One of the Best Times to Drive to Mexico is Fall
Many experienced travelers to Mexico believe fall is the prime time to visit. If you’ve been thinking about driving south of the border, there are some good reasons why choosing your vacation for the months of September to November may be your best bet.
There’s no wrong season to visit our neighbors to the south, however the fall months find the climate a little more temperate, while also providing for many of the most culturally significant festivals and fiestas.
Don’t forget that you cannot legally drive in Mexico with your current U.S. auto insurance. You’ll need to purchase Mexican car insurance before you head to the border. Take advantage of online insurance companies to purchase cheap Mexican car insurance in advance to allow for a smoother and less expensive crossing.
Celebrating Fall’s Dia de los Muertos
One of the biggest and most elaborate Mexican celebrations is Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Some people mistakenly believe this is Mexico’s version of Halloween, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Although this symbolic celebration of those who have passed does happen at around the same time as Halloween (from late October to early November), and does feature costumes and parades, the Mexican tradition is a sacred rite with roots that go as far back as 3,000 years.
This festival is more of a celebration of life, rather than a day of mourning for the dead. Because the roots of these rites come from a culture with the belief that death was just the start of a new life, it is a time to remember with joy those who have departed.
Visit Mexico’s cities to experience the festival firsthand, with traditional skeletons, candy skulls, music, food and family. Some of the more popular include Mexico City, Michoacán, San Luis Potosi and Guanajuato.
More Fall Festivals in Mexico
Day of the Dead is a big draw, but there are plenty of other colorful cultural events and fiestas happening throughout the country in the fall. Here are just a few:
- Mexican Independence Day is celebrated throughout Mexico is town squares across the country on Sept. 15.
- Guadalajara’s Mariachi Festival is this city’s most important cultural event of the year and usually takes place in mid-September.
- Cervantino Festival takes place this year from Oct. 13-29 in Guanajuato. With everything from opera to contemporary music to theaters and film screenings, it brings visitors and participants from the world over.
- Baja Culinary Fest is considered one of the most important food festivals in northwestern Mexico. It’s slated for Oct. 26-29 this year and features seafood, locally-produced wine and the growing farm to market scene.
- If hot air balloons are your thing, you won’t want to miss Festival Internacional del Globo (International Hot Air Balloon Festival) in mid-November in Guanajuato.
- Rocky Point Rally is a motorcycle rally every year in November. This year’s dates are Nov. 9-12. Billed as the greatest motorcycle rally south of the border, this will be a fiesta to remember.
Crossing the Border into Mexico
There are as many as 48 places to cross the border across in several states. You can cross through California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Once you’ve decided on your fall destination, you’ll know which border crossing is closest.
Depending on which crossing you choose, you may breeze through or you may wait awhile.
The busiest border crossings include:
- San Ysidro (California)
- El Paso (Texas)
- Laredo (Texas)
Less busy crossing points include:
- Antelope Wells (New Mexico)
- Columbus (New Mexico)
- Tecate (California)
Here is a list of what you need to drive across the border:
- Proof of Mexican car insurance
- Driver’s License
- Vehicle registration
- Copy of Title (not always necessary but good to have)
- Temporary Import Permit (TIP): (you don’t need this if you are only going to be traveling in Baja California or the free zone in Sonora. If you plan to go further into Mexico, you will need this. There is a deposit ($200-$400) required that you will get back when you exit Mexico.) Purchase this permit online for less waiting.
- Mexican Tourist Card or FMM: It’s free for those staying under 7 days and approximately $35 for those staying longer. This can also be acquired online to avoid waiting in long lines.
You can get your TIP and FMM online or in person at certain Mexican Consulates. Keep in mind it is necessary to make an appointment when doing in person at one of the Mexican Consulates. You can also obtain the permit at Banjercito offices at the border.
Don’t forget to load up on pesos before you begin your trip. Many gas stations and vendors do not accept credit or debit cards and you don’t want to carry a lot of American cash.
Coming Back to the U.S.
When crossing back into the U.S., turn in your FMM and TIP. If you do not turn in your TIP, you will forfeit your deposit and their records will show your vehicle is located illegally in Mexico. In addition, you will be denied obtaining another permit in the future.
Is Driving in Mexico Safe?
For the most part, driving in Mexico is perfectly safe if you use your common sense and stay away from certain areas. The U.S. Department of State maintains a list of travel advisories, so check here to make sure you aren’t planning to drive into a particularly dangerous area.
As with traveling to any strange place, don’t flash money or wear expensive jewelry. If you are planning on imbibing, make sure at least one person in your party stays sober. Have fun and make new friends, but always treat strangers with normal caution.
Find Cheap Mexican Motorcycle Insurance Quotes with Sanborn’s Insurance
With over 75 years of experience helping travelers, our agents at Sanborn's Mexico Insurance will work with you to customize the coverage you need while driving into Mexico.
You can get a quick quote for motorcycle or car insurance online or call 800-222-0158. We also have offices all along the border in California, Arizona and Texas, so regardless of where you are crossing, you can stop in and get everything you need with an agent’s help. Visit with us today!