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Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

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Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by Amsoil on Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:05 am

My wife and I will be driving from Austin TX Via Laredo to Ajijic and would appreciate everyone's valuable input on the drive. The route is pretty clear using the Toll Way the entire distance but is it feasible to make it there from Laredo at Sunrise? Again, if you have driven this route we would appreciate anything you have to share such as easy fuel stops, quick food etc. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by WDBarr on Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:16 am

We make this drive several times a year. We have family in Austin and New Braunfels. We go to Laredo a day early and stay at the La Posada Hotel, which is very nice and right on the Rio Grande River. Usually we go over the day before so we can get our paperwork done, allowing us to leave early from Laredo the next morning. This last time, the CIITV gave us a hard time about bringing over our F250 Truck - they said it was too heavy. A lot of people were having the same problem, but we were all able to get waivers. We leave at 6am and drive straight through to Chapala. No place is open for breakfast at this time, so buy something the night before to eat on the road. There is a really nice Pemex and Convenience Store with good restrooms at about 258miles down the road- it is located in the middle of the highway so you actually get off on the left. La Estacion, at about 430 miles, is a good stop as well - clean and good snacks and drinks. Some people stop at Matehuala for the night, but we always get there about noon, so it is too early to stop. It will take you about 13 hours from Laredo to Chapala. There are a couple of tricky spots where you have to watch to make sure you stay on the cuota. I suggest you pack a cooler with water, drinks and sandwich supplies, etc. so you don't have to waste time stopping, plus there aren't a lot of restaurants on this route. PM me if you have a specific question. We have kept copious notes every time we have taken the trip so we have a lot of information. The trip, one way, costs 2500pesos. There are long stretches without Pemex stations, esp. between Lagos de Moreno and Chapala, so fill up when you hit 1/2 tank.

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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by Amsoil on Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:38 am

Thank You! Where are those "tricky" spots irt the "cuota" so i can make a note of them if you don't mind sharing. Pre-Staging the night before in Laredo is something we will do rather than leaving at 2am from Austin. We plan on getting our Visa's at the consulate in Austin so how easy is it to acquire the vehicle paperwork at the Border? We would appreciate anything more note wise if you care to share and once again thanks for your direction.
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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by WDBarr on Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:41 pm

Between Monterrey and Saltillo, make sure you do not miss the Matehuala cuota (you will see a large cement factory on the right) and you will exit to the left. The road here is very rough - the trucks slow down to a crawl.

When you take the San Luis Potosi bypass, there is a large circle, make sure you go to Lagos de Moreno and not Zacatecas or Aguascaliente or Ojuelos. This seems to be the hardest for us and we have missed it several times. The last time we ended up in Ojuelos during the freak snow storm last March. We had to follow in the tracks of a local bus to get back out to the cuota.

Take the by-pass around Matehuala - I believe the sign says "corta" - if you stay on the cuota, you by pass all the cities.

Getting gas - get out of the car and make sure that the gas pump is returned to zero before pumping begins and have your money ready. We had one incident where my spouse is pretty sure the attendant cheated us out of 500pesos, so have your money ready. Hand him the bills one at a time. We usually tip the attendant 20pesos. Most of the Pemex stations will not take credit cards, have cash ready.

The same with the tolls. Only one or two take credit cards, and those are near Gdl. Keep your toll receipts because this charge also covers some sort of insurance while you are on the toll road.

Have small change for the banos, the clean ones charge 4pesos.

The caso de cambios ( exchange houses) in Laredo give a pretty decent rate of exchange and you want to have enough cash on you for the trip. When you get here, you can use the ATM to withdraw pesos.

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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by WDBarr on Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:47 pm

Also, don't bother getting any advance paperwork in Austin, it is all easy to do at one time in Nuevo Laredo. You can pay for everything at once, get your import sticker for the truck and they will attach it to your visas. Keep everything - you will be asked to show your visas at the military stop at about 22 miles inside Mexico. You need to pay a bond, which you should do on a credit card. Our runs about $400. When you come back across the border, you stop at immigration and they will scan your paperwork and the bond appears back on your credit card in about 3 days. Never fails. IF you lose the paperwork, it will be a lot harder to get your money back. Make sure you have the title with you and that the name on the title matches one of your drivers license and, of course, your passports.

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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by Amsoil on Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:08 pm

Google plotted a route going through Monterey/Saltillo on 40/54 to Zacatecas/Aguascaliente on 45D/80D to GDL. Is there any difference that you see between these routes even though it looks like the Google Route is 2 Hours shorter?
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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by Canmex 87 on Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:13 pm

Amsoil wrote:Google plotted a route going through Monterey/Saltillo on 40/54 to Zacatecas/Aguascaliente on 45D/80D to GDL. Is there any difference that you see between these routes even though it looks like the Google Route is 2 Hours shorter?

This route is 100 kilometers shorter (1 hour travel time) than the San Luis Potasi route.

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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by Jreboll on Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:22 pm

Anybody recommend the Zacatecas road? I took it years ago, very good road, but very isolated with few towns along the way. Also it goes right through downtown Aguascalientes with a lot of traffic.

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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by Canmex 87 on Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:29 pm

Jreboll wrote:Anybody recommend the Zacatecas road?  I took it years ago, very good road, but very isolated with few towns along the way. Also it goes right through downtown Aguascalientes with a lot of traffic.

There are three "ring roads" around Aquascalientes. The outer most one is Siglo XX1 and is much faster than going through downtown.
If you haven't taken it for a while there is now a Quota road north of Aquascalientes to north of Zacatecas.

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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by Amsoil on Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:30 pm

I believe shorter doesn't always mean better/safer so i wonder what would be the better route.
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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by Amsoil on Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:16 pm

Thanks Everyone for your input so far! Much Thanks to WDBarr for the wealth of information you have shared which is invaluable. I will continue to monitor all the additional comments being posted as we prepare for our trip in Nov. Many of us travel back and forth and things change on a daily basis so i hope we can continue to share information to keep us Safe and use our Drive Time more efficiently.
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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by Amsoil on Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:32 pm

Anyone know a good place to get pesos in laredo prior to crossing? Thanks!
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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by RVGRINGO on Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:32 pm

Google provided this:

Currency Exchange in Laredo, TX
Name Address City St Zip Code Phone
Alfa Money Exchange 1220 Grant St Laredo TX 78040 (956) 791-0880
Emex Money Exchange 1301 Lincoln St Laredo TX 78040 (956) 726-1720
Emex Money Exchange 803 San Dario Ave Laredo TX 78040 (956) 722-0204
High Value Inc 820 Santa Ursula Ave Laredo TX 78040 (956) 712-3513
Emex Money Exchange Inc 3502 Santa Ursula Ave Laredo TX 78041 (956) 791-0084

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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by Amsoil on Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:48 pm

Thank You!!
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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by Jreboll on Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:55 pm

I get a better exchange rate when I take it out of my ATM. I wonder if that is other's experience too?

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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by RVGRINGO on Thu Nov 03, 2016 12:48 pm

It is always the best exchange at an ATM, but the OP wanted a casa de cambio in Laredo, TX.  Perhaps he wants to sell a few pesos going north, or wants just a few before crossing and having to look for an ATM on the Mexican side going south. Or....maybe he has no bank account and no card. Who knows?
His choice.

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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

Post by RickS on Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:14 am

With respect to taking highway 54 south of Saltillo, "thru" Zacatecas and Aguascalientes.... it is shorter with less tolls.

I take that route most often. The 54 between western Saltillo and northern Zacatecas is very good and without tolls. Stay on 40D signed to Torreon until you see the road (straight ahead; 40 goes right/west). Places on 54 to get fuel several times including Concepcion del Oro but it is quite a ways down "to" Zacatecas.

Just before Zacatecas at Morelos (which has a large Pemex/Subway), 54 will intersect cuota 45D, marked to Aguascalientes/San Luis Potosi cuota. Follow 54D left to Aguascalientes. A bypass of Aguas (of sorts, not in the true sense) is Blvd. Siglo XXI to the left. It will have a ton of signal lights and will be rough the last couple of miles before rejoining 45 just south of Aguas (left lane, marked "Mexico").

Follow 45 a short while, sometimes a cuota, 'till you come to the 80, marked Guadalajara and San Juan de los Lagos. Take 80D cuota on down to Guadalajara.

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Re: Route From Laredo TX to Ajijic.

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