The drive through Mexico and Central America is a wonderful experience, however, it’s not an adventure for everyone.
What type of person would like this sort of trip? First and foremost, you go to like to drive—if the open road turns you on then this is a great trip for you.
Even through you could rush the trip, ideally it is better to have an open agenda tat isn’t too pressured by time.
You don’t need tons of money but you should have a nice money reserve for emergencies and potential car issues.
Places and conditions change, thus be prepared to make variations or detours altered from the original directions; though generally speaking things in Central America change slowly—except for Costa Rica where it seems different every time I go back, which has been every six months for the last decade.
There is no one correct way of doing anything and therefore if you find a way or route that you feel is easier or less complicated, please send your comments to us at DriveMeLoco so that your information may be included in the next publication and so that the loco community gets updated—we are stronger together.
There are three main routes through Mexico, one is along the Atlantic Coast (actually the Gulf of Mexico), the second is through Central Mexico and Mexico City, and the third is by the way of the Pacific Coast.
From Texas the four main entry points are El Paso, Piedras Negras, Laredo and Brownsville.
There are several east-west, north-south links as you journey south through Mexico.
The Pacific Coast route is the hands down favorite among travelers. The roads are better overall, drivers don’t have to circumnavigate Mexico City, and there are plenty of beautiful sites along the way.
Those travelers that have driven all three route agree that the Pacific Coast route is by far the best.
The route detailed in the city-by-city portion of this guide is the Pacific Coast route of Mexico, until Chiapas where I recommend diverting to the interior to see the jewels left by the Mayan civilization.
If Central America is your goal, then the central route bogs you down too much in Mexico City and the surrounding areas.
The Atlantic route is just plain hard on vehicles and the scenic delightful places are fewer. Head for the Pacific Coast and then south through Mexico.
From Chiapas I always take the route into Guatemala heading directly for Antigua (one of my favorite cities in all of Central America.
From Guatemala you have two choices, continue through El Salvador or through the beautiful rolling hills of Honduras.
Surfers may want to head to El Salvador but if you need a break from all the great waves you got in Mexcio and would like to do some diving or spend some time in Copan, Honduras.
Most often once officials see your gringo face an unrestrained passage can be expected, usually they ask a few questions and check your paperwork and send you on your way.
In all my years of travel I have only been hustled by the police around the USA border, most of the other officials are quite friendly.
In situations where you are motioned to pull over the officers will ask a few general questions and then check your vehicle or migration paperwork.
No problem, always present a polite and respectful attitude and the officers will do the same.
Idiotic, disrespectful travelers can expect a synonymous response from officials.
If you are traveling with a fluent Spanish speaker, have that person deal with the officials.
All things being equal in these situations, have a women talk to a man and a man talk to a women when dealing with border officials or customs inspectors.
Have a great trip, be safe and don’t drink and drive or drive at night!