Heading to Mexico

I’m sure a lot of you who are interested in checking Mexico out for retirement or for investing in property for future vacations or retirement, will probably choose to fly to your chosen destination.

Personally, I prefer the more relaxed and slower way, if possible and practical – the good old family car. We can start when we want, stop where we want, take side trips where needed or wanted, and really enjoy the trip. I guess it’s the old “stop and smell the roses” for me. I enjoy the trip as much as arriving at the final destination. So for the adventurous drivers out there, here is some info you’re going to find invaluable.

Remember, although Mexico borders our country, it is a foreign country with its own laws and customs, so you do want to be well-prepared.

When you have a date set for your excursion south of the border, one of the first things you should do is secure Mexican auto insurance. Carry it on your person, along with your passport, auto title, and auto registration. Do not put important papers like this into the glove compartment – keep them all on your person – securely.

If you’re entering Mexico at Nogales, which is south of Phoenix and Tucson, just follow the signs to the border. We use the truck route – no tourists and it’s usually a breeze getting into Mexico – instead of taking the usual route that’s lined up with tourists. Only possible hitch is that the truck route border station is only open 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.

But, I don’t suggest entering any earlier or later anyway. I strongly suggest no night time traveling on Mexican roads. All the border patrol did at this stop was to briefly check our luggage and wave us on.

About 15 miles into Mexico you get your necessary permits. At this border stop, you realize you have definitely left the United States.

Dick's Camera 2011 cruise 164Things feel differently. You realize you are no longer in the U.S., but in a foreign country, and no matter what, you are only visitors, with not too many rights.

When you are this far into Mexico, you have to secure a car importation tag (about $15 USD) at this checkpoint. Also, you will receive a temporary visitor permit ($15 which has to be paid at a bank in Mexico before you leave Mexico again).

Plan on about ½ hour to get everything processed at this border stop. An easy and usually successful way to accomplish everything at this stop is just to pretty much follow everyone else and hope that whoever is in front knows what the heck they are doing. It usually works out for us with no hitches.

Question: How many retirees does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Only one, but it might take all day or so…

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7 Responses to Heading to Mexico

  1. Gene Yukich

    March 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    Hi everyone,
    Good information on getting over the border at nogales and that one stop right over the border. I used to drive that route to san carlos and never had any trouble. The young ones washed my windshield with dirty water in hermosio at a stop light but, other than that! Oh one more thing, my hot rod mom caught air on many of the hiway speed bumps. I kept telling mom to listen and I would tell her a speed bump was coming. but, she kept our speed up and we did catch air again. I have never drove as far as mazatlan and would like to because we plan on spending 5 or 6 months a year there. We love Mexico and will go every year. If the goofball politicians don’t get on the stick and stop borrowing from social security and trying to raise the age to qualify for the programs us hard working Americians worked so hard for. We may make mexico our home. G&N

  2. larry gorski

    March 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    If you go thru Nogales how do you determine the truck routes? Are there any markings i.e. highway nos. or similar identification marks?

  3. Marie

    March 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Hello Barbie:

    Thank you and all of your subscribers for the useful information on your wide range of topics. My question doesn’t relate to driving into Mexico but about the process for obtaining a home construction loan in Baja California. Any institutions in Baja available or any institutions in the U.S. that will loan for this purpose?


  4. Barbie


    March 31, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Yep, Larry – the have them posted as “Truck route”.

  5. Barbie


    March 31, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Hi – here’s one article that can get you started answering your question: http://wp.me/pFvHK-Hl
    There is also Baja Capital Mortgage, Conficasa Mortgage International, Costa Azul Loans, Finance Cabo, First American…and more.

  6. Marie

    April 1, 2013 at 11:49 am

    This is awesome information. I’ve already started looking into 2 of the websites you’ve offered.
    Thank you Barbie for helping us to help each other.


  7. larry gorski

    April 5, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Thanks a lot We like to goslow and see things and not be in traffic al day

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