How do I drive from LA. California to Mexico City?

Travel Forums North America How do I drive from LA. California to Mexico City?

1. Posted by triptime (Respected Member 32 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I am looking for information about how to drive from L.A. to Mexico City.

What is the best route to drive?

How long does it take?

I know drug wars have flared up in border towns. How safe is it to drive through the country?

I would like to drive so I can take a bunch of donations to an orphanage - does anyone know how much stuff I can take over the border?

If I ended up wanting to live in Mexico what would I have to do to register my car down there? Would I have to go back to the border or could I do it where I am?

Any info or references are so appreciated!

Thank you!

2. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2004 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

To avoid the trouble areas, which are near the western edge of the mainland in Sonora and even worse in the center (primarily in the state of Chihuahua), you should go as far east as possible while still in the US, then travel south through the Mexican city of Monterrey and then on down to Mexico City.

Take Interstate 10 from Los Angeles through Phoenix and Tucson and all the way to San Antonio, Texas (and don't stop when passing through El Paso except to fill up the car with gasoline). Then take Interstate 35 to the City of Laredo and cross the border there.

Take Mexican national highway 85 south to Monterrey and then on south to the smaller city of Linares, where you take highway 31 west to highway 57 (you could stay on 85 all the way to Mexico City, but it's very slow since you would go through lots of mountains). Take highway 57 south to San Luis Potosi (actually 57 passes just east of the city), then on south to Queretaro. From Queretaro take Highway 57D (which is a motorway) on to Mexico City.


3. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2004 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I forgot to mention--don't forget to get Mexican insurance before crossing the border, since American car insurance is no good in Mexico (Mexican law). Keep you policy in your pocket, not in the car--in case it gets stolen when you aren't in it.

I don't know anything about the rules about registering your car in Mexico--sorry.

4. Posted by Cool Paul (Respected Member 611 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

doesn't mexico sound fun?!

I love the precise directions to avoid danger...

"after passing through the mountains you will see a man in a brown hat, pick him up as he is the only one you knows the secret phrase to cross the bridge..."

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Feb-2009, at 14:38 by Cool Paul ]

5. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3580 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I went from Las Vegas to Acapulco and back! via public buses years ago. Now that is a bit of an adventure I can tell you. I think Gary gave you excellent advice on a possible route down to
Mexico City. I personally would not want to drive to MC, but I hope it goes well.

I have two things to add. Do not drive at night and I would make use of our travel helpers.
Click on 'travel help', select Mexico and read about those who have offered to help.
Several are Americans living there and should be able to help with your route and answer your
auto registration question. Good luck to you.

6. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2004 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

You know, I wouldn't be afraid at all to live in Mexico in places like San Luis Potosi, Guadalajara or Puerto Vallarta--but right now, I'm afraid to travel through larger border towns like Tijuana, since the drug wars and gangs are quite out of control right now.

P.S. But then I wouldn't travel through Compton, California (near Los Angeles) right now either--it has the same drug/gang problems.


7. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2004 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

If you want more on the Mexican army vs drug cartel gang situation, here are two news articles in today's papers/websites on the issue:

P.S. Note that the shootings/killings are primarily taking place right now in the states of Sinaloa and Chihuahua, which is why I routed you via Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey--but as you can see from the second article above, there are even border closings and protests taking place in these cities.