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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be crossing the border from Laredo on Sept. 30, probably in early afternoon. I will be driving an SUV, pulling a trailer and there will be 4 people in the car. I'm entering with an FM3 and I'm bringing some household items.

Are there certain bridges that can be used when entering Mexico as described above? If you can use more than one bridge, is one better than the other?

Is early afternoon as good a time as any to cross the border?

Thanks so much for your help.
 

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I will be crossing the border from Laredo on Sept. 30, probably in early afternoon. I will be driving an SUV, pulling a trailer and there will be 4 people in the car. I'm entering with an FM3 and I'm bringing some household items.

Are there certain bridges that can be used when entering Mexico as described above? If you can use more than one bridge, is one better than the other?

Is early afternoon as good a time as any to cross the border?

Thanks so much for your help.
Since you are pulling a trailer, I would strongly recommend taking the Columbia Bridge north of Laredo. There are signs for it as you come south on the freeway. It is never crowded and gives you tons of room compared to the narrow streets of Laredo that you have to navigate to get to INM. You will get across in no time and everything is in one spot, including stamping your FM3 for reentry.

Early afternoon is OK, depending on where you plan to spend the night and the route you plan on taking. For example, around noon will get you into Matehuala before dark, if that is your route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Route from Laredo to Ajijic

Since you are pulling a trailer, I would strongly recommend taking the Columbia Bridge north of Laredo. There are signs for it as you come south on the freeway. It is never crowded and gives you tons of room compared to the narrow streets of Laredo that you have to navigate to get to INM. You will get across in no time and everything is in one spot, including stamping your FM3 for reentry.

Early afternoon is OK, depending on where you plan to spend the night and the route you plan on taking. For example, around noon will get you into Matehuala before dark, if that is your route.
Thanks for your prompt reply!

I've ordered a Guia Roji road atlas but have not received it yet, so I'm not sure of the best route to Ajijic. We want to take the toll roads, if that is the fastest way. The friends who will be with me are under some time constraints, so we want to get to Ajijic as soon as possible in order that they will have several days to stay.

Thanks again.
 

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Thanks for your prompt reply!

I've ordered a Guia Roji road atlas but have not received it yet, so I'm not sure of the best route to Ajijic. We want to take the toll roads, if that is the fastest way. The friends who will be with me are under some time constraints, so we want to get to Ajijic as soon as possible in order that they will have several days to stay.

Thanks again.
From the Columbia Bridge, you want to take Rt 2 to the cuota which is 85 to Monterrey. Do NOT go into Monterrey, but continue on the periférico (still the cuota) which circles around the west end of the city. From there take 57 (cuota, not libre) to Matehuala. Get off the cuota to enter Matehuala from the north end of town. For cheap accommodations in a clean but 50's-era "resort, " stay in the second motel on your right entering town. It has a 360 degree road all the way around the premises and plenty of space to park with a trailer without having to go into reverse. The name of the place is either Oasis or the Capris. One of these is the first motel (good restaurant, bad rooms) and the second one is my recommendation (adequate cheap clean rooms and bad restaurant).
Go back north to return to the cuota south. Head for San Luís Potosí. ¡DO NOT TAKE ROUTE 80 to Lagos de Moreno! It is a torturous road over the top of the mountains. Continue on 57/80 til you see signs for Lagos de Moreno and Guadalajara. There is a new cuota that is mostly only two lanes now. In Lagos de Moreno the signage is terrible. You will pass the main church and an in-town Pemex. If in doubt, ask directions. From there you take 80 (cuota) all the way to Guadalajara. Follow the signs in Guad to Chapala/Airport. The signage is good.

This is one of two main routes, and our preferred route. Others swear by the route through Zacatecas which has fewer cuotas but takes, we hear, about the same amount of time. ¡Qué le vaya bien!
 

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Don't forget that the bridge before the actual crossing now needs a Texas tag toll reader on your vehicle. There is no human there to accept the toll payment.




Since you are pulling a trailer, I would strongly recommend taking the Columbia Bridge north of Laredo. There are signs for it as you come south on the freeway. It is never crowded and gives you tons of room compared to the narrow streets of Laredo that you have to navigate to get to INM. You will get across in no time and everything is in one spot, including stamping your FM3 for reentry.

Early afternoon is OK, depending on where you plan to spend the night and the route you plan on taking. For example, around noon will get you into Matehuala before dark, if that is your route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Texas Tag Toll Reader

Don't forget that the bridge before the actual crossing now needs a Texas tag toll reader on your vehicle. There is no human there to accept the toll payment.
Well, I do not have a tag toll reader on my car - I have no reason to have one...what now? There must be thousands of people every day like me who get to Laredo without this! What are all of us supposed to do?
 

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Don't forget that the bridge before the actual crossing now needs a Texas tag toll reader on your vehicle. There is no human there to accept the toll payment.
There is an ATM-like machine that sells the tag toll card for $20 USD right before the bridge. With a trailer, I'd say it is worth it.
 

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Here is a very recent post from chapala.com:
Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:17 AM
Several weeks ago we used the Columbia crossing. We did not have the required prepaid toll. There was however a place to buy one. It was very easy, not crowded and the minimum cost is $20 usd. Be sure to have cash as credit cards are not excepted. On an earlier post someone mentioned that the form that needed to be completed for the prepaid pass was asking for to much personal information. From my prospective there was no info on the form that was to personal to not be completed; name, email address, home address, etc. I don't recall if it asked for my ssn but I am not reluctant to provide this as I believe anybody can obtain this with little or no effort if they want it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Crossing at Laredo

There is an ATM-like machine that sells the tag toll card for $20 USD right before the bridge. With a trailer, I'd say it is worth it.
Thank you so much. If you know of any more surprises I should expect, I would really appreciate it (from you veterans)!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Crossing at Laredo

Thank you so much. If you know of any more surprises I should expect, I would really appreciate it (from you veterans)!
Are the machines where you buy the tag reader at all bridges? As you suggested, I will cross on the Columbia bridge...thanks again.
 

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El Toro - that is really good news - you might want to post that info in some other places because your posting is the first I have heard about it. Not to say that others don't already know.





There is an ATM-like machine that sells the tag toll card for $20 USD right before the bridge. With a trailer, I'd say it is worth it.
 

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I already posted the chapala.com story about buying a tag at the bridge. There is also a non-toll road from Laredo, starting at the "Red Roof Inn" exit on 35. Here is another take on this controversy:

When we heard about the Columbia International Bridge Crossing outside of Laredo, we jumped at the alternative and have since taken it every time we drive to the States. Heading North on Mexico Rte #85, after the customs checkpoint, take Mex Rte #2 toward Columbia International Bridge IV. Drive 18 miles, then take the right ramp for Piedras Negras, drive another 11 miles and turn Right into the International Crossing area. Pay 23 pesos to cross the bridge, with US Immigration and Passport Control booths immediately located, once you’re over the Rio Grande. During our recent trip two weeks ago, we were the only car on the bridge, crossed and were through US Immigration, cruising into Texas in 15 minutes. It’ a safe and efficient snap.

Now comes the new hitch that every traveler using this bridge needs to know about. There is a 22 mile stretch from the border to US 35 on Texas 255, a Texas toll road. Until June 1, we could stop and pay the $2.00US toll at the manned booth. No more. Now there is just an abandoned, unmanned booth with a sign stating “Texas Tag” only. There are no services on this road, nothing but sagebrush and rattle snakes, no where to buy this thing called a “Texas Tag” and a fine of $250 for going through without one. If you don’t have a Texas Tag affixed to your windshield, you must take the road all the way back to Nuevo Laredo and begin Rte #35 there.

Fortunately, someone had alerted us to this new procedure long before we made the journey. By going on line at TxTag.org, you get a prepaid sticker sent to you for your windshield with a minimum purchase of $20. This tag is good on all Texas toll roads and more money can be added to the account on line or by calling 1-888-9824 whenever the amount drops below a certain point.

The process is easy and the tag works like a charm, but you must know about it before you set out, either going from Texas to Mexico or in the other direction if you want to use the convenience of the Columbia Bridge. We checked on line once we got to Texas, and sure enough, our account reflected a $2 charge for Texas 255 and (2)$1.50 charges on the Sam Houston Tollway. Hope this information helps those travelers crossing the US/ Mexico border.
 

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crossing at laredo

been going to colotlan jaisco my entire life.flying into guadalajara. family home is located in town.colotlan is the capital of pitilliado and will be driving down to colotlan jalisco in middle of jan 2010 from chicagoland. planning on crossing in laredo early in the am. town is just south of zacatecas zacatecas. how expensive are the tolls? then from colotlan gonna continue to puerto vallarta. any expat adv. appr. thanks. Robert
 
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