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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be moving to the Lake Chapala area the beginning of October, 2009. I would love to get driving instructions from someone who has made the trip and any advice, etc. you care to offer. We are interested in the fastest, most direct route - which I assume would be toll roads.

In driving, my preference would be to leave early AM, drive to Laredo (about 5 to 6hour drive), cross the border in the afternoon, then drive several hours and stop before dark. Is there a place to stay several hours out of Nuevo Laredo? The only other option is to stay in Laredo overnight, cross the border really early the next AM, then drive to Lake Chapala.

Also, I'm having a terrible time getting the Austin, Texas Mexican Consulate to answer my phone calls. I have received the application for an FM3 from the Consulate but I have several questions before I can complete the form. One question is - can I substitute a criminal background check for a police clearance letter. I'm not having any luck getting the police to call me back either. I have a friend who owns her own business and she does background checks on everyone she hires. It would be very simple for her to do a check for me...but don't know if that is acceptable.

I have friends who will be driving their car and pulling a trailer (containing my household goods) that belongs to their father. I don't know if their car is paid for or not, but I believe they need a notarized letter from the lender that states they are allowed to drive the car into Mexico, if the car is not paid for...is that correct?
What kind of paperwork will be required for the trailer? Does it matter that the trailer belongs to the Dad? Should they have a notarized letter from him saying they are allowed to take the trailer into Mexico?

Does anyone have any recommendations for Mexican insurance on the car/trailer?
I'm thinking it would be best to get the insurance online and not have to bother with that at the border.

Thank you so much for any assistance you can offer.
 

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If you wish to leave Laredo in the afternoon, you might plan to stay in either Monterrey (2 hours) or Saltillo (3 hours) if you use 85D. However, if you do that, you will have a good ten hour drive the next day.
I would suggest that you leave home a bit later and stay overnight in Laredo the first night and Matahuala (Rt. 57) the second night if you use the toll roads (Rts. 57D, 80D, 90D). However, Rt. 54 is quite good, free, and you could stay in Zacatecas. Hotel del Bosque (you'll see the signs) has secure parking and space for the trailer too.
Yes, it would be a good idea to have letters of permission and copies of the vehicle owner's ID, including signatures, for any vehicles not owned by the person who will obtain the 'importada temporal'. Remember that a car and trailer are temporarily imported as a unit and must leave together, as well. You can't leave the trailer behind in Mexico. Your insurance agent will advise you on trailer coverage; often included in the car insurance, but ask, to be sure.
For driving instructions; simply look at your map (Guia Roji Gran Atlas) and choose your route. There are few options and the two mentioned above cover it all. Just follow the big green signs and know the names of places you'll pass along the way. As you approach them, start looking for the big green signs for your next waypoint. When you arrive at the outskirts of Guadalajara, follow the signs for the Airport and then for Chapala.
Don't rush, don't drive at night and take time to smell the roses. Enjoy your trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you wish to leave Laredo in the afternoon, you might plan to stay in either Monterrey (2 hours) or Saltillo (3 hours) if you use 85D. However, if you do that, you will have a good ten hour drive the next day.
I would suggest that you leave home a bit later and stay overnight in Laredo the first night and Matahuala (Rt. 57) the second night if you use the toll roads (Rts. 57D, 80D, 90D). However, Rt. 54 is quite good, free, and you could stay in Zacatecas. Hotel del Bosque (you'll see the signs) has secure parking and space for the trailer too.
Yes, it would be a good idea to have letters of permission and copies of the vehicle owner's ID, including signatures, for any vehicles not owned by the person who will obtain the 'importada temporal'. Remember that a car and trailer are temporarily imported as a unit and must leave together, as well. You can't leave the trailer behind in Mexico. Your insurance agent will advise you on trailer coverage; often included in the car insurance, but ask, to be sure.
For driving instructions; simply look at your map (Guia Roji Gran Atlas) and choose your route. There are few options and the two mentioned above cover it all. Just follow the big green signs and know the names of places you'll pass along the way. As you approach them, start looking for the big green signs for your next waypoint. When you arrive at the outskirts of Guadalajara, follow the signs for the Airport and then for Chapala.
Don't rush, don't drive at night and take time to smell the roses. Enjoy your trip.
Thanks so much for the info. The friends that are taking me have some time constraints and want to drive to Lake Chapala in two days. Therefore, if we can cross the border in early to mid afternoon and drive several more hours into Mexico before stopping for the night, even though it would be a long drive the next day, we should be able to make it to Lake Chapala.

If we stay in Saltillo, would we be on the fastest route to the lake?
 

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Ok, here are the driving distances and times for the most direct route:
Laredo-Monterrey 230Km 3:00
Monterrey-Saltillo 85Km 1:24
Saltillo-Zacatecas 363Km 4:50
Zacatecas-Guadalajara 318KM 5:18
Guadalajara-Chapala 48 Km 1:00

You will probably make better time than that, but I would use these times for planning. Traffic and lunch stops, etc. will take some time and are considered in the times above. The route via Matehuala and San Luis Potosi is longer but with more tolls. The time can be similar for either route. I suggest that you stay in Saltillo and get an early start in the morning. You can use Google to find hotels in Saltillo, including local maps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, here are the driving distances and times for the most direct route:
Laredo-Monterrey 230Km 3:00
Monterrey-Saltillo 85Km 1:24
Saltillo-Zacatecas 363Km 4:50
Zacatecas-Guadalajara 318KM 5:18
Guadalajara-Chapala 48 Km 1:00

You will probably make better time than that, but I would use these times for planning. Traffic and lunch stops, etc. will take some time and are considered in the times above. The route via Matehuala and San Luis Potosi is longer but with more tolls. The time can be similar for either route. I suggest that you stay in Saltillo and get an early start in the morning. You can use Google to find hotels in Saltillo, including local maps.
Thank you so much...your info is really helpful!
 
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