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Central America and Mexico Topics specific to Central America and Mexico only.
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  #16  
Old 8 Aug 2011
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This is a topic I'm watching closely as I'm hearing a lot of the scarey stories too, and I'm in Ireland!

One comment that I got was that our truck (unimog) would be of great interest to drug runners, and was more likely to be stolen from us that bikes or smaller 4x4's.

Any truth to that?

I'm hoping to be heading from new mexico in March next year.

Merv.
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  #17  
Old 8 Aug 2011
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You're truck is going to stick out like a sore thumb and will be of little interest to the drug runners whom you will likely never even get close to.
Most of the "narco" crime is not narco related, most of it now is related to emerging mafias that are into extortion, kidnapping, and local drug sales not international movements. The cartels have been fighting to serve the growing national market and maintaining their routes for international smuggling.
They also control almost all of the illegal immigration at both ends of Mexico.
You'll be fine and will have a great time. I've been living here full time for close to two decades and believe me, travelers have no problems compared to people who live here. There is a huge difference. Think of it like Ireland during your period of the "troubles". Did people stop visiting Ireland because of pub bombings and soldier shootings? It's a similar situation here. The US media likes to blow things out of proportion and the Mexican media never tells the truth anyways.

Just to update this, be aware that the urban area of Veracruz/Boca del Rio has seen a large increase in organized crime related daytime shootouts on major throughfares. Two attacks on Sunday left a half a dozen dead including a tourist injured in a grenade attack. Daytime shootouts on heavily transited routes is becoming more the norm here so be aware as if you are crossing the cities of Veracruz/Boca del Rio, these are the roads you will be on.

Last edited by MikeMike; 15 Aug 2011 at 23:37.
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  #18  
Old 10 Aug 2011
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Great to read all the feedback and comments. We are currently about 3 weeks away from entering Mexico and are torn between entering Baja and somewhere more central: Douglas has been suggested, for example. Anyone got a recent point of entry and recommendation?
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  #19  
Old 1 Apr 2012
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We have since safely negotiated Mexico. It wasnt as dangerous as the USA would have us believe, but still we kept our wits about us and made it out without any bad things happening. People were really nice and the whole country was just amazing. We stayed off the road at night and looked after our stuff, and had a great time. Recommended big time!
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  #20  
Old 30 Apr 2012
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3 week so far

I've spent the past three weeks in Mexico following the eastern coast meandering from the Gulf coast to the mountains east of Mexico DF. I'm now in the Yucatan following the coastline and exploring the interior. I have not even once felt unsecured of unsafe. I have met some great people and made new friends. Everything seems pretty chill here even the driving is relaxing with very few aggressive drivers compared to the US. In fact I am dreading returning to the high speed aggressive nightmare that is driving in the USA!

Some will say that the murder rate is higher in Mexico. This may be true but only if you are involved with the cartels.
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  #21  
Old 5 May 2012
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We criss-crossed Mexico by car, instead of bike or truck: Crisscrossing Mexico by car - including the dangerous North - Gentleman Adventurer

Our subjective impression was that Mexico's crime level is probably a little higher than in the US, however the abusive behavior by security officials is much, much higher in the US.

I would go back to Mexico anytime for pleasure, but limit myself to important business trips when going to the US.
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  #22  
Old 5 May 2012
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US officials are out of control, and I feel that far too many are on some little Napoleon type power trip.
One interesting thing on the Genteleman Traveller post was the picture of arms seized in Mexico.
Most people in the world don't know that the majority of arms seized in Mexico have come from the US. And the American government says that Mexico is dangerous?

I am not talking about American people here, but bureaucrats and officials.
For the most part, the general population of any nation are pretty much the same, they are curious, kind, willing to chat, pass the time of day, etc... and the common thread throughout the regular folks of the world is that we are at the mercy of bully bureaucrats and government officials, not to mention politicians.

Whoa! Do I feel better now!
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  #23  
Old 5 May 2012
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Quote:
For the most part, the general population of any nation are pretty much the same, they are curious, kind, willing to chat, pass the time of day, etc...
Well said, Mike!
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  #24  
Old 16 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelbug View Post
however the abusive behavior by security officials is much, much higher in the US.
I've never met more rude and aggressive customs and immigration officers anywhere in the world than the USA and I carry a US passport. I hate returning got the USA because of this...hmmm maybe I just won't come back next time.

I have had many interactions with local, federal and military police in Mexico and never have I felt threatened or that I was treated rudely.
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  #25  
Old 21 May 2012
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I couldn't agree more about the comments related to U.S. officials. I actually tried to cross the border in Brownsville / Matamoros this morning (planning to stop in Tampico and Veracruz during my route down to South America), realized that the vehicle registration office in Mexico was closed on Sunday, so had to turn around and go back through U.S. passport control. After a rude interrogation, they scared the crap out of me about Mexico, citing several recent brutal massacres and kidnappings. So I am going to try to cross again tomorrow morning, but I am a little nervous. I have spent all day on the HUBB researching Mexico, and you guys are making me feel much more comfortable. I have heard so many different stories over the past several weeks as I have conducted my research, but many of them are unrelated to the type of travel that we do. I understand the situation with drug cartels, kidnappings, road blocks, even petty theft. But has anyone heard of any serious crimes committed recently against a tourist on a motorcycle? Tourist on a motorcycle being the key phrase there...I'm trying to compare apples to apples. A grenade set off in a casino does not concern me nearly as much as a gringo bike-jacking along a major east coast highway for example. Anyone hear of any trouble like this lately?

Thanks,

Ryan
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  #26  
Old 21 May 2012
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Ryan, I am in Veracruz if you need anything.

I live and ride here and have done so for almost 20 years full time and since my first time in 1978.
There have been no bike hijackings on coast roads.
American customs and immigration officers are more often than not: heavy handed, rude, and for the most part, out of control.
I wish American people understood how poorly this reflects on their country and that they should not tolerate this
kind of chronic behaviour on the part of these officials.

Last edited by MikeMike; 21 May 2012 at 13:06.
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  #27  
Old 21 May 2012
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Thanks for the reply Mike, I decided to delay another day, but I plan to cross tomorrow and will keep you posted on how things go.
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  #28  
Old 22 May 2012
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You've got a fairly good two day window of weather for today (Tuesday) and tomorrow. I recommend that if you cross at Brownsville/Matamoros, do it first thing in the morning with all your paperwork in order and then get to Tampico your first day or Tuxpan if you are able to. The next day will be a breeze and you can take advantage of a little detour to see the majesty of the ruins at El Tajin and ride one of the best roads in these parts which is Tlapacoyan up to the 16th century city of Teziutlan just across the Veracruz-Puebla state line (the right hand route). Let me know if you need routing or maps.
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  #29  
Old 23 May 2012
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Thanks Mike, I arrived in Tampico safely today...no safety issues or concerns during any point of the trip. I see Teziutlan on the map and can see how to take main roads to get there, but it is a few hours out of the way (since I have limited time for my trip, I'm kind of bee-lining for Chile, which is a bit of a shame, but reality never the less). How good is the drive? Worth the detour?

Also, would you recommend a good area or a fun hotel to stay at in Veracruz? Any guidance would be much appreciated as my current plan consists of showing up and walking in to the first hotel that looks like a fit.

Thanks!
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  #30  
Old 23 May 2012
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I think it is worth the drive because you will see something different than the very boring coast highway Mex #180 but hey, if you are in a rush, skip that and then do the coast ride down to Catemaco instead of through the Tuxtlas as it only makes about an hour difference from Veracruz. The Tuxtlas are fun for 15 minutes or less if you are in heavy traffic which is normal. The other coast road is more fun, let me know if you want the details.
Hotels?
I can recommend the Nu Hotel which is right behind the main bus terminal and is a budget hotel that is fairly new (Nu get it??) it also has a good coffee shop and limited secure parking at the side. The Rivoli Select Hotel is more expensive but has secure underground parking, great restaurant, and is well located near the beaches on the boulevard Ruiz Cortines. Either one will see you having a good stay. I am booked solid tomorrow or I would offer to ride to Catemaco with you. Let me know if you need a map.
Have fun and ride safe.
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