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Travel to Lake Chapala

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Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by Blackforestgal on Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:54 pm

What is the safest route to travel to Lake Chapala from the U.S.? All the travel advisories have me concerned.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by Gamina on Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:38 pm

Depends on where you want to cross the border. Although, no border area is very safe. You want to scoot right along into the interior heading this way. The State Dept. travel advisories are to be taken with a grain of salt and common sense.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by Flamingo on Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:54 pm

A lot depends on what you are afraid of. Personally I crossed at El Paso/Juarez because I am afraid of driving in Texas and feel much safer driving in Mexico. But that's me.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by slainte39 on Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:17 am

If you are new to Mexico, stay with the cuotas (toll roads), wherever possible and daylight driving, just to make you feel better and to get confidence and experience for lesser travelled highways at a later time.
Nogales and Laredo are probably the most used crossings by ex-pat retirees coming to the Guadalajara/Chapala area.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by Blackforestgal on Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:02 am

We will be coming from Colorado, however, we are willing to travel further in the States if that makes it a safer drive in Mexico. I have never been to Texas, so just assume it would be as safe as Colorado. Is there a reason it isn't?
How can I tell on a map if the road is a "cuotas" or toll road? Are they marked in some way?
My concern is for the drug cartel violence I read about. It sounds like it is almost everywhere.
I really appreciate the comments. Keep them coming! I am planning on it taking two days in Mexico to avoid night driving. Is that about right?

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by CanuckBob on Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:23 am

The cartel violence is very real for those involved in the drug trade and those trying to stop it. I have lived here going on 6 years and have never seen a thing. We travel (drive) regularly to the coast and throughout central Mexico. Just use common sense like you would if driving through Detroit, New York, LA, Texas (lol), etc............

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by David on Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:35 am

Drive down to Tucson and cross just south at Nogales. Easy crossing then after a few miles you pick up the Cuota that brings you all the way here! From the border its two long days or 3 easy ones.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by CanuckBob on Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:08 am

Which crossing is it that I hear of people getting here in 11 hours or so? McAllen?

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by Gamina on Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:20 am

Laredo is the fastest to Lakeside. 10-11 hrs but being old I like to take two days.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by gringal on Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:28 am

Gamina wrote:Laredo is the fastest to Lakeside.  10-11 hrs but being old I like to take two days.

There's a good stopover motel in Matehuela. Anyone been there lately and remember the name?

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by RVGRINGO on Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:12 am

toll roads are designated by the route number and a D, for dinero (money). From Nogales to Guadalajara, the route is 15D and is a major autopista, mostly multi-lane divided, limited access highway. Major towns along the way are easy to access and all have good hotels and restaurants, unless you have pets and need to look for motels.
We lived in Chapala for over 13 years, and have traveled throughout much of Mexico. Never had a problem and never made reservations for road trips; just start looking for a good stopping point about mid-afternoon, to avoid rush hours and driving in the dark.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by David on Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:53 am

Coming from Colorado, Texas is not on the way unless one travels east!
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by Gamina on Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:58 am

In Matehuala is the Las Palmas motel with restaurant or the no- tell motel just north of town at the Catorce hwy.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by merry on Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:14 pm

Las Palmas is the most popular hotel in Matehuala:

http://laspalmasmidwayinn.com/en/

I personally always stay at the Sol y Luna because they adore and gush over my pets, and they are next to the La Sevillana factory where you can get awesome tortas:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hotel-Sol-y-Luna/1410484869221356
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by Flamingo on Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:33 pm

I drove down from Boulder with the expected bumper stickers. No way I was driving thru Texas. Those people have gun racks in their pickups.

Actually Dave, you drive strait down I25 to El Paso but you are right, most folks go through Nogales.

Stay on toll roads and don't drive at night. Enjoy - smile - you'll be fine.

And get a copy of  Judy King's Living at Lakeside.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by slainte39 on Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:37 pm

When I have travelled between Denver and Guadalajara, I crossed at El Paso/Cd. Juarez (daylight hours) and never a problem.  It's a straight shot down I-25 in the US.

edit......Oops, I see flamingo said the same thing as I was writing and posting.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by slainte39 on Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:49 pm

Violence is not 24/7 in Mexico any more than it would be driving through any place in the US, like Chicago that has a lot of violent crime.
Just avoid being a drug dealer or wannabe and you have very low risk of any encounters with violence.  Night driving always increases the risk of robbery or car/hijacking but not exponentially.  No more than driving in a big city area in the US at night.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by CanuckBob on Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:56 pm

All great advice. The bottom line is you won't have any problems. Just take it easy and keep an open mind. The Mexican's are the most helpful people I have ever met.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by RVGRINGO on Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:18 pm

In Mexico, in the event of an accident or breakdown, people do stop to help. There are Angeles Verde trucks cruising to assist, and Mexicans will whip out cell phones and call them for you. Assistance is free and the Green Angels are often bilingual. There are instances of engines being rebuilt at roadside, in small villages, and expats being hosted while repairs were made. Mexicans are warm, welcoming and generous people. Make as many friends as you can.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by RickS on Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:39 pm

"Coming from Colorado, Texas is not on the way unless one travels east!"

David, that is misleading.  Yes, it is a bit longer through Laredo but only by 100 miles and less than that if one doesn't believe that they will be killed if they take their foot/tires off of a cuota toll road.

I have probably made the Colorado/Lakeside drive 15 times in the last few years and I almost always drive through a significant portion of Texas and stay in the US longer. And it is not because I am afraid of driving in Mexico as I have probably driven more than 10,000 miles all over Mexico.

Then Why?  1) fuel costs will be significantly less the longer one stays in the US, especially driving through Texas.  2) Toll road costs will be significantly higher the longer one drives in Mexico.  3) Roads are significantly better the longer one stays in the US, especially driving through Texas as the roads are ALL superb. 4) Accommodations and 'stops' are easier to find in Texas and are as cheap. 5) If one was unfortunate enough to have car problems, finding help will be significantly easier in the US especially for a newbie driver.  I could go on....

So if I am traveling for pleasure and sightseeing, I'll drive a lot in Mexico. But if I am wanting to get from A to Z, "A" being Colorado and "Z" being Lakeside, then I'll make the drive using a lot of Texas.

If the OP, blackforestgal (Monument Hill, eh?), wants some further help with directions she'll let me know.

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by Blackforestgal on Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:10 pm

Thank you, everyone! I have been reading/following everyone's comments. We will be coming with 2 dogs, both poodles, A standard (big), and a miniature (small). Will that create problems with motels?

I25 down to El Paso is the most direct route. I was wondering how the roads were from there? Are there toll roads? Towns? My map is pretty old and small and doesn't show a lot of detail. We will buy a better map of course, before we make the trip.

Rick S.: Yes, we are in Black Forest, just north of Colorado Springs, southeast of Monument. It is beautiful here, and I will miss the area, but as we age and are looking at retirement, we don't want the long, cold winters. Places that don't snow are either too hot in the summer, too expensive, or both. I had the opportunity to spend time at Chapala for 3 summers, living with Mexican families when I was a teen. I really loved it there, and am hoping it hasn't changed so much, that I will love it again. I will appreciate help with directions, especially since you are familiar with coming from this direction.


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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by RickS on Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:29 pm

The route you would like is mainly cuota. Roads ending in a "D" designate a cuota... 45D south of El Paso, 49D later, etc. Even when it does not say "D" on this route, it is still 4-lane just not toll.

I don't travel with pets so can't help you on this route. Maybe others can....

In the mean time, just use Google Maps  (maps.google.com)

Click on this and see the route down I25 to (skirt) El Paso and then on to Lakeside.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Black+Forest,+CO/Albuquerque,+NM/221+Pete+V+Domenici+Memorial+Hwy,+Santa+Teresa,+NM+88008/Ajijic,+Jalisco,+Mexico/@30.1823827,-106.8204036,5.5z/data=!4m26!4m25!1m5!1m1!1s0x87134aadafbb23ed:0xe2d2d5544c0c34ac!2m2!1d-104.7008083!2d39.0130484!1m5!1m1!1s0x87220addd309837b:0xc0d3f8ceb8d9f6fd!2m2!1d-106.6055534!2d35.0853336!1m5!1m1!1s0x86ddfb02429f20e3:0x89a2ee5973559136!2m2!1d-106.6809071!2d31.788041!1m5!1m1!1s0x842f414c90a728b5:0xb8d60a7105a49d63!2m2!1d-103.2634411!2d20.2995464!3e0

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by jrm30655 on Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:54 pm

"
I drove down from Boulder with the expected bumper stickers. No way I was driving thru Texas. Those people have gun racks in their pickups."

You don't have to worry about the pickup people, it's the women with a 50 caliber Desert Eagle in the purse that are dangerous

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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by Trailrunner on Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:14 pm

Welcome, Blackforrestgal! You'll be fine, piece 'a cake. Just don't drive at night. Enjoy.
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Re: Travel to Lake Chapala

Post by RickS on Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:23 pm

P.S. If you haven't been to Lakeside since you were a teen and you are now the age of retirement and you are hoping Lakeside "hasn't changed so much"...... you are in for a huge disappointment. I first came in 1997 and it has changed dramatically since then. MANY more houses and MUCH more traffic. But it is still nearly perfect in my opinion.


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