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Getting Here -> Playa Del Carmen    

Flying to San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende's nearest international airport is the Aeropuerto del Bajio (BJX), located 110 km (about 70 miles from San Miguel). Some travelers may find it difficult to get to San Miguel by bus, as this involves taking a taxi to Leon's bus station (about 20 minutes drive from the airport). Many visitors have found it simpler to arrange airport pickup through one of the transportation services, because the drivers are not only bilingual, but also are familiar with San Miguel de Allende and can take you directly to the doorstep of the hotel, bed and breakfast, or vacation rental that you are staying in.

These same companies also can arrange to pick you up from Mexico City's Benito Juarez International Airport (MEX). This is definitely worth pre-arranging, as getting from the Airport to Mexico City's Terminal Norte (Bus Depot) can be a challenge.

Buses to San Miguel de Allende

To/From Mexico City: It's a 4-hour trip to San Miguel from Mexico City's Terminal Norte, on a first-class bus (with one stop in Querétaro). Primera Plus, Satelite, ETN, and Omnibus de Mexico all have one to six deluxe buses per day. Flecha Amarilla and Herradura de Plata have buses that leave almost every half hour (most are first-class). Make sure that your bus is a "directo". If you can't get a quick departure, catch a bus to Querétaro and change buses there.

To/From Guanajuato: Flecha Amarilla has nine buses a day to San Miguel.

To/From Querétaro: If you arrive in Querétaro by first-class bus, go out the front door and cross to the terminal in front. Buses for San Miguel leave about every 15 minutes. You can choose between Satelite, Flecha Amarilla, and Herradura de Plata. The trip takes one hour.

To/From Nuevo Laredo: Transportes de la Frontera/Estrella Blanca has a first-class bus that leaves Nuevo Laredo at 6:30 PM, arriving in San Miguel de Allende between 7 and 8 AM the next morning. The return bus leaves San Miguel at 7 PM and arrives in Nuevo Laredo around 7 AM. You can buy a ticket through Greyhound.

San Miguel de Allende's Central de Autobuses, (the bus station) is 1 1/2 miles west of town on the westward extension of calle Canal, called calzada a la estacion. Taxis are 15 pesos day and usually 20 pesos at night into town and available at all hours.

Driving to San Miguel de Allende

Driving in Mexico can be a challenge for some drivers. Even the best toll roads weave through the mountains of Northern Mexico. As a Texan once put it, "the only roads in Mexico not going up are the ones going down..."

There are many very modern toll ways running throughout Mexico, however the tolls can add up quickly. It costs about US $70 in toll fees to drive from Nuevo Laredo to San Miguel de Allende. Gasoline is also more expensive in Mexico than in most of the United States, nearly $2.25 per gallon. Driving in the cities, the "uno por uno" (one by one) rule at intersections often deteriorates into whoever is bravest goes first, and usually that one is followed by another three.

In order to enter Mexico with your own vehicle, you need to get a temporary import permit at the office of Hacienda (the Mexican IRS) at the Mexican side of border. You will need a valid driver's license and you must have ownership documentation, such as the original title or vehicle registration (it is also a very good idea to make copies of these documents and keep them in a safe place).

You also must pay an import duty of the Mexican peso equivalent of US $11.00. In order to guarantee your car, this fee must be paid with a major credit card (American Express, Visa or Master Card). Depending on the day of the week, it may take several hours to process the paperwork to enter the country.

Unfortunately, checking account debit cards with the Visa or Master Card logo are not acceptable. If you don't have a major credit card, you must pay a sizeable cash bond, based on a percentage of the calculated value of your vehicle. This can be as much as US $1000, which is refunded, with interest, upon leaving Mexico.

The third option is to pay a percentage of the fee to a bonding company. This is generally the least convenient, and most expensive way to get your vehicle into the country.

At either side of the border you will find businesses selling auto insurance for Mexico. This is not a bad idea, especially if your Spanish isn't very good.

Finally it is important to note that it is illegal to abandon a vehicle in Mexico, as it also illegal to sell a vehicle with an temporary import visa to a Mexican. Also, it is against the law to allow a Mexican to drive your vehicle, and the penalty for violating this can be the confiscation of the vehicle (with no appeal).

This might be an appropriate moment to note that Mexico's laws, like those of France and Spain, are based on the Napoleonic code- that is, in contrast with the United States, persons accused of crimes are presumed guilty until proven innocent.

Finally, don't be surprised if you find periodic roadblocks, especially at state lines throughout Mexico. These might be manned by Federal or State Police, the Mexican anti-drug authority or even Mexican soldiers. These roadblocks are efforts to stop the flow of drugs and weapons. The best advice is to be as cooperative and honest as possible. Whatever you do - DO NOT SMUGGLE DRUGS OR WEAPONS!

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