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#129321 - 04/04/08 05:59 PM Driving from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita, Mexico
mfoster Offline
Stranger

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 2
We are a couple from New Orleans who will be flying into Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and staying at Playa Escondida in Sayulita, Mexico which is about 1 hour north. We are thinking about renting a car instead of taking a taxi. Is this safe? What are some do's & don'ts when driving in Mexico?
Advice please!
Thanks!

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#129324 - 04/04/08 06:49 PM Re: Driving from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita, Mexico [Re: mfoster]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
Welcome to the fire new...couple, Wildman mentioned you'd be stopping by. If you rent a car be aware that your US insurancce doesn't work in Mexico. You'll need to buy Mexican insurance. Check with the rental agency or your travel agent.
Watch out for animals on the road.

If you are in an accident and someone gets hurt there is a good chance you'll end up in jail. They have a tendency to lock up everyone involved then settle the matter in court.

I travel to Mexico for work fairly often but I usually have a local driver to get me around. Even so, we've been stopped by cops seeking bribes four times out in my last five trips down there. I'm NOT in tourist areas though, your travels may be different. Luckily the few times I've driven myself I wasn't stopped. I'd rather get a taxi than drive myself, but then all my fares are rembursed by my company so if the driver overcharges me it doesn't really come out of my pocket.

Notify the US Consulate that you'll be in Mexico. There's a link somewhere on the webpage to do this. This speeds up response time if anything does happen. Keep copies of the nearest US consulate phone number in your wallet.

Speaking of wallets, notify your credit card companies that you'll be out of the country so that they'll be more aware of the possibility of fraud. This also will prevent what happened to my co-worker who had his cable company automatically charge his credit card. The bank saw a charges on the same day here in the US and also in Mexico, thought his card had been stolen and cancelled it without telling him, leaving him unable to pay for anything.

No knives WHAT SO EVER! Mexico is really touchy about Americans bringing in weapons and even a tiny Swiss Army Knife "Classic" can put you in jail if you get the wrong cop/judge.

There is much truth in the phrase, "Don't drink the water." Keeping some imodium AD on hand at all times is a good idea.

Spread your cash around your body. The less you have in your wallet the less for "fine" will be if a crooked cop tries shaking you down. Sidenote: "less" does not mean "empty".

All the civilian people I've dealt with have been absolutely wonderful. The only Spanish I know involves ordering beer but that's always been enough. Be happy in your dealings with people and they'll be happy back at you. Try the foods, dance to the music, smile a lot and tip well. Be respectful, don't get drunk, don't boast or brag.

In most respects being in Mexico isn't much different than being in any big US city. Most people are great, some are bad, a few are really bad. Keep your eyes open and stay in the well-lit areas.

Do either of you speak Spanish? That always makes things easier.

Man, now I'm hungery for real Mexican food and some ice cold beers...

-Blast
_________________________
Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

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#129328 - 04/04/08 08:06 PM Re: Driving from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita, Mexico [Re: Blast]
MoBOB Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 1219
Loc: here
I have nothing to offer on your topic. However, I want to welcome you both to the party. Feel free to jump in with both feet. You'll have grand time. I'd say "blast" but that could be dangerous to your and/or your cat's (if you have one) health.
_________________________
"Its not a matter of being ready as it is being prepared" -- B. E. J. Taylor

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#129337 - 04/04/08 11:51 PM Re: Driving from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita, Mexico [Re: mfoster]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
Welcome Newguys!!!

I don't go to Mexico much, but have talked to a lot of people who got stopped for just a brake light out or whatever, they had to buy their way out of the stop. So, as had already been mentioned, carry a pretty health amount of cash, but have it spread around your body, so no one can see your big wad...
_________________________
OBG

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#129345 - 04/05/08 02:03 AM Re: Driving from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita, Mexico [Re: Blast]
Blitz Offline
Gear Junkie
Addict

Registered: 08/23/07
Posts: 535
Loc: MA
Originally Posted By: Blast
Welcome to the fire new...couple, Wildman mentioned you'd be stopping by. If you rent a car be aware that your US insurancce doesn't work in Mexico. You'll need to buy Mexican insurance. Check with the rental agency or your travel agent.
Watch out for animals on the road.

If you are in an accident and someone gets hurt there is a good chance you'll end up in jail. They have a tendency to lock up everyone involved then settle the matter in court.

I travel to Mexico for work fairly often but I usually have a local driver to get me around. Even so, we've been stopped by cops seeking bribes four times out in my last five trips down there. I'm NOT in tourist areas though, your travels may be different. Luckily the few times I've driven myself I wasn't stopped. I'd rather get a taxi than drive myself, but then all my fares are rembursed by my company so if the driver overcharges me it doesn't really come out of my pocket.

Notify the US Consulate that you'll be in Mexico. There's a link somewhere on the webpage to do this. This speeds up response time if anything does happen. Keep copies of the nearest US consulate phone number in your wallet.

Speaking of wallets, notify your credit card companies that you'll be out of the country so that they'll be more aware of the possibility of fraud. This also will prevent what happened to my co-worker who had his cable company automatically charge his credit card. The bank saw a charges on the same day here in the US and also in Mexico, thought his card had been stolen and cancelled it without telling him, leaving him unable to pay for anything.

No knives WHAT SO EVER! Mexico is really touchy about Americans bringing in weapons and even a tiny Swiss Army Knife "Classic" can put you in jail if you get the wrong cop/judge.

There is much truth in the phrase, "Don't drink the water." Keeping some imodium AD on hand at all times is a good idea.

Spread your cash around your body. The less you have in your wallet the less for "fine" will be if a crooked cop tries shaking you down. Sidenote: "less" does not mean "empty".

All the civilian people I've dealt with have been absolutely wonderful. The only Spanish I know involves ordering beer but that's always been enough. Be happy in your dealings with people and they'll be happy back at you. Try the foods, dance to the music, smile a lot and tip well. Be respectful, don't get drunk, don't boast or brag.

In most respects being in Mexico isn't much different than being in any big US city. Most people are great, some are bad, a few are really bad. Keep your eyes open and stay in the well-lit areas.

Do either of you speak Spanish? That always makes things easier.

Man, now I'm hungery for real Mexican food and some ice cold beers...

-Blast


Great advice Blast!! +10

Uno cerveza por favor... crazy

Great advise Blast, I always pay attention you every word you say, really, thanks bud.

To the mfoster, listen to this guy, he knows his $#!t

Blitz

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#129346 - 04/05/08 02:35 AM Re: Driving from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita, Mexico [Re: Blitz]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
Thanks, Blitz. Uh, don't open the next package you recieve.

Quote:
Uno cerveza por favor...


Actually, I use "Dos cervesa por favor." blush One just isn't enough after a day in the oil fields...

-Blast

_________________________
Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

Top
#129350 - 04/05/08 03:25 AM Re: Driving from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita, Mexico [Re: Blast]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
My aunt and uncle traveled extensively in Mexico for many years. Everything they told me backs up Blast's advice. Many of the people there have gotten meaner, just like the ones here. But if you listen to them and make deals with them for small jobs, most of the time they will be honored.

For instance, if a kid offers to "watch your car" while you're eating lunch, make a deal with him to do just that, and make a bargain with him before you enter the restaurant. At least in the past, the locals figured if a local kid made a deal with a tourist to watch his car, someone was making money and they would honor it and everyone would leave the car alone. If the tourist was rude, and brushed the kid off, the car would be a shell in half an hour.

Mexico is a poor country, and things like luggage and car parts probably have considerable value.

Keep some bribe money tucked right under your license so you don't have to fumble for it.

Sue

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#129438 - 04/06/08 06:08 PM Re: Driving from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita, Mexico [Re: mfoster]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2811
Loc: La-USA
Careful Michael, this website is addictive to many of us!!! Bo
_________________________
QMC, USCG (Ret)
The best luck is what you make yourself!

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#129658 - 04/09/08 08:01 AM Re: Driving from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita, Mexico [Re: mfoster]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2811
Loc: La-USA
I am bringing this back up to the top 1 more time. Hopefully there are some others here who can and will contribute to the info that "MFoster" needs. Bo
_________________________
QMC, USCG (Ret)
The best luck is what you make yourself!

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#129662 - 04/09/08 12:34 PM Re: Driving from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita, Mexico [Re: wildman800]
justmeagain Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/07/07
Posts: 67
I've been to Mexico five times for vacations over the past ten years. Taxis are inexpensive and the service is very good so I would opt for a taxi unless you really feel a need to have a car for other reasons. Blast's points are spot on. I've always been in tourist areas and have never had problems with any of the people or the language barrier; I don't speak Spanish. Mexican's can park cars in the smallest of spaces, another reason to take a taxi unless you are good at that sort of thing -not one of my strong points.

Cash - carry small bills, they always seem to have problems changing larger bills. I usually start with a couple hundred US dollars, nothing larger than a $10, lots of $1's, and then hit a cash machine as soon as I can. You'll get a great exchange rate via a cash machine - better than a bank or on a street. Also take out larger quantities of cash to avoid too many atm fees.

Stomach -I generally get a touch of problems each trip. This past year I finally got smart. I started taking Pepto Bismol morning and night every day as a precaution. That seemed to work well. Rather than waiting for symptoms to appear, get ahead of the game. If symptoms start to appear, then add imodium. I had no problems this year for the first time.

Puerto Vallarta was my first trip to Mexico, I wish I were there now.

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