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Old 03-30-2019, 09:18 AM   #1
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Travels in mainland Mexico

We have traveled to mainland Mexico for 25+ years, to us it is not a big deal. From the looks of things in Mexico the RV parks are now 90% Canadian and 10% US. This has been a total flip from 25 years ago.

We enter Mexico at Nogales, AZ at the Mariposa truck crossing, open 6am till 10 pm. Crossing is easy, just follow the signs, you are heading to Hermosilla/San Carlos. At what is called the Km 21 mark you need to get your paperwork. We found this was at Km 256, but as the roads are being improved the Km marking could change. There is a large overpass fill area on the right, immediately afterwards is a small sign "banercito", some medium signs saying visa, i think. This is a large fenced in area with parking for 20-50 vehicle.

At Km 21 is a one stop entry area. The 1st building you enter present your passport, you get the FMM card to fill out, bring reader's. Once the card is filled out you are directed to the Banercito in the middle. Here you again present your passport and FMM, you will be charged about $30 US for this 180 day visitors pass. Then present your original vehicle registration. You must pay a refundable deposit on your vehicle, it is somewhere between $300 and $450 US. Your vehicle now can be imported for the same period as your visitors pass FMM. You get a gold sticker that has to be applied to your windshield, keep the paperwork in your glove box. Finally, present your trailer registration. This costs about $65US and is a 10 year import permit, you are paying for the application fee only, this is not refundable. You do not have to apply the gold sticker to your trailer, but keep it handy. Mexican authorities love copies, they have a copy center in the middle of the compound, but we bring along 5 copies of passports, vehicle registration, and drivers licenses. It is much cheaper to have the Km 21 center copy your paperwork but the lines can be long. All the fees for the FMM and importation of vehicles can be placed on a credit or debit card. Finally, you return to the office where you filled out your FMM, the man checks that the fees have been paid and you are on your way. Ask him where you turn in you vehicle import paperwork when you are leaving Mexico in 6 months. He will point out a building across the highway.

Now for all the do nots

Do not enter Mexico without Mexican Insurance, Sanbornes has an office near the Mariposa entry, we have bought Mexican Insurance from AAA and Lewis & Lewis online. We print out the policy, you will not be asked for it, but it is a major crime to not have insurance.

Do not leave Mexico without turning in your vehicle import sticker and paperwork. You loose your deposit and you likely will be denied an entry in the future. We found our deposit was refunded by the time we returned through US customs.

Do not forget to turn in your FMM, this might not be as bad as not turning in your vehicle import paperwork but the man at the FMM office told us to return it.

We turn in our 10 year trailer import permit. If you return next year with another trailer, you are denied entry. If your trailer is wrecked during the summer you are equally hosed. It is only $65.

We use a combination of guides to decide where to visit. I-Overlander is the people's guide to Mexican camping, it is a free app. We use several Facebook groups: RVing in Mexico, La Penita, Travel Buddies on the Road in Mexico. We bought a 10 year old, out of print, book on RVing in Mexico by Church, from Amazon. About 1/3 of the parks are gone, but the advice is valid. They have an online update, it is about 5 years old and still outdated. We use I Overlander to mark pages where parks are open or closed. I-Overlander gives GPS coordinates of entry points to parks as does the Church guide. We also follow a blog by Kevin and Ruth, called Travels with Kevin and Ruth. They publish a map of what roads they travel on their travel days. We found a commercial caravan group Caravans of Mexico. They describe what to bring, where they stop, tons of info of what to expect. All valid for self caravans.

The water is warmer the further you go south, the climate is tropical once you get past Mazatlan. Mexico is really a beautiful friendly country, try to know a few phrases, hand gestures work well.
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Old 03-30-2019, 09:50 AM   #2
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I have zero reservations about travelling in Mexico, enjoyed our trip to the Baja this year, and very much look forward to a trip on the mainland.

Our entry experience was a bit different. We did arrange vehicle insurance beforehand. We also got an FFM card, but almost everyone who we talked to on the Baja said they have never bothered on multiple trips, though for the cost it can't hurt. We never even thought to turn it in when we left. We never had to pay anything for importing a vehicle either. I have to wonder why it is so different in the Baja, as it would be very easy to hit the mainland via ferry.

It will be at least a couple years before we head to the mainland, so lots of time to get planning done. Thanks for your input.
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Old 03-31-2019, 12:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting that information. Like Jim I have no reservations about Mexican folks. All my interactions in Baja have been good. My only regret is that I haven't bothered to learn any Spanish. I will be making more of an attempt in the future.

I do understand that every country has organized crime and travelling in foreign countries, and even here in Vancouver, involves awareness that some areas aren't the best areas to go into. It seems more and more, with instant mass communication, that one negative event becomes widely known and then is used as a reason why a whole county should be avoided.

Jim, I think that there are slightly different rules for Baja and that's why some people call it "Mexico Lite". I suspect that they may check paper work for those catching the ferry to the mainland.

At any rate thanks for the info and the references.

Ron
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Old 03-31-2019, 12:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post

Jim, I think that there are slightly different rules for Baja and that's why some people call it "Mexico Lite". I suspect that they may check paper work for those catching the ferry to the mainland.
Yes, I have since posting learned this to be true. Still have lots to learn and these kinda posts will sure help.

I too plan to be better versed with Spanish before my next trip.
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Old 03-31-2019, 01:35 PM   #5
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I have subscribed to both Babble and Duo Lingo phone apps to help me refresh and learn Spanish. Babble costs about $12.00 US / month and is very well done to pick up conversational Spanish. Duo Lingo isn't quite as polished but since its free, I'd suggest getting this app. and trying it out to see if you can fit it into your life. They both give you little Spanish quizzes … if you pass … then you move on to the next lesson. If you don't, the program 'remembers' and will circle back in future lessons until you get it right. They both have the lessons broken up into 10 minute lessons (or shorter ) so you could do a lesson per day. They are kinda fun.

I had Spanish in High School … 2 years required and I hated every minute of it. "Why do I need to learn this stuff"? Well … my answer came 12 years later when I was landing in Guadalajara past midnight. I found 6 new friends in the airport and we all needed a taxi and to get to our hotels. I was appointed translator and managed the task but trying to speak Spanish after all those years was like opening up a very rusty file cabinet and the 'word' would pop up ….Wow! Kinda like slicing open a watermelon and finding Mother Mary's face inside.

I have had the good fortune to know a few Argentinians and really like their accent. Sounds to my ears like their Spanish is almost sung rather than strickly spoken. I dream of flying to Buenos Aires and finding an immersion language school so I can pick up that accent and take cooking lessons by day ( culture way into BBQ and cooking meat) and Tango lessons at night.

Who wants to go too?

Tom
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Old 03-31-2019, 02:04 PM   #6
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...and Tango lessons at night.

Who wants to go too?

Tom
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Old 03-31-2019, 03:26 PM   #7
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Very funny Jim! Glad you are back home before Canada decides to close the border. I liked following your trip ….. more stories please.

Tom
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