The United States has a lot of beauty to offer, but there is just something alluring about venturing beyond the border! Perhaps it is rooted in the adventurous spirit that drives people to the RVing lifestyle in the first place. Taking your rig south into Mexico gives you a whole new kind of RVing experience; one that is filled with rich culture, beautiful beaches, and friendly faces. If you are considering RVing in Mexico, check out our tips and advice for a safe and successful adventure!
The insurance you have in the United States will not cover you in Mexico, so you’ll need to prepare for this before you hit the road. Look into getting a separate Mexico insurance policy to cover your liability in the event that you cause an accident. You should also contact your insurance company to see if you can amend your current RV and auto policy to cover you in Mexico during the length of your trip. Do your research before you commit to any one plan so that you can discern what is best for your wallet and your unique itinerary.
Fear-based media has instilled in most Americans a sense of danger when it comes to entering foreign countries, and this is apparent in the fact that safety seems to be one of the most pressing topics when talking about traveling in Mexico. The reality however, is that your safety should be a concern wherever you go, because your safety can be jeopardized no matter where you are. Use common sense and if you feel uncomfortable in a situation, trust your gut, pack up, and move along. Avoid flashing your fat wallet, showing off your tech toys, and wearing valuable jewelry as this may draw unwanted attention to you and your rig.
Although traveling in Mexico is not as unsafe as you might perceive it to be, that doesn’t mean there still aren’t places you should avoid. Locations within the Free Zone, such as Sonora and Baja, are traditionally regarded as safer, while locations in the mainland can vary. To find out about potentially hostile areas to avoid, check the international travel site for updates on warnings.
Crossing the border doesn’t have to be as scary as it is often depicted on our TV screens. If you come prepared with all the proper paperwork (i.e. passports, driver’s license, auto insurance papers, proof of ownership, driving permits, and pet documents, if applicable) you shouldn’t have a problem. You’ll also want to have a valid international credit card, because without it you will be required to post a substantial cash deposit. Be sure to call the point of entry and request a list of item and food restrictions so you don’t try to bring in anything you’re not supposed to.
Driving in Mexico is hard on your RV. Stick to toll roads and highways whenever possible, as the price to use well-maintained roads will be worth it. Be on the lookout for giant speed bumps when driving, or topes as they’re called in Mexico. These speed-reducers are littered throughout Mexico so make sure your suspension stabilizers are ready for the rough road ahead. Avoid driving at night and keep the number for roadside assistance available just in case of a breakdown. Because the rough roads can result in damage to your rig, and because RV parts can be hard to find in Mexico, consider bringing along some spares, such as extra oil, filters, take-off-rim spares, and maybe a belt or two. Also, if you find the speed limit signs alarming, remember they are given in kilometers!
RV Parks & Campgrounds
You can find places to stay in your RV throughout Mexico, and they range from primitive sites to full-service resorts. The Pacific side of Mexico generally promises campgrounds of a higher quality, but nice resorts can be located throughout. Campgrounds in Mexico are notorious for having weak water pressure and unreliable electricity, so come equipped with a water pump and a surge protector. Pull-through sites are less common than in the U.S., so you might want to brush up on your rig reversal skills before you head south. Here are just a few of the RV parks available to you during your journey.
Koala Bungalows: Located on the beautiful Santa Maria del Oro Lake in Nayarit, outside of the Free Zone, this campground offers hot showers, barbecue areas, an on-site restaurant, kayak rentals, and even a wading pool!
Acapulco Trailer Park: Overlooking the ocean and a picturesque lagoon, you will witness some stunning sunsets when you stay here. This RV park offers drinking water, Wi-Fi, showers, a pool, and 24-hour security for added peace of mind.
Campo Playa RV Park: Within the Free Zone of Ensenada, Baja, this 50-site campground puts you within close proximity of the city so you can explore the surrounding shops, markets, and nightclubs. Pull-through sites and sewer are both available.
If you can’t locate a place to camp, avoid the temptation to boondock. You should be allowed to stay at a Pemex fuel station overnight so you won’t have to drive in the dark. Try to park under the lights and, if possible, pick a station that is open 24/7.
The last piece of advice we can give before you begin your RVing adventure in Mexico is to do your research, learn some of the basic language, and gain a general understanding of their currency. You don’t need to have all the answers, and if a question does arise, don’t hesitate to ask the locals who will likely be very welcoming of you. Have you ever RV’d south of the border? Share your experiences and insights in the comments!