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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I plan to move to Las Cruces, New Mexico and I would also like to spend part of my time in Mexico. It's about 50 miles from Las Cruces to the border crossing at El Paso, Texas. No, I don't plan to commit tourist suicide in Cuidad Juarez! :D Any suggestions on nice locations within an hour's drive of the El Paso border crossing? Since I plan on living in Mexico on a transitory basis and for no more than 180 days at any single entry, do I need an FM3 visa or can I get by with the multiple entry FMT Tourist Card? Thanks! ;)
 

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If you refer to a map, you will see that there isn't much of anything in the limits you suggest. The great Sonoran Desert is very large and very empty. There are only small villages, many off the road, for quite a long way into Mexico.
 

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If you refer to a map, you will see that there isn't much of anything in the limits you suggest. The great Sonoran Desert is very large and very empty. There are only small villages, many off the road, for quite a long way into Mexico.
So, realistically speaking, how far into Mexico would I need to travel to be in a "livable" location? :confused:
 

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Chihuahua would be your first location with a population center and it is 368 Km from the border, or about three and a half to four hours. It is still a long way to places where expats might like to settle; another day or two on the road. You really should do some reading about Mexico and the various cities and towns that interest you. It would help to know what you are looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Chihuahua would be your first location with a population center and it is 368 Km from the border, or about three and a half to four hours. It is still a long way to places where expats might like to settle; another day or two on the road. You really should do some reading about Mexico and the various cities and towns that interest you. It would help to know what you are looking for.
It would appear that I need to rethink my travel plans into Mexico! I certainly want to stay out of the line of fire of the drug gangs in the border towns, but not to the extent that I need to travel by air to a transient location in Mexico. I have medical needs that compel me to stay in the US for necessary health care services. I'm thinking that I'll have to make shorter forays into Mexico in order to stay within a reasonable driving distance of the border. Re my travel document, is an FMT appropriate for repeated short stays in Mexico or should I apply for an FM3 visa? Thanks for your suggestions and assistance! :D
 

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The FMT is a single entry document and becomes invalid upon departure from Mexico. You must get a new one upon re-entry. The FM3 is a multiple entry visa, which requires proof of financial status and a mexican address. It must be renewed annually, in Mexico, with repeated proofs and a Mexican address. Renewal can take some time and any change of address must be processed through immigration authorities within 30 days.
There are many previous posts which discuss these matters, as well as temporary importation of vehicles, etc.
 

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The FMT is a single entry document and becomes invalid upon departure from Mexico. You must get a new one upon re-entry. The FM3 is a multiple entry visa, which requires proof of financial status and a mexican address. It must be renewed annually, in Mexico, with repeated proofs. Renewal can take some time and any change of address must be processed through immigration authorities within 30 days.
There are many previous posts which discuss these matters, as well as temporary importation of vehicles, etc.
I'll start out with an FMT and see how my travel situation plays out. Should a temporary residence in Mexico become a practical reality, I then will apply for an FM3 visa and more defined travel time. I'll check out posts re the temporary importation of US vehicles.
 

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As RVGRINGO said, the Sonoran desert is very large and highway 45 to Chihuahua makes sense. However unless you are really into Pancho Villa, I would head for Creel as base to explore the Copper Canyon. Not sure this a long term residence but I've read some interesting stories about that area and I find it facinating. I believe one is by Dick Davis who is based in San Luis Potosi. Also Creel seems to have some reasonable hotels and restaurants to get you started on the area.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
As RVGRINGO said, the Sonoran desert is very large and highway 45 to Chihuahua makes sense. However unless you are really into Pancho Villa, I would head for Creel as base to explore the Copper Canyon. Not sure this a long term residence but I've read some interesting stories about that area and I find it facinating. I believe one is by Dick Davis who is based in San Luis Potosi. Also Creel seems to have some reasonable hotels and restaurants to get you started on the area.
After RVGRINGO's comments about the vastness of the Sonoran desert, I did a reality check and discovered that once one leaves the "friendly confines" of Cuidad Juarez, it's like being on the moon! :D I checked out Chihuahua, Creel and the Copper Canyon. You're right, unless one is into Pancho Villa (I saw the photo of his shot up Dodge car in the museum; I'm impressed!), Creel appears to be a viable alternative to staying in Chihuahua. I was really impressed by the geography of the Creel/Copper Canyon area and the availability of lodging and eating establishments. My forays in Mexico will be of relatively short duration, 7 to 10 days, 2 weeks tops as I can not stray too far or too long from medical services in the US. Would it be possible to travel by bus from Las Cruces NM to Chihuahua and then rent a vehicle to travel to Creel? Or even better, rent a vehicle in Creel? I could then dispense with the temporary importation and insurance on my vehicle in Mexico. What about driving a rental vehicle in Mexico? Thanks! :D
 

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I expect that you can do the whole thing by bus, and maybe train in copper canyon. When looking for bus links, I tend to go to Larpman's site as he consolidates most of the bus lines grouped into within Mexico and to Mexico from the US. I checked to Mexico and Autobuses Americanos has a line from Albaquerque(sp?) through El Paso to Chihuahua. The time from El Paso(two stations) to Chihuahua is 5hrs. I didn't go into within Mexico for the Chihuahua to Creel link.
I haven't done the train through Copper Canyon but I know most tours are West to East and end in Creel so you may be able to get ticket the opposite direction pretty cheap. Also, I do believe that Dick Davis did a series on taking buses in this area.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I expect that you can do the whole thing by bus, and maybe train in copper canyon. When looking for bus links, I tend to go to Larpman's site as he consolidates most of the bus lines grouped into within Mexico and to Mexico from the US. I checked to Mexico and Autobuses Americanos has a line from Albaquerque(sp?) through El Paso to Chihuahua. The time from El Paso(two stations) to Chihuahua is 5hrs. I didn't go into within Mexico for the Chihuahua to Creel link.
I haven't done the train through Copper Canyon but I know most tours are West to East and end in Creel so you may be able to get ticket the opposite direction pretty cheap. Also, I do believe that Dick Davis did a series on taking buses in this area.
Thanks for the info. I'll check out the sources that you mentioned. I'd rather take public transportation than take my personal vehicle into Mexico and concern myself with paperwork, insurance and possible breakdowns in the middle of nowhere.
 

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I did a little searching and the series by Dick Davis was called "From California to Guatemala: A Journey by Bus Across Mexico". The 2nd installment is how he got to Creel but he came from Hermosilio. Wjhat I did gather is that the bus from Chihuahua to Creel is Noreste bus line.Expect that you can take Autobuses Americanos from El Paso to Chihuahua and either stay over night or change to the Noreste bus to Creel. Given the 5 hour target El Paso to Chihuahua, expect that at least the 1st time good to overnight in Chihuahua. I think that you might be really interested in his 3rd Chapter "A Tourist's Delight: Days 6-10 Creel, Guachochi". In this he uses Creel as his base to explore the Copper Canyon region.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I did a little searching and the series by Dick Davis was called "From California to Guatemala: A Journey by Bus Across Mexico". The 2nd installment is how he got to Creel but he came from Hermosilio. Wjhat I did gather is that the bus from Chihuahua to Creel is Noreste bus line.Expect that you can take Autobuses Americanos from El Paso to Chihuahua and either stay over night or change to the Noreste bus to Creel. Given the 5 hour target El Paso to Chihuahua, expect that at least the 1st time good to overnight in Chihuahua. I think that you might be really interested in his 3rd Chapter "A Tourist's Delight: Days 6-10 Creel, Guachochi". In this he uses Creel as his base to explore the Copper Canyon region.
Thanks for your time and information! ;) I never realized how complex a short visit in a foreign country can get compared to travel within the US. I will definitely need to "dot my i's and cross my t's" on this undertaking. What about renting a vehicle in Creel/Chihuahua and what are the paperwork and insurance requirements? I would like to explore the area at my own pace and a rental vehicle would certainly be the ideal choice. Thanks! :D
 

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There tend to be both local and international rental agencies. I've only used agencies I know like Hertz, Budget, National, Avis. They tend to be in larger towns like Chihuahua that have airports. I've found that you can get much better rates booking online from the US than local and real value to weekly or monthly.
There are two things. 1st is insurance that is only bought locally and costs at least as much if not double the car rate. Since my US car insurance won't cover, I called all my credit card companies to understand coverage. I found that one of my cards covered everything, including collision and liability. I went on line and printed that out in multiple copies so that I could give one to the rental agency when I rejected the insurance. This caused the 2nd which is that before you drive off, you and everyone with you needs to go over the car for every dent, scrach outside and rip or patch inside. Also make sure both side view mirrors are working and not temporarily attached. Look at the tires for excess wear and make sure you have both a spare and a jack. Finally, verify the gas level. Make sure everything is documented and that you get a copy. The other thing is that you will have to sign two credit card slips. The second is for damage as they will bill your credit card and you will need get it cleared.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
There tend to be both local and international rental agencies. I've only used agencies I know like Hertz, Budget, National, Avis. They tend to be in larger towns like Chihuahua that have airports. I've found that you can get much better rates booking online from the US than local and real value to weekly or monthly.
There are two things. 1st is insurance that is only bought locally and costs at least as much if not double the car rate. Since my US car insurance won't cover, I called all my credit card companies to understand coverage. I found that one of my cards covered everything, including collision and liability. I went on line and printed that out in multiple copies so that I could give one to the rental agency when I rejected the insurance. This caused the 2nd which is that before you drive off, you and everyone with you needs to go over the car for every dent, scrach outside and rip or patch inside. Also make sure both side view mirrors are working and not temporarily attached. Look at the tires for excess wear and make sure you have both a spare and a jack. Finally, verify the gas level. Make sure everything is documented and that you get a copy. The other thing is that you will have to sign two credit card slips. The second is for damage as they will bill your credit card and you will need get it cleared.
It's really not that much difference than renting a vehicle in the US. I always bite the bullet and take the rental agency provided collision and liability insurance. Yea, I take the hit on the insurance coverage, but God forbid, should I be involved in an accident, my fault or not, there is no question as to insurance coverage. I've seen too many stories about persons who waived the agency insurance coverage, had a reportable claim and had a nightmare affixing liability with the credit card coverage. I'd rather pay the extra bucks (or pesos) to avoid a liability pitfall.

Due diligence with a rental vehicle is standard SOP for me, documenting external/internal damage, tires, trunk contents, mileage, fuel level and fluid levels. I have the agency person sign off on the condition of the vehicle before I sign the rental agreement and take possession of the vehicle. I got burned one time on a rental and ended up paying for the replacement of a power steering pump ($$$!). Once burned, lesson learned! :D
 

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Sounds like a plan. However, I would read Dick Davis story as he seemed to find some very inexpensive small group tours out of Creel and for at least the 1st time might give you some idea of the terrain and what you might be getting into. Some areas sound pretty rugged.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sounds like a plan. However, I would read Dick Davis story as he seemed to find some very inexpensive small group tours out of Creel and for at least the 1st time might give you some idea of the terrain and what you might be getting into. Some areas sound pretty rugged.
At my age (63), I don't do rugged. I'd rather stick to the easy areas where I don't need to physically exert myself. Being an insulin dependent diabetic, physical exertion beyond a low to moderate level, could definitely cause me problems. And Copper Canyon sounds like the kind of place where medical problems could be potentially fatal! :( I definitely think that I'd be better off controlling my own itinerary and schedule. :D
 

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If you mean the passport card, please check the limitations on the card. I'm not sure if you can use it for more than crossing with a car, or on foot. I don't think you can fly with it.
 
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