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Road safety around Puerto Vallarta

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Road safety around Puerto Vallarta

Hi,

I am planning a driving vacation along the mexican west coast in a few weeks. Starting in Acapulco, going through Zihuatanejo, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, then Guadalajara. There have been safety warnings about the coastal highway areas (highway 200) on the State Department website dated July, 2013.

As I will be driving extensively and will be in tourist and non-tourist areas, I am trying to get as sense if I should avoid any particular areas or even change my itinerary altogether. Any help and information is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Acapulco
Acapulco
Guerrero, Mexico
Zihuatanejo
Zihuatanejo
Guerrero, Mexico
Manzanillo
Manzanillo
Colima, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta
Jalisco, Mexico
Guadalajara
Guadalajara
Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Mexico
United States
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1. Re: Road safety around Puerto Vallarta

Are you familiar with driving in Mexico? Who are you renting with and are you buying the full insurance in Mexico for your rental car? Are you alone or do you have companions? Just a few questions for starters.

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2. Re: Road safety around Puerto Vallarta

Thanks for your reply, 777Deana777.

I have driven in Mexico several times, mostly in the south, south of DF, Puebla, Oaxaca, Veracruz, and around Cancun / Merida. I always rent from major rental car companies, this time Avis. Yes, I am buying liability insurance, but wasn't planning to buy collision as this is covered by the CC (CDW confirmed by the credit card company). Traveling solo. Any suggestions? Thanks again.

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Puebla
Puebla
Puebla, Mexico
Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca, Mexico
Veracruz
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Veracruz, Mexico
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Quintana Roo, Mexico
Merida
Merida
Yucatan, Mexico
Toronto
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3. Re: Road safety around Puerto Vallarta

Envious I am. I had mapped out a similar road trip for my March, 2013 vacation but, had to postpone it till 2014. I have done Hwy 200 as far south as Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacán. The stretch south from Tecoman (just south of Manzanillo) to Lazaro Cardenas is very scenic, good two lane highway, but many curves and average speed perhaps 40 -45 mph. Many great small towns and beaches -- never had a reason to be concerned about personal safety. I was in Tecoman, Colima, Manzanillo and Guadalajara two weeks ago and had no issues or concerns.

The link below is to a great youtube video of the beaches in the state of Michoacán. It starts in the south and moves north.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKl6LjKgbHU

My starting point was going to be Guadalajara -> Taxco (silver) -> Zihuatanejo -> skip Lazaro Cardenas (industrial port & rather boring) and then the beaches in Michoacán and Jalisco.

jt

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Manzanillo
Manzanillo
Colima, Mexico
Guadalajara
Guadalajara
Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Mexico
Taxco
Taxco
Guerrero, Mexico
Zihuatanejo
Zihuatanejo
Guerrero, Mexico
Jalisco
Jalisco
Mexico
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4. Re: Road safety around Puerto Vallarta

While we have never rented a car, we were in ixtapa/Zihuat surrounding areas in early June, and we had a host there. She did a lot of the driving, but others from the team also drove We were doing missions work, so we were not in the resort areas except to sleep.

Our general rule of thumb was make sure we were back to our resort by dark. One night, we were pushing it so our host was FLYING down that highway 200...I have no idea how fast, but it FELT fast for sure. We only slowed in the construction zones.

There was at least one checkpoint, and in one village we went to, there was a truck loaded down with men completely in black (no faces showing either) and of course armed. It was a little unnerving, but everything was okay.

It is an interesting drive, (if for the simple fact its nice to see something other than resort zones) at least the hour or so north of Ixtapa/Zihuat where we went up to La Union several days to minister. One day we were even farther north than that, but cannot recall the town name, it was very small and that is where the armed guys were going.

As a woman, I personally wouldn't drive it alone. I would also make sure I'm at my lodging by dark, mostly common sense approach.

Good luck and safe travels!

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Ixtapa
Ixtapa
Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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5. Re: Road safety around Puerto Vallarta

Just an aside about the "men in black". The purpose of the masks was not to look "scary". It's because they were members of the military who were preparing for a drug-related raid, probably at a house or a farm out in the boondocks. This is protection for the soldiers, because some of the people in the drug house could be their brothers, cousins or childhood friends, etc.

I agree that seeing soldiers attired in this fashion can be disconcerting at first, but I'm glad they are out there helping to protect all of us, Mexican citizens and foreign visitors alike.

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6. Re: Road safety around Puerto Vallarta

It's also protection for these authorities so they cannot be identified by cartel members, and then targeted later after a raid or arrest.

On a side note: I got a great photo of the tourist police this trip on the south side of PV on their newest traveling "toy" - they're riding Segways. (-:

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7. Re: Road safety around Puerto Vallarta

As far as safety, I would advise asking on the Fórum Mexico Connect closer to the time. There are people from all over Mexico who post and read the Fórum. LInk below.

Whenever we drive we do extensive research on specific áreas, including talking to local people, reading newspapers as well as Fórums to see where any current áreas of trouble are and how best to avoid them when driving.

http://www.mexconnect.com/forums/

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8. Re: Road safety around Puerto Vallarta

Missed my edit window.

Another good source of info is the blog "Borderland Beat" (not just for border áreas) I personally would do careful research about áreas around Acapulco, Michoacán, Morelia, (especially inland). There is a lot of disputed área there (amongst rival cartel groups)..

I only know well the área north of Manzanillo and especially the driving área from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara and would say that you´d be fine there in tourist and non-tourist áreas alike.

Edited: 03 December 2013, 19:18
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Acapulco
Acapulco
Guerrero, Mexico
Morelia
Morelia
Michoacan, Mexico
Manzanillo
Manzanillo
Colima, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta
Jalisco, Mexico
Guadalajara
Guadalajara
Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Mexico
Calgary
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9. Re: Road safety around Puerto Vallarta

I have driven from Guadalajara to Colima, Melaque, Playa Azul, Morelia, Zitacuaro, Taxco, Cuernavaca, Queretaro, Guanajuato and back to Guadalajara(3,000km in 3 weeks). The best ocean views and most Curva Peligrosa were on the 200 between Tecoman and Playa Azul. The length of this part of the Hiway is 200km and it took more than 4 hours to drive. The views are wonderful if your the passenger, but you don't see much if your the driver as there is a curve(often sharp) every 200 meters(220 yards) or less. If you enjoy rally driving this stretch of Hiway is for you, but watch out for Burros, snakes, and impromptu toll booths put up by the children for noose change. This was the most challenging part of our drive and that includes ruch hour in Guadalajara.

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Guadalajara
Guadalajara
Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Mexico
Morelia
Morelia
Michoacan, Mexico
Taxco
Taxco
Guerrero, Mexico
Cuernavaca
Cuernavaca
Morelos, Mexico
Guanajuato
Guanajuato
Guanajuato, Mexico
New York
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10. Re: Road safety around Puerto Vallarta

Thank you all for your comments and the provided information!