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Posted by MCD from 18.104.22.168 (cache-rh04.proxy.aol.com) on miércoles, octubre 01, 2003 at 17:45:50 :
In Reply to: Driving from Laredo posted by Becky from 22.214.171.124 (66-208-239-187-cdnt02a-eatntn01-nj.hfc.comcastbusiness.net) on miércoles, octubre 01, 2003 at 13:35:12 :
First of all, depending on where you are coming from, you might consider crossing the border at McAllen, Tx rather than Laredo. My research last year indicated that, depending on the time of day, Laredo's backup of truck traffic might make it a 2-3 hour delay. By going a bit out of the way on our way south from San Antonio, we zipped through the border crossing at Reynosa - no lines of any consequence - we got our tourist cards and temporary vehicle importation permit quickly and were on our way down the (virtually deserted) new cuota road to Monterrey in under 40 minutes.
Second, be sure to have your mexican car insurance policy in advance - They will sell you insurance at inflated prices right at the border, but much cheaper and faster to arrange for it in advance. Here's a web link of agents:
You will need two photocopies of vehicle title or registration, insurance policy, etc. The fee is under US$25, but the paperwork can take a while - you have to get your tourist visas at one place, then get copies made at another place, then get your temporary vehicle importation permit at a third place. About 20KM inside the border, there will be a checkpoint where they check your papers and make sure the sticker is affixed to the inside of your windshield. Then, you are on your way.
(1) The bypass around San Luis Potosi is a no-brainer; you actually have to exit to go into town, just stay on the divided superhighway and you will be on the bypass. Matehuala, just to the north of San Luis Potosi is quite different. The road slows down to about 15MPH as it winds past the town.
From the border to San Luis Potosi is a short day's drive. There's doesn't seem to be any good place to stay between Monterrey and there. Matehuala has no appeal. I recommend a hotel in San Luis Potosi called the SANDS - secure, nice rooms, good price. But you have to take the exit, go into town, and follow the signs for Mexico city - it's located on the right side, just south of the big traffic circle near the Holiday Inn and other more expensive spots.
(2) The exit for 43 south off of 45D is at Salamanca, immediately after a toll booth. Look for a big refinery on your left as you proceed west on 45D. Shortly after you see the refinery, there is a toll stop - within the first 100 feet or so after the toll booth is an exit to the right that will lead you onto 43 south. So take the rightmost toll booth. If you miss this, it is another 9KM to the next exit, where you can join a long, slow line of trucks on the libre route #45 back east to the traffic circle just south of Salamanca.
Route 43 is pretty slow and not well marked as it goes through the town of Cortazar - but it's a small town. Sort of like Petetlan, south of Zihuatanejo. Then it winds around through the countryside, finally crossing the big lake north of Morelia.
(3) Out of Morelia, you take route 15D autopista west toward Uruapan. Before you get to Uruapan, there is an interchange where you pick up the new route 37D autopista south to the coast. This new road is good condition 2-lane with wide, paved shoulders. Just pull out to pass and everyone will move over onto the shoulder if there's oncoming traffic.
When I drove this route back north last March, the bridge over the reservoir had still not been completed - but the section of old route 37 that winds its way around the west side of the reservoir had been paved. This section took about 40 minutes; the rest of 37D took less than 1.5 hours at 60-70MPH.
In all, unless you want to sightsee along the way, plan on one 8hr day from the border to San Luis Potosi and a second,10 hr day from San Luis Potosi south to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. If you want a more liesurely pace, stops in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Patzcuaro, or Uruapan might be fun.
About 1,000 miles from the border to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo along this route. All but the section of route 43 north of Morelia + the final 1/2 hour along route 200 from La Union to Ixtapa is good, fast road.
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