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Full Version: Been to México?
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I’m Canadian. I lived in an ambulance for two years for health reasons. I flew to the US in November and lived in a Ford van.

The pandemic has worsened and despite borders being open to Canadians returning home, we need to cross 72 hours after a negative test and we need to quarantine in an approved space. I doubt they will accept a van as an appropriate quarantine space and I will get very sick in a hotel in Vancouver for 2 weeks.

So, I’m considering driving to México and staying there for a while, to maintain my health (aside from the pandemic).

Have any of you traveled in your vans to México?

I need very reliable internet, so I’m thinking of using a co-working space. I’m looking at many places, but Tulum, Yucatan is top of my list.

What have your experiences been? What do you wish you’d known about México?
I grew up near the border. We used to cross back and forth all year. We used to camp in Baja and the mainland as far south as Guaymas  and my dad used to sail (he took part in the races from SoCal to La Paz) and fish in La Paz when it was a sleepy village (literally this would have been 1950’s-60’s) with no tourists except fishermen. I lived for a year in Morelia (Michoacán) and traveled around the country a few times by local bus, took many vacations there and my Spanish is native although not my first language (long story)

One beef I have is watching nomad videos about crossing a busy border during the day for lunch during the week and shopping and having dental care etc which makes it seem like a cheap, fun  paradise.

That’s quite different from driving a van across the country. Think about it. There is a reason desperate people literally risk their lives to come to the US and it’s not because México is a cheap, fun paradise. And for those of you who voted to defund the police look to Mexico to see how that works. If you need help or are the victim of a crime not only will the police not help but they may ask for bribes because you crossed their path. I remember crossing the border to camp as a child and the agricultural inspector taking Mexican fruit and vegetables from us then asking for a “fee.”

And I don’t really care about your story of how you drove your 1978 van across Mexico and it was wonderful and nothing happened. You got very lucky. Or you lived in Lake Chapala in an American bubble and it was wonderful until it’s not.

I have two different friends who own surfing schools in Baja who live there part time and they could tell you stories that you might believe more than mine. I have my own stories. Including hiking by accident in an area we didn’t know belonged to the local narcos who were convinced we were ATF. Or at best not being allowed to board a national airline (Aeromexico) because they thought I was Mexican and wanted a bribe and I refused. I have funny stories like the airlines and unfunny stories like the narco one.

My advice is it isn’t worth the risk. Gabachos (gringos) are all considered rich and they may figure you don’t need your van or any items inside as much as they do. And it could get scary. I’ve been scared in Mexico more than any other place in the world and I love the country and the people. I love the culture, the language, the arts, the food, the colonial architecture  but I don’t love the corruption and the resentment towards Americans (and yes they will smile in your face and talk behind your back)

If you choose to go anyway make sure you have auto insurance and nothing of value in your van.

Edit: The last time I crossed the border was 8 years ago and my Mexican friends tell me it has gotten worse and worse and people are more desperate with Covid and the lack of work in the US. And yeah if you want to travel around Mexico it helps to have some close Mexican friends.