Roads South From Texas

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Escrito por MCD desde ( el día domingo, 04 de diciembre, 2005 a las 11:33:26 horas :

As usual, we made the trip south in early Nov. Here's a trip report with directions and road condition report.

Coming from the midwest, we have found the following route works well.

US interstates to Dallas, then south to San Antonio. From San Antonio we go angle down on 37 to the route 281 exit at George West, then south to McAllen. We do this to avoid the very crowded border crossing at Laredo, in favor of the small, very quick border crossing at the Pharr bridge to just east of Reynosa. There's usually almost no one there and you can be through the border crossing and on your way with temporary vehicle import sticken in hand in 30-40 minutes (more if you get the red light).

An alternate route to McAllen is to take the bypass around Houston, then parallel the coast. Some friends took this route this year and reported that it was quite a bit shorter than Dallas-San Antonio. But the route paralleling the coast is not a true interstate.

The Pharr bridge crossing is located due south of the intersection of 281 south into I83. If you are coming south on 281, you need to exit just before I83 because if you stay on, you are forced onto either the eastbound 83 ramp or the westbound 83 ramp. What you want is to get on the parallel, then continue due south on business 281 south of this interchange, which takes you directly to the Pharr bridge.

About 1/2 mile south of the Mexican customs area at this crossing you turn right onto the bypass around Reynosa, which takes you to the west side of Reynosa. Follow the signs for the Cuota road to Monterrey and before you know it you will be zooming along at 110 KPH with little or no traffic on the toll road to Monterrey. The toll for this quota road is about US$10 (+/-), but we've found it much easier and faster than the time it takes to cross the border at Laredo.

Take the cuota bypass around the north side of Monterrey. This is a right hand exit right around the 20KM marker east of Monterrey. If you miss this exit, plan on a minimum delay of 45+ minutes going through downtown Monterrey on Constitution Ave, which follows the river. Much better to pay the toll and get around the city quickly.

If you need an overnight stop at this point, it's a lot cheaper and faster to take the bypass around the north side of Monterrey and stay overnight in Saltillo. The weekend rate at the Clarion Inn in Saltillo is about US$65/night and it's about as nice as you will find in Mexico.

If you crossed the border and cleared customs before noon though, plan on continuing south on cuota route #57 to San Luis Potosi. take the first exit off 57 and continue several miles into San Luis Potosi where you will find very nice and affordable accomodations at the Sands Hotel, located near the Holiday Inn just south of the main interchange on the road toward Mexico City.

There are also a couple of hotels about 1.5 hours north of San Luis Potosi in Matahuela, but not nearly as nice as the Sands in San Luis Potosi. The Sands has secure parking inside a gated area with your car right outside the door to your room. Rooms are clean and large, with big bathrooms, huge showers, cable TV, etc.

From San Luis Potosi, get back on the 57 quota road south to Queretaro, where you want to get onto the bypass around the west side of town by following the signs for Celaya. Just south of the Holiday Inn on this bypass road, you will exit right to get on the cuota road toward Celaya.

Take this toll road west to the exit at Salamanca, which you will find just after a large refinery on the south of the cuota road. Get in the right lane at the toll stop; the exit is just after the toll booth at Salamanca.

Going through Salamance, the road jogs to the right one block - the road is split into one-way northbound versus one-way southbound and the southbound street is one block west.

Just after the railroad tracks at the next small town to the south is a bypass around the downtown area of this small town. You definitely want to be on this bypass.

Continue south on the two lane road, following signs for Morelia. On the north side of Morelia, you will cross a lake on a causeway, then the road becomes four lane but not limited access. You cross over the top of the autopista that runs from Mexico city west to Guadalajara. You want to get on the bypass road around the west side of Morelia by following signs toward Patzcuaro. Keep following these signs and, just after the Ford dealer on the SW side of town, you will take a sharp right on route 14 toward Patzcuaro. This is a nice, four lane road with median.

Just past the Patzcuaro exit, there will be a right exit toward Nuevo Italia that will put you on the cuota road #37 down to the coast. After several tolls the cuota ends and you intersect with 200 for the last 30 miles into Ixtapa.

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