Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The OutX trans-Mexico route loops from the US to Guatemala and back to the US crossing the length and width of Mexico. It starts (or ends) on the California-Mexico border, goes the length of Baja California, crosses to mainland Mexico, and continues down through the Sierra Madre mountains following the Pacific Coast to Guatemala. Ride/Overland Mexico then follows the Guatemala-Mexico “border” road around to eastern Mexico, passing through lush subtropical forests. In Eastern Mexico the route again follows the Sierra Madre mountains, but this time along the Gulf of Mexico until either re-entering the US in Texas or crossing over north central Mexico to New Mexico, where it joins up with the Continental Divide route in the US. The Ride/Overland Mexico route is about 18,563 kilometers or 11,534 miles long, depending on which entry or exit point you take from the US.

Food is much cheaper in Mexico than in the US, Canada, Australia, or Europe. It is easy to get a meal out for $10 US. If you stock up on groceries at markets and stores you can easily eat for $20 US a day.

Lodging is relatively cheap too, with your average inn or hotel running from $40-60 a night. Camping is basically free as there are few official places to camp in Mexico and most of the route runs through the backcountry.

Gasoline is more expensive in Mexico than in the US or Australia, but a little less expensive than Europe costing between $5-6 US per gallon depending on the exchange rate. Diesel runs the same price as gasoline.

If you need work done on your bike or overlander, labor is really cheap and the parts will be about the same price as in your home country, or slightly higher. However, because of such low labor costs repairs tend to be much cheaper in Mexico than elsewhere in North America, Europe or Australia.

Oversized tires can be ordered in Mexico at great expense, but will not be commonly sold, so if money and time are a consideration, we recommend not running too large of tires on your overlander.

There is no short answer to this question!

We have divided the Ride/Overland Mexico route into 14-day segments to facilitate planning and allow travelers to break the route down into manageable time frames if they can’t get away for a LONG while.

There are so many factors at play that it is difficult to determine exactly how long it will take you. Generally speaking, it will take a bare minimum of three months if you rush through it and don’t stop to enjoy the sites. Taking your time and enjoying the scenery and culture, visiting the 63 destinations, it takes 4-8 months.

Why does it take so long?

Firstly, The topography of Mexico plays an enormous role in making this route take a lot longer than many would imagine. When we think of Mexico we often imagine tropical beaches like in Cancun or Puerto Vallarta and not the mountains. Yet, 70% of Mexico is covered in mountains and almost the entire Ride/Overland route runs through Mexico’s most rugged terrain. Denver, Colorado is known as the mile high city, yet Mexico City with 20 million inhabitants sits 600 meters or 2,000 feet above Denver at 2,240 meters or 7,349 feet.

As another point of comparison, the TransAmerica trail comprised of 80% dirt roads, crossing the US from Atlantic to Pacific, is about 8,000 kilometers or 5,000 miles and takes 1-4 months depending on how much you want to see and take in while on the road. The Ride/Overland Mexico Route is over twice as long at 18,563 kilometers or 11,534 miles. However, because Mexican topography is so extreme, riding or overloading the Ride Mexico route takes more time per kilometer or mile travelled than might be imagined at first glance. The route has so many twists and turns that looked at on a zoomed-out map it appears to be “relatively” short. But, as you zoom in, it becomes apparent that it has almost no straight sections and unwound and straightened the total distance is the equivalent of crossing the US from coast to coast 3 times!

To yet better understand just how rough Mexico’s topography is, let’s compare the US to Mexico. The US is nearly 4 times larger than Mexico and the highest peak in the continental US is Mount Whitney at 14,500 feet. Despite Mexico being nearly four times smaller, it has 3 peaks above 5,000 meters or 16,000 feet, and its tallest peak is over 5,675 meters or 18,400 feet.

Another statistic that is essential to understanding why the Ride/Overland Mexico route takes so long to complete is that at least half of Mexico’s roads are not paved and many of these dirt roads are very unimproved, so the going is rough. But, this is what adventure riding is all about: enjoying the art of riding and driving, getting off the beaten path and experiencing the wilds of our world.

Our team has collectively spent 63 years living in Mexico and we have traveled the length and width of Mexico by bicycle, motorcycle, 4X4, car and bus and we have never had harm done to us or any of our vehicles stolen or damaged with the exception of running over some long nails at a roadblock, which required us to change a tire.

Can Mexico be dangerous? Of course, if you travel in the wrong places at the wrong times you run the risk of getting into harms way. We have done the necessary groundwork to avoid areas that are considered risky.

Because the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border is a transit area for drugs and illegal immigration to the US, there is a much higher incidence of crime and violence in that region. We have chosen the safest border crossings into Mexico. You should cross in the morning before midday with ample time to ride or drive deeper into Mexico before dark. Once you go through immigration and get your tourist card and temporary import permit for your vehicle, both of which are valid for 180 day, you will want to continue on deeper into Mexico until you are about 150 miles or about 250 kilometers away from the border. Once away from the border area you can take your time and travel as you normally would.

The Ride/Overland Mexico route goes through mostly rural areas and the people are friendly, helpful and kind. However, throughout your trip, using good sense goes a long way: keep your vehicles and equipment within sight, or if out of sight don’t leave items out or visible that could be a temptation to petty thieves. Most Mexicans are kind and honest and they are usually happy to keep an eye on your things. If you need to leave your vehicle you can ask someone at a food stand or store to keep an eye on your vehicle. Additionally, parking it in an area with plenty of activity is a good idea. People are honest when others are looking.

If you are camping, your vehicles will be safe as you will camp near them. But if you stay at lodging you want to keep your vehicle in an enclosed parking area with security. Lower incomes in Mexico mean that there are opportunists that are rarely violent, but that would happily walk of with your expensive gear if it is left unattended and unsecured.

If you wish to leave your vehicle in the countryside to take a hike or swim there is almost always a house or place of work somewhere nearby, even if its just a farmer working in his field. In our experience Mexicans are almost always happy to help by letting you park your vehicle beside their house or place of work. Once “in their custody” your vehicle will be fine. We have done this time and time again over the decades and it has been a failsafe way to be at ease while enjoying the sights away from your vehicle. Mexicans don’t find this to be an annoyance and actually seem happy to help in some way and to have you place your trust in them.

This technique also works quite well for camping. Richard had cycled for two months through Mexico before it occurred to him to ask if he could camp beside people’s houses. Prior to this he had looked for out-of-sight places to set up his tent. Being that he was traveling alone camping in someone’s yard or on their property was a good way to get to meet people and socialize in the evenings. Toward evening, for the entire rest of his trip through Mexico and Central America, he would ask a friendly person along the way if he could camp out in their yard. Often, after long conversation, the person would invite him into the house, make him part of the family and give him a hammock or a bed for the night. The next morning the family would ask him to stay for a day to see the farm, or fish, or go to the river or beach.

Mexicans and Latin Americans in general make you feel like one of the family and enjoy doing so. Sometimes foreigners think they are inconveniencing people with these requests, but honestly most Mexicans actually prefer that you accept their hospitality as they enjoy having you as part of their family and social circle. Their social relationships take precedence over time and money compared to much of US, Canadian, Australian and European culture.

In places where there are parking lots there tend to be “car attendants”, people who watch over your vehicle for tip upon your return. They don’t expect much, just a dollar or two. They will often offer to wash your vehicle while you are away for a larger tip.

As a final note on security matters it is important that people be able to recognize who or what you are. Foreigners are treated well, so it is best that people recognize you as foreigners. If you vehicle has tinted windows and you see a situation where it is important to be identified as traveller, roll the windows down and make your identity known, greet people in English or accented Spanish. Almost all run ins between foreigners and criminal organizations tend to be the result of mistaken identity, not directly targeting of travelers. We have put our logo and website on our overlander so that people know who we are as soon as they see the vehicle. For motorcyclists this is not much of an issue as motorcycle travelers are almost never mistaken for anything other than what they are as their bikes and bags ID them quickly.

While we often aspire to have the the most kick-ass motorcycle or 4X4 for these adventures it is completely feasible to do the route on almost any dual-sport motorcycle as long as you have good tires. Anything from a Honda XR 150 or Yamaha YTZ 150 to a KTM 1290 Super adventure or BMW 1250 GS will get the job done. For your overlanding vehicles, a decent amount of clearance with four wheel drive and mid-level tread will work. Don’t get so caught up with the idea that you need the best motorcycles or truck and gear that you can’t afford to take the trip because you spent so much money! Again, repairs in Mexico are really cheap comparatively, so used vehicles that are well kept are a great option. When Richard did half the transAmerica trail his Suzuki DR650 was seventeen years old. It did a great job and is still on the road. This time it’s running the entire length of the Ride Mexico route.

The best time of year to ride the entire route is from March through October. At the northern latitudes of the route, closer to the US, it can get cold from November through February. The three states of the 23 Mexican states on the route that occasionally suffer from subzero temperatures in winter are Chihuahua, Durango and Nuevo León.

The rest of the route is rideable year round. The rainy season in Mexico is from June through October. It tends to rain a few hours a day at most except in the southern state of Chiapas (bordering on Guatemala), where it is more tropical and gets more precipitation. However it is generally warm or hot in Chiapas so the rain is tolerable or even pleasant. In large swaths of the country it will only rain every few days during the rainy season for a few hours.

The weather on most of the route is rather mild. However, the weather on the volcanoes, due to their elevation being quite high at 3650 meters or 12,000 feet or higher, can get down to zero degrees Celsius or about 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Plan on temperatures between 0 and 38 degrees Celsius or 32 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the average temperature will be between 10 and 30 degrees Celsius or 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

We take pride in the creation of the Ride/Overland Mexico route. Creating a 18,000 plus kilometer (11,000 plus mile) route crossing all of Mexico from border to border linking 63 amazing destinations on mostly dirt roads requires years of commitment and work. This project is a dream come true. It is a privilege to create such an amazing route. However, such a dream requires thousands of hours of work and a substantial amount of capital to bring to life. First you need to understand Mexico which requires an intimate knowledge of Spanish and the country’s geography. You can only truly know Mexico, it being the 13th largest country in the world, if you live here for many years, even decades. Then there are the vehicles and equipment needed to explore and create the routes as well as their maintenance, insurance and fuel costs. We needed filming equipment such as digital DSLRs, drones and action cameras to make the videos about the route as well as computers, software and data base to store the almost 200 terabytes of information in our videos. Then there is the website design and associated costs for domain names, hosting and maintenance as well as subscriptions to different apps used for route and video creation. We hope that you understand our commitment to Ride Mexico. In return our OutX team works hard to provide you with the information you need to have the adventure of a lifetime in beautiful Mexico!