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hello to all! traveling to ajijic/chapala area by vehicle. My daughter is scared because she read an article about traps that are set to get you to stop so they can rob you and sometimes even kidnap you.. Talking to people on here,I've been reassured that Ajijic is safe.But what about the process to get there? Is it true there are people that dress as military personnel so you stop for them,or is that just the American press??? Please any comments are very appreciated

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I returned yesterday and no problems. I have made this trip well over 100 times starting well before there were any toll roads.  I have never had any problems other than a few mechanical over the years that local Mexicans were most helpful. You will have two or three military check points (Puesto Control) roll down your windows and smile. They probably won't ask for papers or anything else. If you get stopped by the police be polite and always decline to pay on the spot but ask for the ticket please (foliio por favor). They may make you follow them to the municipal seat (think county seat) tp pay. If you decide to pay on the spot remember it will always be more costly tha the ticket. There are scams to be aware of. Remember that most all theft is a crime of opportunity. If guys stop to change your flat keep the car locked even with you outside, or leave daughter in with the purses.

These days there are plenty of gasoline stations. There are good stops at 3, 4.5 and 6 hours into your drive if through Laredo. Remember that this first trip will require extra time for getting your visas and car temporary import papers.

I can send you a turn by turn route guide if you are coming down through Laredo, just PM me with your email.

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Several times over the years we have been stopped by police in cities saying we were speeding and needed to pay them on the spot or go with them to their station. Puts one in a bad situation when you feel you have been wrongly accused. So, be prepared to pay up to 2000 pesos for a "speeding" ticket. You do not ever want to go with them to their "station". If you were very experienced in Mexico, there might be other options, but since you are not, just pay and they will normally let you go on. If stopped, you might try the "I don't understand Spanish" ploy, but many speak some English now. May not have any problems, some do, some don't. But, remember, this Country is not like north of the border. BTW, if you are looking for anyone who has had a MAJOR problem in Mexico, they have left Mexico and will not be members of this Board. Only those who have not experienced a life threatening experience remain in Mexico, FYI.

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51 minutes ago, geeser said:

I returned yesterday and no problems. I have made this trip well over 100 times starting well before there were any toll roads.I can send you a turn by turn route guide if you are coming down through Laredo, just PM me with your email.

Geeser, How was the crossing at Laredo? How did you deal with San Louis Potosi, south bypass or the new north bypass? I'll going the 3rd of April and hope the new north SLP bypass is open. I'm also hoping the new Zapotlanejo connection is open.

Thanks

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If the new microliberimiento is not completed to connect with 80D, then continue on 80D to the junction with 15D and take 15D east a couple miles to the turnoff for the new road south to lakeside.

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37 minutes ago, dboisclair said:

Don't forget that you can do all your paperwork online now, including paying for your temporary tourist visa and importing your car. It'll save you a LOT of time at the border. You'll still need to have your passport stamped but that's all

Getting all your paperwork on line won't save you a LOT of time. Maybe 15 minutes if your crossing in Laredo. In the10 years I've driven here have never found Laredo busy, unless you cross at the weekend, which I never would do.

If you want a quick and trouble free crossing cross at Columbia. I would say the average time to cross at Columbia is about 10 to15 minutes.. Plus you avoid all the hustlers in Laredo .. 

The only drawback is Columbia doesn't open until 8am.   I stay at the Days Inn on I-35 just as you come in to Laredo, which is about a 15-20 minute drive to the Columbia crossing. If you arrive at Columbia at 5 to 8 you will Proberly be the only person there. 

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8 hours ago, catbird said:

 

Geeser, How was the crossing at Laredo? How did you deal with San Louis Potosi, south bypass or the new north bypass? I'll going the 3rd of April and hope the new north SLP bypass is open. I'm also hoping the new Zapotlanejo connection is open.

Thanks

The Laredo crossing was just fine. I did not try the new north bypass. Only problem was at the old SLP jog to the east before picking up the toll bypass that looks like a western movie set. took 45 minutes to go 2 miles. This back up lasted all week we saw it last Saturday gooing north, must be construction? But when we turned south on toll rd things were clear. The new Zapotlanejo connection is NOT open yet.

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My fault. I cross at Nogales and having my paper work taken care of in advance saves anywhere from 20min to an hour or more. To pay for your TIP and your tourist visa you have to stand in line to pay at the Banjercito. If it's early in the day it's usually not too bad, but all it takes is a few snowbirds ahead of you in line trying to take care of their motor home and towed car and the line can be really slow. Now all I do is arrive, get my passport stamped and leave. I don't have to go anywhere near the Banjercito line and I'm in and out in less than 5 minutes. 

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22 hours ago, Hud said:

Several times over the years we have been stopped by police in cities saying we were speeding and needed to pay them on the spot or go with them to their station. Puts one in a bad situation when you feel you have been wrongly accused. So, be prepared to pay up to 2000 pesos for a "speeding" ticket. You do not ever want to go with them to their "station". If you were very experienced in Mexico, there might be other options, but since you are not, just pay and they will normally let you go on. If stopped, you might try the "I don't understand Spanish" ploy, but many speak some English now. May not have any problems, some do, some don't. But, remember, this Country is not like north of the border. BTW, if you are looking for anyone who has had a MAJOR problem in Mexico, they have left Mexico and will not be members of this Board. Only those who have not experienced a life threatening experience remain in Mexico, FYI.

$2000 pesos is too much for a single "ticket", but it might be a realistic price for the entire trip if you are very, very unlucky. 

 

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...and maybe to put this (mordida on a trip) into (my) perspective, I have probably driven 10,000-15,000 miles in Mexico over the last 10-12 years and have never been stopped by a rogue cop wanting mordida. Well, once I was stopped in Lagos because "I was not wearing my seatbelt correctly" but we never got around to the mordida dance.  Just lucky I guess.

 

 

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