Jun 28, 2010, 8:10 PM
Post #22 of 33
FINAL REPORT ON TX-to-Tapachula road trip
Re: [hack] Seeking road-trip advice from TX to Tapachula
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Hi all, and thanks for your help with this. I followed the route recommended by Houndog: crossing at Piedras Negras, following 57 to Arco Norte, and then using D150 to get past Puebla and onto D180, then connecting to the 200 to Tapachula. For those who might find this information useful, here, belated, is the results of my trip:
1. Crossed early from Eagle Pass to Piedras Negras. Didn't realize that all the paperwork would not be completed at the border but later on along Hwy 57. I also probably missed the place to buy insurance, so I bought some online through http://www.mexicoinsuranceonline.com/. Fast, easy, recommended. Take care of it before your trip, no worries later.
2. Drove in that first day down to Potosi -- a lovely drive through desert in bloom. Made it to Potosi at around 4 -- enough time to stroll the colonial centre and soak up a bit of atmosphere. Cathedral's great. Stayed at the Hotel Guadalajara, which is supposedly in a seedy area according to Lonely Planet, but I found none of that and actually it is right around the corner from the zocalo. Highly recommended -- cheap and clean.
3. Farted around on Day 2. Went to Aguascalientes to see the Museum of Death, then bedded down in Leon at the Hotel Emily. Very cheap, plenty clean, no worries.
4. Motored on Day 3, past Puebla, and overnighted in just past Minatitlan. I did not find signs for the Arco Norte, but followed the signs to Queretaro, asked a few times, and ended up on the Arco Norte. I recommend asking once you get close just to make sure. Just past Vera Cruz was the only other directions-related problem I had -- signage on the road, D150, is very poor. At the point where this road merges with another it is necessary to turn off to get to Minatitlan, which on my AAA map is the D180. There is just one sign for Minatitlan. I should have much earlier bought a Gida Roji, the road atlas many on this forum told me to buy. The AAA map is wrong, and I've told AAA so, but no sense in relying on that when the Gida Roja is the thing to have. Anyways, be careful here so you don't miss the turnoff. As an aside, I still don't understand the numbering system for Mexican highways -- all the time I seem to be turning off something called the 200 and onto something else called the 200. Or off 180 and onto 180. I have learned to just pay attention to the desintation names on the signs and not to the numbers of the roads.
5. Day 4, down into Chiapas and over to Tapachula -- great drive. Some slow going given a two-lane highway with trucks a plenty, but nice drive.
Overall, most of the trip was on cuota roads, and the whole thing cost me about $140 in tolls -- not insignificant! The paved libre roads I've driven on since aren't all that bad in comparison. However I thought the roads were in excellent condition (disclaimer, I'm from Detroit, which has perhaps America's worst roads) and I found the driving quite easy and pleasant. Good luck to anyone else who has the good fortune to make this drive -- highly recommended!