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Josiane

Is it still safe to drive to Mexico

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We left Ajijic early last Thursday morning. We drove without any problem until were about 10 miles south of Navajoa when we couldn't avoid a hunk of concrete and it caused a blowout to the left side front and rear tire. It took us about 2 hrs with the help of a Corona employee to get new tires and have them installed on the side of the quota highway. We had planned to drive to Hermasillo but by the time all was repaired we left as we heard negative comments re Navajoa and even though it was turning dark drove to Guaymas. Left at 6 the next morning and crossed without any problems. Had the normal inspections for fruit and soldier stops, but they only asked where we were from and where we were going, and no stop was more then a minute and in some instances we were waved right on without having to stop.

Only saw some convoys of Military Vehicles.

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This is a VERY informative thread. One can learn a lot from reading this board (and I do, believe me.) But seriously, folks, at how great of a risk is/are the average group of NOB travellers to Mexico? What is the likely

hood of the average group of seasonal tourists becoming victims of narcotraficantes? Particularly if they follow the advice like not driving at night, using the cuota highways, etc? I believe the risk of crime is very real

but a large portion of it is a product of fear mongering. Any thoughts?

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JMHO...but for those who have had problems such as the RVers who had their vehicles hijacked, the Canadian bicyclist who didn't stop when some maleantes ordered him to and he was murdered, and the murdered jet skier who seems to have been a victim of mistaken identity, they would probably say that being cautious and informed might have been a good thing for them.

Many of us have never been in an area where there are gunbattles going on for whatever reason. We have lived fairly peaceful lives and have been able to move around using ordinary precautions. I would argue that these are not ordinary times and being more aware is appropriate and is not fear mongering. I listen to those who have traveled down here and ignore those who haven't and hope to keep on being able to travel. A few years ago I was dreaming of driving the Silk Route from Paris to Beijing. Today, because of troubles in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, I have tabled that dream for now.

My personal experience involves driving cars and RVs throughout all of Mexico and Central America in the last 12 years and I have not had any problems. I also live fulltime in Mexico near the border with Belize where we are not having any problems but I am also not stupid nor an ostrich.

Where do you live, Joey?

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JMHO...but for those who have had problems such as the RVers who had their vehicles hijacked, the Canadian bicyclist who didn't stop when some maleantes ordered him to and he was murdered, and the murdered jet skier who seems to have been a victim of mistaken identity, they would probably say that being cautious and informed might have been a good thing for them.

Many of us have never been in an area where there are gunbattles going on for whatever reason. We have lived fairly peaceful lives and have been able to move around using ordinary precautions. I would argue that these are not ordinary times and being more aware is appropriate and is not fear mongering. I listen to those who have traveled down here and ignore those who haven't and hope to keep on being able to travel. A few years ago I was dreaming of driving the Silk Route from Paris to Beijing. Today, because of troubles in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, I have tabled that dream for now.

My personal experience involves driving cars and RVs throughout all of Mexico and Central America in the last 12 years and I have not had any problems. I also live fulltime in Mexico near the border with Belize where we are not having any problems but I am also not stupid nor an ostrich.

Where do you live, Joey?

Pretty good answer. These are not normal times as you stated. I live in an area with low crime, and I guess this is

evident.

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Fear Mongering?? If you take the official Warnings of the American and Canadian Consulates as not related to travelers - then you are deluding yourself.

If Counsel Staff both ExPat and Mexican are traveling in armored cars with police escorts in their daily business in unmarked cars-- any sensible person should consider these areas dangerous.

Expat web posters- love to say - I ran the gauntlet- no problem. But, what you do not see are the official reports to the consulates of road blocks and other incidents where it matters not that you are a Gringo. Vehicles are the targets in many locations even on the cuotas- do you actually think these narco bands dressed as military are going to waive you through because your Caucasian? when they decide to take your SUV or Pickup with all your belongings and your pets.and leave you in the middle of nowhere, your consulate ,that is running on a minimal staff, is not going to rush to your aid and neither are the Mexican authorities.

I have Mexican friends here, who have families that live in Monterrey, Culiacon, Chihuahua etc. These are professional people-- lawyers, business owners etc- and they do not leave their homes except to go to work or take kids to school and don't make any trips outside their local area on highways or cuotas unless absolutely necessary--- If they must leave town for business or to see family - they fly ----No Driving.

So take your chances- maybe you'll be lucky and maybe you won't.

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My opinion only.... the Mexican Government tries to make sure that the word "TOURIST" is never aquainted with the words "KIDNAPPED or MURDERED". I had read many investigation reports where it was reported that they were just normal citizens out on a vacation. The Investigators determined that they were innocent tourists in the town of Acapulco weeks ago. What makes it different now?

There was a murder on Lake Falcon of a American man on a Jet Ski recently by the Cartel. This Lake sits both in the US and Mexico sides. His wife was with him and they chased her back to the US side, on her jet ski, after shooting him off his jet ski from their boats. The Mexican Government accused her of killing him until a Fisherman came forward and reported that he watched the Cartel members chase and shot at her on her way back to the US side. When the Mexican Investigator kept looking for the persons responsible, because of United States pressure, they kidnapped/beheaded him and left his head on the steps of some Government/Military location. The Cartel admitted that they killed the jet skier by mistake and made the statement, "I told him (the investigator) to back down". The Cartel considered it OK, that they killed someone because it was an error.

How many of us believe the Mexican Government statements? How afraid are they of the Cartel and do they say what they are told to say, by the Cartel? How often do we find the statements true?

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My opinion only.... the Mexican Government tries to make sure that the word "TOURIST" is never aquainted with the words "KIDNAPPED or MURDERED". I had read many investigation reports where it was reported that they were just normal citizens out on a vacation. The Investigators determined that they were innocent tourists in the town of Acapulco weeks ago. What makes it different now?

There was a murder on Lake Falcon of a American man on a Jet Ski recently by the Cartel. This Lake sits both in the US and Mexico sides. His wife was with him and they chased her back to the US side, on her jet ski, after shooting him off his jet ski from their boats. The Mexican Government accused her of killing him until a Fisherman came forward and reported that he watched the Cartel members chase and shot at her on her way back to the US side. When the Mexican Investigator kept looking for the persons responsible, because of United States pressure, they kidnapped/beheaded him and left his head on the steps of some Government/Military location. The Cartel admitted that they killed the jet skier by mistake and made the statement, "I told him (the investigator) to back down". The Cartel considered it OK, that they killed someone because it was an error.

How many of us believe the Mexican Government statements? How afraid are they of the Cartel and do they say what they are told to say, by the Cartel? How often do we find the statements true?

and the answers?

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I am not certain of the origin of this message as I received it by email exactly as reproduced here, but it seems to contain some good advice.

This is a translation of a bulletin issued in Guadalajara. Since many of you drive in the Metro area, and we have had some problems locally at the fish restaurants in San Juan Cosala, thought you would want to read this.

CIVIL PROTECTION INFORMATION

THE SITUATION LIVING IN THE STATE.

Important Safety Notice

Derived from the violent clashes in recent days between federal forces and organized crime groups in the State, the Municipal Civil Protection Department has been issuing safety recommendations, which we share below:

If you get stopped by an Army unit, AFI and PFP:

1. Lower the speed of your vehicle

2. Turn on the flashing lights to 'warn' that you are stopping.

3. Turn on Interior light, remain calm and put both hands on the steering wheel where visible.

4. Only bring documents to expedite the review.

5. Cooperate at all times with the Federal forces and remain calm.

6. If the Security Forces or Army Convoys are circulating, avoid passing them do not pass these high speed vehicles.

7. Always bring identification if you are required. (The work ID is VERY IMPORTANT)

8. Avoid main roads during peak hours.

If you are flagged or stopped by an unknown armed group driving vehicles (commonly Suburban, Tahoe, Durango).

1. Stop immediately, do not run, or try to evade them, you might be shot. (Usually these people (assassins) want to make sure whether you are or not the victim, person or people they are looking for. Preferring to make you stop to make sure.

2. Turn on Interior lights put your hands up, keep calm, do not get defensive because they 'will' be going about their business, the lowest type of discomfort can irritate them and make them lose their patience and thus' act '.

3. Usually you are asked to identify yourself, do it without hesitation, (remember that there is nothing to fear) and show you ID or passport. (Take them with you ALWAYS wherever you go, it serves as a full identification. Job ID is very important too).

4. Do not ask or talk, answer what you are asked but do not talk much. (Commonly: where do you live?, What do you do?, "Who is the vehicle? Etc.)

5. Incredibly the killers are never confused. They make sure that the victim is aboard the vehicle. In case of doubt, they prefer to make sure. If you are not who they want they will let you go.

6. Avoid putting yourself at risk and if possible do not go out late at night, if so, walk around where there is traffic and lighting. Avoid shortcuts.

If you are near where there is a confrontation:

1. Drop to the ground and cover your head with both hands, if you're in a vehicle, throw yourself unto the floor of the vehicle and protect children if they are with you. Do not run out of the vehicle, you may be mistaken for a criminal fleeing the scene.

2. One important thing to remember is that we must work together again in these revisions, because they are focused on prevention and safeguard our security.

3. Avoid risking yourself and if possible do not go out late at night.

4. We hope this situation will be resolved soon, but while it persists, stay informed and alert at all times, do not expose your self of others.

5. Please share this information with staff without access to e-mail. Your security is important to us, please follow the recommendations made and remember at your home and your work! WE NEED YOU!

If you know of someone who is directly or indirectly involved in organized crime, do not hesitate to make your report anonymously to 089, it is your duty as a citizen if you want your city to restore security and calm your children lives, If you don't report the crime you can become an Accomplice.

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Check out the article from the Mazatlan Messenger http://maxmessenger.com posted Oct 22 2010 and let me know if you have any further information or validation of this claim. According to the article, the Secretary of Tourism is offering an escort of Green Angels to accompany your vehicle or caravan to your destination free of charge. I tried to confirm this on the Secretary of Tourism website, but could not find any information or confirmation of this service. I decided to email the Green Angels directly, however the email address provided on the Tourism website was incorrect and my email was returned. I have since sent an email to the contact person mentioned in the article, and am awaiting a reply.

We are heading down to Mexico at the end of November and are quite nervous about driving through the border states in Mexico due to the increasing violence in the area. If anyone has any further information .. please let me know !

Wendy Bevan

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Just as you had a typo in your link to the article in the Mazatlan Messenger....it should have been mazmessenger and not maxmessenger, it appears that there was a typo in the email address of the person you should contact... try gruiz@sectur.gob.mx or rgalvez@sectur.gob.mx

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Please read my post unde Spanish on this web site- I posted it here for information but becasue it was in Spanish the MODS moved it to where no one will read it.

There is a new Emergency Phone number for Cell Phones 088- to report any problem you encounter while traveling on any highway or cuota in Mexico- it is toll free if you see any naro activities- are stopped by any illegal bands of narcos in uniform or have questions about anyone who may try to stop you or assult you on the road 088 is the CELL Number to call and report any suspicious activities.

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We crossed at Nogales in late May going to Ajijic, and early October going back to Phoenix. No problem whatsoever. Nada. Zip.

There were more security/inspection stops in October (northbound). Mostly, they were looking for fruit. We shared our dried apricots with them. Most also smiled and wanted to pet the dog.

At this time, we have no hesitation using that border crossing, nor any of the cuotas during daylight.

We've decided to cross at Nogales. Just go early in the morning and get the heck out of the city as fast as possible. I don't anticipate any problems.

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We've decided to cross at Nogales. Just go early in the morning and get the heck out of the city as fast as possible. I don't anticipate any problems.

Josiane, if you cross at Nogales at the Mariposa commercial crossing (open to cars and trucks) then you completely by-pass the Mexican city of Nogales. We came down last Thursday, and the route was uneventful to San Carlos with no army or federale presence and no road checks. The route from San Carlos to Mazatlan was also uneventful although we did see an enormous army convoy heading south.

Again, you give yourself the best odds if you drive during the daylight hours, minimize your stops, stay on the cuota and follow other's common sense advice.

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Josiane, if you cross at Nogales at the Mariposa commercial crossing (open to cars and trucks) then you completely by-pass the Mexican city of Nogales. We came down last Thursday, and the route was uneventful to San Carlos with no army or federale presence and no road checks. The route from San Carlos to Mazatlan was also uneventful although we did see an enormous army convoy heading south.

Again, you give yourself the best odds if you drive during the daylight hours, minimize your stops, stay on the cuota and follow other's common sense advice.

Thanks for the tip. How do we find the Mariposa crossing I don't remember seeing it announced last time we were in Nogales. Can you give me more precise indication? Having said that the last time (2 yrs. ago) we crossed there it was very uneventful. We showed up early, were waived through and got out of the city in no time. We had to stop around 30 kms. up for the paper work. It appeared that's where the real border crossing was since prior to that nobody had checked our passports. Thanks again.

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Thanks for the tip. How do we find the Mariposa crossing I don't remember seeing it announced last time we were in Nogales. Can you give me more precise indication? Having said that the last time (2 yrs. ago) we crossed there it was very uneventful. We showed up early, were waived through and got out of the city in no time. We had to stop around 30 kms. up for the paper work. It appeared that's where the real border crossing was since prior to that nobody had checked our passports. Thanks again.

Take the Mariposa Road/Mexico truck route exit and follow it to the border. There is a customs check right after the toll booth on the Mexican side, a few kilometers from the border. You do vehicle permits and immigration documents at Kl.21, which is where you were checked before. There is a secondary customs check at this point.

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Thanks for the tip. How do we find the Mariposa crossing I don't remember seeing it announced last time we were in Nogales. Can you give me more precise indication? Having said that the last time (2 yrs. ago) we crossed there it was very uneventful. We showed up early, were waived through and got out of the city in no time. We had to stop around 30 kms. up for the paper work. It appeared that's where the real border crossing was since prior to that nobody had checked our passports. Thanks again.

Josiane, the exit from Interstate 19 at Nogales, is exit 4 for highway 189 (after exiting turn right onto Mariposa Road westbound). I do not think that exit is labelled Mariposa Road but is only labelled Exit 4, highway 189. It is a very short distance to the border crossing. The road after the border crossing is controlled access and like a normal freeway and just leads you around the city. At the border you go through a Mexican customs check (red light/green light). We got a red light and were loaded up to the gills with all sorts, they looked and then just waved us on. At the Immigration at km 21 we went through at 9AM and there was a long line up and it took about 45 minutes standing to get to the Immigration officer. Maybe better to arrive slightly earlier at around 8AM? I am not sure if they open before then, although the border crossing itself opens at 6AM. This time we got a green light through customs and were off again...

By the way, there is a web site where you can check this crossing (and others) which is especially useful for those coming northbound and who want to know what the back up is at this crossing.

http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/

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Take the Mariposa Road/Mexico truck route exit and follow it to the border. There is a customs check right after the toll booth on the Mexican side, a few kilometers from the border. You do vehicle permits and immigration documents at Kl.21, which is where you were checked before. There is a secondary customs check at this point.

Driving down in late spring, I used the Mariposa truck route entry after spending the night at Motel 6 on Mariposa. Crossed Monday around 9:30 a.m. No lines, no waiting.

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Driving down in late spring, I used the Mariposa truck route entry after spending the night at Motel 6 on Mariposa. Crossed Monday around 9:30 a.m. No lines, no waiting.

I think the long line we experienced at the km 21 immigration desk was due to the new FMM forms and procedures.

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Pretty good answer. These are not normal times as you stated. I live in an area with low crime, and I guess this is

evident.

Can you tell us where you live, specifically? What city? Thanks.

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Take the Mariposa Road/Mexico truck route exit and follow it to the border. There is a customs check right after the toll booth on the Mexican side, a few kilometers from the border. You do vehicle permits and immigration documents at Kl.21, which is where you were checked before. There is a secondary customs check at this point.

Thanks sounds good and simple.

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Josiane, the exit from Interstate 19 at Nogales, is exit 4 for highway 189 (after exiting turn right onto Mariposa Road westbound). I do not think that exit is labelled Mariposa Road but is only labelled Exit 4, highway 189. It is a very short distance to the border crossing. The road after the border crossing is controlled access and like a normal freeway and just leads you around the city. At the border you go through a Mexican customs check (red light/green light). We got a red light and were loaded up to the gills with all sorts, they looked and then just waved us on. At the Immigration at km 21 we went through at 9AM and there was a long line up and it took about 45 minutes standing to get to the Immigration officer. Maybe better to arrive slightly earlier at around 8AM? I am not sure if they open before then, although the border crossing itself opens at 6AM. This time we got a green light through customs and were off again...

By the way, there is a web site where you can check this crossing (and others) which is especially useful for those coming northbound and who want to know what the back up is at this crossing.

http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/

Thanks Sunshine Girl, I'm going to go check out hoy.

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We just drove back to New Mexico from Mexico crossing at Santa Teresa on the New Mexico border(to avoid Cuidad Juarez crossing). We went through one Military checkpoint between Chihuahua and the border. We encountered no problems at all anywhere while in Mexico or crossing the border. Just one personal experience. We did drive for the most part on Quotas and drove mostly in the daytime per advice from this forum.

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Guests arrived yesterday from Texas, via Laredo, Monterrey, Saltillo, San Luis Potosi, etc. They reported a perfectly normal trip & they still have their shiny new SUV. :)

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Just drove the oposite route north (San Luis Potosi, Matahuala, Saltillo, Monterey, Laredo). Perfectly normal drive. No military checkpoints until one in Monterrey and one along Mexico 2 towards the Columbia crossing. Saw nothing unusual along Mex 2, Columbia a breeze. Only spotted a couple of Federales checking for speeders the entire route.

We decided at the last minute to use Columbia since we were going to San Antonio anyway, not too far out of the way. Glad we did, since we had to make a couple of trips back and forth between the booth to remove the car sticker, and the main building with Banjercito, aduana and immigration. Ladrones stole our original car permit, so had to jump through a few hoops to get it removed. Banjercito had to look up the original permit, print out the info, then aduana had to write a letter for me to sign explaining it was stolen, etc. While in the building we got our FMM to leave the country taken care of. Then back to the booth where he finally removed the sticker and gave us the receipt. A "one stop shop".

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