Friday, September 13, 2013

Bus Border Crossing, Nogales, Mexico to Guadalajara

Border Crossing Bus, USA to Guadalajara, Mexico

Travelers to the US can enter Mexico and tour via an alternative to the airliner, the long-haul, first class bus.  The buses allow trips to the various colonial cities and beach resorts of Mexico while offering more leg room and more comfort than the airliner. The first class bus service in Mexico is plentiful, economical, and stress-free.

One of the Tufesa Bus stops on the Pacific coast is at 
Topolobampo, a port for the ferry to La Paz in the Baja
 and  also a starting terminal for the Copper Canyon Train

Nogales To Guadalajara, Tufesa Bus
One bus travel option is the Tufesa Bus, a cross-border bus that serves from many US cities to run bus routes across the Mexican border through Nogales or Tijuana.

Tufesa Bus stops in Los Mochis where the 
Copper Canyon Train starts its 6 am run into
 the canyon

Tufesa Bus runs routes south along the Pacific Coast and then inland to its two terminals in Guadalajara.  Free WiFi aboard.    Guadalajara link

Guadalajara is a major bus hub for bus routes to Coastal Mexico
and the Colonial cities on the Alto Plano

This first class bus service is economical at about 13 to 15 cents USD per mile and only has as a downside the air conditioning systems that put out frigid air, (bring a jacket) and the horrible movies. (bring ear plugs for the cartoons or US action flicks)
The great advantage of first class bus travel in Mexico over air travel is that you can stop in the small colonial cities or beach resort towns and tour for a few days. You could just tour for the day and then taxi back to the bus station, board a night bus and sleep until you reach the next city or beach town. With a good map you can time your arrival in your next city at dawn or around 7 am in the tropics.  The bus will average about 50 miles per hour except on the mountainous routes.  Once you arrive, you can tour the city or you can search for a hotel or hostel for an extended stop.  
The Tufesa stop in Mazatlan will offer the beach resort for a tour and also offer several other bus lines such as Primera Plus and ETN Bus for first class bus service to other parts of Mexico.

ADO Bus runs from Mexico City south and includes the City
 of Oaxaca where you find the ruin site of Monte Alban
Visiting Cities, Ruins, or Beach Areas
The bus stations in the larger Mexican cities are open 24 hours. This allows you to arrive in the morning and check your luggage in baggage storage for a small fee. You are then free to travel the city, ruin, or beach with just your daypack. (Check ahead as not all luggage storage areas are open 24 hours)
If you plan an extended stay, you will find taxis for between $3 to $7 USD that will take you into the Centro Historico, the historic center of the older colonial cities. There, within a few blocks, you will find hotels, Posadas, and hostels in all price ranges.
The City of Puebla offers a lively Centro Historico
 and a colonial era cathedral

An alternative is to catch a local bus or collective taxi to the beach or ruin site.  A little inquiry at the station will reveal where the colectivo pases.  
     Every town and city in Mexico offers the “Colectivo,” a shared taxi that offers an inexpensive, per person fee. (usually ten Pesos) Inquire where the colectivo stops for your destination and you can save on taxi fares. See colectivo explained on the web at Mexico Transportation: Taxis, Colectivos, Bus Travel.

Internet Booking Of Bus Tickets
Travelers accustomed to air travel will be conditioned to book travel several months in advance. With Mexico bus travel this is not possible nor is it necessary.  Few of the bus lines in Mexico have fully-functioning websites with the exception of ADO,  Primera Plus, and Tufesa.  
Primera Plus offers a luxury ride from Mexico city to Mazatlan
 and many places in between including the beach resorts of
Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo

This is not a problem since there are so many buses covering the bus routes that you don’t need to book ahead. You just show up, buy a ticket and ten minutes before the bus is scheduled to leave, you board. The buses never fill and the choices for seats are many except on certain runs. Busy routes like Oaxaca to Mexico City, or Colima to Mexico City will have buses running on the hour or half hour in the evening. Choice seats, however, will book early.

The bus allows you to visit the colonial cities such as Oaxaca,
 served by ADO Bus

What Is The Best Seat On A First Class Bus?
For some travelers, a seat in the back of the bus close to the lavatory is ideal. For others the deodorant smell from the lavatory and the hum of the back tires make the back seats undesirable. Some travelers prefer the middle of the bus where the tire noise is less and the bus body absorbs the hum of the wheels and the bumps in the road.
Other travelers prefer a seat in the front. The front row could offer more legroom, seat 1 to seat 4 with no seats ahead of you. Some front seats, however, do not have a leg rest.
Mexico is mountainous country and will offer much scenery
Avoid The Sun Side
     On a southbound bus during the afternoon, the sun will bake the right side of the bus and make it difficult to look out the window. Choose your seat with this in mind

Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration. Much of inland Mexico is at or above 5,000 feet. Mexico City is at 7,400 feet. Buy water and snacks at the station stops, get out and stretch your legs whenever possible.  

Buses stop in major cities along the route which affords
 an opportunity to stretch your legs.

Keep the sweater or jacket handy, stations in the mountains can be cold. Keep aspirin and Imodium in your pack.

First Class Bus Boarding
Security on Primera Plus Buses and on ADO Bus will do a pat down for metal objects when you board. They might video each passenger. At border crossings you might encounter drug-sniffing dogs. The security varies at each station and with each bus line.
It is not required that you buy tickets ahead of your 
travel day.  Buy at the station on the day of travel 
unless you are traveling with a large group
      While traveling, have your visa and passport on your person, the authorities  might check your passport when you cross the border. Rarely there will be a roadside check of visas and passports except along the Guatemala border and possibly at the US border or within the US near the border. There will be luggage checks by the Mexican military as you near the US border northbound.

Related links
ADO Bus, Southern Mexico
Primera Plus Bus, Central Mexico
Tufesa Bus, Nogales to Guadalajara
Tica Bus, Chiapas to Panama City 

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