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Zihua to SD

Zihuatanejo, Gurrero Mexico

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Posted: 04/19/22 09:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi everyone, nice site you have with lots of information. I don't have an RV, but hope someone can give advice on the best way to get from Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico to the San Diego area. We are a little nervous never having driven in Mexico over a period of days, but I guess you are all old hands doing so.

First, let me state some facts, we are two people and will be traveling with two small dogs. We are US citizens with Mexican residency. The trip would be in the about 6-8 weeks in duration, then we would return to Zihuatanejo.

Mapping the route to Sonoyta (is that the best route?) it looks like about 28 hours, so that would require 2 overnights. Could someone suggest the best towns to stop in, probably something decent sized where a hotel would allow the pets.

Everything I have read says keep to the toll roads, don't drive at night, etc., please feel free to offer up any other tips.

As far as a resident crossing the border to the US, I think I need to fill out the FMM as is required while flying, but I have read that the officials never seem to check. How would that work on the way back to Mexico if they ask for my FMM to re-enter?

Does the US require any paperwork to enter regarding the dogs? On the way back into Mexico, I see an inspection from SENASICA may or may not be required. As long as I have vaccination and other vet records is that all that is needed? When flying them down the airlines required a lot more (health cert from vet at $260 each within 5 days of flight).

Any other information that is pertinent that I have neglected to ask would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Talleyho69

Playa la Ropa, Zihuatanejo, Mexico

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Posted: 04/19/22 02:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Easy drive. You should seriously consider taking longer than you plan so you can see some of the great sights along the way.

Head north toward Lazaro Cardenes and take the toll road heading inland. If you stay on it, you will buy pass everything including Morelia. Remember that all tolls are cash and only pesos.

Get to Hwy 15D also a toll road and head north. Watch for the bypass for Guadalajara, it is a lifesaver. All of these bypasses will be shown on online maps.

We drove down 4 years ago and stopped for just two nights also. Tepic is a great city to stop at, if you do, don't take the bypass. The main road circles around town and isn't bad.

Hotels are easy with the dogs, we were traveling with two large dogs and a cat. You want a nice "no tell motel." These are fairly easy to spot, they are NICE, and have both an entrance and an exit drive. Garages have nice doors or curtains. They don't care if you bring in farm animals as long as the room is in good condition when you leave. The parking is very secure, the ones we have used are very clean and often have interesting extras, like a sex chair, porno flicks, a sex toy menu to name a few. They also often have food delivery services. They will quote you a rate for a few hours usually, but will give you a price for more. We hit the road at 6am each day, and as we were walking out the door the phone rang to remind us it was time. We highly recommend them. They are often found on the edges of towns. In Tepic we made the mistake of not asking for AC and wish we had.

Back on Hwy 15D head north, always taking the bypasses around towns. There will be gas stations along the way, all taking credit cards, misc restaurants and snacks in the stations. We loaded an ice chest so that all we really needed was ice and liquids. There are always places to pee the dogs at toll booths, and ususally restrooms. All toll roads have the letter D.

We spent our second night in Navajoa at a spectacular "no tell motel." It had a large planter in the open roof garage area so all we had to do is clean up after the dogs in the morning and all was well. It was a great break for the three of them.

Stay on the toll roads until Santa Ana where you take the turn toward Sonoyta. Most of that route is also toll road and the desert scenery is fabulous.

When you get near the border you will see where visitors turn in their vehicle permits. Hopefully someone will jump in and say exactly where that is now, it moves. Take in your residency cards and passport and they will stamp you out. Make sure they stamp you for exit, not enter. Repeat the same on the way back.
It would be easy to just blow it off and exit and reenter without doing this, but if someone decided to check you, you'll have a problem.

All the dogs need is a rabies certificate, and only if they ask for it. Check out the stickies above, especially the Border Crossing Tips.

Sonoyta is a very quiet border crossing except on Sunday's when the world leaves Puerto Penasco and heads back to the US. Otherwise, you can expect to just drive up to the border and be in the US in a couple of minutes.

Watch your speeds on the roads, there will be speed traps all along the way.

We made a point of changing drivers about every 3 hours and getting out and stretching ourselves and the dogs. We were glad we did because we made it through easily. We know we could have done longer stints, but that made it easy.

Reentering with the dogs is incredibly easy. The health certificates the airlines require is simply their policy. All you need legally is the rabies. When you do return to Mexico, all you need to do is to get your passport restamped entry, let them look at your residency card, and you are on your way. With Guerrero plates, no one will look at your vehicle or even you. If you didn't legally have to stop and check in and out of country you wouldn't even have to slow down upon entry.

We spent 2 months in California four years ago. We never were stopped with our Guerrero plated vehicle and entering the US was simply handing them our passports, having them scanned and being sent on our way. Amazing. Even more amazing was that our Qualitas insurance covered us in the US!

I'm sure that others will have more great information to add.

Zihua to SD

Zihuatanejo, Gurrero Mexico

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Posted: 04/19/22 03:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Talley Ho, you are a lifesaver. Thank you so much for taking the time to make such a detailed post! You even answered questions I had but didn't ask for the sake of not driving everyone crazy. One of which was about insurance. I also have Qualitas, and was going to see if I would be covered in the US, but figured it was a huge longshot. I will double check to make sure my policy is the same as yours before we go.

We bought a new car here in January and still don't have the plates, I can't believe how long it is taking. Hopefully they will arrive before mid July when we plan to take this trip. If not, we do have the paperwork showing the registration (or whatever they call it here) has been paid. Sure would be nice to have the plates thou and not have to worry.

Regarding the tolls, I've been thru one in Cabo and it was manned (unlike most in the US) so I assume paper pesos are okay, or do I need to stock up on coin?

Lastly, about the stamping in and out that you mention. Are you referring to passports or the FMM? It sounds like passports but I didn't realize there was an in or out.

moisheh

North America

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Posted: 04/19/22 06:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Talleyho. What a nice write up. You should publish a guide like the Churches.

Talleyho69

Playa la Ropa, Zihuatanejo, Mexico

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Posted: 04/19/22 07:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you both for your kind words, but it would be too much like real work! We get great pleasure sharing our loves with others!

When we had to go back to the states to sell everything we had, the RV, our collectors car, our home of 38 years and get back soon, we bought a Durango here in Guerrero, and an 8 foot enclosed cargo trailer also, eventually, Guerrero plated. We decided that our kitchen, our art and other important things would fit in the trailer, and if not, they weren't important. It has turned out to be a great decision for us. We will have been here for 4 years on June 22.

This is not the place to worry about bothering people, it's a place for information. Thanks to Covid, it's been dead, but we hope things and interest in traveling here pick up!

When you get back to our paradise, we live on Playa la Ropa and we can meet for a beverage, if you would like.

Talleyho69

Playa la Ropa, Zihuatanejo, Mexico

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Posted: 04/19/22 07:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The plates for your vehicle???? IF you have Mexico driver's licenses and the paper we printed out on line and the receipt of payment for your new plates, you will be fine.

We never had to show our driver's licenses, but felt very confident with them in hand!

navegator

San Diego CA.

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Posted: 04/20/22 08:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As long as the VIN (vehicle identification number) located on the left, lower corner of the wind sield (steering wheel side) and/or sticker on left front door maches the one on the vehicle's paperwork AKA "tarjeta de circulacion" or bill of sale you should be OK crossing the border, US customs might take a closer look at the vehicle if the plates are not on it and register the VIN number, be prepared for a thorough vehicle search.

As far as I know if you have a Mexican resident card you do not need the FMM, that is for turistas.

navegator

Zihua to SD

Zihuatanejo, Gurrero Mexico

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Posted: 04/20/22 11:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks guys, I do have the paperwork showing the registration has been paid, but no actual license plates. As I said, we bought the car new in January, I would sure hope they would arrive by mid July when we leave Zihua for San Diego, but it sounds like it should be okay even if they don't.

I don't have a Mexican drivers license yet, I've been planning on getting one but just have been too tempted to stay at the pool/beach. I will get on that this week.

Talley Ho, a drink would be great, we are also in La Ropa, at the top of the hill in Cerro del Vigia. Our treat in exchange for picking your brain.

Talleyho69

Playa la Ropa, Zihuatanejo, Mexico

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Posted: 04/20/22 12:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We went to check on plates this morning, and were told sometime after May 15. I read somewhere that they gave all of us a July 31 date before we need to worry about not having plates.

We live next door to LOOT, so you drive by us regularly. You probably see us paddling and swimming most mornings, too.

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