Visiting the Sierra Madres
Without a special permit it is against Mexican Law to
import clothing, even for charitable purposes. All
clothing brought into Mexico must be declared.
Please Contact Us for further details.
in the Sierra Madres
alone could be extremely difficult and
should not be attempted except in a high-clearance vehicle
preferably a four-wheel drive, with paint you don't mind
scratching. Before going into the mountains make sure you
have food, at least three gallons of potable water and a
full tank of gas plus five gallons extra. Maps, compass,
altimeter, binoculars, and GPS systems will all come in
handy, but bear in mind You Will Get Lost. There's practically
no way around it. Almost all roads, forks and intersections are
entirely unmarked, and generally speaking, it's safe to assume
you will not be able to find your way back the way you came,
whatever trail of mental breadcrumbs you leave behind. On a
more positive note, most communities have a small store and
many have someone who sells gas, but clean drinking water
must be brought with you.
Most mountain driving takes place
in first gear at speeds of fifteen miles per hour or less on
bone-jarring, rock-studded roads for hours and hours at a stretch.
A padded steering wheel or gloves help prevent blisters; bicycle
gloves being cheaper and more effective than the fancy driving kind.
On the plus side, gasoline consumption goes way down at low
speeds and a single tank can last for twelve hours or more,
even in four wheel drive.
One crucial element to have on your
side is time. A road covering five miles as the crow flies can
take hours to drive. Be prepared to spend at least one night in
the mountains and expect to get lost. Bring a pair of hiking
boots and a canteen in case you have to walk for help. Between
the border, customs checkpoints, the roads and the
otherwise unexpected, there are all kinds of potential setbacks,
pitfalls and dead ends, and attempting to do this under a tight
time limit will drive you insane.
Generally speaking, the greatest
obstacles come from within. After five or six hours of driving
you'll find yourself in places so isolated and remote you cannot
help feeling extremely vulnerable and wondering if it's the
stupidest thing you've ever done. This is not entirely a bad
thing. Provided, of course, that you do make it back to civilization,
you should find yourself better prepared to deal with things like
parking tickets, office politics and waiting around for the cable
guy to show up.
To get a
permission to bring a vehicle into Mexico
you need to have a driver's license, registration and title to
the vehicle and a credit card IN YOUR NAME. You'll also need a
passport and a Mexican visa, which is available with a small
charge at the border Immigration office. Count on at least an
hour to get your car and self registered properly with the authorities.
Once you're done, your papers will be good for six months. (You
also get a neat holographic sticker for your windshield!) Mexican
auto insurance, available on this US side, is fairly cheap and
particularly useful if you get in an accident while in Mexico.