Just thought I should post something about the drive down vis.a.vis the security situation on the roads etc. This blog is primarily for friends and family because I'm not one to use a Facebook account but in case you came across this by searching for info about driving in Mexico I'll give you my take in things.
First though, please understand this is just my opinion. I don't know anymore about what really goes on down than the next person.
We left Nogales AZ Friday morning at 8:00am and crossed into Mexio with no issues. In fact it's a non-event. For those of you that have never done it you don't actually "clear" customes at all. You basically just drive down a narrow road with a few customes officers on each side and you get to a split where there are two lanes; one for those that have something to declare and the other for those that don't. If you take the nothing to declare lane you just drive through and wham, bam, you're in Mexico.
The first thing we noticed over our last trip down two years ago was the increased traffic. Last time there was a deserted feel to the roads and it was a bit spooky but this time the roads were all busy and there was lots of other traffic. It may be because it's the end of the Christmas /New Year holiday and a lot of families were heading home but it was definitly busier.
The next thing we noticed was a significant increase in a police presence. And by this I mean a huge increase. We saw numerous checkpoints and lots of high-profile patrols. And if you think Mexican police aren’t intimidating you haven’t pulled into a gas station and stopped next to three large one-ton pickups that have been retro fitted with machine gun turrets and are full of very large Mexican Federale’s, all wearing blacked-out full combat/riot gear, all with balaclava’s and toting machine guns. These guys mean business and aren’t to be trifled with. But..... rather than scarring us it gave us a huge sense of comfort! No one bothered us and it was great to know the government is taking the situation seriously.
So, long story short.... we spent a long day on Friday and a half-day yesterday, driving the 1,100 klm from the border to Mazatlan and it was completely uneventful. No security issues at all and no problems of any kind. It’s divided highway almost the entire way, which ranged from really crappy, to less crappy and to OK – with a few Autopista stretches thrown in that are really quite good. The tolls add up though; $35CAN on Friday and another $30CAN yesterday. The alternative though, is taking the free roads which are a LOT slower and in much poorer condition.
So there you have it. We’re now in Mazatlan in a condo overlooking the ocean and our little SUV is securely parked in the parking lot waiting to be loaded with Mexican treasures we hope to buy over the next few days.
Adios Mi Amigos