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clausont

May 22, 2014, 9:24 AM

Post #1 of 30 (7065 views)

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Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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We are planning on driving our old Chevy van from Belize to Texas in the next couple of months. We will be crossing at Chetumal into Mexico and from there, I would like to know the best, shortest route to Texas. Doesn't really matter which crossing we use in Texas. Our Chevy is a USA vehicle that we imported into Belize so it now has a Belize title and Belize plates.
Does anyone have any experience with this? What can we expect driving through Mexico and what can we expect at the US border with our Belize plated vehicle?
We made this trip down to Belize last year going down the West coast all the way after crossing into Mexico at Nogales, Arizona. Beautiful drive with no problems of any kind (except rough roads). We took almost a month going down and camping at various places along the way. Same van going back, but will be crossing into Texas instead of Nogales and will not have a tent trailer with us. The van looks it's age pretty much (more than 10 years old).
Any info would be great.
Thanks.



chicois8

May 22, 2014, 2:24 PM

Post #2 of 30 (7037 views)

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Re: [clausont] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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according to this Mexican Government site :

Google " ruta punta a punta"

I would be mostly up the gulf coast to Matamoros/ Brownsville......

2008 KM / 1204 miles
23 hours
719 Pesos in tolls........
Rincon de Guayabitos,Nayarit
San Mateo, California

(This post was edited by chicois8 on May 22, 2014, 2:56 PM)


RickS


May 22, 2014, 2:25 PM

Post #3 of 30 (7036 views)

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Re: [clausont] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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"I would like to know the best, shortest route to Texas."

The Best route may not be the Shortest. The 'quickest' entry point into Texas would be Brownsville at about 1350 miles. That would send you up through Veracruz State 'hugging' the Gulf coast. The 'problem' is that would send you up through a good bit of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The last couple hundred miles of that route on hiways 180 and 101 have, over time, had some safety concerns. Those concerns are hightened again currently. IMO, the chances of any one person having a problem while staying on those main highways is statistically slim to none but you would have to be the decision maker on that. That route would have very little toll after reaching the state of Veracruz.

The *safer* route would be to continue on west, skirting Mexico City and take hiway 57 to Saltillo and then 40/85 to Laredo Tx. That would be about 1600 miles but of course one would be 'farther into Texas' so it is probably not more than 100 miles farther. More tolls 'tho.

The first part of your trip would, of course, be straight west from Chetumal to Villahermosa on highway 186, then continuing on tolls roads 180 and 145 to your 'decision point'... up through Veracruz or farther westward towards Mexico City.

I presume you are familiar with google maps which will give you a visual of all this.


clausont

May 22, 2014, 2:47 PM

Post #4 of 30 (7022 views)

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Re: [RickS] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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Thanks chicois8 and RickS. That is the information I have been wondering about. Have not heard much about Tamaulipas problems so I don't have much to base a decision on. Has anyone had problems there in the last few months?
Is the crossing at Laredo and different (read that faster or slower) than at Brownsville? Haven't been through either one -only Nogales.
Was actually looking at Google maps when I saw your post come in. But Google maps doesn't really give much intuitive information :) Once again, we will be making this trip with myself, my wife and five kids.

Thanks!


Altahabana


May 22, 2014, 3:52 PM

Post #5 of 30 (7003 views)

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Re: [clausont] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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Right now most of Tamaulipas is experiencing the worst public violence in the last four years. Regardless if someone believes the media has created an unfair picture of Mexico because of cartel violence, there are some places that simply should be avoided. South and central Tamaulipas and the lower border area are some of those places.


RickS


May 22, 2014, 4:00 PM

Post #6 of 30 (6999 views)

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Re: [clausont] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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One could write a book on the issue of "Safety on Mexican Highways". Maybe two books as there is more than one sentiment on the subject. "Most" of the problems that have occurred over the years have less to do with rank-and-file folks getting into harms way but rather that some bad things can and do happen. And sometimes it 'heats up' and then at other times one hears almost nothing about an area.

My reality, meaning my opinion, says it is a matter of 'history', 'probability' and 'possibility'. There is precious little history of your average Joe, and especially your average Gringo Joe, having any trouble while traveling in Mexico. Has it happened? Of course it is a possibility. But is it, based on reliable data, a probability? My opinion is no. Not even close. Tens of thousands of people drive the highways in any given area on any given day. Every day. Without any hint of a problem. I'm one of those. But I sometimes just decide to NOT take a certain road or go into a certain area based on some recent turmoil or some potential 'uprising', even when it has nothing to do with driving a road. A couple of years ago I wanted badly to leave Mexico through Veracruz/Tamaulipas as I have never been there. Based on some 'incidents' in the area around that time, I decided to not. But then again I sometimes drive right through an area (staying on the cuota) where I know that there have been some incidents 'in the vicinity' and think nothing of it. Others, who I consider friends, would not drive within 200 miles of that area if they hear about something around the area. So you will have to determine for yourself for you and your family.

With respect to border crossings, generally and because of 'popularity' the Laredo crossing will take longer. It will certainly take longer than one of the Brownsville area crossings. But I personally would not make a border crossing decision based on that criteria alone.

Edit Note: I was posting when Altahabana wrote his piece. Clausont, it there is any one person who I trust and listen to with respect to their thoughts about that area, it is Altahabana! Reading what he just wrote, I personally would NOT drive up that road at this time. Probabilities are still probably low, but......





(This post was edited by RickS on May 22, 2014, 4:08 PM)


clausont

May 22, 2014, 4:10 PM

Post #7 of 30 (6989 views)

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Re: [RickS] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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Thanks RickS,
I have to agree with you on all points. We spent more than a month driving down through Mexico to Belize and camping along the way in our tent trailer. We had no problems anywhere except one cop wanting mordida in Escarcega.
We have seen some interesting things occur along the way, but really nothing that made us feel uncomfortable. We felt safer in almost all of Mexico than we did in our home town in Oregon. Some things were quite amusing along the way - such as the soldiers at a check point trying to figure out how 7 people could sleep in a pop-up tent trailer. He finally understood when we showed him how the top lifts - but it was purely curiosity on his part. Nothing indicating that he or the other officers / soldiers wanted anything more than to figure out the trailer :)

Aside from how long and how popular a crossing may be, what other factors would we need to consider?
Thanks,

Tim


RickS


May 22, 2014, 4:41 PM

Post #8 of 30 (6983 views)

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Re: [clausont] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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"....what other factors would we need to consider?"

Not to sure what you are asking, but Mexican and US insurance on your Belize car come to mind.


playaboy

May 22, 2014, 4:53 PM

Post #9 of 30 (6982 views)

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Re: [clausont] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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I have made the drive from PDC to Texas many times. I have driven both routes many times. I would stay away from Veracruz and Tamaulipus like Altahabana and Rick suggests. Better safe than sorry.


Altahabana


May 22, 2014, 4:55 PM

Post #10 of 30 (6981 views)

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Re: [clausont] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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Maybe I'm a little less adventurous than some posters here, but as a resident of Tamaulipas current conditions related to security is always a factor for me in choosing a route in northern Mexico. I assess the level of security through national and regional media (local media in Tamaulipas does not report), social media and communication with friends and business associates.

I can't imagine anyone who is aware of actual conditions in Tamaulipas saying they feel safer there than they do in Hometown USA. But to paraphrase Yogi Berra "you got to be really alert when you don't know what you're looking for, because you might not see it."


http://www.jornada.unam.mx/...tamaulipas-1613.html

http://www.milenio.com/...gia_5_300019997.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSg_RbfJ1CA




(This post was edited by RickS on May 22, 2014, 4:59 PM)


clausont

May 22, 2014, 5:57 PM

Post #11 of 30 (6964 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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In Reply To

I can't imagine anyone who is aware of actual conditions in Tamaulipas saying they feel safer there than they do in Hometown USA. But to paraphrase Yogi Berra "you got to be really alert when you don't know what you're looking for, because you might not see it."

And there you hit the nail on the head. I don't know the true conditions in Tamaulipas. So that is why I am asking and I really appreciate the candid response to my question. Sounds like it would be better to head around the area to me.

Thanks,

Tim




Altahabana


May 22, 2014, 6:28 PM

Post #12 of 30 (6956 views)

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Re: [clausont] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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I think that would be a prudent decision. Some people down play the risk and the odds are nothing untoward would happen. But you only need to see the real thing unfold around you once to know that even the very slight risk is one not worth taking when it can be easily avoided.


clausont

May 22, 2014, 6:32 PM

Post #13 of 30 (6952 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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It seems to me that driving a couple extra hours is a cheap price to pay to avoid those possible problems.
Playaboy in the past has always given us good information and we respect the thoughts and suggestions of him as well as teh rest of you who have helped out here. Really appreciate it!

Thanks!


clausont

May 22, 2014, 6:35 PM

Post #14 of 30 (6948 views)

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Re: [RickS] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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Definitely Mexican insurance. That one is a must. US insurance on the van - that one had barely crossed my mind. But since you bring it up, can it be purchased at the border similar to Mexican insurance? If not, what will we need to do about that?
Thanks Again!


clausont

Jun 2, 2014, 10:50 AM

Post #15 of 30 (6740 views)

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Re: [clausont] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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Well, after a lot of research and great information from the folks here on Mexconnect, we will be going the central route.

Our basic plan is to leave Chetumal, stop for the night in Minatitlan, the next night stop in San Luis Potosi and then cross at Nuevo Laredo the following afternoon.

Does anyone have any recommendations for specific places to in Minatitlan and San Luis Potosi or does anyone have input that we should know about? Keep in mind that we are traveling with our five kids.

Thanks everyone her who has helped with their input! We really appreciate it!


rioesmarex

Jun 8, 2014, 11:24 AM

Post #16 of 30 (6638 views)

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Re: [clausont] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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Recently came up from Veracruz state through Tamualipas to Brownsville and had NO problems.
Have done this route for 10 years and NEVER had any problems except for the occasional attempt at " mordida " in the Tampico/Altimira area by transito cops.
If your Spanish is good enough and your car papers are in order, just argue with them and ask to see their leader and pretty soon they give up and send you on your way.
There is a detour around Tampico if you don't mind a little extra mileage and some bad roads.
At the junction of the toll road from Poza Ricxa to Tuxpan where it splits to Tuxpan or Mexico City, take the Mexico City left turn and then about 2 miles down , exit the freeway right and head north to Alamo. Keep going until you reach the spit to Tuxpan or Tantoyuca ... turn left and go up through Tantoyuca and Tempoal and Panuco then go West to Ebano and thentake a secondary road North to Manuel, where you join up with 180 again going up through Sota de la Marina to 101 and north to Matamoros.
Done this several times to avoid the Tampico hassle but you you can never be sure of the road conditions


clausont

Jun 8, 2014, 3:30 PM

Post #17 of 30 (6617 views)

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Re: [rioesmarex] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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Thanks rioesmarex - we crossed the border at Eagle Pass Friday evening after all. It was a beautiful drive all the way except for a 1 hour 23 minute delay at a checkpoint where all US plated vehicles (and our Belize plated vehicle) were being stopped and searched. This checkpoint appears top be a permanent checkpoint. The crossing at the border was super easy with very polite and courteous officers checking us through and doing the obligatory search of the vehicle.
The Belize plates confused every officer we talked to with some very amusing guesses as to what state Belize was...


RickS


Jun 8, 2014, 7:30 PM

Post #18 of 30 (6603 views)

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Re: [clausont] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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Where was the checkpoint where your car was searched?


Altahabana


Jun 9, 2014, 11:37 AM

Post #19 of 30 (6575 views)

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Re: [rioesmarex] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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I'm guessing you didn't go through the Tampico area last Thursday (June 5).


rioesmarex

Jun 9, 2014, 12:41 PM

Post #20 of 30 (6563 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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o.k. .... so what happened on June 5th.
Don't pique my curiosity and then not say what happened


Altahabana


Jun 9, 2014, 1:33 PM

Post #21 of 30 (6561 views)

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Re: [rioesmarex] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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A continuation of what has been happening recently. Not that I would expect many people here to be aware of it, but security in Tampico has deteriorated noticeably over the past few months. The June 5 incident may get some national play because of the controversial way it appears to have ended.

There is no coverage of local events in Tamaulipas related to narco-violence. An article that appeared last week in the respected UK paper, the Guardian, gives an overview of the situation in Tampico.

This website is one that does provide some news of Tamaulipas although it is a little on the sensational side. If someone is considering travelling through the middle of Tamaulipas up to the lower border area, I think it would be prudent to keep abreast about what is going on.

http://www.valorxtamaulipas.com/


(This post was edited by RickS on Jun 9, 2014, 3:27 PM)


clausont

Jun 9, 2014, 3:10 PM

Post #22 of 30 (6543 views)

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Re: [RickS] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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About 40 miles South of Saltillo on 57. Didn't see any Mexican plated vehicles stopped and searched, only US plated vehicles and our Belize plated vehicle which didn't surprise me.

We took a lot of notes along the way which I will be compiling and pm-ing to you in the next week or so. Still on the road near Memphis Tenn in severe thunder storms and tornado watches tonight.


clausont

Jun 9, 2014, 3:12 PM

Post #23 of 30 (6542 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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Correct Altahabana - we took the advice of the experienced people here on Mexconnect and crossed at Eagle Pass. Delightful experience compared to what it could have been :) Super easy crossing.
Thanks All!


Altahabana


Jun 9, 2014, 3:27 PM

Post #24 of 30 (6535 views)

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Re: [clausont] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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Glad you enjoyed the trip. But odds are you would have had a similar experience if you had taken the route up through Tampico.

I do though understand the thought process that goes I've never had any problems taking that route so I'm going to continue to take it. But there is just too much bad stuff going on in/around Tampico just now not to take an alternate route.


rioesmarex

Jun 9, 2014, 6:22 PM

Post #25 of 30 (6515 views)

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Re: [Altahabana] Driving Belize to Texas - Shortest Route?

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You're still not telling me what happened in Tampico on June 5th.
All I could make out from the referral site was that some workers got killed in Tampico.
What does that have to do with tourists transiting the area ??
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