Importing your car into Mexico from The USA
1) Exit immigration.
1) Clear immigration and collect your tourist permit.
2) Make 2 photocopies of your tourist permit, your car registration, drivers licence and passport.
3) Proceed to apply for a temporary vehicle import. These are $50usd and last for 10 years.
4) They will issue you a window sticker, certificate and attached form.
5) Stick the sticker on your windscreen and keep the form someplace safe, you will need to surrender it when you exit Mexico.
6) Now cross the border. Your car may be searched at this point.
7) Insurance is optional, BUT RECOMMENDED, you can purchase this at the border.
Driving in Mexico
In the 6 weeks we spent driving Mexico we encountered every type of road you could think of. A 4x4 would be recommended for this country. Highways can turn from amazingly silky smooth strips of asphalt to horrendously pitted tracks in a matter of miles.
Roads can be barely passable for 2 cars, unpaved roads and do not necessarily lead to the destination you are aiming for (we were greeted with locked gates and unpaved roads disappearing).
If you come across a road that is in construction or has roadworks on it, you will more than likely be diverted down a make shift dirt track. Some of these can be fine and smoother than the road you were originally driving on; some are horrendous.
The Mexicans love their speed bumps - called Topes in Mexico, but there aren't always warning signs notifying you of them. They are near impossible to see at night, and even during the day. You are lucky if you encounter a hump which has a sign, and even luckier if it has been painted yellow! They can range in size from garden hose, to monsters which will scrape the bottom of your car. Skid marks on the road are a good indication of topes ahead. As a general rule, slow down before you hit towns, so you able to brake quickly.
Expect to find most things in the road. Big pot holes, cows, donkeys, cowboys and children. The locals love to walk out in front of you without a moments notice. Stay alert!
Mexicans are generaly very aggressive drivers and will overtake on blind bends. If somebody is riding your rear fender indicate to let them pass. Do not attempt to keep up with the locals.
Night driving is a mixed bag. Roads can be barely passable for 2 vehicles and lorry drivers never slow down. The majority of drivers never dip their headlights either. On the otherhand, it is much cooler to drive at night than in the daytime heat and roads can be quieter.
In cities one way systems are not marked by signs. Look at which way parked cars are pointing. On the roads we encountered there were many fords (river crossings). Expect them to be from puddle depth to top of your wheels. If you are unsure of the depth, wade through before attempting to drive.
Flashing hazard lights indicate an upcoming hazard such as road works, topes or police checks.
A slow truck may indicate left to let you know it is safe to pass.
A slow truck indicating left with the driver waving out the window indicates he is going to turn left.
The cost of a litre of diesel is between $12.00 - $12.40 (0.50GBP per litre) Mexican pesos. They are generally higher in price along the Baja and areas where Americans holiday.
We used Sygic Mexico as our Sat Nav GPS. Its points of interest are limited, and within cities it takes you along some funky routes. In some cities it is unaware of one way systems (although there are no signs on one way systems). It does however, have an extensive bank of addresses and it has some really smart routing options. Available from iTunes.