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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know how long it takes to drive from MEX to Queretaro? We will be arriving on a Sunday at 1:55 pm and are trying to decide if there is enough time after customs, luggage retrieval and getting rental car to make it to Queretaro during daylight hours. I've driven out of MEX before and in various places in the country so am familiar with driving there.

Thanks!
 

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since you do not mention the month you will be arriving ( August December? ) today might look lke this:
Arrive 2:00PM
customs till 3PM
Getting car till 4PM
Drive - arrive Q 7 PM......sunset 8:04 PM
Times aprox.....
so today you would have daylight until your arrival in Queretaro.....hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
since you do not mention the month you will be arriving ( August December? ) today might look lke this:
Arrive 2:00PM
customs till 3PM
Getting car till 4PM
Drive - arrive Q 7 PM......sunset 8:04 PM
Times aprox.....
so today you would have daylight until your arrival in Queretaro.....hope this helps
Thanks for the quick reply. I should've mentioned I arrive 8/27.
 

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It could be as little as 2:15 from MEX to Queretaro but... and that is a huge but... it depends a little on where in Qro. you are going and it depends massively on CDMX traffic, which could easily add 90 minutes or more to the trip.

Since 8/27 is a Sunday you have a little help from the traffic gods but the bad thing is you still will have to belly up with the folks that live in northern CDMX and Estado de Mexico who are returning from their Cuernavaca or Tepotzlan weekend trips.

Since sunset here in Qro. is currently just after 8pm, you should still be able to make it in the daylight. Once you get past what folks refer to as "la última caseta" (the toll booth in el Estado de México at the very north end of metro CDMX) you should have fairly smooth sailing and it is a little under 2 hours from there -- again, depending on your destination in Qro.).

I have been making this drive every week both ways (actually leaving from the very south end of CDMX) for the last several weeks and it has taken me anywhere from 2 hours 40 minutes to 5 hours 40 minutes -- all dependent on CDMX traffic.

I wish I had a more precise answer for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, by Queretaro, I meant the City. I just don't want to be driving into Queretaro late and trying to get around the centro historico when it's hard to see.

If I knew (which I can't) I would have no problems with traffic, I would do it. Between planning in Queretaro, Guanajuato and San Miguel and wondering if the car rental will be a problem (I've had several problems with rental companies in Mexico in the past) I'll need a vacation.
 

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Last week we drove from Guanajuato (granted that is not Queretaro) to an hour south of CDMX. It was the day that the tropical storm passed through. What should have been a six hour trip was 8+ hours. The worst part was the fog. It was so bad we fell in line behind a federal policeman with his blue lights flashing and crawled along. Very few people passed the policeman it was so bad.

Do you have an android phone ? If so you should get a hold of the 'Here' app. It is free and you can download the entire map of Mexico and use the app offline. We have used it now on several long trips and it is great. (They also have a website wego.here.com - which says that this morning the trip from the airport to Queretaro should be 3 hrs 1 min).

When we drive through Mexico City we take the second level - when we can. It is great and can save hours especially during rush hour. I do not know if that would be applicable on your trip from the airport but last week we used it from the northernmost part of the City to its southernmost part. BUT - you need a small device mounted on your dash which is scanned as you drive along to pay tolls. It is called PASE. You can get it at most pharmacies - possibly even at the car rental place. Their website is idmexico.com.mx. Apparently you can use the device throughout Mexico.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
horseshoe846 - thanks for the reply. I assume you can still use money instead of having a transponder for the cuotas? It's been about 8 years since I drove on a cuota.
 

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horseshoe846 - thanks for the reply. I assume you can still use money instead of having a transponder for the cuotas? It's been about 8 years since I drove on a cuota.
Some cuotas - such as the second level - require the transponder. There are no manned toll booths. Sometimes there are people standing around trying to keep the traffic moving. And - on our last trip the transponder did not work properly at one toll and we paid in cash - but that was not in Mexico City.

I can't stress enough the difference taking the second level can make. It can be a little pricey - and the construction is more complete heading south through CDMX. Going north it does not go all the way.
 

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horseshoe846 - thanks for the reply. I assume you can still use money instead of having a transponder for the cuotas? It's been about 8 years since I drove on a cuota.
The second level that Horeshoe846 mentioned requires the transponder as do some other toll roads in CDMX. The normal toll roads (cuotas) outside of CDMX still take good old pesos. The two toll booths north of CDMX you will encounter en route to Queretaro take either transponder or pesos.

I'm not sure that if you are starting from the airport on a Sunday afternoon you will get a huge improvement from getting up onto the 2nd level of the Periférico, but that is always a crap shoot.

Driving in the centro of Queretaro is surprisingly easy and low stress. It is mostly laid out on a simple grid system with alternating one way streets. I drove around it at night the last 2 nights and it was quite easy to navigate at night just using google maps. Beware that there is some construction going on and several streets are closed. I ran into this the last 2 days but it was pretty intuitive to figure out alternative routs around the work.

San Miguel is a bit more of challenge because the street layout makes a little less sense, but it still isn't bad at all to get around as long as the traffic is not terrible like it sometimes can be.

Guanajuato on the other hand is a nightmare to drive in the centro -- day or night. I lived there and drove around it for 5 years, knew perfectly well where I was going and knew all the tunnel entrances and exits, and it still drove me nuts. Find a place to keep your rental car parked for the duration of your visit and walk or use cabs; the stress reduction will pay for the cost of the cabs.
 

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In Guanajuato we stayed at the camino real - which was a nice place to stay. We tossed them the key upon arrival and asked for the car when we left. We were pleasantly surprised that they did not hit us up for the 75 peso charge/day for parking the car which they said they would charge (perhaps someone made a mistake ?).

Also in Guanajuato - I' like to recommend the restaurant Truco 7. Very reasonably priced and great food.

Driving on the second level is like driving down a driveway - probably because most people can't afford it.
 

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Also in Guanajuato - I' like to recommend the restaurant Truco 7. Very reasonably priced and great food.
I second the Truco 7 suggestion. It is a Guanajuato classic. Service usually is absolutely horrible, but the food is good, the prices are (very) cheap and the ambiance is pretty unique. On weekends the wait can be interminable, though, if you want to eat between the standard 2:00 and 4:00 comida times. During the week, there is rarely a wait of more than a few minutes, if any.

Horseshoe846 did the smart thing and it's what I'd recommend all visitors to Guanajuato do with their car: park it for the duration of your stay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Guanajuato on the other hand is a nightmare to drive in the centro -- day or night. I lived there and drove around it for 5 years, knew perfectly well where I was going and knew all the tunnel entrances and exits, and it still drove me nuts. Find a place to keep your rental car parked for the duration of your visit and walk or use cabs; the stress reduction will pay for the cost of the cabs.
Thanks circle! I plan to do just that in Guanajuato but have to get to the hotel first, which involves some tunnels.....not looking forward to that.

Is there construction on the route to Queretaro? I read in Mexico Daily News a while ago there was.

Also, I think we are going to Teotihuacan from the airport and seeing the ruins again the next morning and then heading out. You don't happen to know if the 3.5 hrs google maps says to get to Guanajuato is a bit overoptimistic or extremely so? I know it's getting close but we are still making plans - although I have multiple reservations that I can change.

Thanks for all your help...this trip was supposed to be to get a feel for those cities and if they would be where I would want to move.
 

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My two cents. That drive on a Monday is going to be a much different experience than a Sunday.

Those piramedes, while interesting, are way outside the city - in the wrong direction - and you would never move out there. We did the pyramids in conjunction with the Basilica de Guadeloupe.

There is no major construction on the route between CDMX and Queretaro at the moment. On a couple occasions the road does drop down to one lane for maintenance but there was no major delay for construction. The one long stretch of road (57D I think) is not in good condition. There are a ton of trucks on the drive - another reason to make the drive on a Sunday. On the weekday we drove into Queretaro - there was a lot of stop and go traffic - and we were not there during rush hour.

The tunnels you go through into Guanajuato are trivial - and our NAV app got us in and out with no issues - but the app did not help with the traffic.
 

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Thanks circle! I plan to do just that in Guanajuato but have to get to the hotel first, which involves some tunnels.....not looking forward to that.

Is there construction on the route to Queretaro? I read in Mexico Daily News a while ago there was.

Also, I think we are going to Teotihuacan from the airport and seeing the ruins again the next morning and then heading out. You don't happen to know if the 3.5 hrs google maps says to get to Guanajuato is a bit overoptimistic or extremely so? I know it's getting close but we are still making plans - although I have multiple reservations that I can change.

Thanks for all your help...this trip was supposed to be to get a feel for those cities and if they would be where I would want to move.
No, there is not any construction on the highway between CDMX and Queretaro, I was talking about streets being torn up and closed in the centro of Queretaro. It is a hassle but not too bad of an inconvenience.

I have never made the trip from Teotihuacan to Guanajuato, so I don't know if 3.5 hours is accurate but it seems a hair fast. I'd give yourself more like 4. It is 2.5 to Queretaro and 1.5 from Qro. to Guanajuato so 3.5 seems fast.

Oh, and those tunnels are nothing. They are well lit and not that long.
 

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But to do the pyramids correctly - that is two hours by itself. And then, what, 1 hour out there and another hour back. And he/she was (originally) thinking of pulling into Queretaro in the daylight... I think he/she - if they feel the need to see the pyramids on day one - should plan on spending the night in Mexico City. Bring sunscreen - the sun at those pyramids is MURDER.

If you stay in Mexico City - our favorite place - where we have stayed dozens of times is the Galarias Plaza Reforma in Zona Rosa. From there you can pick up the second level from inside Chapultepec Park (although I have only ever gotten off there).

Edit - I guess the itinerary has changed enough that I am now confused - sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Sorry, I guess I made it confusing. Originally we were flying in on Sunday 8/27 at 1:55 pm. We were thinking of driving to Queretaro. At some point in the trip we wanted to stop at Teotihucan. I thought, maybe instead of trying to make it to Queretaro not knowing if there will be flight delay, customs delay, car rental delay, we would spend the night at the Villas Arqueologicas and visit the pyramids the next morning (not to live there Horsehoe). I've been to the pyramids twice before.

This posed a new option/question. I thought maybe the next stop should be Guanajuato and the rest of the trip would be heading back in the direction our trip will end. The trip involves staying in Guanajuato, San Miguel and Queretaro.....just trying to figure out which order is best. I can either drive from the piramides to Queretaro or Guanajuato Monday after noon or choose Queretaro after arriving at the airport Sunday afternoon and leave Teotihucan for the end of the trip.
 

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What day/time is your return flight? You could do it in either order and the only factor I would see is to make your return entry into CDMX in the morning because the traffic is so much lighter until about noon or 12:30, then it gets heavy in a hurry. A Saturday or Sunday morning is a great time to drive the Periférico.

If you have already seen the pyramids twice, why not consider leaving them off the itinerary this trip and concentrate on exploring the cities you are considering living in. That's just my two cents...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
What day/time is your return flight? You could do it in either order and the only factor I would see is to make your return entry into CDMX in the morning because the traffic is so much lighter until about noon or 12:30, then it gets heavy in a hurry. A Saturday or Sunday morning is a great time to drive the Periférico.

If you have already seen the pyramids twice, why not consider leaving them off the itinerary this trip and concentrate on exploring the cities you are considering living in. That's just my two cents...
We are spending the night before leaving near the airport in Mexico City (on a Wednesday),. Not to get into a long story, but basically this wasn't supposed to be the trip to explore places to retire....we were supposed to be going to Guatemala from a promise I made my niece 10 years ago (she and her mother are coming along). but she can only go in the summer before starting grad school in the fall. Guatemala (which I love) is very rainy now and the ruins at Tikal have been having heat index of 112-119 so nixed that trip. In order to make up for missing Tikal, we are including a visit to Teotihucan.

I know that isn't real short....but there is much more I didn't include, but that is the reason for the rather late planning of this trip. It's a vacation and to just see what the cities look like. Any in depth decision making will have to await until the next trip. But I've been to cities in Puebla, Chiapas, Tabasco and Yucatan (not considering living in these - just some history)

P.S. regarding driving back to Mexico City in the morning - that is one of the reason I thought maybe we should go to Guanajuato then SMA and finally Queretaro. Closer and could get back to CDMX sooner.
 
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