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Nogales, MX or Colombia, MX - Best route for driving to Lake Chapala


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My husband and I are planning to drive to Lake Chapala from northern California.  We are seeking input from folks who have recently driven to Lake Chapala from the US.  Our first choice is to cross the border from Arizona into Nogales, although this makes for a longer drive through Mexico to Lake Chapala.  Our second choice is to cross just west of Laredo, TX, at Colombia.  This makes for a much longer drive on the US side, while providing the shortest and most direct route through Mexico to Lake Chapala.  Can you tell me what your experience has been crossing either at Nogales or Colombia, and what your advice would be, with a special focus on safety.  Thanks in advance for your insight.

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We have used both crossings, depending upon our destinatiions, etc.  In your case, Nogales would definitely be my choice.  The Mariposa truck crossing is the quickest and avoids going through downtown Nogales, if you do not want to stop there to visit a bank ATM, grab a meal, etc.  We are now in Tucson and go to dentists in Nogales, Sonora, by just walking across the border from a parking lot on the US side.

Rt. 15D, southbound all the way to Guadalajara, is quite good and there are a lot of towns with good hotels or motels and restaurants along the way. You will make good time and a three day trip from AZ to Chapala is quite comfortable.

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I'll 3rd the choice of crossing at Nogales. It is the only reasonable way to come from N. California all things else being equal. And don't let the sound of Mariposa truck crossing deter you from using it.... it is also for cars and most folks use that crossing barely to the west of Nogales.

And, if you are so inclined, you could stop over in Mazatlan to enjoy some time at a nice beach city. Authentic Mexican experience gringo-ized enough for everyone to enjoy IMO.

Enjoy your trip......

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I usually don't use Mariposa but go  through Nogales early in the morning and cross there as there are a number of ATMs enroute.

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Nogales. Have crossed there numerous times. Spend the night before crossing in Nogales, AZ. Then cross at the Mariposa truck crossing in the early morning. We usually spend the first night in Mexico at Navajoa at the Best Western Del Rio which is just off the quota. They have a decent restaurant. Will you be traveling with dogs? 

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Nogales as other say.  Best Western at Navajoa is a great 1st night drive.  2ed night  Mazatlan is easy for a 1st timer;  we normally stay a little farther south in El Rosario so we do not have to drive in to Mazatlan.  We come from norther Calif and leave the Bay Area at 5am to miss traffic and get by LA before afternoon traffic.  Stay at Palm Springs area then hit Nogales the next day.  The other way we have come but would not recommend for a 1st timer is cross at Mexicali and take 2 across to 15D meeting up in Santa Ana . 

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On 11/11/2017 at 4:25 PM, Joyfull said:

Nogales. Have crossed there numerous times. Spend the night before crossing in Nogales, AZ. Then cross at the Mariposa truck crossing in the early morning. We usually spend the first night in Mexico at Navajoa at the Best Western Del Rio which is just off the quota. They have a decent restaurant. Will you be traveling with dogs? 

No dogs this time!  Thanks so much for the input!

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2 hours ago, pappysmarket said:

Tijuana!  :(

Why would anyone want to cross at Tijuana? Unless you're driving down the Baja peninsula and taking the ferry across. As everyone has said, cross at Nogales.

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Columbia Bridge for sure. 2 nights in the US, great roads. The Nogales is ok, first night in Navojoa at the Best Western Del Rio, on the right as you are entering the town. Second night somewhere in Mazatlan. 

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On ‎17‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 5:12 PM, canmex87 said:

Its an easy two day drive from Nogales to Lakeside.

I agree.

With the bypass in Guaymas  and another one in Mazatlan It is 2 day drive. We used to do it in 3 days (the way some people suggesting) but lately we do the drive in two.

Way too early to stop in Navojoa for overnight unless you start late from Nogales.

 

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