By Manzanillo Sun Writer from the November 2014 Edition
Personally, if you’re bringing an RV, regardless of class, into Mexico, then you have to be a little braver than most. I would recommend some long-term planning, correspondence, and reservations before you leave and while on the trip make sure your stops are within easy travel range from one to another.
I went to the internet to see what I could see. The first site I looked at informed me that there were a total of seven RV Parks in Mexico. In all fairness to the author who stated that this list wasn’t a ‘comprehensive’ list, I thought I would continue looking. I noticed that the third advertised listing in Google was for an RV Park which wasn’t listed in the first one’s directory. The second site listed four sites servicing eight states all the way down to Michoacan (there’s two Parks listed in Patzcuaro). But, it didn’t list the RV Park advertised in the first site I went to.
The third web site I visited has them scattered all over the place. So many, in fact, they list them by North/South routs: Baja; West Coast; Interior; Gulf Coast; and Yucatan. I clicked on the West Coast Route and found that there is an RV Park in Manzanillo. I tried following their directions with Google Earth and never located the place. The web site shows a picture of a 12 foot camper and a 20 foot trailer pulled up under some trees. The amenities listed are non-existent. I’m thinking that if you’re planning a RV trip to Manzanillo that this would be a nice place to park and store your RV while you stay in some of the fantastic hotels and motels along the strip oh well. Acapulco has at least one park that has 150 pull-through slots with full hook-ups. Freda advises that you keep your RV off the road that connects the two cities although I can’t imagine why. Something about pot holes and ‘bandidos’ was mentioned. I figured I had given enough time to the internet for RV Park locations as I don’t plan to take mine down there for some time indeed.
If you’re coming down you don’t need to worry about fuel as long as you’re careful by not letting your gauge get too far down before looking for the next Pemex station. It’s always a good idea to get out and stretch your legs next to the pump while they are filling your tank. Oh, and make sure you get a receipt.
I also recommend that you stick to the toll roads. The toll fees run by the number of axles you have. When Freda and I drove up the last time we figured the tolls for the car cost us about $110.00 one way to Nogales from Manzanillo. That was in 2012. A friend of Freda’s told her the other day that the tolls today for an RV cost about the same as the amount you put into gas. The stations are all owned by the government but franchised and some of the people working the pumps have figured out ways of scraping a little cash off the top now and then.
There is a magic line that runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Baja or the Golfo de California. It runs about 25 miles in from the border thru all the states except Baja. It establishes the limit of the distance you can go without obtaining Mexican import registration. They did this so their Frontier States can soak up the tourist dollars without too much hassle about immigration or obtaining a visa. And it works out pretty good for everybody. The entire State of Baja is open for nonimmigrant travel all the way down.
The last time I spent any time on any of those beaches they were mostly desolate stretches of sand and rock sprinkled with some type of small farming and fishing villages. Today, I understand, the Baja is almost lined solid with everything from class A RV’s down to sleeping bags thrown in next all sorts of resorts. A friend of mine from Tijuana who used to race in the Baja One Thousand told me that he had to stop because of the pedestrian and other tourist activity along the route. Personally, I think he just got too old to go skipping through the desert at 100 miles an hour plus. Go over that magic line and you’ll need immigration papers for your car, boat, train, motorcycle, RV, Zunndapp (little one cylinder, two cycle, three wheeled vehicles found all over except in the U.S. and Canada), or anything the moves on powered wheels.
If you go into Mexico, even to the border customs station, you really need to have MEXICAN insurance on your vehicle. It’s available everywhere; On-line, in the States, Canada, along the border, Inside Mexico, and on various street corners. There are a couple of issues here that need to be spelled out. The first is that you can purchase Mexican Insurance along the border (Stateside). Make sure its Mexican Insurance and not American Insurance with a Mexican rider. That stuff doesn’t work in Mexico.
Again it’s a buyer be aware of things. Regardless of where you get it you will need it as you cross the border and you should get it from a reputable insurance broker or dealer. Here again, there are folks out there that would scam you if they possibly could. So, please be careful.
If you’re going into Mexico with an RV or any motorized vehicle and are going beyond the 25 mile limit or “free zone” as it’s called, you will need to register your vehicle either as a tourist for anything up to 180 days all the way to you never coming back and becoming a citizen. The Manzanillo Sun posted a number of articles on the subject of immigration from tourist to forever and will continue to do so whenever we become aware of changes in the system or changes in the methodology of the requirements by the Mexican Government. Barring all of that, for vehicles please deal with a reparable company or broker. If you start thinking you want to live permanently there or want to purchase any kind of real estate, please remember that there is no requirement for these ‘agents’ to have any kind of a license to deal in real estate. As a result my best advice is, as in the states, have a lawyer represent you during closing.
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