How Safe? {Driving Mexico betw Tijuana and Sonoyta (Sonora); San Diego CA to Lukeville AZ & Why AZ}

I’m driving to Austin TX next week and am interested in the stretch of road along the US-Mexico border, on Mexico highways 2 and 20 which is about 300 miles long. I’d enter Tijuana at the Otay Mesa border crossing in the early morning on Tue 23 Feb after buying my 1-day car insurance in Chula Vista, and plan to do this stretch during daylight. 300 miles, should be doable.

Is it safe these days? I’ve driven thousands of miles in Mexico but the last time I did was about ten years ago. I’ve never before done this stretch of road before except for the Otay Mesa border crossing, again, 10 years ago.

Also, is Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument worth a look-see?

Most likely safe. I have a friend that drives routinely into northern Mexico (he’s building a house) and so far has not been tortured and killed by drug cartels or Federales. So far.

It looks like a fun drive, allowing for how it’s all desert.

Organ Pipe is nice, though back country hiking might be contraindicated. Apparently, lots of non-sanctioned border crossings come through the monument. I used to camp there a lot, back in the day.

The mountain pass just east of La Rumorosa BC looks pretty hairy. Lots of twists and turns.

ETA map link:

If you can, drive a low key, nondescript vehicle. Don’t speed.

Have a little cash in a crappy wallet and a crummy cell phone on you in case you are stopped.

Hide (or don’t bring at all) your good laptop, good cell phone, credit cards, etc.

Be polite.

Does your auto insurance cover you in a foreign country?

No, I live in the US but you usually buy it near the border by the day / week / month or date range. It’s also less expensive at AAA, and I imagine auto insurance companies may offer it as a rider.

In the past it is inexpensive but you don’t want to go without it. As you approach the border, in Chula Vista and other places you will see signs along major highways of places selling insurance. In the past from what I’ve read, Mexico driving accidents are you are presumed guilty and have to prove your innocence. Or maybe that is for arrests in general.

REGARDLESS…GET Mexican insurance at the border. No exceptions.

I rode it years back on a motorcycle. It wasn’t bad, but it’s not as safe as Hwy 8 through the southwest. I’d go Hwy 8 and set the cruise control.

I’ve driven to Cabo and back twice. Cabo is 1,000 miles from San Diego. Very scenic drive, like much of the SW USA’s Sonora Desert lands.

Oh man, if your only driving experience in Mexico is down Baja and 10+ years ago, you’re going to be in for a surprise when you get on Highway 2D. The Mexican toll autopistas are seriously nice European-style highways. Nicer than most Interstates for sure. Once you get to Mexicali, the autopista ends and you’re back on regular old Highway 2 which’ll be a bit more like the crummy highways you remember in Baja. (Although probably not quite as bad. Although for that matter I hear the Transpeninsular Highway has been fixed up considerably in recent years.)

Yeah, the cartels aren’t interested in tourists. And the federales? If they (or municipales) try to shake you down–and if you are innocent–don’t give them anything. Just ask to be taken to “the station.” They’ll eventually give up. My step-mother (who’s Mexican) has a beach house in Baja, and on the road between there and Tijuana I’ve been stopped twice and accused falsely of some violation. I held my ground, asked to go to the station, and they gave up.

Good to know!

I was supposed to leave last Monday but ended up with a retina tear that was spotted and fixed that day. It is healing well and so my trip may start next week.

Have not decided which way I’ll go but I may try a slightly more northern route because I’m also interested in catching Monument Valley, Four Corners and Shiprock.

Am posting this from ATX. We arrived last night.

We decided to route ourselves more north, through Death Valley (Titus Canyon Drive!), Marble Canyon & Lee’s Ferry AZ, Monument Valley and Mexican Hat and Four Corners and Shiprock, White Sands, and Big Bend NP. It was 3,000 circuitous, scenic miles for what would’ve been 1,700 straight-line miles. This year’s super-bloom of the Death Valley wildflowers was fantastic. We also had home-made pies in Pie Town NM – very good.

That stretch of Mexico will have to wait for another time.

My bold.

Ummmm…did you take any pictures that you can share with us shut-ins? :slight_smile:

I did and am putting together an FB album. I can let you know when I do.

In the meantime, here are image search results when searching on death valley super bloom 2016:

My iPhone pictures will not do justice to the beauty displayed there. I wish I had brought my DSLR camera with telephoto lens. DVNP was crowded. Many came because of the wildflowers. They were beautiful.

Added: I assume that’s what you were asking about? Or were you asking about all our destinations? I love the southwest. So much to see.