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sioux4noff

Nov 21, 2013, 11:36 PM

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Bus report

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I asked several questions about bus travel, so thought I'd report on the trip.

Turimex (Grupo Senda) from Monterrey to Austin, TX. The bus was comfortable, adequate legroom, temperature not too bad and the driver didn't show movies since we left at 10 pm. There was 1 checkpoint where everyone had to exit the bus with our valuables. We had to go through a metal detector and have bags quickly loooked at, and pass by a drug dog before reboarding. The dog had already checked out the interior of the bus and the luggage compartment.
There was another stop before the US border where papers were checked I think to make sure everyone had a visa to go to the US
There was a sizable several hour delay at the border because the system which the US passport control uses to check on Mexican visas to enter the US was down.
The passport control in the US went quickly once we go there. The bus driver explained what to do, and a US border control agent inetered the bus and told us what to do, in Spanish and English. Only 9 passengers on the bus. The restroom was extremely small, no sink to wash hands. No wifi or electrical connections. We ended up being about 3 1/2 hours late

I took Greyhound from Waco, Texas to Nuevo Laredo. Actually I was on an older Greyhound bus from Waco to San Antonio. No wifi or electrical connections. Legroom was good, seats were comfortable. In San Antonio, Texas I transferred to an Americanos branded bus, even though it was a Greyhound route. The bus was newer, the seats nicer although about the same in comfort, but due to the legs of the seat in front of me the legroom seemed less. There was wifi and electrical connections.
On that bus, in Laredo Texas, one had to get out of the bus and ensure your luggage was left in the bus luggage compartment to go to Nuevo Laredo.

Crossing the border, first there was a stop on the US side for US authorities to check everyone's papers to make sure they were legally in the US. Mexicans with working visas turned them in there, the official entered the bus and we all just sat in our seats. We were also asked if we had guns, ammunition, drugs or large amounts of cash. I was asked in English, and the agent even joked that if I had large amounts of cash, I probably wouldn't be on the bus. :)
Then on the Mexican side of the border, we stopped at Mexican immigration. While one agent entered the bus and checked the documents of Mexicans, foreigners (maybe 2 of us out of a full bus) had to exit the bus and go into the INM office to be processed in.
After that we proceeded in the bus to Aduana. An agent came in and explained (only in Spanish, although no one asked him to do it also in English) what you could legally bring in, and what to do if you exceeded the amounts. He talked to a few people who had large purchases, but that was quick. Then one person pushes the red/green light button and their result applies to everyone on the bus. We must have gotten green. The bus arrived slightly behind schedule.

From Nuevo Laredo I took Turistar Lujo, which is part of the same company as ETN. There was 1 seat on one side of the aisle, 2 on the other. Huge amounts of legroom. The seats recline considerably and there are footrests. It was fairly cool in the bus. The driver asked if anyone wanted to watch movies and everyone said no. The bus was probably 3/4 full. The bus I was on was clean, the restroom was clean and here were separate men and women restrooms. Also a sink in each restroom. The bus had wifi but no electrical connections. We arrived in Guadalajara about 30 minutes late.

From Guadalajara to Bucerias I took Vallarta Plus. It was comfortable, decent legroom. No wifi or electrical connections.

My recommendations, especially for overnight bus travel. Take a pillow and a small blanket. Also a jacket. If noise bothers you, take earplugs. Also take snacks and water. A little flashlight could come in handy, too.

Since I have an INAPAM card, my costs were: Monterrey to Austin 660 (more or less) pesos, Waco to Nuevo Laredo $37 USD, Nuevo Laredo to Guadalajara 650 pesos, and Guadalajara to Bucerias 215 pesos.


(This post was edited by RickS on Nov 22, 2013, 8:14 AM)



tonyburton


Nov 22, 2013, 7:55 AM

Post #2 of 8 (4778 views)

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Re: [sioux4noff] Bus report

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Thanks for the great trip report!


VitaBella

Nov 22, 2013, 4:23 PM

Post #3 of 8 (4720 views)

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Re: [sioux4noff] Bus report

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We too, would like to thank you for taking the time to write this very detailed and specific report. It is appreciated.


robt65

Nov 24, 2013, 11:17 PM

Post #4 of 8 (4618 views)

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Re: [sioux4noff] Bus report

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Sounds like you had a nice trip sioux4noff, or maybe an experience. Good for you hope you enjoyed it. You provided some excellent feedback. How many stops along the journey for eating meals? Any you might suggest for us?
Regards,
Robt65


sioux4noff

Nov 25, 2013, 5:51 AM

Post #5 of 8 (4604 views)

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Re: [robt65] Bus report

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Robt65, I did forget that little part. People have asked me, wasn't that a horrible way to travel?? Actually, it was not. I did enjoy the trip. The only part that was in the daylight was the Texas part, both ways, so not much sight-seeing.
I flew from Puerto Vallarta to Monterrey (VivaAerobus, I got a killer deal of about 700 pesos) and arrived in Monterrey at 6 pm. My plan was to catch some dinner either at the airport or when I got to the bus station.
The terminal I arrived in had a few choices, but I decided to catch the next shuttle bus to the bus station and eat there. Not a good choice. There are no actual restaurants or even taco stands in the Monterrey bus station. There's a Burger King ice cream stand, a coffee shop and a convenience store. I was a little wary of exiting the bus station even though I could see KFC down the street and a Soriana. It was dark, I was by myself and I had luggage to deal with. I settled for a torta and a coke from the convenience store, thinking I'd buy something else right before I left. Well, at 9:30, when I went back to the store, it was closed. Both locations were closed!
The bus was non-stop to the border, but because we had the 3+ hour delay to cross the border, it was 8 hours to the first stop. In Laredo they stopped at a good sized convenience store. Then in San Marcos, TX (maybe 3 hours later) we stopped at a large convenience store which had a small restaurant as well.

On Greyhound the terminals all have vending machines. The bus stations in Nuevo Laredo didn't have any type of snack bar, and there really isn't anything close by to the Greyhound/Futura/Turistar station. Once I got on Turistar, there were no stops to eat, and I didn't get off the bus at the stations.

My advice on food - bring plenty of snacks and drinks. I froze a couple bottles of water to keep everything cool. I took water and juice. I didn't pack any "real food" going north, just cookies and chips. On the way back I added peanuts, mints and a few more things.


(This post was edited by sioux4noff on Nov 25, 2013, 5:53 AM)


robt65

Nov 25, 2013, 8:19 AM

Post #6 of 8 (4578 views)

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Re: [sioux4noff] Bus report

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Really great information and reminders souix4noff, thanks a lot.
Robt65


Aaron+

Nov 26, 2013, 7:33 AM

Post #7 of 8 (4521 views)

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Re: [sioux4noff] Bus report

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Siousrnoff, appreciate your report.

For anyone planning to head south from Mexico City on the ADO line, which dominates in the southeast, please forget anything you know about Greyhound or Trailways. The ADO buses are great, very comfortable, and travel and reasonable speeds. They come in three levels of comfort, the regular, the GL, and the Platino. Bringing your own food and water, yes!

For ADO, 50% off if you show an INAPAM card when buying your ticket and boarding the bus -- if you are among the first few who have purchased for a particular scheduled bus using that discount.


sioux4noff

Nov 26, 2013, 9:49 AM

Post #8 of 8 (4494 views)

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Re: [Aaron+] Bus report

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Aaron, I've traveled on numerous buses in mexico. I agree greyhound and Trailways, which is no more, used to be bad.
My recent experience shows that Greyhound has improved a lot. With wifI and electric connections and decent legroom, they were better than some of the Mexican first class lines.
 
 
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