RVing in Mexico

Fall 2004 CSANews Issue 52  |  Posted date : May 15, 2007.Back to list

If you're looking for a new destination or a new mode of travel, why not travel to Mexico in an RV? My wife and I have made 9 extensive trips into Mexico. And we've enjoyed ourselves more and more with each journey.

There is so much to explore in Mexico. You can climb one of the pyramids found at the Mayan Ruins, scattered throughout the central mountain region of the Yucatan. Or you can investigate the quaint mountain cities. There are many old churches and cathedrals throughout Mexico. These ancient houses of worship are sure to amaze any traveller with their grander and beauty.

Half the fun of traveling in Mexico is the joy of wandering through a marketplace and bartering with the merchants to purchase some of the local wares. Spanish is the language of Mexico.

However, most of the locals make an effort to learn English for the tourist trade, since a good portion of their commerce is with the visitors from the U.S. and Canada. If your Spanish language skills are weak, simply carry a calculator. The international language of numbers is quite effective in reaching a bottom line.

In essence, there are two Mexicos. One is Mexico by the beach and the other is Mexico in the mountains. If you are a beach lover, enjoy the fabulous snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea on the east coast. You can also visit the more familiar Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean on the west coast. If you prefer the warmer climates, visit the South Pacific Coast, Acapulco, or Puerto Escondido, where it is 35 degrees Celsius every day.

To enjoy more moderate temperatures, visit the mountain regions. The cities that lie about 500 feet above sea level have an ideal climate. The daytime temperature rests at about 27 degrees Celsius and the nights are a comfortable 15 degrees Celsius; excellent for sleeping. The higher you go up the mountains, the more extreme the temperature change. At about 7,000 feet the nights tend to get too cool for comfort. Although there are many beautiful mountain cities, some of my favorites include Guanajuato, Patzcuaro, and Oaxaca.

Generally, it is a good idea to stay away from the cities into which the "tourists" fly. Life is much quieter and certainly less expensive this way. I have also found that when you mingle more with the people, as you seem to do in an RV, you can become more acquainted with the local people.

Over the years, many people have expressed interest in the safety and affordability of Mexico. Mexico is very safe. In my opinion, Mexico is safer than Texas. If you've spent much time in south Texas, you've heard the horror stories about Mexico. These tales are mostly untrue and were likely started by the Texan Tourist industry to keep the tourism dollars from crossing the border. In Mexico, hand guns and guns in general are prohibited. This is a notion that Canadians are quite comfortable with, which would explain why 70% of the RV traffic in Mexico is Canadian. You may feel more comfortable traveling with another couple or in a caravan, but over the years my wife and I have always managed well on our own.

espite the great deals you may have heard about on meals, goods, prescription drugs, and alcohol, Mexico is not necessarily a cheap place to travel. Gas is about 95 cents per litre. Campgrounds cost between $15 and $30 dollars per day and monthly rates range between $250 and $500. Most of these campgrounds aren't quite what one might be used to in the rest of North America, but most are adequate, with some that are closer to the "poor" category. These "poor" rated campgrounds usually have weak power supplies and low water pressure. But for a night or two it doesn't hurt to "rough it" a little.

On a long journey, you could see your toll costs reach as high as $500. When you enter the country, you have to purchase a travel visa for each person, as well as a temporary import permit for the vehicle. The paperwork for these documents will cost about $75. Since your Canadian vehicle insurance is not valid in Mexico, you will have to buy additional Mexican insurance, which is readily available in the border towns. Sanborn's Insurance is one of the most well known providers for such coverage.

t is highly recommended that you conduct your business with cash. This doesn't mean that you have to carry enormous amounts around with you, as ATMs are readily available throughout the country.

For keeping in touch with friends and family, we found that communicating by email is easy and affordable, and there are several reasonably priced internet cafés. If you prefer to hear the voices of your loved ones, you can use phone cards or a service called "Canada Direct". We have also found that an excellent source of comfort for our wheel estate is a Star Choice satellite dish. These systems work everywhere in Mexico and are well complemented by a satellite finder that is available at Radio Shack.

We love Mexico, the scenery, and the people. In Mexico they have a saying, "Mi casa, es su casa," which means "my house is your house". And they mean it.

Stan Hicks is a CSA Member from Ninga, Manitoba. In the winter, Stan and his wife split their time between Brownsville, Texas and Mexico. This year, the Hicks will be spending five months in Mexico.

Leon is the center for leather goods.
Taxaco is known for its silver.
Tonala near Guadalajara is the pottery center.
Papantla and Gutierrez Zamora are famous for vanilla.

Items from all of these places are available in most markets ("mercado" in Spanish)

Good Reading
A must have for your trip through Mexico is "Mexican Camping" by Mike and Terri Church. It can be purchased by calling 1-888-265-6555 or you can buy it on-line. We typed the title in Google and found it on our first attempt.

Cover your Vehicle
Visit www.sanborninsurance.com for information about purchasing insurance for your car, RV, and/or boat while traveling in Mexico. Sanborn's Insurance has over 50 offices located at all major U.S./Mexico border crossings, as well as in Mexico.