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McAllen to Chapala Driving Suggestions: Safety


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Many ways to do this but my preferred and perceived safest route is as follows:

Take Interstate 2 west from McAllen and exit onto the 396 spur south and cross at the Puente International Anzalduas bridge.

Onto Hwy 40 toward Monterrey, continue onto the 40D cuota.  Take the Hwy. 100 bypass around the north side of Monterrey and onto 40D cuota toward Saltillo.  Follow around the north and west of Saltillo onto Hwy. 54 south toward Zacatecas.

When approaching Zacatecas, take the 45D bypass around the east side of the city and continue on to Aguascalientes and find your way though the city on anyone of 3 ring roads and come out the south side heading toward Leon.

Take the 80D exit across to San Juan de los Lagos onto continue on the cuota toward Guadalajara.  As you approach Zapotlanejo (on the east side of the city), stay straight ahead and it becomes the Macrolibramiento Sur.  

Exit onto the Chapala Hwy. 23 and go up to the first Retorno, take it and head south to Chapala.

 

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Unless you have a reason to go to McAllen, the shortest route appears to be I-10 along the Gulf through Houston, I-410 around San Antonio to I-35 to Laredo. Then your choice of the Matehuala 57D or 54 Zacatecas/Aguascalientes route from Saltillo. I think I'd avoid crossing at any of the smaller Rio Grande Valley border towns at this time. Just my opinion of course.

I've made a trip through Laredo 3 times this year with no incidents whatsoever other than the usual overloaded trucks that can't maintain any speed in the mountains and impatient drivers.

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I just made this drive three days ago. Crossed at Laredo and followed the route towards San Luis Potosi, staying the night in Matehaula at Las Palmas. Never had a reason to not feel safe. Stay on the cuotas and use common sense about where you make stops. 

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19 hours ago, TelsZ4 said:

Don’t take the Zacatecas/Aquascailentes route, the SLP route is much faster and a lot less stress . 

I beg to differ on the distance that way but agree that the "stress" may be less for some. It is actually shorter in time and distance to come down 54 to Zacatecas from north of Saltillo, and then through Aguascalientes, but Aquas can be 'interesting' to get through as the 'ring roads' aren't really bypasses.... just boulevards with lights. 

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I sure wouldn't follow any route that required going through urban areas like Aguas.  Went through there yesterday, it is a pain in the butt.  Unfortunately we were stuck with it because we were coming from El Paso.

By far the easiest from McAllen is to cross at Pharr, go straight south to Ruta 101, use the Ciudad Victoria bypass, follow 101 to end, mostly good and fast, then the short run on the 75D to the 57, then follow well marked, use the San Luis Potosi bypass and continue to Lagos, also well marked, and you only have to take that ring road around Lagos, that's the closest you come to an urban area.  We hit the bridge at dawn and are home in 9.5 hours.  Much lower tolls too.

Note:  Going northbound you must cross on the weekend.  Closed to cars during the week because of truck congestion.

Southbound, opens at 6 AM.  I'd be there no later than 7.

 

 

 

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The streets in Aguas are bone jarring and the lights long, long long.  Tried them all, all are tedious and rough.  Now the economy is reviving traffic is much worse on Sundays than it used to be.

No thanks.  There is no reason to go near Monterrey or Aguas from McAllen to here.  Get an early start and you are home by 4PM at the latest on the route I described.

I do see it appears an extension of the libremiento on the west side of Aguas is in the works.  You can see it pretty clearly from Google Earth.  We noticed construction on the way in on route 45.  That will help but the toll roads around Zacatecas are in poor condition as is much of the road between it and Aguas.  

Unfortunately the trucks have absolutely wrecked much of Mexico 45 north of Zacatecas.  Hard to believe how bad that road is, particularly up towards Torreon.  Now even on Sundays that route is clogged with trucks from Aguas north.

 

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A

3 hours ago, wanderer said:

aguascalientes is easy if you take the inner ring road around the WEST side northbound and the middle ring road around the WEST side south bound. the lights are timed at 60 kmph. 850 pesos for tolls from ajijic to piedras negras.

You may having been driving that way longer than my 15yrs. Aquascalientes and Zacatecas have never been easy..  the roads are awful the traffic is awful.. Going through Matehuala and SLP is a 10hr drive, And I know because I did it a few months ago…

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3 hours ago, wanderer said:

aguascalientes is easy if you take the inner ring road around the WEST side northbound and the middle ring road around the WEST side south bound. the lights are timed at 60 kmph. 850 pesos for tolls from ajijic to Piedras Negras.

Thanks. Do you have any 'names' of those "inner and middle and outer' ring roads?  

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Let your fingers wander on your map, or look at a map online. That will help more than anything else, and will also give you names and numbers, as well as mental images of the route. You can even print images of appropriate interchanges, if you wish.

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One Question: Years ago I drove through SLP to get to Matehuala. I somehow missed the turn that would allow me to escape going through SLP. I had to go all the way through SLP, took perhaps an hour, or seemed like it. MY QUESTION: Where is the turn before coming to SLP from Chapala that allows missing SLP and arriving on the other side near Matehuala? What landmarks, how can I prepare not to MISS IT AGAIN?

Then coming from Pharr towards SLP, same question: How to avoid entering the SLP proper?

I admire folks who can travel Mexican highways and not become befuddled, folks who can name bypasses, or 3 different perifericos in Aguas. I always just prayed for luck.

Thanks a million.

Please name road numbers.

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There are signs announcing the new cuota saying you will save 45 minutes. Go slightly right when the left option is for Mexico couta  (pic 1-2-3) like you are entering SLP after a few km you will see a clearly marked right turn (pic 4-5), follow it. There are 2 toll booths, Before the first one is a Pemex & restaurants. Clean bathrooms.pic 6) If you fill up here you will make it to the lake with plenty of gas to spare.   Your next turn will be the ring around Lagos de Moreno

sign 1.JPG

Sign 2.JPG

Sign 3.JPG

Turn onto route around SLP

Sign 4.JPG

Sign 5.JPG

Good place to gas up Clean restrooms. 

Sign 6.JPG

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1 hour ago, southland said:

One Question: Years ago I drove through SLP to get to Matehuala.

Well, "years ago" one would have taken a different route.... east of SLP... than one does today, since they have now finished the bypass WEST of SLP.

From Chapala and coming up Hiway 80D after Lagos, and well outside/south of SLP, one will see this road sign:

 

image.thumb.png.ef5a1313c4ddefa61e4171b6d3bca14a.png

 

Go straight towards "Zacatecas".  Follow 80 and then take the left "Y" saying "Saltillo/San Luis Potosi cuota". This is the new 2-lane cuota around the WEST and NW side of SLP. Follow that, signs will sooner or later say Zacatecas and/or Saltillo.... never turn off right to SLP when offered. Then follow signs to Saltillo and NOT Zacatecas. This road may now be signed as 49D. Follow it a long way until it intersects with 57 which will be signed to Matehuala. From there you are on your own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, RickS said:

Well, "years ago" one would have taken a different route.... east of SLP... than one does today, since they have now finished the bypass WEST of SLP.

From Chapala and coming up Hiway 80D after Lagos, and well outside/south of SLP, one will see this road sign:

 

image.thumb.png.ef5a1313c4ddefa61e4171b6d3bca14a.png

 

Go straight towards "Zacatecas".  Follow 80 and then take the left "Y" saying "Saltillo/San Luis Potosi cuota". This is the new 2-lane cuota around the WEST and NW side of SLP. Follow that, signs will sooner or later say Zacatecas and/or Saltillo.... never turn off right to SLP when offered. Then follow signs to Saltillo and NOT Zacatecas. This road may now be signed as 49D. Follow it a long way until it intersects with 57 which will be signed to Matehuala. From there you are on your own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southbound is driving south to Chapala, not north  This post could confuse them.

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1 hour ago, Mostlylost said:

Southbound is driving south to Chapala, not north  This post could confuse them.

So, I read from the OP.... "MY QUESTION: Where is the turn before coming to SLP from Chapala that allows missing SLP and arriving on the other side near Matehuala?

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41 minutes ago, RickS said:

So, I read from the OP.... "MY QUESTION: Where is the turn before coming to SLP from Chapala that allows missing SLP and arriving on the other side near Matehuala?

Title of thread  McAllen to Chapala Driving Suggestions: Safety ...... They will be heading south ..... So their questions are a bit confusing.  What they seem to want now is the route south even though they wrote about a problem heading north.

Then coming from Pharr towards SLP, same question: How to avoid entering the SLP proper?" 

So heading north your suggestions are correct when they head north in the future.  I would add next exit/turn after Lagos de Moreno is to newer cuota west of SLP Pic1  Exit to north to Matehuala pic 2 - 3 

Trip 12.JPG

Trip 14.JPG

Trip 15.JPG

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But as you can see I was answering a specific question from Southland. He/she was very clear about two questions they wanted answered. VERY clear questions and not confusing (to me) at all. I even quoted his question about coming from the south.

You gave one answer from the north, I gave the other from the south. End of story... for me anyway.

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Whew and lordy. Yes, needed help to go both directions. Thank you both.

The cuota around west and northwest SLP should be posted on the sign along with Zacatecas, no? Sheesh, invest millions in a new road, and zero in signs to lead people to the new road?

In addition, perhaps in Rick's pic, that OLD right sign might very well say SLP (the direct way into SLP to be avoided), but Rick is saying take the left sign to Zacatecas. That is counter-intuitive, period, as any driver conceivably would want to go "in the direction of SLP!" In fact, that is what may have led me into SLP centro before.

The now newly informed driver counter-intuitively chooses Zacatecas.

Northbound challenge solved.

I now will study the southbound signage.

Truly appreciate the help.

 

 

 

 

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Hey Mostly,

Under the category "there are no dumb questions," I want to confirm in pic 4 and in pic 5, that I am to take the Zacatecas right hand turn because presumably at that point I am past SLP and don't want to go back to SLP.

Yes? No?

Thanks. I see you say right turn pic 4+5 but then there are words put under a pic that say "turn onto route around SLP," which is slightly confusing. Thanks.

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