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Author Topic: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)  (Read 7559 times)

US 41

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Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« on: April 25, 2014, 10:40:28 PM »

   I am planning on driving from Terre Haute to Panama City, Panama. I'm planning on doing it the Summer of 2015. I plan on visiting every country in Central America. I already know I'm going to need maps of each country. I've heard it can be dangerous, but many say that it is not dangerous at all, and that they'd be willing to drive it again. I've also read police bribery can occur. I'm going to need my passport, vehicle ownership papers, an IDP, and a few other documents. I will also have to make many copies of those. On Google Maps it says it takes 68 hours to get there (so 7-8 days). I'll be gone 2-3 weeks.

   Does anyone have any suggestions for me or know something I don't? Anything would be a big help.
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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2014, 10:47:44 PM »

I believe that in Mexico, any route with a "D" after it means that it has a toll.
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US 41

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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2014, 10:51:07 PM »

I believe that in Mexico, any route with a "D" after it means that it has a toll.

I read that the toll roads in Mexico are quite expensive as well. I'm planning on taking Rte. 180 to 185. Then I'll take 185 until Rte. 190, which ends up tying into Rte. 200. Then I take 200 to Guatemala. (I'm going to enter Mexico in Brownsville.)
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USA (38)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
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Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2014, 05:41:30 PM »

Toll roads are expensive, but beware of back roads near the border or in drug country, because you could be stopped by rogue outlaws who look like military. While this usually does not happen (Jake can attest that he has never been killed), it happens a lot more often than in the USA (10,000 times 1 billionth is still a small number, but a large factor).

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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2014, 05:46:43 PM »

Toll roads are expensive, but beware of back roads near the border or in drug country, because you could be stopped by rogue outlaws who look like military. While this usually does not happen (Jake can attest that he has never been killed), it happens a lot more often than in the USA (10,000 times 1 billionth is still a small number, but a large factor).

I would say that any numbered route in Mexico is not a back road.
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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2014, 06:05:31 PM »

Toll roads are expensive, but beware of back roads near the border or in drug country, because you could be stopped by rogue outlaws who look like military. While this usually does not happen (Jake can attest that he has never been killed), it happens a lot more often than in the USA (10,000 times 1 billionth is still a small number, but a large factor).

I would say that any numbered route in Mexico is not a back road.

Non D roads in Mexico are back roads, at least in terms of being cautious about who you encounter.

US 41

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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2014, 06:22:28 PM »

Oh, and I'll be doing this by myself. When I go I'll take pictures and post them on here. How much will it cost me to get temporary Mexican insurance? Also how much is the importation fee? Is premium gas easy to find in Mexico and Central America? I think the whole trip will cost me about $1,500 in gas (let me know if that seems reasonable).
« Last Edit: April 28, 2014, 06:29:33 PM by US 41 »
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USA (38)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
Canada (5)= NB, NS, ON, PE, QC
Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2014, 07:02:31 PM »

How much will it cost me to get temporary Mexican insurance?
try Sanborn.  I'm about to purchase some for my Baja trip; thanks for the reminder!

http://www.sanbornsinsurance.com/

Quote
Also how much is the importation fee?
$45 or so; $300 deposit is held on credit card.  this is a slightly finicky process, so make sure you do some serious googling of "Mexico vehicle importation".  given your summer '15 planned departure, you will have plenty of time to learn the ins and outs.  I'd even recommend a shorter trip to northern Mexico just to get a bit more familiar with things.

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Is premium gas easy to find in Mexico and Central America?
I've never particularly paid close attention, but most Pemex stations I've been to have had an option of 87 (green branding) or 92 (red).  I can never remember which one is referred to as "Magna" so I always call it by its color.  "al lleno con verde, por favor."  (btw, how's your Spanish?  mine's probably terrible.)

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I think the whole trip will cost me about $1,500 in gas (let me know if that seems reasonable).
I don't know about central America, but Mexico is usually about 75% of US price, so use that as a reasonable guide.
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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2014, 07:03:12 PM »

Jake can attest that he has never been killed

nor have Lou or Scott.
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US 41

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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2014, 09:00:53 PM »

Thanks agentsteel53 for the tips. I didn't realize gas was cheaper in Mexico. I calculated my gas at $5 per gallon. To answer your question my spanish isn't very good. However, I went to Spain last month and got by okay.
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Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

Pete from Boston

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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2014, 10:25:17 PM »


Thanks agentsteel53 for the tips. I didn't realize gas was cheaper in Mexico. I calculated my gas at $5 per gallon. To answer your question my spanish isn't very good. However, I went to Spain last month and got by okay.

"¿Perdón, donde se puede sacar fotos de un IUPS?"
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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2014, 04:20:22 PM »


"¿Perdón, donde se puede sacar fotos de un IUPS?"

sacar?  not tomar?  great, a bunch of non-Spanish speakers debating Spanish on an English-language forum.  just what Gabriel Garcia Marquez dreamed of.

speaking of which; my new plan to improve my Spanish - I just picked up a copy of Cien Años de Soledad; yep, not a translation.  this oughta be fun!
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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2014, 04:25:15 PM »


"¿Perdón, donde se puede sacar fotos de un IUPS?"

sacar?  not tomar?  great, a bunch of non-Spanish speakers debating Spanish on an English-language forum.  just what Gabriel Garcia Marquez dreamed of.

speaking of which; my new plan to improve my Spanish - I just picked up a copy of Cien Años de Soledad; yep, not a translation.  this oughta be fun!

Hahaha, yeah ,sacar. Tomar I only ever have heard used for taking by ingestion, so tomar una cerveza, which you use instead of beber because I don't know whwhy.

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Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2014, 07:43:19 AM »


"¿Perdón, donde se puede sacar fotos de un IUPS?"

sacar?  not tomar?  great, a bunch of non-Spanish speakers debating Spanish on an English-language forum.  just what Gabriel Garcia Marquez dreamed of.

speaking of which; my new plan to improve my Spanish - I just picked up a copy of Cien Años de Soledad; yep, not a translation.  this oughta be fun!

I learned sacar. It's one of those things I can't remember being corrected on by native speakers, but that's no guarantee. Tomar can mean "take" but the "take" in "take a picture" is a different intrinsic meaning than that in "take a ticket" (otherwise you would be claiming photographs off the wall like the reporters in "Airplane!") or even "take a belt of scotch," so it may not carry literally through all those meanings in Spanish.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 12:20:47 PM by Pete from Boston »
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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2014, 10:56:17 AM »

A trip to Panama sounds like fun.  I wouldn't worry about Mexico, even on the libres--the countries further to the south (except Belize) are the real concern.  Guatemala has a problem with violence (including kidnapping for ransom), and you will also need rabies shots, which are fairly expensive and have to be renewed every five years.  Also, if you are planning to enter every single country between Mexico and Panama, this may be a good time to research how carnets work and evaluate whether they may be a workable alternative to temporary vehicle importation in every country.
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US 41

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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2014, 09:55:34 PM »

How difficult will customs be in Central America (since I don't speak / understand Spanish)?
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USA (38)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
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Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2014, 10:16:19 PM »


How difficult will customs be in Central America (since I don't speak / understand Spanish)?

Ask us after the year of Spanish you are going to take starting now. Trust me when I say this will improve your trip.
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US 41

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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2014, 11:30:42 AM »

Would using the Mexico map in the RandMcNally be a good idea? Also is this map pretty good? http://www.maps.com/map.aspx?pid=10889
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Places I've drove in North America

USA (38)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
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Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2014, 12:05:31 PM »

You can do a lot better than the Rand McNally Mexico map--SCT, for starters, has its own map series:

http://www.sct.gob.mx/informacion-general/planeacion/atlas-cartograficos/listado-de-atlas/
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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2014, 02:13:41 PM »

Would using the Mexico map in the RandMcNally be a good idea? Also is this map pretty good? http://www.maps.com/map.aspx?pid=10889

That one doesn't appear too bad.  I got one at my local B&N for the heck of it.  As for the RMcN Mexico map - barf!  RMcN can do a lot better for both Canada and Mexico maps (not to mention the pitiful Puerto Rico map).
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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2014, 07:19:23 PM »

In Mexico City there are certain days that you cannot drive your car through the metro area, depending on your license plate number: http://www.mexicocity.gob.mx/contenido.php?cat=11200&sub=0&idioma=en
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US 41

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Re: Future Road Trip (USA-Panama)
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2014, 01:17:45 PM »

This is probably a really stupid question, but are road maps easy to find in gas stations in Central America? I'm wondering if I should buy maps before I go or along the way. I actually have not had much luck finding a Central American Road Atlas on the internet. I don't really want to pay $20 a folding map for each country. I'm probably going to go off the Pan American Highway quite a bit, so I need maps that show numberings for every highway in every Central American country. I found a 2001 Mexico and Central America Road Atlas from 2001 on Amazon. Would that be too outdated or have things not really changed all that much in Central America since then? Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Places I've drove in North America

USA (38)= AL, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WV, WI
Canada (5)= NB, NS, ON, PE, QC
Mexico (6)= CH, CO, DG, NL, SI, TM

 


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