Off-Road Traveling in Mexico
8 Important Tips For Fun and Great Times when Off-Road traveling in Mexico
Story and Photos by Jim Foreman
More and more areas in the United States are being cut off from off-highway use by misguided politicians and an increasingly ignorant electorate. Because of that, more Americans are discovering or rediscovering Mexico as an exciting and wonderful place to get some dirt or sand under your wheels.
It makes no difference what style of adventure suits you. You may be into Jeep trails, taking out quads and dirtbikes, or bringing the fancy ATV like the popular Razor. You may just want to take your 4×4 pickup. There’s something for everyone in Mexico.
Let’s Get Started
Regions such as Baja California and Sonora including the north area surrounding Rocky Point are excellent places to head off-pavement.
Off-Pavement and Off-Road traveling are very alive and well in many parts of the country. It doesn’t matter if world-televised events like the Baja 1000 inspired you or it’s only a fun weekend with friends. It’s essential that one doesn’t let the spirit of fun and thrills get in front of common sense and respect for nature and others.
Follow these 8 important tips for off-road traveling in Mexico.
1. When crossing the border, make sure the vehicles are titled or registered in someone’s name that is also along for the trip. Back in the 1980’s many vehicle thieves were headed straight south without hindrance. The US and Mexican governments agreed to have random vehicles stopped when crossing south to verify the registration or title. A color photocopy or printout of the registration or title is almost always fine.
2. Know that outside of the populated areas, you probably have no mobile phone service. If using GPS, make sure everyone has the coordinates for the basecamp or hotel. Someone in the group needs to act as a leader and know where to find the nearest medical facilities.
3. Before you begin riding, make sure to stock up on water and have a general idea of the terrain. The most prominent medical issue for off-roaders is dehydration. Once you become dehydrated, something much worse is imminent. If you begin to feel it, it’s too late. Therefore, drink water or Electrolit and relax for a while, in the shade.
Pro Tip: Mexican insurance is required for any on-road or off-road travel on Mexican roads.
4. You should only travel during daylight hours, no matter how many lumens your lightbar puts out. Also, have a plan to end the riding long before sunset so you can transition to great food, drinks, stories, and friendship. Animals, as well as illicit activity, are much more active at night.
5. If you’re unfamiliar with the area you plan to travel or explore, ask others who have been there recently. This may seem obvious, but a lot of people end up in an uncomfortable situation because they don’t heed this simple advice.
6. Be careful that you are not invading someone’s private property without permission. Again, this should be obvious, but more so on the mainland, there are a lot of extensive ranches that are private property. Landowners don’t know who you are and what your intentions are. Find out and ask permission, if necessary, before trouble finds you.
Don’t forget to use your head
7. If you come across a situation that doesn’t seem right, turn around quickly and get out of there. Don’t be too curious and know when to get away from a potentially negative situation.
8. I would travel with some beer and water on ice. Don’t drink until you are done riding for the day. Instead, keep it, along with water, for when you get stuck somewhere or need help. Few things will make someone happier to help you than an ice-cold beer in their hand.
Beyond these tips is a necessary understanding. Above all, if someone gets seriously injured, it’s really up to you to get that person to medical facilities. No helicopter will be hovering overhead in 30 minutes, or ever. Therefore, having someone along with some basic first aid or Wilderness EMT training is very wise.
As far as Mexico insurance goes, If you’re insuring a truck, jeep, or street-legal motorcycle, understand what’s covered and what’s not. For example, if you’re off in the dunes and end up damaging your vehicle or someone else’s, you’re not covered. Few, if any insurers will underwrite your coverage as a result.
Off-Road and Off Payment
Now, off-Road and off-pavement are two different things. You will discover many roads and even some federal highways that have unpaved portions. If it’s a road one can find on a map, you are covered, if you have full coverage. If your vehicle becomes disabled in a remote area or primitive road, you’ll need to find someone with a truck to help you get it into a town so your tow service included with your insurance can help you. Use the AAA standard logic. If you’re a member of AAA ask yourself, would they come here to retrieve my disabled vehicle if this were in the US? If not, you are responsible for getting it to a place they will be able to load it up and transport it.
Off-roading is fun and more than rewarding. Do it safely and with a hefty dose of good sense.
Remember, if your vehicle is traveling on the Mexican streets, you must have proper coverage. Mexican Insurance Store has the best Mexico insurance to protect you and your vehicle in Mexico.