Google

 

Web www.rvliving.net

MANANA!!!!  

 

Memories of our first years in Mexico plus general planning tips

 and information for a successful adventure to feel the warmth of Mexico.

 

One of the pleasures of RVing is a new and exciting destination waits around every bend. Early in our travels John and I found a very special place with sunny days and cool nights. Brass bands and mariachi music playing in the market place added a festive touch. The abundant beautiful flowers, artistic gardens, lush forests and a variety of colourful birds was enchanting. Ancient architecture portrays life of an earlier era. Spanish haciendas line cobblestone streets, while elaborate villas nestle behind high walls.

Isolated beaches.jpg (35005 bytes)Along the coast, ocean waves creep onto secluded sandy beaches and tranquil breezes relax even the most uptight traveler. As the sun falls off the horizon each evening, it leaves behind a mesmerizing afterglow of fiery colours.

Our piece of heaven is...Mexico!!!  A country so near and yet so very far away. Close enough to reach by vehicle but so distant in culture, customs, terrain and language. The friendly people of this long narrow country welcome tourists with open arms - much as they would their family and long lost friends.  They encourage visitors to tour, camp, explore and share their homeland.  

Back to Top

Back to Destinations

For certain, travel to Mexico means different things to everyone but whether you're looking for sunshine, scenery, ruins, history or culture, Mexico's charm will win your hearts if you will let her.

The panoramic view in this unique country is extremely diverse. En route we climbed winding mountain roads and descended into lush valleys.  We passed evergreen forests, picturesque waterways, palm tree woodlands, large co-op farmland and more to keep our journey interesting. During our early travels, traversing Mexico's old pothole highways was our only choice, but now this country is inundated with new quality toll roads, some even have SOS telephones. Only problem with tolls, costly charges are assessed per axle, but on the bright side RVers no longer damage their vehicle driving on poor streets.

John and I spent our first seven winters in Mexico. We miss it so much hopefully one day we will return. However we still remember the apprehensive feeling of that first adventure. But don't despair, with a little planning you will soon feel comfortable touring Mexico. RVers can cross the border almost anywhere from Texas to California. We prefer a small less busy community as an entry point rather than a large tourist shopping mecca.  

Back to Top

Back to Destinations

To drive in Mexico you must buy 'Mexican Government Insurance'.  (Canadian and US Auto Insurance will not insure your vehicle in Mexico).  You also need proof of residency and a valid drivers license. Although a passport isn't a must, it is effective identification, especially when cashing travelers cheques. Visitors also need a  vehicle permit and a tourist visa (available from insurance companies, border stations and Mexican Consulates). This  'Free' visa covers a six month visit.  The vehicle portion lists the registered unit taken into Mexico.  A motorhome towing a car requires two licensed drivers be on board (both names must be on the registration). If the vehicle is financed you also require a notarized letter of  permission.

At the border your papers are validated and a $12.00 entrance fee  is charged to a major credit card.  Those without a credit card must post a costly bond, refundable on reentry to the USA of course. (Pets require proof of a current rabies vaccination), Governments regulations discourage 'tipping' for services to authorities, nevertheless, it's been a way of life in Mexico for centuries.

Several km after entering Mexico, travelers arrive at another check point. After agents examine your papers, drivers  press a red/green light switch.  If it shows green, you can continue, if it shines red you may be asked to pull over for a thorough inspection. En route expect to stop at periodic agriculture and drug checks, however RVers are usually waved through these checkpoints.

Note: Restrictions of what you can take in are minimal, but If you have two of any  item, stow one out of sight.  The authorities may feel the extras are for resale.  

Back to Top

Back to Destinations

There are many insurance agents along the USA/Mexican border, check your yellow pages for info or ask other RVers. However look closely at the coverage you purchase. Are repairs performed in the USA? If you are a Canadian, look for a company which will insure to a Canadian value. Only a few companies will write such a policy, but ask before you sign. Insurance company staff will patiently answer all your questions plus they'll supply information  on routes, mountain travel and Mexican culture and more.  We clarified our wishes and provided the staff with an idea of where we wanted to go - they helped us plan a route to avoid the 'Barancas' - (steep climbs and long descents in a short distance on roads through the mountains).  On our RV WebLink page under Mexico we list many links that are helpful.

Stories north of the border relay numerous problems about safety, water and food in Mexico. Most of these overstated tales grow with each repetition. The facts are....Mexico has a relatively low crime rate however when something tragic happens south of the US Border it almost always makes International headlines. Don't let over-zealous tall tales stop you from visiting this enchanting place. Remember if someone relays a  horror story about Mexico, Ask--"When  were  you there?". If they answer  "Never", take what they say with a grain of salt.

Mexican rural areas and many beaches may be secluded and picturesque, but ruins, towns and cities are busy places. Be aware, tourist areas everywhere beachfornt walkways.jpg (53422 bytes)attract not so nice people just waiting for visitors to let their guard down. To minimize becoming a victim in any country.-carry limited cash and only one or two credit cards;  leave the flashy jewelry in a secure place. However, just as you would at home - always make it a point to travel street-smart and keep a secure grip on your wallet.

Finding safe drinking water is not a problem either. Campgrounds frequently have filtered water systems on site, plus the water truck delivers bottled water to most trailer parks and hotels daily. Commercial bottled water is also sold in Mexico's  larger grocery stores.  

Back to Top

Back to Destinations

Luscious fresh ripe fruit and vegetables are picked at their peak. Simply soak these delicacies in potable water, add a teaspoon of chlorine bleach or a drop or two of disinfectant (available from the pharmacy (farmacia). Depending on the variety it may be necessary to peal or cook these delicious treats before eating them.  Most important point is - enjoy!!!

Since NAFTA, a variety of package food stuffs are sold in Mexico's fully stocked grocery stores, however imported items are more costly than local delicasies. During early trips we brought everything with us but the kitchen sink, now it is necessary to carry  favourites, Familiar brands are available but understanding directions written in Spanish is sometimes challenging.

Over the years expenses have increased in Mexico, but dining out remains a bargain. Quality restaurants are everywhere-from high on a cliff overlooking the ocean, to beside the village 'mercado' (market place). Hotels also open the restaurants in their  elaborate complexes to the public. Spanish Dancers and  Mariachi Music add the finishing touch to many a  romantic evening. Wherever you dine, appealing traditional Mexican dishes and/or delicious cuisine from around the world is usually available. Peaceful settings, ocean vistas, pretty flowers and serenading  musicians, enhance the pleasure.

Back to Top

Back to Destinations

 

Tourist area restaurants routinely use food preparation procedures practiced north of the border. If the eatery is clean and decor looks cared for, order whatever you wish. On the other hand, if you have doubts, cooked food is usually safe. However stay away from street food vendors-their sanitation is limited. If you do become sick, visit a Mexican Doctor, they understand how to treat their bugs.

While visiting  an area, why not participate in the festivals - "You will be Welcome!" Take in a Fiesta, a Bull Fight, or a trip to the market. Try to communicate - learning several basic words helps, but so does sign language and a pen and paper. Understanding a few customs, the culture and the people enhances your visit.

Camping spots are available throughout Mexico, plus most repeat visitors have a favourite route to reach their winter getaway--ask RVers you meet about their trip planning. We all love to share travel secrets, choice destinations and interesting stopovers.  Campgrounds vary from basic to luxury resorts. Average prices are $15.00 to $20.00 US per night in secluded places with discounts for longer stays. Popular tourist hot-spots may be higher. Although some stopping spots provide more amenities than others, you'll find many quality moderately priced parks at most destinations. At times, smaller 'out of the way' trailer parks, may offer only basic hook-ups and services. Be prepared to sporadically use a two prong ungrounded plug if you wish to connect to electricity.

 Villa Montecarla-Chapala.jpg (72054 bytes)Some highway campgrounds/hotel complexes, usually include pools good restaurants, and artistically sculptured gardens.  While en route, choose a park within a normal days drive and set up camp even if you arrive early.  Never wait till 6 p.m. to begin searching for a place to stop, you may not find one. PEMEX gas stations may allow you to stay overnight in an emergency.  Camping alone in secluded areas, in any country is unwise - no matter how inviting it looks.  If you like to boon-dock. find a spot where several RV units dry camp together.  Regular security patrols are not common in out of the way places in Mexico.  If camping by yourself - you may be asking for problems.  

Back to Top

Back to Destinations

One word of caution when traveling in Mexico.  NEVER DRIVE AT NIGHT.  Animals sleep on the warm pavement, plus many roads have no line markings and they also curve like a snake. Local drivers may not carry vehicle insurance, nor do all vehicles have proper lighting. During night time conditions, direction signs, detours and road construction may  be difficult to read. Signs may even be missing. "Enough said...plan to stop during early afternoon".

RVers we met in Mexico came from all over North America. Most  travel solo but some prefer the company of one or two other units to help in the event of a breakdown. Others like to explore with a Caravan.  However numerous RVers return year after year to enjoy Mexico's endless sunshine at peaceful locations and friendly hospitality. A warm Welcome is extended to all who choose to live, tour, camp, or simply visit this friendly country.

 'Manana' literally translates as 'tomorrow' - in reality it means anytime after this moment. Don't wait for 'Manana' to visit and explore this unsurpassed winter utopia. You owe it to yourself to feel  how warm and friendly Mexico can be.

         

Back to Top

Back to Destinations