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  1. #1

    Default Vancouver to Merida MX planning

    I am in the early planning stages of a drive from Vancouver Canada to Merida Mexico. I'll be driving a van towing a 12' or 14' cargo trailer. The routes I am considering so far are:
    (#1) Vancouver, Portland, Sacramento, L.A., and crossing into Mexico at Nogales or Agua Prieta.
    (#2) Vancouver, Seattle, Salt Lake City, and crossing into Mexico at El Paso.
    I am not sure exactly how early in the spring of 2017 I'll be making this trip, which is why I am looking at the more western route through Sacramento in case snow would be a problem.
    I'm also interested on information about the border crossings. I searched the forum and found the most recent posts about the Mexican border
    were a few years old and mostly about walking across.
    Has anyone here gone through the Temporary Import Permit process at the Mexican border?
    Any input on suggested routes would also be appreciated.

  2. #2


    Hello, and welcome to the RTA forums!

    I drove from Phoenix down to the Yucatan last October--to Merida and beyond. Check the last post, called "Hoy No Circula" in the section called "Off the Beaten Path" in these forums. There's a link in that post to an article on my personal blog with current information about Mexican Road Trips.

    Here's a link to the post on these forums:

    And if that doesn't work, here's a direct link to my website:

    My article provides detailed information on the border crossing, the toll roads, and a lot more. There are also numerous posts about Mayan ruins in southern Mexico, and on the Colonial cities, including Merida--along with close to a thousand photographs.

    Off the top of my head, the best border crossing for you would be Eagle Pass, Texas (Piedras Negras on the Mexico side). El Paso/Juarez is extremely congested, and the surrounding area can be dangerous. Nogales is too far to the west, and you really want to minimize the amount of driving you do in the border areas of Mexico. The post in my blog has a number of useful links: the traveler's advisories from the US Department of State, a Mexican Government website that helps you plan your route on the toll roads, insurance information, etc. etc.

    If you have more specific questions about routes and precautions, I'd be glad to answer them.


  3. #3


    Thanks Rick! That's a wealth of information there! It'll take me awhile to go through it, but fortunately I have plenty of time before I finalize anything.


  4. #4


    No worries, Jeff--you're most welcome. I assume you've been to Merida before? It's a wonderful city, quite lively, and most welcoming. There's a growing expat community--folks from the US, Canada, and Europe who have made Merida their home. Since you're driving down pulling a cargo trailer, I'm guessing you already know all that.

    I have another post that describes my experience there in more detail:

    I had a fabulous time in the Yucatan. I hope to return later this year, and if I can pull it off, I may keep going, all the way to Panama.


  5. #5


    Yes, we think Merida is so nice that we bought a house there. I'm looking forward to road trips in Mexico, but when towing the trailer I was planning to do the most direct route from the border to Merida and stay on the main highways. I've seen blogs about other border crossings, but I'll take your advice about Eagle Pass and plan around that.
    Vancouver to Eagle Pass is the part of the trip where I am open for options.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 04-13-2016 at 10:09 AM. Reason: new members may not post off-site links

  6. #6


    Are you looking for the most scenic route to Eagle Pass, or the most direct? Understood that you're pulling a trailer, but there are a lot of seriously amazing things to see in between Vancouver and the Mexican border.

    If you have enough time and aren't worried about a little extra distance, the other folks on this forum can hook you up with a dozen intriguing possibilities--you could see Mount Rainier, or Crater Lake, or the Giant Redwoods. You could go east to Calgary, and see Yoho and Banff, Waterton Lakes, Glacier NP, Yellowstone, Tetons, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon. The list goes on.

    If, however, your primary goal is to save time and distance, and avoid snowy passes, the choices are fewer. You'll have to cross the mountains somewhere, obviously. If it's early spring and snow is still a problem, best bet would be to keep West, on I-5, or US 101, any combination of north/south highways that avoids the big cities and all that crazy traffic. Head for Barstow, California, where you can pick up I-40, or to San Bernardino, to pick up I-10. (One of the forum moderators will no doubt fine-tune what I just said--they all know those California highways better than anyone). Either I-40 or I-10 will take you east to Texas. Interstate 10, in particular, is pretty well guaranteed to be snow-free.

    Depending on how early in the day you hit the border, and how long it takes you to clear Mexican customs with your trailer, a good stopping point south of Piedras Negras would be Monclova, or, if you can make it there before dark, Saltillo. There are good hotels in both towns, and security is in the good range. You're going to want to follow Mexico Route 57D (the toll road--ALWAYS take the toll roads). Go south through San Luis Potosi, and your second night could be spent in Queretaro, a clean, modern city, or better yet, take a very slight detour to San Miguel de Allende (I know a great hotel there with plenty of room for your rig). Third day, head toward Puebla, still on Mexico 57D. If you deviate from that, just be sure to stay well east of Mexico City (unless you have some compelling reason to go there). From Puebla, it's a beautiful drive down out of the mountains toward Veracruz, then you'll head south and east along the coast (Mexico Route 180D) all the way to your new home.

    General rules: have your travel documents ready at hand at all times--expect to be stopped frequently by Military patrols in the north, and by Federales everywhere else. Do NOT dawdle in the border region (once you're south of San Luis Potosi, you can relax). And never drive those highways at night, if you can possibly avoid it.

    I think it's terrific that you're moving to Merida! I've thought hard about doing something like that myself, but I plan to explore a few other options before I make any decisions.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Best way to get from I-5 to I-40 avoiding the majority of the LA traffic is at Lost Hills, take CA-46 east to CA-99 south to CA-58 east to I-15 north to I-40.

    To get to I-10, at Kramer Junction take US-395 south off CA-58 to I-15 south to I-215 to CA-210 east to I-10.

  8. #8


    Your first paragraph captures exactly what I am asked myself before I posted to this forum.
    You've helped me answer an important aspect with helping determine the border crossing.
    I'm not looking for the most direct and am definitely open to two lane travel in the US.
    I also don't want to spend more than 14 days to make the entire trip. I love the scenery of the south west and my wife has not seen the Grand Canyon or Garden of the Gods. I haven't been down the west coast from Portland, but she has.

    The two routes I've outlined in my OP are what I thought would be a place to start this process. I' was looking at route 93 from Twin Falls to Las Vegas as an option if it offers better access to the Grand Canyon, but 93 looks kind of bleak for a long stretch and seems to bypass some good attractions to the east.
    Information and advice on alternatives like this is what I am hoping for.

    Since I am not sure of the exact time of year we are making this trip, due to the fact that there are many variables affecting our starting date, I want a route planned that takes snow into consideration. I am considering that route as a plan "B" (route #1 in my OP) as I assume that route is a little less scenic as route #2 in my OP. But I'm only assuming. Route #1 might have great possibilities. I don't know. That's why I'm asking here.

    I've traveled the US quite a lot. Most of my trips have traversed East to West, and North to South on the East coast. I've never traveled North to South in the West and this seems like a good place to get advice from people who've traveled these roads before.

    The next thing I need to do here on my end is get some real paper maps. I just picked up Texas and it made me remember how superior they are to a 13" computer screen.


  9. #9


    Thanks glc! If I do go through LA we may be stopping to visit a cousin in Agoura Hills. I'll look at that when I have a paper map and a highlight marker.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If you are going to Agoura Hills, you may want to take either CA-1 or US-101 south - 101 is pretty fast south of SF, 1 is quite slow but is incredibly scenic. There are several ways to get from I-5 to either.

    From Agoura Hills, take US-101/CA-134 to I-210. That will take you to either I-15 to go north to I-40 or will continue on to I-10.

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