Updated July 2017
- Driving In Mexico
- Vehicle Import Permit
- Green Angels
- Mexican Car Insurance
- Step By Step Driving Directions
Potrero Chico Driving Directions
Driving to Mexico can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Despite the bad press I have never had any issues.
Driving in Mexico is a little different than the USA. I have a short list of recommendations while driving here. Please remember you are a guest in a foreign country.
- Do not bring any guns or ammunition. Even an empty shell casing can get you in a lot of trouble.
- Be Courteous, Respectful and Patient
- Purchase insurance for Mexico
- Always take the toll roads if given the option. The road quality is significantly better.
- Don’t drive at night if you can avoid it. You can encounter vehicles with little to no lights and it’s difficult to see potholes and debris.
- Lane markers are more of a suggestion than a rule.
- You may encounter slow moving vehicles on the right shoulder with the left turn signal on. He is telling you to pass on the left, not that he is turning left.
If you’re planning on driving to Potrero Chico you must get a car permit. You get your permit and visa at the border. A deposit is required for the car permit that you get back when you return it at the border. Don’t forget to turn it back in or you loose the deposit.
You’ll need a few documents to get the permit. The name on each of these has to be the same. I’ve heard of people having issues because of a middle initial or jr on one document. I have not had any issues.
You’ll need to bring all of these items with you.
- Driver’s License
- Vehicle Title or Registration (If you car is leased or has a lien you’ll need a notarized letter from the lienholder giving you permission to drive the car in Mexico with the travel dates)
- Credit Card or Bank Debit Card
While on the toll road you are entitled to the service from the Green Angels. If you have car trouble or run out of gas they will come to your assistance. They can help with minor repairs as well. You just pay for the parts and the labor is free. It’s customary to leave a tip though.
If you have car trouble just pull over to the right. You can call them if you have cell service the number is 078. No cell service no problem just pop the hood to let the driver know you need help. They cruise the toll road looking for stranded people.
The law doesn’t require it but if you get in a wreck without it you are sure to spend some time in jail. Baja Bound Mexican Insurance is a good choice. Don’t let the name fool you they offer policies for the entire territory.
Mexican Car Insurance Options
- Take IH 35 South to Laredo Tx
- Continue straight to the U.S./Mexican border to the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge II
- The U.S. Border agents might inspect your car here with an X-Ray machine.
- Pull forward to the toll booth and pay $3.50 (This fee was verified on July 12th 2017)
- Cross the Juárez-Lincoln International Bridge II and pull forward through an old inspection station to the new station on the left.
- Drive into one of the inspection lanes to the left and wait for a red or green light.
- If you get a red light pull forward and to the left for inspection and then turn to the right when finished. If you get a green light just pull forward and merge to the right and turn to right
- Drive straight and take a left at the third street. There will be a blue and yellow Modulo CIITEV sign. Follow these signs.
- Follow this street until it ends. Take a right and immediately move over to the left lane.
- When you have a green light you are going to make a left and then another left (big U turn). The river should now be on the right side.
- Follow this road under the bridge and turn left into the parking lot and park.
- Take your passport, car papers and a pen and go into the entrance on the far left and after waiting in a short line ask for the tourist visa form.
- Fill out the form. It will probably be in Spanish but do your best. Sometimes there are volunteers in white vest that are there to help you fill out the form. It’s customary to leave a few pesos if they help you.
- Go back to the first counter when finished. They’ll make sure all is correct.
- Now go to window 2 and get copies of your passport, car papers and your visa.
- Go to window 4 (skip 3) and pay the deposit for the car permit and the visa. The deposit varies based on the value of your car. It’s around $300. They’ll give you your visa and car paperwork with a sticker.
- The visa and the car permit are good for 6 months. You can go back and forth as many times as you want.
- At the end of the 6 months you need to return the car permit to get your deposit back.
- Put the sticker on the front windshield in the middle and keep all of the paperwork with you while driving.
- You will need some pesos for the toll roads. You can change some dollars while here you’ll need at least $300 pesos.
- Pull out of the parking lot and turn to the right. Back the same way you came in.
- At the traffic light veer right to the far right lanes and follow the sign to Monterrey.
- Approximately 6 miles from the border you’ll reach a highway overpass. Take a left under the overpass and merge onto Highway 85 to Monterrey.
- Approximately 16 miles from the border is another inspection station but it isn’t really in use anymore. Maybe there’s an immigration officer checking paperwork but the red/green light system like before isn’t used.
- Around 42 miles from the border you’ll see the turn off for the Monterrey Cuota. Take it to the left.
- Approximately 76 miles from the border you’ll come to the toll plaza. As of July 12th 2017 the toll was $228 pesos.
- Around 126 miles you’ll be arriving the outside of Monterrey. With a general aviation airport on the right.
- Take a right on Highway 40 to Saltillo Mexico Cuota
- Take the first exit off of Highway 40. To Highway 53 the road to Monclova. You’ll have to pay a small toll here. As of July 12 2017 it was $28 pesos.
- Take the first right after the small toll booth. You’re now on Highway 53.
- Follow Highway 53 for about 12 miles and you’ll reach Hidalgo. Slowdown, veer left and drive through the Hidalgo Arch.
- Continue straight to the round-a-bout and go left and cross over the railroad tracks.
- Veer to the right and follow the road for a little while you’ll pass the police station on the right (you can use the ATM here) until it ends with the cement factory in front.
- Take a left and then your first right and then your first left. (I know….)
- Follow the road uphill with a big rock formation in front of you. This is El Toro.
- At the fork in the road go right and then veer left continue up until you reach the park entrance.
- You made it!