :lol: I so wanted to see Veracruz and was not disappointed! What an incredible city. It was information overload the moment I stepped out the door with sights and sounds and every kind of music, every color and flavor. We stayed right in town (which I preferred)at the Hotel Baluarte. This was a very safe hotel and had a secure parking garage that would accommodate an SUV with a car carrier on top. We were a short walk (about 3 blocks) to the harbor and downtown.

Hotel Baluarte in Veracruz

I would also recommend stopping in the Mercado (also within walking distance) for a true Mexican experience. The market is a photographer's dream! All kinds of colors and some very strange things, including Black & White Magic powders, all kinds of candles and even, sadly, dyed baby chicks in an array of color. We stopped at a very large stand in the middle of the mercado very well know for its seafood cocktails. (Another great tip from Marcos.) The caracol there was sweet and to die for and it was only 25-30 pesos for a grande cocktail!! I almost fell off my stool when the little girl came with the bill.

Also, do not miss Veracruz's famous Gran Café de la Parróquia. Est. in 1808. Visit their cool web site for a quick little Internet trip to Vera Cruz. We sat outside listening to wonderful Marimba music overlooking the port. Yes, you will get hounded my street vendors, but, IMHO, you will miss a lot of the sights and sounds by sitting inside. I purchased some wonderfully fragrant vanilla beans and they let me "play" the marimba for a photo op! :rolleyes:

Gran Café de la Parróquia

An fascinating read about Vera Cruz's history with some wonderful photos can be found here:

HISTORY: The Forgotten Man

The next day, based on Marco's recommendation, we headed on, South/East, through the state of Veracuz toward the lagoon city of Catemaco, which is located in Sierra de Los Tuxtlas volcanic mountain range, along the Gulf of Mexico. This is a magical place, known for its shamans, waterfalls, and beautiful lagoons. There are several islands only inhabited by monkeys and the boat tours are very fun. We took a boat very late in the afternoon and were treated to a stunning sunset and the most beautiful array of birds I have ever seen swooping down to find a tree to nestle on before it became dark. I saw thousands of white herons and I even spotted a beautiful Toucan!
I stayed at a lovely hotel, La Finca which sits right on the edge of the lagoon. It is only a five minute drive into town and very picturesque.

La Finca Resort Hotel & Spa

A word of warning, as you drive into town you will be hounded by "official" tour guides on motorcycles offering to hook you up with a "shaman" and telling you that today is some special spiritual day. For the most part, as a first time visitor and gringo, it is highly unlikely that you will get connected to a real shaman and it would be wise not to travel too far off the main roads in search of one. I have heard of stories of robberies of people in search.

We left Catemaco the next day and continued our journey on toward Villahermosa through the state of Tabasco. I have one word: H=O=T!! I had some business nearby and wanted to make it a side trip. There are some wonderful cocoa plantations there and I'm sure it make for an interesting side trip but I was in bit of a hurry and did not have time to take a tour. From there, we traveled through the beautiful state of Campeche. At this point, I was in a hurry to get to Playa del Carmen, but if you are not in a hurry you should absolutely travel south to San Cristobal. You can also travel to Palenque.

Another option is to head a little north toward Merida and make your way across the state of Quintana Roo to Playa del Carmen via the toll road that way. It will take you about 4.5 hours, but drive cautiously, I have been stopped 3 times in my 6 trips to Merida, right outside town by the local police (who do set up radar) and stop you for "imaginary" traffic violations. A small fee from (50-100 pesos) and I was back in business and allowed to continue on.

I digress.
I did have to get to Playa del Carmen, so we opted to travel East and on through Campeche. The drive through Campeche was beautiful and I was surprised to see how beautiful the land was and the great condition of the farms and surrounding land and roads. We then entered the state of Quintana Roo and continued on toward Chetumal passing through Tulum, Akumal and finally arriving at the ferry pier at Playa del Carmen. We did this section of driving at night and did pass through two military stops. They were very polite, did a brief inspection (one stop with dogs) and we continued on our way with not too much delay. However, I did notice another car on the side of the road being thoroughly inspected with most belongings out and a very, not-so-happy Mexican man sitting there, as well.

All I can say is, I would do this trip again without reservation. Yes, you never know who is going to stop you for what, but I felt very safe and felt well prepared for the trip. (It also doesn't hurt to travel with a completely bi-lingual Mexican-American who is broad shouldered and 6'2".)
We did not, get stopped by any local police or Policía Federal Mexicana (federales), with the exception of the two military stops on our way to Playa del Carmen.

I made new friends and totally enjoyed this trip! I can not wait to return to San Miguel de Allende and I foresee a business connection there in my very near future. As far as Marcos and Poncho are concerned, they are very professional, extremely easy and flexible to travel with and have a wealth of knowledge to share with you along the way!!


Edited to add:

This is a GREAT site that Marcos and Poncho use by the
Just enter your city or Origin and your Destination city and then you can see how many kilometers your trip will be and how many tolls you will have to pay. You can also click on a zoomable map of your travel area!

Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes - DGDC

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#11 Coz2wonder

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 03:39 PM

delightful read. Your report will help a lot of folks who are considering the trek down here.

Marcos is one heck of a terrific guy.
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#12 hillbilly

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:35 PM

Thank you j _cozdiver. That is an excellent report and certainly will help us. Gives us confidence. My sister works for the gubment and has been sending us warnings from the state department concerning traveling in Mexico if you are a consulate employee. What a bunch of sisies. We will not be using anybody to ride along but will be taking a real similar route so your report is great and good news. Eleven weeks and five days to go.
Thank you
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#13 carrins1

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Posted 17 July 2012 - 08:35 AM

What a great read! Thanks so much forthe time you put into this. Great advice!
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#14 guerita76

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 06:00 PM

I so wanted to see Veracruz and was not disappointed! What an incredible city. It was information overload the moment I stepped out the door with sights and sounds and every kind of music, every color and flavor.

Great trip report and PERFECT summary of Veracruz. Just the fact that you appreciated Veracruz so much has made me happy.... lived there for about 5 years and never tired of it's many layers and surprises. Thanks for sharing, looking forward to seeing lots of photos.
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#15 mexpat10350

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 09:53 AM

I would like advise from anyone who has experience with driving to Cozumel from US.   I would be driving from Florida in late Dec 2013 with a 55 lb dog , 2 adults small car with just clothing and personal stuff for a three month visit to Coz.

 

 

  What can I expect at the border?

  What routes are fastest?

  What routes are safest?

  How are motels in Mex? Which motels are recommended?

  How can I safely eat while in route?

  How is gas priced in Mex?

  Do I need to travel with pesos or will an American credit card work?

  Do I need Mexican auto insurance for a three month stay?

 

Thanks for any help,

Jioe


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#16 hillbilly

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 03:57 PM

Border crossings depend on the attitude of the people working there that day if you ask me. Good news is it will not take long to search your car, saturdays are busy, cross early. I did not listen to my wife about getting up early and suffered for it. Try to make it at least a hundred or two miles south of the border the same day you cross

Pesos were better for us for the trip as some places were not taking credit cards, most do . Highly recommend the route thru Laredo down toward Mexico City, skirting the edge of town to the East and then heading East. We tried to take toll roads all the way and gas stations are clearly marked with a place to eat at all of the bigger ones kinda like a truck stop. Look at a map it will make sense to you or read long trip report above. Similiar to the route we took. Many pesos are need for toll roads so get some. No Banditos were seen by us on the toll roads.

Mexican insurance is a must have as is a permit for your car, both can be gotten online before the trip. Look for Rolly Brook online.

Do not know about the dog but that info is here on the forum, look for bringing animals on an airplane .

We were warned, as some people were,  about the warnings to the consulate people and found the warnings to be typical American scare tactics.

To me it was like driving across Texas from one side to the other with some mountains in between. Wish we had know what all was to be seen in Puebla but just wanted to get here.

We drove here in October 2012 with a jeep cherokee and an eight foot trailer.

Pm me and will get you the site for insurance and permit if you do not find it


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#17 Jim912

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:24 PM

I will second what Hillbilly said. Having made 12 road trips and taken three vehicles to Cozumel, maps work much better than a GPS. If you buy a GPS chip of Mexico it will come pretty close. Pesos are the clear winner. Unless things have changed in the last couple of years dollars were not accepted at the toll booths. Credit cards are useless in most places. Mexican insurance is a necessity. You can get your car visa online and this will save you time at the crossing.

There are Pemex stations all over the place and prices are in liters and you need to pay in pesos. As a good rule of thumb when your gas gauge gets to half a tank you're empty. Prices are comparable to those here in the states. Fill up late in the evening if you are planning to head out early in the morning.

Make sure you have the major things you need to keep your car running. You will not pass a single Auto Zone, CarQuest, or OReiley's along the way.

Military checkpoints are easy. They have always been polite and professional.

Toll roads are definitely safer and smoother. Costs vary on distance. The cheapest we ever paid was about $1.50 to a max of about $13.
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#18 ccannon707

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 02:04 PM

Rolly has co-written a book on moving to Mexico:

 

http://www.amazon.co...rds=Rolly Brook

 

And he has a fascinating, informative website on his expat life in Mexico:

 

http://rollybrook.com/

 

He is also on Facebook and contributes to many forums about his experiences moving to and living in Mexico.  He is a treasure.


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#19 TRAVELER89

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 03:05 PM

Auto Zones are everywhere now...., I made sure I had belts and fuses of every size needed, also for trailer lights and 4 or 5 road flairs, even if you are not driving at night they can still be handy if something goes wrong. 

Everyone I know trys to set a time record....., I took 10 days from the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande to get here, we ate well and drank coffee all the way down, there is so much to see, We stayed in town centers, in hotels with secured off street parking, I gave every guard $2 to $5 dollars at night before going to bed. My wife was 6 months pregnant and doesn't drive...., we planned our trip major city to major city with time for site seeing and we were never on the road pasted 5:00pm.

My philosophy is, if you can afford to move to and live in Cozumel, you can afford to take time to obtain a working knowledge of the country you have chosen to live in.

 

Set up an internet contact at one end or the other that you can stay in contact with....,  Skype and/or Majic Jack downloaded on your laptop would be a great advantage! As ML can tell you sometime "mother nature" can change all you plans.

 

Note: FIFA World Cup 2014 begins on Thursday, June 12 and ends on Sunday, July 13, a good time for the road trip!


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#20 kc5tng

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 02:49 PM

Hillbilly, i guessnyou are crossing at Laredo because of recommendations (mine included) or recent research. If you have not been in touch with Marcos Mohoric for moving or border crossing assistance, I suggest you contact him. Security and border situations are prone to change.

We used Laredo, following Marcos'advice in Septembernof 2010 because it was controlled by the Gulf cartel and there was little chance of getting caught in the crossfire. At the time del Rio and Eagle Pass ,further up the river, were both battlegrounds.

Make sure this is still the situation in Laredo. The Zetas are bad news and a force to be avoided.

I think Sunday morning is better than Saturday. Go early, go with Marcos or one his friends to help you across the border. They will show you where to buy pesos before crossing and will be escort you to the first checkpoint.

Regardless of the day, if you have goods to declare, you will likely be in line for hours. Much better to go through with a light load and let a Mexican mover deal with the border, customs and legalities Without a gringo standing around hoping for a fair shake.

Once you cross, you have good highways and easy driving to San Miguel for your first night in Mexico.

I think I have gone through our experiences with you before. Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions. Just bear in mind that the best advice comes from someone who did the crossing in the last month. Not someone who has read about it.

Safe travels.

M

 

 


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