A Comprehensive First-Timer’s Guide to RVing in Mexico

Girl sitting on bed near the rear dor of a campervan – First-Timer’s Guide to RVing in Mexico

The home for Aztecs, tacos, tequila, and sombreros, almost everyone worldwide knows one or two things about Mexico. Yet, there is much more to this remarkable country beyond stereotypes. As one of the world’s civilized countries, RVing in Mexico delivers a tantalizing blend of Spanish traditions, Mesoamerican culture, and contemporary arts.

When planning for an RV trip to Mexico, it is vital to plan accordingly, especially if you plan to explore remote areas. Therefore, it is significant, for safety reasons, to leave an itinerary of your plans with relatives at home. It is also a better idea to be accompanied by at least one person when going on an RV trip.

In remote locations, it may be worthwhile to hire a tour guide. You can even participate in an ecoRVing activity where you can enjoy the thrills of camping but under ideal conditions with knowledgeable guidance.

Mexico, a popular choice for vacationing RVers

Why would you consider RVing in Mexico? It doesn’t have to be the nightmares it’s made out to be. Unfortunately, there are serious crimes in Mexico, but there is still a great deal of crime in the US and other countries. 

There are some areas that you shouldn’t visit. On the other hand, there are other places you shouldn’t miss to explore due to Mexico’s rich history, wonderfully kind people, and breath-taking scenery. Whether you are searching for stunning architecture, studying historic and spectacular beaches, it comes down to making a bit of planning and common sense.

First Timer’s Guide to RVing in Mexico

Safety while traveling Mexico

Just use your common sense while traveling to Mexico. Ensure that you don’t spend much time than necessary in border towns and avoid driving at night. Flashing fancy jewelry and a wallet full of money can bring you more trouble.

You will find Mexicans very helpful, and they will be willing to help you if you ask them for directions or any information about their area. This will also allow you to practice and perfect your Spanish.  

Ensure that you plan your route in advance and do thorough research on roads and towns you will travel to. This will let you know the kind of road and the towns if they are too big to maneuver your way through smoothly. Both Canada and the US post advisories about which locations have difficulties, so ensure you check them regularly.  

Crossing the border

Prepare yourself to spend some time at the border since there is a complicated procedure you need to follow, and there is no way you can avoid it. Just sit back and relax. Not every crossing border has the same long hours of services, but it is highly recommended to cross during the morning hours for several reasons.

The process can take some time, but once on the road, you will have much more time to reach your destination on time, and you don’t need to travel at night, which is not recommended.

Suppose you are traveling with a border zone, usually a 20km strip of the US-Mexico border or the free trade zone, there are no special procedures to comply with. However, if you want to go beyond these zones, there are procedures you need to follow. 

Paperwork and permits

There are strict regulations on car imports to Mexico, and bringing RVs can be challenging. Ensure that you have the vehicle’s original registration and permits for vehicles you are traveling with. If you are not the vehicles’ owner, you will require notarized permissions from the leaser. 

Permits to Mexico are issued at the border. Unless you are there in person, these documents are extremely hard to cancel. It is recommended to avoid getting them online unless you are 100% certain you will go for the trip. The permit will consist of a hologram you apply to the windshield. Don’t throw the documents that come with it since you will require them when you move out of Mexico. 

Ensure that you have all essential valid documents and a passport. Carry two credit cards just in case one fails. Most significantly, don’t forget to notify the card provider companies when traveling to Mexico.

Visa for Mexico

Mexico visa is a travel permit that allows entry into Mexico for citizens from other countries. Most nations globally have visa policies to keep track of foreign travelers within their borders and try to counter international crime. The longevity of a visa to Mexico varies significantly on the type of permit and the applicants’ certain circumstances.

Foreigners from over 130 states can obtain a visa to Mexico before they enter the country. Currently, the Mexican government has reached certain agreements with 69 countries whose citizens can travel to Mexico visa-free.

Vehicle insurance

Vehicle insurance for Canada or the USA is not valid in the US. Various known companies offer Mexican insurance, and it is advised that you research each of them for cost and what they offer.

The recent changes in the Mexican liability laws require you to cover yourself for $500,000. Be prepared to pay about $125 for each $10,00 for a six-month policy, which covers both liability and collision. Some firms will rebate you on your insurance for the period the vehicle is in Mexico.

One of the factors you should be keen to check is the coverage for the labor rates. Most companies charges at $38 or $75 per hour. This is cheap compared to RV repair in the US, which runs around $125 per hour. If you get an accident, be sure to notify your insurance service provider immediately and don’t move the RV until the police arrive.

Driving

A vacation to Mexico is an ideal excuse to do various suspension upgrades you have been avoiding, such as suspension stabilizers or airbags. Mexico is widely known as the land of the Tope, and they are millions of them. 

Other significant hazards include archways and low tree branches. Ensure that you know your vehicle’s height and be observant on the passenger side for the hanging feeders. Avoid various hazards by sticking to toll roads because they are up to US interstate standards, but unfortunately, they are costly.  

Popular RV destinations in Mexico

These are some of the best routes and van-friendly destinations for RV trips in Mexico:

Todos Santos

There are a lot of foreign citizens here looking for a simpler life, restaurants, and better bookstores. If you come here for RVing, you will find one of the best beaches in the area.

Ensenada

This is one of the significant port towns and an ideal place to stock up on supplies before heading south. It is situated only 109 kilometers from the border, and there are plenty of campgrounds for RVing.

Baja

Popularly known for diving, Kayaking, deep-sea fishing, and being an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, Tijuana and Baja California is brimming with welcoming residents and local culture. Traveling to this town is ideal for RVers who are new to Mexico, and they wish to become comfortable with taking RVing to this enormously known destination for the first time.

Bahia

Bahia Los Angeles is a coastal town in the Sea of Cortez. It is easily accessible but remote, although its desert shoreline and Bluewater tend to entice tourists every year. The town has a population of less than 1000 and overall is quite small with limited amenities, but there are various campgrounds in this town. 

Mexico caravan tours

If it is your first time and you are hesitant about traveling to Mexico, consider joining a caravan tour. You will have someone to guide you through the border crossing, arrange campgrounds for you and give you the historical and cultural details about the place you will visit. Besides, there also other people traveling in the same direction that will provide you companions and help you feel more secure.

Many claim that Mexico is not a place for everyone. However, for those obsessed with exploring this stunning country, there are ways to have memorable experiences here. Stay safe, be aware of the surroundings and research well on the route you will be traveling, and most significantly’ make your traveling plans in advance.

Roadside help

The Angeles Verdes patrol Mexico in government vehicles that carry automotive parts and the tools to provide roadside assistance. The government workers are in charge of parts but not labor. They patrol the main highways, and their primary objective is to help travelers with accidents, breakdowns, and medical emergencies. 

The Angeles Verdes can block traffic and have quasi-police powers. They have a robust reputation and experience for being innovative mechanics, and they can be used to tail gunners on caravans. They do not give up on any issue. You can reach Angeles Verdes at 078 from any mobile phone in all parts of Mexico. All the phone operators are bilingual, and these mechanics speak English.

Firearms

Do not take any firearm or ammo into Mexico because they will bring you a lot of trouble when caught. There is a high probability that your fleet of the vehicle will be searched at least once during your trip.

Communication

The cell phone services in Mexico are extensive, and the ideal coverage is from Telcel. This prepaid plan is cost-effective, but some options are inexpensive such as AT&T GoPhone, which charges for 25 cents a minute on Telcel, enabling you to have a US number. 

Besides, Telcel offers pay-as-you-go USB modems that deliver mobile broadband, and you can quickly recharge at any market. Wi-Fi is also standard in Mexican RV parks. If you have a direct TV satellite service or a dish, do not expect it to work South from Mazatlán.

Water

Nobody drinks tap water here. Fortunately, it’s available nearly everywhere in five-gallon containers, and it is cheap, which means you can pour it out before moving on. Many RV parks have water pressure that’s too low for many RV city water hook-ups; therefore, you should get used to filing and holding a tank while using the internal pump. 

Ensure that you pass it through the exterior RV water filter and add a significant amount of hydrogen peroxide to offer extra sterilization. You can use it for washing dishes and showers. When you go back home, ensure that you add the recommended dose of bleach and then flush out the tank.

What else you should pack

In Mexico, grocery stores are fully stocked, but the right diet soda is hard to find. Ensure that you carry ant traps and ant powder for beach areas where ants are prevalent. The anti-itch products such as calamine and after-bite also are hard to get, and insect repellents and suntan lotions are so costly.

Although there are GM, Ram, and Ford dealers, they don’t sell diesel trucks or any vehicle over the half-ton pickup. Whether you have diesel or gas, it is recommended that you carry extra oil, filters, and a free serpentine belt. The tires aren’t easy to find, so off-rim extra spare, it’s a good idea. 

Here in Mexico, the electricity is unreliable; therefore, ensure that you buy a surge protector to keep your electronic appliances and devices from getting damaged.

Camping and campgrounds in Mexico

There is a wide range of camping facilities that range from first-class resorts with all the amenities to rustic camping and beautiful secluded beaches. For most parks, they are not up to the resort’s required standards, and you may encounter challenges with electricity, but options for parking your RV are extensive.  

RVing in Mexico offers a unique opportunity to experience our foreign culture, especially if your south of border trips confirmed to destination results. Traveling in an RV, you can see the real Mexico. Spending time in RV parts can relieve you of the halcyon days of camping before the rules. There is no park here that cares if your rig is more than ten years old!

Currently, Mexico has more than five hundred campgrounds from full-service recreational vehicle parks and hotel complexes that can accommodate RVs to primitive sites. These parks range in price from about $5.8 at barebones campgrounds to $40 at destination resorts. Do not expect an easy survival at the campsite or a 50-amp service since most campsites are 15 amp or 30 amp. Also, don’t expect to run an air conditioner everywhere. 

Remember that boondocking is not advisable unless you’re in a group or camping at Bahia conception in Baja. Use the RV parks, and if you’re stuck, you can spend the night at most of them at fuel stations. Try to find a busy one that opens for 24 hours. They usually have a security guard that you can pay some cash to watch your real. Avoid parking your vehicle in dark corners. Make sure that to stay under the lights and traffic is close by.

I hope the above guide gives you a picture of how it is easy to go RVing to Mexico with your rig. There are enough RV campsites that there isn’t any reason to drive at night. Besides, you can miss the stunning scenery when driving at night. Ensure that no matter how you arrive at your RV campsite, that you secure insurance. You can get RV insurance at the best rates from various insurance providers here in Mexico.

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Susan Noel is an experienced content writer. She is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where she shares her valuable travel tips with the audience.