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dichosalocura

Bus to the States

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We fly every summer to visit family in North Carolina.  This year we want to try a different mode of transport.  We would like to take a bus from Guadalajara to San Antonio and get on the Amtrak train with destination to Greensboro.  I have googled it and have read that autobuses Grupo Senda is the way to go.  My question is what happens when one gets to the border.  Does the bus cross over and an inmigration officer get on to take passports?  Or do they drop you off at the border, you take all your luggage and you walk up to the border with your passport and cross over and the bus meets you on the other side.  Or do you get on a new bus alll together.   How does the border crossing work when you take a bus from Guadalajara to San Antonio.  Thanks.

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We will be traveling with kids and want a new scenic experience.  I am most interested in how one crosses the border on a bus that takes you across the border to San Antonio, Texas.  How hard and difficult is it?  Thanks in advance!

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Dichosalocura, I truly admire your willingness to make this trip by bus!  Grupo Senda is certainly one option.  The Grupo Senda bus ride from Guadalajara to San Antonio is 20 hours.  The bus seats 42 people--a very tight squeeze, sitting bolt upright for that long, long trip.  Cost per person is about $2300 pesos.  Makes my eyes roll back in my head just to think about it--but it might be just the experience you seek.  You're a stalwart person.

On the other hand, ETN Turistar offers service from GDL to Nuevo Laredo, México, where you would go across the border (taxi) to Laredo, Texas and catch a bus to San Antonio.  The ETN Turistar buses have 24 seats that recline far enough that you can actually sleep more or less comfortably, they have lower leg/foot rests so you can really put your feet up as you ride, and the cost per person is $1390 pesos.  The trip on ETN Turistar takes 13 hours to Nuevo Laredo and another 5.5 to San Antonio via Greyhound.  The leg from Nuevo Laredo to San Antonio will cost about $30 USD per person.  

I would far rather take ETN Turistar for less money, more space, and less time than ride for more money, more time, and FAR less space/comfort on Grupo Senda. 

I use ETN all the time to go back and forth from Morelia to Mexico City and while that trip is only 4 hours, I've never been uncomfortable--far from it.  

If you have INAPAM cards, either of those bus lines will discount your travel cost by 50%.  

I didn't answer your question, but...well, it will be an interesting trip!  More power to you, dichosa.  

 

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More Liana, your suggestions and information via the trip up North were wonderful and very informative, thanks, your sarcasm was questionable.  And like you said, you never answered la verdadera cuestión.  As you suggest, ETN sounds like the better way to get to San Antonio.  So we should take ETN from Guadalajara to Nuevo Laredo, take a taxi from the terminal to the border, walk across, and then take a taxi to the greyhound station?  Is that how it is done?  For newbies, and with kids, it sounds complicated, but doable.  Thanks again.

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More Liana- Thanks for the information! Out of curiosity and because my body is somewhat cranky these days (read worn out), Is there a point between Guad and Nuevo Laredo that one could travel to on Day 1 and then hop back on for Day 2 to Nuevo Laredo? Gracias por su ayuda!

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check this out. fly vivaaerobus from gdl to monterrey mexico 1 way, not expensive, then a bus to nuevo laredo , then cab to the bridge, walk across, much faster easier and cheaper, then cab or walk to the bus station in laredo texas, then bus to san antonio tx and then train. 

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I take ETN regularly to Nuevo Laredo. It takes about 12 hours overnight. Then a bus to the bus station in Laredo.  I took the bus directly to Laredo one and will NEVER do it again. The bus sat in line to cross the bridge for 3 hours. Then, we unloaded everything and went through customs, another hour for that. No help with luggage, stood in the sun, then it started raining.  Not my idea of a good time. The overnight bus arrives early and I am at the bus station in Laredo usually by 9 AM.  The travel agent in Chapala arranged everything. I use INAPAM for discount. Last time I went, total round trip to Nuevo Laredo was about $75.00US (500 pesos taxi to the station in Laredo, one way). I don't recall the price for the San Antonio portion.

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4 hours ago, oregontochapala said:

More Liana- Thanks for the information! Out of curiosity and because my body is somewhat cranky these days (read worn out), Is there a point between Guad and Nuevo Laredo that one could travel to on Day 1 and then hop back on for Day 2 to Nuevo Laredo? Gracias por su ayuda!

Yes, you could go from Guadalajara to San Luis Potosí, stay overnight in San Luis, then from San Luis Potosí to Nuevo Laredo.  It's still 10 hours from San Luis to Nuevo Laredo. 

You can check all this yourself on the ETN website, very user-friendly and easy to figure out.  http://www.etn.com.mx  You can get all the information you want about trips before you need to click on the 'pay' button.  

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9 minutes ago, ibarra said:

I take ETN regularly to Nuevo Laredo. It takes about 12 hours overnight. Then a bus to the bus station in Laredo.  I took the bus directly to Laredo one and will NEVER do it again. The bus sat in line to cross the bridge for 3 hours. Then, we unloaded everything and went through customs, another hour for that. No help with luggage, stood in the sun, then it started raining.  Not my idea of a good time. The overnight bus arrives early and I am at the bus station in Laredo usually by 9 AM.  The travel agent in Chapala arranged everything. I use INAPAM for discount. Last time I went, total round trip to Nuevo Laredo was about $75.00US (500 pesos taxi to the station in Laredo, one way). I don't recall the price for the San Antonio portion.

Great information, ibarra.  The wait at the border to enter the USA can be 5 minutes, or it can be what seems like forever--as it did in your case.  

I did check the Greyhound bus from Laredo, Texas, and the cost ranges from about $12USD to $30USD per person.  Greyhound is pretty much the only viable bus option in the USA, and of course does not offer an INAPAM discount.

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6 hours ago, dichosalocura said:

More Liana, your suggestions and information via the trip up North were wonderful and very informative, thanks, your sarcasm was questionable.  And like you said, you never answered la verdadera cuestión.  As you suggest, ETN sounds like the better way to get to San Antonio.  So we should take ETN from Guadalajara to Nuevo Laredo, take a taxi from the terminal to the border, walk across, and then take a taxi to the greyhound station?  Is that how it is done?  For newbies, and with kids, it sounds complicated, but doable.  Thanks again.

Dichosalocura, I wasn't being sarcastic at all!  I think taking the bus to the USA is a fantastic idea to see the sights along the way.  It's just long and requires stamina, and I think you're muy valiente to want to do it, especially with kids along.  Ibarra did, though.  You can figure all this out by yourself, but IMHO ibarra's idea of the travel agent is good, too--for making connections, etc.

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Some years ago, we flew between GDL and Monterrey with Interjet. Then, used a Gruipo Senda bus between Monterrey and McAllen, TX, where the bus station is right downtown & would make it easy for a 'rest stop' or overnight, with convenient connections to San Antonio, or other points to the northeast. It might be a route to investigate, as it has shorter 'legs', which might be wise with children along. Crossing the border was 'seamless', as all we did was step off the bus and identify our own luggage, then get back on the same bus. Grupo Senda went directly to the McAllen bus station.

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My spouse and I took the ETN first class buss to N. Laredo several years ago. It was clean and comfortable. It stopped around 02:45 in Monterrey and terminated it's trip in south Laredo several Kilometers from the frontier. The bus had a hostess who passed out cold sodas and las botanas. Our trip is over night and not much to see, having departed Guadalajara about 19:00  and arriving about 06:30. The distance from the frontier was a problem. Finally we got aa taxi and it was very expensive at that early morning hour. We walked across and found the rental car agency downtown was gone and at the airport only. Another expensive taxi. In my college years I took the  the Aguila Azteca  from Laredo to Mexico DF.  The beautiful train had really nice rolling stock from MP and two Mex Fero Carillo pulman cars. It was entertaining and had vista dome cars as well as a great diner. It took from boarding at 19:00 day one to arrive 20:30 on day 2. The sleeping was really good and meals were delightful. The paper work was a  snap, of course in those days we crossed the border with shotguns to shoot white wings with no paperwork. or inspection.

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I really wish they would bring back those trains for travel throughout Mexico. So much more relaxing and comfortable. Hell, the tracks are already there. Flying is not what it used to be nor as fast as it used to be.

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Not sure how it is now, but years ago I took a Mexican bus from Monterrey to Austin. All had to disembark at the border, go through customs, then back on the same bus. It didn't take long, would depend on traffic. The bus dropped us off in the middle of nowhere, on the outskirts on Austin. Apparently they weren't allowed to use the Greyhound station and just have random drop-off points. I know that Mexican buses go all the way to Denver, at least they did back then.

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11 hours ago, dichosalocura said:

More Liana, your suggestions and information via the trip up North were wonderful and very informative, thanks, your sarcasm was questionable.  And like you said, you never answered la verdadera cuestión.  As you suggest, ETN sounds like the better way to get to San Antonio.  So we should take ETN from Guadalajara to Nuevo Laredo, take a taxi from the terminal to the border, walk across, and then take a taxi to the greyhound station?  Is that how it is done?  For newbies, and with kids, it sounds complicated, but doable.  Thanks again.

A friend just commented that you are FAR better off to take the regular ETN buses from GDL to Nuevo Laredo and back, rather than the TURISTAR--which are ETN's partner.  Follow his advice for a much more comfortable ride with a lot of amenities, like TV in every seat back and snacks provided by the bus line.  

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On 3/9/2019 at 9:07 AM, ibarra said:

I take ETN regularly to Nuevo Laredo. It takes about 12 hours overnight. Then a bus to the bus station in Laredo.  I took the bus directly to Laredo one and will NEVER do it again. The bus sat in line to cross the bridge for 3 hours. Then, we unloaded everything and went through customs, another hour for that. No help with luggage, stood in the sun, then it started raining.  Not my idea of a good time. The overnight bus arrives early and I am at the bus station in Laredo usually by 9 AM.  The travel agent in Chapala arranged everything. I use INAPAM for discount. Last time I went, total round trip to Nuevo Laredo was about $75.00US (500 pesos taxi to the station in Laredo, one way). I don't recall the price for the San Antonio portion. 

Once I arrive at the ETN station in Neuvo Laredo, will I be at the bus station where I'll catch a bus to Laredo? Or do I have to go to a different bus station? Gracias.

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Once you arrive at the bus station in Nuevo Laredo, you can take a short taxi ride to the border and get out, walk across, go through customs, then on the USA side, take another taxi to the greyhound station in Laredo or where ever you plan on going.  That is my understanding.

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Curious why one would take a 12-hour bus ride when a flight is half the price and only 1 1/2-2 hours?

I won't be returning, but others have passed this info to people inquiring.

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1 hour ago, chapalence said:

Curious why one would take a 12-hour bus ride when a flight is half the price and only 1 1/2-2 hours?

I won't be returning, but others have passed this info to people inquiring.

The person asking for information said, “We will be traveling with kids and want a new scenic experience.“

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