Currency: MXN (Mexican Peso, M$)
If you are an indivudal traveler and you want to stay cheap, cash is asked. For accommodation, gas, food. I withdrawed money only on international known banks.
km – odometer at border crossing: 38,647
km – driven: 3,973
average fuel costs per liter: 0.77 EUR
fuel used in liter, around: 135
total costs for fuel, around: 103 EUR
I traveled in the off season. It was no problem to find accommodataion. Often there were only a view guests in the hotels or hostels. There are often far more hotels or hostels than you can find on pages like booking.com or trivago.com. Look for local booking pages in the internet.
Online Booking might work with more expensive hotels. I had bad experiences with two cheaper ones and gave it up, it did not work as expected. Also the walk in rates were much cheaper than I paid for on the online booking pages. It’s better to write an e-mail or call or just show up.
I had no problem to park my motorcycle. Either there was a garage or I could park it in the hostel. I even parked it on the street some times. When the owners of the hostel told me that it is safe outside. You can often see on the neighbourhood if an area is safe, for example, what kind of cars park outside, are the houses and streets maintained, … .
There are different opinions. On most sites I’ve read, they say that a liability insurance is mandatory. Others write, it is not mandatory.
Nevertheless, I would like to stay on the safe side and buy a liability insurance. What turned out to be very simple. I found the link http://www.mexins.com/ on some blog. There you can select different options online, like, different types of vehicles, amount of coverage, pure liability or damage to your own vehicle. Since I plan to travel again through Mexico, I choose a third party liability for one year. That costs only 15USD more than 6 months. I take any damage on my motorcycle at my own risk. After filling out the forms, you receive an e-mail with a phone number. You have to call this phone number. I talked to an agent for a couple of minutes. I gave them my credit card information and within 5 minutes I got the insurance policy by e-mail. The procedure did not take more than 10 to 15 minutes. The prive for the policy was $ 100.
I went in McAllen / Reynosa across the border. Why? The travelbook said it is smaller quiet border station. And so it is. I have been there aorund 10am.
* Step 1: Drop off the green visa card.
On several blogs I’ve read that the travelers crossed the border and had to turn around again, because they did not know where to leave the green visa card. So before I drove over the bridge I stopped at border officials and asked where I have to drop off the card. They said, I should keep it, for re-entry. I said, I probably come back in half a year. They discussed. Finally, they told me I can leave it at the toll booths. Mexico and the U.S. are separated by the Rio Bravo. You have to pay 3$ to pass. So, when I payed the toll at the booth I asked again, if I can leave the visa card there. He said, Yes, so I gave it to him. I hope it worked.
* Step 2: Border Crossing
I had to stop at a bar. It opened and you are in Mexico. Within a zone of about 30 km you don’t need a visa or something else and you can move almost free.
But I had to register my motorcycle for temporary import. If you leave the border station in Reynosa, just drive left. Here are the GPS coordinates: 26.089886, -98.268383
* Step 3: Temporary import of the vehicle
Passport, driving license, registration certificate, national insurance card, international driving license, international registration certificate .. prepare everything.
First I had to fill out the immigration card. Then I had to copy all the documents. Costs $ 1USD. Then I had to go to customs. Again I had to some papers. Then I had to go to the bank. It is a back and forth. All documents are viewed precisely. But everyone was very friendly. The border officials wanted to know, where I go, how long, …?
At one point it go complicated. The bank employee, where I had to pay the fees, made “problems”, because our car registration has no expiration date and the veicle serialnumber is not in the national insurance card. A young Texan with Mexican roots was very helpful translating for me. Finally one of the border officials wrote a document that the temporary import is okay. I paid 295M$ for the tourist visa, about 660M$ for the import papers and had to deposit around 308 USD, which will be paid back when leaving the country. Everyone was interested in my trip. Finally, border officials finished my visa and passport, wished me all the best and I was done.
Duration: around 2 1/2 hours.