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tamiricho

Oct 23, 2008, 12:43 PM

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Driving to Aticama

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Help! My wife and I escaping the Iowa winter this year (just retired) and are staying in Aticama for three months. We are driving, crossing at Laredo, TX, and would love reassurance that we're not crazy. I have read many forums/blogs and am still unclear as to the best route. We will be traveling with two small dogs and any advice that will make the border crossing smoother will be appreciated. I'm not looking for an endorsement of any particular auto insurance company but do want to buy from one that other people have had good (or at least no bad) experiences. Can anyone suggest a particular map, gps device, or other travel aid that would be good to have? Obviously we are new to this and all responses will be welcomed.



jerezano

Oct 24, 2008, 11:05 AM

Post #2 of 9 (4302 views)

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Re: [tamiricho] Driving to Aticama

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Hello tamiricho,

No, you are NOT crazy. Have fun.

Aticama, Nayarit is a wonderful beach. Not the town itself but just around the hill on the San Blas side across from the School for Engineers. Long, wide, level, and a nice gentle wave action. Daily readings of bacterial count as well. Your dogs will love it as will you, yourselves. The beach at the vlillage of Aticama itself is short rocky and not really worth visiting.

I don't know where you are staying but I recommend the first night at http://www.aticamabedbreakfast.com with Kennethandsheila@yahoo.com They have a wonderful cottage on the beach with queen size bed and full breakfast at $75 usd a night. Tell them Mel King sent you. The Dolphin View Bed and Breakfast on Aticama Hill (near the village beach) but with pool offers bed and continental breakfast for a couple at $48 usd a night.

I would be very much interested in where you are staying for three months in Aticama. I too want to do exactly that but have not found reasonable accomodations. I can't afford more than $500-$700 usd a month. San Blas is not an option because of the jejunes. Please send me a private message.

Now to answer your questions about maps and route: First of all pick up a Guia Roji. Absoloutely the best highway mapping of Mexico. They have a web site. The Guia comes in both English and Spanish. If you can read Spanish buy the Spanish edition, it is more complete than the English edition.

Recommend you cross at Colombia (note spelling) rather than Laredo. Check postings here on the forum to find out why.

Colombia periferico of Nuevo Laredo to Monterrey periferico (toll-cuota) to Ramos Arizpe. There at the top of the canyon make the decision to go to San Luis Potosí via Matehuala and then on to Guadalajara or go on to Saltillo (the Saltillo periferico Luis Echeverría is nearly finished with construction at only one point) and then on to Zacatecas and (toll-cuota) to Aguascalientes and then on to Guadalajara. My preferred route. Many tolls from Saltillo to Guadalajara. As you enter Guadalajara go straight on to Nogales, Colima or Tepic (signage is good but lane changes can be tight) and from Guadalajara take the toll road to Tepic and from Tepic to San Blas and from San Blas to Aticama. The Aticama Bed and Breakfast with Ken and Sheila is just before you enter Aticama (don't go around the hill) across the street (beach side) from the engineering school. Time from Colombia to Ramos Arizpe about 3-1/2 to 4 hours. Time from Ramos Arizpe to Zacatecas about 5 hours. Time from Zacatecas to Guadalajara about 7-1/2 hours. Time through Guadalajara and on to Tepic about 3-1/2 hours. Roll back watches one hour at Nayarit border. Time from Tepic to San Blas about an hour. Time from San Blas to Aticama about 20 minutes.

Where you stop and eat and overnight depends on the time you hit the border. If you leave Colombia (Laredo) at 7 AM you should be in Ramos Arizpe (depending on crossing hassles) about 11AM to 12 AM. That should get you into Zacatecas (lots of hotels) around 5-6 but you could go on to Aguascalientes another hour and a half or so and overnight there. That would put you into Tepic for overnighting, although you could really make Aticama before dark. If you overnight in Guadalajara then you would arrive in Aticama in the early afternoon. (Time change)

Dogs can be a problem at the frontier depending on the attitude of the customs and migra agents. Cars too can be a problem. Read up on these foro about these problems. You two, yourselves, will have no problem. Tourist permits FMT's cost some $20 usd per peson, I am told. They will be issued for 180 days but make sure the migra does so. Be sure and take your passports so you can get back into the USA without problems. For the car you will need a US credit card or you will be faced with a refundable deposit in the hundreds of dollars.

Unfortunately the roads from Laredo west to coastal Highway 15 (Nogales to Tepic) cannot be considered both because of condition and desert and mountain (Sierra Madre Occidental) problems. If you could cross at Nogales then no problem but probably a much longer route although on US interstates.

jerezano


Jim B

Oct 24, 2008, 5:44 PM

Post #3 of 9 (4280 views)

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Re: [tamiricho] Driving to Aticama

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I two would recommend the Aticama Bed & Breakfast. We will be making our third drive this Dec via Nogales to PV and always stop for a couple nights in Aticama at Ken's B&B before heading for PV. I would also recommend the Colombia crossing. Last spring we returned using the San Luis Potosí via Matehuala route. The border can be reached in two days with an overnight at SLP. I'm thinking of trying the Zacatecas route this year and maybe crossing at Eagle Pass.

Don't worry about the drive. When i told friends I was going to drive in Mexico they thought I was crazy. No big deal at all and no problems in three round trips to PV. In many ways I felt safer driving in Mexico than most large American cities. Just don't drive at night and get Mexican insurance.



jerezano

Oct 26, 2008, 6:11 PM

Post #4 of 9 (4236 views)

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Re: [Jim B] Driving to Aticama

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Hello Jim B,

Please detail for us the San Luis Potosí portion of the trip which will allow you to reach Puerto Vallarta in one day. That part of the route has never really been explained and I can't really see that if you go all the way to Querétaro to pick up the Mexico-City Guadalajara toll that you make Puerto Vallarta before eleven or 12 o'clock at night. That SLP to PV seems to me to be a very long day. Much more than I would care to drive. Particularly down the coastal highway from Compostela to PV after dark.

jerezano


Jim B

Oct 27, 2008, 6:08 AM

Post #5 of 9 (4207 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Driving to Aticama

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Hi Jerezano,

I left PV at around 7:30 AM and reached SLP sometime around 6-7 PM. it was along drive but the only slow part is the climb to Compostela until reaching the bypass to GDL. It was a saturday and the drive around GDL went smoothly. My wife doesn't like real long drives but we stopped every two hours to stretch and reached SLP in daylight. The next day we completed the drive to the border. All driving in daylight. I've only made this drive north. I'm currently away from home on a road trip but will be home this weekend. My home computer and notes would have a more detailed description of the route and time if you would like more specific information.

Jim



jerezano

Oct 28, 2008, 8:01 AM

Post #6 of 9 (4176 views)

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Re: [Jim B] Driving to Aticama

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Hello Jim B,

Thanks for the time clarification on driving from Puerto Vallarta to San Luis Potosí. A twelve hour drive makes a long day but the dark hours were so short that it is possible for most of us.

But we need to know the route. What highways did you use? Taking the cuota from Guadalajara all the way to Querétaro and then on up to San Luis Potosí throws a lot of extra mileage into the trip. Of course it is on superhighway, but is that the way you did it, or is there a shorter way? Those secondary roads from SLP to Guadalajara don't look too hot on the Gui Roji and I remember a bus trip from Lagos de Marino to San Luis Potosí several years ago that traveled some pretty bad surfaces. From Lagos to SLP is the logical short cut.

So please tell us what routes you used.

jerezano


Jim B

Nov 6, 2008, 7:13 AM

Post #7 of 9 (4117 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Driving to Aticama

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I left PV driving north on 200 and at Compostela picked up the bypass to 15 east to GDL. From there drove the bypass around GDL to 80 NE towards San Juan De Los Lagos, Lagos De Moreno(use a bypass around the city) and Ojuelos de Jalisco. Just before Villa de Arriaga connected to a bypass to SLP. We spend the night at SLP. it was easy on/off for selection of hotels coming into the city from the east on 57. The next day we picked up 57 to Matehuala, connected onto 40 west of Monterrey, bypass around Monterrey and north to Laredo and the Colombia crossing.

PV- SLP 435m 10 hrs (from our location in the Old City)

SLP- Border 470m 9 hrs.


jerezano

Nov 6, 2008, 9:12 AM

Post #8 of 9 (4101 views)

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Re: [Jim B] Driving to Aticama

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Hello Jim B,

Thanks for your details on driving from Guadalajara to San Luis Potosí. This is the route about which there seems to be some confusion.

As I understand it, you take the Guadalajara-Mexico cuota (Fed 80) as far as Lagos de Marino, but at that intersection of Fed 80 with Fed 45D (Aguascalientes-Mexico) instead of turning southeast on the 45D cuota to Querétaro you coninue on Fed 80 non-cuota to Lagos de Marino take the periferico and continue north on Fed 80 to Villa de Arriaga. At Villa de Arriaga instead of continuing north on Fed 80 to San Luis Potosí you exit east on a bypass to San Luis Potosí, overnight there and then on north to Mathuela etc.

Fed 80 from Lagos de Marino to Villa de Arriaga is the shortest route Guadalajara-San Luis Potosí and depending on the condition of the highway should be a comfortable drive. So what is the condition of that highway? It shows on the map as a two lane federal highway but if the surface is well maintained it should be pan comido. How is the surface? Are there many small towns with speed traps? Apparently no mountain driving. I have never traveled that route but it appears to be the most logical way to drive to the Lake Chapala area if one chooses the San Luis Potosí north to the border route. For people East of St Louis MS the Los Indios (Harlingen, Texas) to Cd. Victoria to SLP by the Via Corta and then to Villa Arriaga to Lagos de Marino to Guadalajara route would seem to be the logical way to travel to Lake Chapala. Kansas City to Denver the Colombia crossing, etc.

Did you notice the signage coming south out of San Luis Potosí? What do the signs say at the exit to Villa de Arriaga? And at San Luis Potosí if one takes the north-south bypass as you probably did is there lodging or did you have to enter the city?

jerezano


(This post was edited by jerezano on Nov 6, 2008, 9:21 AM)


Jim B

Nov 6, 2008, 10:57 AM

Post #9 of 9 (4088 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Driving to Aticama

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Here are the answers to your questions (I hope):

You are correct instead of turning west to Aguascalientes on 45D I continued NE on Fed 80. It is a two lane road but I found it to be in very good condition. The only towns/cities on that stretch is Lagos de Moreno (which you can bypass) and Ojuelos de Jalsico (which isn't very large and easy to get through). Otherwise nothing else and no police in sight. Light traffic (this was a Saturday of Easter weekend) and moved right along at 60 mph and Mexicans were passing me. I sketched out a map of this section if interested?

Your are correct I exited east a couple k's just before Villa de Arriaga (clearly marked to SLP) and followed the bypass to Fed 57D coming north from Queretaro. At this point it was around 6PM so I turned west off 57D into the section of 57 that led to SLP Centro and after a short drive you will find a number of hotels on the left side (Fiesta Inn, City Express, Country Inn & Suites - where I stayed). Traffic was light and you don't really get into the city proper. As far as I could see there were no hotels on the SLP bypass but the route I used was easy in/out of SLP for hotels.

The next morning I drove back out of the city on 57 and picked up 57D bypass north to Saltillo/Manthuela. The return to the bypass was well marked and easy to find.
 
 
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