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Driving from Albuquerque to Ajijiic/Chapala


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When I went thru Albuquerque to Chapala over a dozen years ago, with myself and an attack Corgi in the car, I went thru El Paso/Juarez. I had several progressive bumper stickers on the car and felt safer driving thru Mexico than Texas.  Drove on the toll roads only during daylight and had no problems.

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We do this run frequently, to Las Cruces where we garage our RV..  Cross at Santa Teresa, stay away from Juarez..  Mex 49 and 45 all the way.  Roads aren't very good for much of the route, be prepared for a lot of rough pavement and tons of trucks.  Really bad coming north out of Chihuahua.

Tons of tolls too. Not a fun drive by any imagination.  We overnight at the Hotel Kadir in Jimenez.  Nice hotel and reasonable.

 

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I made that drive in reverse.... Ajijic to Jimenez, then to Las Cruces, then thru Albuquerque going north....early June this year. Crossed at Santa Teresa NM is easy/best, staying away from 'downtown Juarez'.  It's a long drive but it's pretty much all 4 lane if not cuota 4-lane.

I didn't think the roads were all that bad..... actually better than the last time I drove it several years ago. The worse stretch is after leaving cuota 40 south of Torreon around Cuencame and onto 4-lane free road 45. Maybe 50 miles. Otherwise not much different than/from driving anywhere in Mexico. Good for a while, bad, then back good. I'm probably not remembering the bad roads north of Chihuahua being numb from driving by that point. 😄

As far as 'shortest', that route is just that... probably by 150 miles over any route that goes down through Texas/Saltillo etc. Tolls are high but welcome to Mexico these days. Jimenez is a good stopping point.... Hotel Kadir or Hotel Jimenez Plaza where I stay..... as I've not found a good place to stay in Torreon. But it does make for a long day from there to Lakeside. 

You highlighted 'safest route'..... IMO as long as one stays on the cuota system.... which one should ALWAYS do IMO.... one way is as 'safe' as another UNLESS there is a known 'uprising' somewhere at any given time.... and generally if one hears of such incidents they are all over and done with by that time anyway. 

Get plenty of pesos and have a good journey.

 

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Thank you all! I have the feeling, from your responses, that the folks who say that driving in MX is unsafe are the ones who haven't driven there. I'm hoping my house sale goes smoothly and I'm Lakeside by at least the end of October/November.

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One last thing. When we do drive down the first time, it will be with our three medium-sized dogs, a cat, and a bird. Any thoughts from those of you who have driven with pets? I can't imagine the motels/hotels are pet-friendly, so I'm assuming they may have to stay in the car?

 

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Sorry, but I think most of the people who are indicating that driving here isn't safe are living here.

We've been living here in MX for 17 years and have not had an accident.  A combination of good luck and great caution.  The main roads have had some criminal problems.  The good news is that Mexican drivers are more likely to politely let you into the traffic line or stop for you when you need to turn than the gringos.

You'll be fine if you're aware and careful when driving.

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1 hour ago, DougNM said:

One last thing. When we do drive down the first time, it will be with our three medium-sized dogs, a cat, and a bird. Any thoughts from those of you who have driven with pets? I can't imagine the motels/hotels are pet-friendly, so I'm assuming they may have to stay in the car?

 

I googled "pet friendly motels in Mexico" and here's one reference you can start with:

https://www.petswelcome.com/pet-friendly-hotels/searchbyroute

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With THAT many pets you don't need a pet-friendly motel, you need a zoo!  😇

While I don't know the *official* status of the Hotel Jimenez Plaza regards pets, their layout would surely promote your needs. It is a sprawling complex where all rooms are at ground level and one drives their car right to their own door. If you are comfortable leaving the pets in your car that would work here for sure AND might be a good idea with that many pets.  

P.S.  Just in case you are new 'to the ropes',  you will need to get a permit to bring your US Plated vehicle into Mexico. The cost is minimal but there is a $400 deposit required. Highly recommend using a credit card for that deposit. One can get the permit... TIP.... either online or at the Santa Teresa crossing. 

 

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2 hours ago, RVGRINGO said:

I think there may be a limit on the number of  pets per person, and you will want to be sure that they meet all veterinary certifications.

Good call but then it's highly likely that 'they' will never ask nor look....  the bird, well I don't know if it can keep its mouth shut.

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