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Driving in Mexico

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Mexico information - Driving into/in
When coming from the US, some important tips:

First: be sure to have the Mexican coverage on your car insurance (or get one locally). Car brand/model: I will highly recommend to have a car that is locally available - and if possible: common -, most major brands do have agencies in Guadalajara, but not all models are available, you can ask us or check in the web by searching your brand with a .mx at the end (like ford.com.mx). If you do so, your repairs will be easier, faster and cheaper. Mechanics do not differ with the ones in the US or Canada (if you have dealt with them you know what I mean).

If you have a car trouble on the road, the Green Angels (Los Angeles Verdes) are government sponsored mechanics who speak English and patrol the highways in green trucks. If you have access to a phone (or someone stops with a cell phone), their number is (01) 800-903-9200. The service is free except for costs for gas or parts, but be generous with their tip since the government pays them next to nothing and they just saved you from serious trouble getting help any other way.

The Mexican Revenue Department has provided the following guidance for taking a car into Mexico. Contact the nearest Mexican consulate in the United States for more information.

What do you need before leaving your home?

Vehicle Registration or Title for your vehicle (bring original and two copies).
A valid U.S. or Canadian Driver's License.
Proof of Legal Residence in the U.S.: Birth Certificate, Passport, or Resident Alien Card.
What are the procedures when you get to the border?

Go to the Mexican Customs (ADUANA)/Vehicle Control Checkpoint
Fill out form: Tourist Card (FMT or FME).
Go to Banjercito (Mexican Army Bank) with those three Forms.
Complete vehicle security deposit procedure by using any of the three available methods: Credit Card, Bond or Bank Deposit.
What other information should you know about driving your car in Mexico?

You must have these documents with you while driving: TEMPORARY IMPORT PERMIT, VEHICLE RETURN PROMISE AGREEMENT, Tourist Card (FMT or FME), Your Driver's License, Proof of Citizenship. IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not leave any documents in your unattended vehicle.
The temporarily imported vehicle may be driven by the spouse or adult children of the importer (U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident of the U.S.). Also, foreigners with the same Mexican immigration status of the importer may drive the vehicle.
Mexican nationals residing in Mexico or foreigners or foreigners residing permanently in Mexico may drive the vehicle only if the importer, the importer's spouse or the importer's adult son or daughter is in the vehicle.

Toll Roads :

Use toll roads!, put attention to your driving and do not miss, free roads are usually slower and more dangerous, besides it will save you gas and time.

Driving into Guadalajara:

Once you are in Ajijic, going to Guadalajara will be a common trip, Guadalajara is a HUGE city and traffic has become impossible, it can take from one hour to three hours to go trough the whole city - if you do not get lost -.

Getting lost in Guadalajara is common for new comers and newbies, the worst part is that apart from Chapala area, in Guadalajara most people will not speak English, so be careful and pay a lot of attention. Most new cells will work in Mexico and a in Cell GPS is your best friend.

Fortunately for Us, there are not many reasons to go, most paperwork and shopping can now be done in Chapala.

Main areas of interest (to foreigners) in Guadalajara:

Tlaquepaque: old country town is now engulfed in the city, you will find nice and fancy Mexican furniture, art, clothing, accessories and more, you drive pass the airport, pass periferico ring and when arriving to “glorieta del alamo” (alamo roundabout) take to the right on Niños Heroes, drive all the way where it meets “Marcelino Garcia Barragan”, turn right and park, you are there. If you want to go to a shopping mall , there is a new large mall five blocks from there, ask at any store (all stores will have English fluent clerks).

Tonala Market: huge and incredibly priced crafts market, some furniture and bargain art. Drive pass the airport, pass periferico ring and before arriving to “glorieta del alamo” (alamo roundbout) take the “Mexico city” highway to the right, drive for 20 more minutes and take an exit right to Tonala, market is open Thursdays and Sundays mornings, but all shops (not the open market) are open all week, if you wand low price items go to the market, if you are looking for higher quality go to the shops.

Shopping centers south - west side: go to Guadalajara the other way, instead of going to Chapala and airport go to Jocotepec (west) and take the new freeway north, it will take you in this order to: Outlet mall - shoe outlet mall - Costco - Megamercado (big and clean supermarket by Costco) - Walmart - Sams club - Hospital Puerta de Hierro sur (state of the art hospital) - HomeDepot. and then into Guadalajara by Lopez Mateos main avenue.

Shopping centers other areas: I cant explain because there are over 50 mayor shopping malls in the city to choose from.

Downtown: historic area with lots to see and walk, museums, monuments theaters (lots of international plays in Teatro Degollado, Palco theater, Telmex auditorium or Teatro Diana), house of representatives, plazas, shopping (specially at San Juan de Dios Market or Obregon area), but I will highly recommend to have a taxi/Uber/lift or Mexican driver/guide to take you to that area.
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