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Central America and Mexico Topics specific to Central America and Mexico only.
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  #1  
Old 19 Nov 2005
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Riding in Mexico

Hi
I’m starting to make some plans for next summers ride.
I have a highly experienced, meaning a lot of miles on it, BMW F650 and am thinking of riding south through Mexico, and maybe as far south as Peru before doing a U turn and heading back towards southern Calif.
One thing that concerns me. If I were to develop some serious mechanical problems I could abandon the bike and continue on in a bus, but I think that this is illegal in Mexico, and probably other countries as well.
Is this likely to cause me any difficulty coming back? Or on future trips to Mexico?
I really don’t want to be a star in “ Mexicos Most Wanted”.
Another question. What is the typical daily budget down there?
I plan to stay in the cheapest places I can find and will probably bring some camping gear.
I am used to traveling on a low budget, I’ve spent the last three summers touring south east Asia on a bicycle.
I’ll post more questions as my plans progress.
Thanks
Bill
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  #2  
Old 19 Nov 2005
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Seems like you're thinking about the worst-case scenario, but since you asked: when I was in Mexico the law was that one could leave one's bike as "a gift to the Mexican people" and exit the country without any problems (or compensation, of course). Central American customs are more anal than South American ones about paperwork, but don't let that stop you. A reasonable budget is US$30-50 per day.

Good luck,
James
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  #3  
Old 20 Nov 2005
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with a full pre- trip servicing and basic maintenace along the way,there's no reason to assume that your BMW will breakdown beyond repair.There are good mechanics in all major cities,and FED- EX ships to almost any address on the planet.You may have some delays, and you may have to pay import taxes, but all forms of travel have some degree of risk.
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  #4  
Old 2 Dec 2005
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This sounds familiar...
I pretty much did exactly that.
I rode down there from Canada, cruised around for 4 months, and on the way north I crashed the bike. I managed to ride it to PV (where I was meeting a friend) before giving it away there to my favorite bartender in return for tequila.
I have not been back (this was last year) since than, but im not too worried. My bike was one of those freebies, it spent two years chained to a dock before setting out on my mission.
I admit, i could have had my bike fixed there for cheap, but it felt right to give it away. I had a fair bit of work done in mexico over the 12,000km and it was all good work, cheap, and always got you to the next better place to break down in.
Go for it man, mexico is still my favorite country to have ever ridden. The people will never fail you. I camped everywhere outside the citys, and never any problems to speak of. Renegade camping is still IMHO the only way to truly experience a land. The rising sun over agave fields high in the mountains give you a breath of life no hotel or campground ever could.
Im starting to ramble a bit now, but when i think of those empty backcountry roads, I want to be there. Right now.

Good luck,

Dean
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  #5  
Old 3 Dec 2005
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Dean, you are missing the issue. What you did is exactly what the Mexican government does not want you to do. They want to make sure you leave the country with your bike, otherwise you have imported and sold your bike without paying the tariff. As others on this site have found, you can leave the country without your bike, but if you ever try to reenter Mexico with a motor vehicle (past the commercial zone near the U.S. border), the customs computer is going to say no way, because you haven't checked out the last vehicle you brought in.

When you leave Mexico, you must go to customs and have them record that you left the country with your vehicle. You can easily cross the bridge back into the U.S. without doing this, but if you ever return with a motor vehicle, you will have a problem that is dificult or impossible to resolve.

Bill, in Mexico, premium gasoline is now $2.60 U.S. gallon. Hotels, except in the big cities, are $15-24 night (single).

In Guatemala and Honduras, premium is $3.50 gallon, and hotels are $8-17. Rooms with a shared bath are $3. Food costs in the markets or roadside restaurants are very low. Hopefully this info will help you budget.
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  #6  
Old 4 Dec 2005
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Mike,
Yes you are right, I know. It was a chance I had to decide to take. I looked into trying to prove my bike was in no shape to leave the country, but customs at the airport had no idea how this was to be done. I didnt try at the marina, but the customs thought that because the bike was very old, and not even worth $300, that next time I cross into mexico this will be taken into account. But I will have to cross this bridge when it comes. And I am sure this will not be easy, but what is done is done.

Obviously going through the correct procedures is the best way, sometimes they are just not practical in terms of what you require at that moment.

C'est la vie.

Cheers,

Dean
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  #7  
Old 7 Dec 2005
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If your bike is toast and it's not rideable, get an Official to give you a paper saying just that. Remove the Temp Vehicle Importation sticker from your bike. Take all paperwork to Customs at the border. A few pictures might be useful, also. Do this upon your exit, not a few years later. Keep the return receipt papers in case you have problems re-entering at some other date.
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Old 30 Dec 2005
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Check out "Mexico Online" where you can get advice from some pretty knowledgeable people that live there. You will also find numerous horror stories from people who failed to follow the rules. Had their vehicles impounded and are trying to get them back. Fines imposed on their credit cards. Ouch! Just because so and so made a trip without incident doesn't mean you will be so lucky. You may or may not be a good schmoozer. Schmoozin is part of the art of traveling. Your best bet however is to have your paperwork in order. You can ride into Mexico with no paperwork, and possibly not get stopped and checked. Turn around and ride back out. My last trip was uneventful, I never got stopped, the bike was never checked and I could have made the entire trip with no paperwork and gotten away with it. It can be done. But why would I want that spinning in my brain the entire trip? You can download on Mexico Online the 20 pages or so in English and Espanol all the rules for entry into Mexico pertaining to every kind of vehicle, what you can and cannot bring in (did you know you are not allowed to bring "Garbage Can Kids" dolls into Mexico?)(whatever the hell they are if someone can enlighten me), camping gear, fishing gear, etc.,etc. Do it right and you will have a more enjoyable trip. Buena suerte.
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  #9  
Old 3 Jan 2006
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On a side note about gear, I rode through mexico in octo '05 with full camping gear(tent, stove, cookware, inflatable mattress, etc.) and was stopped and had my luggage searched over a dozen times. I don't think there is any problem bringing in this gear, however it is something I would never recomme nd. I used the gear once and that one time it saved me 5 dollars off the price of a room. It did, however, weigh a lot and take up a lot of room. In Central America I didn't use it once. South America may be different, but I've read in other posts that hotels are cheap there as well. I would also recommend strongly a lonely planet guidebook. I did not hav one until Puerto Vallarta, and it is one of the most useful articles I had. I had a different type of book for central america, and it was one of the most useless articles I had. to have maps, locations and prices of hotels after a long day of riding while in an unfamiliar town with no street signs and all your gear on your bike wjile you leave it on the street to inquire about rooms is difficult enough without a guidebook. Your trip is sure to be amazing.
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  #10  
Old 3 Jan 2006
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Here is a post that gives recent information:
http://calebdykstra.bravejournal.com/entry/15404
Apparently you must put down a bond for your vehicle when entering Mexico (based on age or value of the machine) which is refunded when leaving.
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  #11  
Old 4 Jan 2006
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a cash bond/deposit is required if you do not have a credit card or for whatever reason choose not to use a credit card.

[This message has been edited by Narelz (edited 04 January 2006).]
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