Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mexican Tolls

We have been back in Toronto now for 3 weeks and have been very busy and not updating this blog as we should. By very busy, I mean that we have been driving to our Montreal area cottage which is a 6 hour drive and renovating the property each weekend. During the week Tanya is working and I am looking for a new contract. But I found the time this morning, after taking Tanya to the airport for her flight to San Francisco. She will fly back on Friday evening where I will meet her in Montreal so that we can work on the cottage again on the weekend and drive back to Toronto Sunday night.

Anyway, I want to give you an update on the cost of toll roads in Mexico. When we drove to Oaxaca, MX last October we left Austin, TX in the moring and crossed into Mexico at Brownsville and drove down the Gulf coast to Veracruz, turned right and drove towards Puebla and then south to Oaxaca. The tolls were approximately 550 pesos. The road conditions were okay but not great. There were lots of trucks on single lane roads which had pot holes and topes. A pretty drive though.

Our return trip was straight north to Laredo with tolls reaching 716 pesos. There were 16 toll stops ranging from 10 pesos to 120 pesos. The road conditions were great. The roads were straight, in excellent condition, mainly divided highway and lots of room for passing. The views were lacking but the driving was fast.

We had expected to take 3 full days to get to Austin as it had taken 3 full days in October to drive from Austin to Oaxaca. We arrived at Laredo late in the afternoon before 5:00 PM. The border crossing only took minutes. We turned in our temporary vehicle import permit at the first booth, drove another 5 meters where we paid a toll then drove up to the U.S. check point. We had nothing to declare other than a few cigars and 1.5 litres of Mescal. So, other than giving our Canadian nationality and Toronto destination we were quickly flagged through. All of this was accomplished under 10 minutes. I am not counting our 1st pass through where we missed the import permit both and had to circle around after paying the toll. But even with the circling I am sure that we were not more than 20 minutes crossing the border.

So, there we were, on the U.S. side of the border and plenty of sunlight left in the day so we decided to continue north. Because it was a long day for the cat in the car we stopped at Dilley, TX for the night which is about 1 hour south of San Antonio and the Alamo. Cat or no cat it was a good time to stop. We could have continued to Austin but it would mean arriving at 10:00 PM at night. Definitely not a good time to be showing up at a friends home where we are guests.

To make this short story longer let's summarize.

Tolls: Gulf Coast $550. Laredo crossing $716.
Time: Gulf Coast 3 days. Laredo crossing 2.5 days.
Driving: Gulf Coast a bit stressful because of trucks. Laredo crossing stress free except around Mexico City..
Scenery: Gulf Coast excellent. Laredo crossing boring.
Recommendation: I would drive the Gulf Coast again and take my time and enjoy the scenery. And I would stay over night along the way on the Emerald Coast next to the water. Even slowing down we would get to Oaxaca within the 3 days.

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