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Thread: Heading through Mexico… what do I need to know?

  1. #1

    Heading through Mexico… what do I need to know?

    I’m planning a ride this winter through Mexico to Guatemala. I’ve driven through several years ago with my family (4 kids and wife in a full sized van) so I’m not totally clueless as to Mexican roads, etc. but haven’t done anything of the sort solo on two wheels. I have an R1150RT. I have pretty marginal Spanish, but have traveled completely illiterate in many countries, so can get by. I’ve traveled all over the world over the last decade and some, so international travel is not a new thing… I don’t need the kind of advice about keeping valuables hidden, etc.

    My thought is to cross over at Presidio/Ojinaga and get toward Monterey to get in the State Department’s yellow zone and keep pretty much to the cuota toll roads to avoid issues and work my way south. Probably spend a little time in San Miguel de Allende and Oaxaca, skirt around Mexico City, and eventually end up at our home away from home on Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala over about six weeks.

    So, I’m looking for advice on what kind of things I really need to carry for MC-specific travel, whether there are known areas to avoid beyond the state department map, and resources on how to know those in the planning process as opposed to questioning people along the way. I know no driving at night and no drinking/drugs/partying.

    Also, are there any groups doing a similar ride to tag along with? My work schedule (I work remotely and plan to do 3-4 days working and 3-4 days moving) will make this more difficult, but it sure seems like it’d be nice to be with a group for safety sake.

    Thanks,
    T

  2. #2
    Buy your insurance before you go. I haven't been to Mexico for a while, but when I went there were no sellers of MC insurance at the border.

    Also, Guia Roja is a good source for maps. Garmin may have gotten way better these days, but when I went, my GPS was nearly useless.

    Don't ride at night. And you're not going to get any more space on the road than you need, people in cars and trucks will drive right up next to you.

    Ride with balls!

    I didn't particularly enjoy the east coast (Tampico, etc.) but had a blast in the mountains surrounding Mexico City. Avoid Mexico City, the traffic is pure hell.

    Here is my ride report from many moons ago. There are a number of how-to tips that may or may not be current any more. I was invited as a guest of the people who ran the Mexican National Rally, as an MOA Ambassador. If you can get to this rally, it's not like any rally you've been to in the USA.

    Sorry for the weird text in the ride report, it's the result of the technical evolution of our forum. Also sorry for the small pics... this was posted back in the day when bandwidth was at a premium.

    Ian

    Last edited by Visian; 08-06-2021 at 06:14 PM.
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  3. #3
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    I suggest bringing a Ranger or a SEAL.

    https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...es/Mexico.html

    Good luck.

    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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  4. #4
    '14 R1200 GS Adv bigjohnsd's Avatar
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    There is a lot of information that can be gleaned from these three ride reports - first two quite current, the third is a year and a half old:

    Jamie Z spent last winter and Spring all over Mexico https://advrider.com/f/threads/rtw-t...#post-42783801

    The "EdVenture" https://advrider.com/f/threads/hasta...#post-42785211

    A Retired Couple takes on Mexico https://advrider.com/f/threads/retir...ucson.1424901/
    The only dumb question is the unasked question!

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  5. #5

    I agree with Omega Man

    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    I suggest bringing a Ranger or a SEAL.

    https://travel.state.gov/content/tra...es/Mexico.html

    Good luck.

    OM
    As a Californian I started going there in the early 70's and travelled the Baja before the highway was complete. Ripped off from border jerks so we could proceed with our gear minus some money. approached by a thug with a club on foot as we were getting ready to go snorkel and got out of Dodge in the nick of time. Took another trip via sail boat where an official wanted a bribe so some of us could leave via air travel that was not on our itinerary. Mexico is suing US gun manufacturers for supplying drug cartels with weapons that the police can't match. Beheaded people in groups in lots. You have bigger cajones than me if you want to ride a motor there. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Mexico is suing US gun manufacturers for supplying drug cartels with weapons that the police can't match.
    Interesting, I read that as well. Must be part of the Superman Bizzaro World we have become.

    I still remember this- (not to derail the thread but it emphasizes the danger flows in two directions) and how weird crazy plans can effect events.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATF_gunwalking_scandal

    “A basic principle of self defense is distance. The further one can stay from known bad experiences, the safer one can be”.

    OM
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  7. #7
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Sounds like it might be as dangerous as entering some of our major metropolitan areas.
    Kevin Huddy
    Silver City, Montana
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  8. #8
    '14 R1200 GS Adv bigjohnsd's Avatar
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    My experience - Baja - leads me to believe that if you are looking for trouble it will find you.

    Drugs, Drunkenness, Pay for Play women, riding at night all lead to bad outcomes.

    Habla Espanol un poco es mucho gusto.
    The only dumb question is the unasked question!

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  9. #9
    Registered User
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    Here’s a recent trip report.
    https://www.cb500x.com/index.php/topic,10626.0.html

    I think you should go.

  10. #10
    Do some research on Advrider. As much information as you'll ever need.
    https://advrider.com/

  11. #11
    Nick Kennedy
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    Don't bring anything you can't bear to lose.
    The average US middle class citizen look super wealthy to the average Mexican.
    Nick

  12. #12

    exactly

    Quote Originally Posted by nickrides View Post
    Don't bring anything you can't bear to lose.
    The average US middle class citizen look super wealthy to the average Mexican.
    Nick
    Not a racist rant here. I set up a boys trip to Cabo with my timeshare trading ability and booked two suites so we could fish or whatever. I invited my Afghanistan born US citizen coworker to join the rest of us. He simply said. "I come from a poor country, I do not vacation in poor countries." The rest of us went and found the beggars on every corner and other disturbing social things sad. I won't be going back. A dive business owner who booked dives world wide that my wife and I used to enjoy her certification then trips tried to develop a resort in the sea of Cortez. They were driven out by corrupt "officials". Corruption has always been there and now cartels make it a no go for me.

  13. #13
    My brother and I are heading to Puerto Penasco [ commonly referred to as Rocky Point ] for Xmas this year. It's a tourist destination that's 60 miles inside the Mexican border for a LOT of Arizonians.

    One FB rider group I belong to joins in the festivities there every year for the Rocky Point motor rally [ in Nov. IIRC ]. Thousands converge on the area in the summer, though not as hectic or crowded in the winter when we'll be there.

    The US and Mexican govs got together and created the 63 mile "safety corridor" from the border to Rocky Point in the recent past. Road improvements including shoulders to pull off the road were made. 2.3 million Arizonians visited Rocky Point in 2018 [ last figures I can find at the moment ]. It's a tourist destination for a LOT of people obviously.

    Obviously, if it was dangerous to travel from the border to Rocky Point and then stay in Rocky Point, those 2.3 million people who visited/vacationed there in 2018 would not see those numbers. We'll be smart about where we stay, where we stray while there, but the majority of Mexicans are catholic and celebrate Xmas with festivities just like millions in the US do every year. Should be a good time, just don't get stupid about it.

    Rented a place that caters to motor riders with secured areas for the tourists motors. That city thrives on tourism, the previously mentioned Rocky Point motor rally draws thousands of motors each year. Keep your head on a swivel, don't stray/explore out of the immediate tourist destination and the chances of being a crime victim aren't any higher than traveling in much of the US.
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  14. #14
    rsbeemer 22600's Avatar
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    HI Tmoto

    I believe your 1st question was, " So, I’m looking for advice on what kind of things I really need to carry for MC-specific travel, whether there are known areas to avoid beyond the state department map."

    You did not say how much MC experience you had but will just guess you have traveled/made trips on your RT in the past. I always take about the same items whether I travel in the States or in Mexico and I have been all over Mexico in the old days. I carry tire plug kits, CyclePump tire inflator, Tool set, MC manual, spare bulbs, small hand axe, folding knife, water, meds and it goes on and on. Bottom line carry as much as you can and what you need. In the old days I carried my pistola but would not suggest that or do that anymore.

    I would avoid all side roads and streets and stay on the main highways. I would try and hide most of my money and only have a little in your wallet in case you have to give some away. Carry all your legal papers for the bike and your passport in a water proof carrier of some sort. I always carried that on my person in case I got separated from my bike. Like one of the other posters said, ride with confidence and purpose; actually he said balls. Also, try and reserve a hotel or motel before hand and make sure they have a secure place for your bike. i sometimes would push my bike into my room if they had no good spot. Stay safe and have fun, ride fast and wild.
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