Oct 21, 2006, 1:41 PM
Post #4 of 7
Hello Earl A:
You apparently want to steer clear of the autopistas. Perhaps wisely so, as you will be new to driving in Mexico, and in a strange car as well. However to reach San Miguel de Allende in one day from the Guadalajara airport you would head to Guadalajara, and then on the South periferico [I hate the perifericos in Guadalajara but they are better than driving through the city] take the Mexico City Exit and join the autopista all the way to Celaya where you head North to San Miguel de Allende. Unfortunately there are no really good stops that I know of until you reach San Juan de los Lagos. And that is about 3 hours away so you would arrive there sometime around 7:00 or perhaps 8:00 PM. It starts getting dark now at about 7:30 PM. and San Juan de los Lagos is some kilometers off the autopista.
Since you will be arriving at 2:30 PM Central Standard Time at the Guadalajara airport, I would assume perhaps half an hour to gather baggage, pick up the car, etc. It is already 3:00 PM assuming flight arrived on time. You folks will also be tired from the trip. Let me suggest that you overnight in a bed and breakfast in Ajijic which is easily reachable in 30 to 45 minutes from the airport. (Search for bed and breakfast there--although Casa de Flores is a good one). It is now after 4, check in rest a bit, walk around the city square in Ajijic, get a flavor of a great retirement spot in Mexico, stop at the Lake Chapala society and talk to people about driving to San Miguel de Allende and get recommendations, eat a good meal, and go to bed early.
Plan on leaving the next morning shortly after breakfast which in a good B&B will be served at about 7:30--8 at the latest. If you go the autopista route which will probably be recommended by most of the people you talk to, you will now have the information needed. If you go the Piedad route you will reach La Piedad too early to overnight. And unfortunately from Abasolo on to Irapuato you will be on heavily transited highways. Perhaps overnight in Irapuato if you are tired and the hour is right. But depending on the hour, you can plan on overnighting at Salamanca, Celaya,or all the way to San Miguel de Allende. At Irapuato you will be foreced to continue on heavily transited highways [I would recommend the autopista for safety] all the way to Celaya. At Celaya exit North to San Miguel de Allende. This route through La Piedad is the long way around. Yes, you will cut the autopista travel and tolls by many kilometers and pesos. But remember, the autopistas are well maintained, they usually have limited access, they are usually well signed although the exits are never signed far enough ahead for the speeds at which you are traveling. Still they are much safer than the libres.
I hope that somebody who has traveled both of these suggested routes more often than I will respond to your query. After all you want your vacation to be as hassle free as possible.
Have fun. Enjoy Mexico. Adiós jerezano.