Who knew we would make it to Mexico this winter?
For years we’ve wanted to drive Betsy south of the border, but it’s been mostly a dream since we haven’t been comfortable doing it on our own. We recently discovered that Winnebago Outdoor Adventures had organized a caravan to Puerto Penasco (here’s the 2016 schedule, you can go in 2017 even if you don’t own a Winnebago – for a slightly higher price). After sitting on a waiting list for a while we were offered an opportunity to join our first caravan! We filled out the documentation and were ready to be part of a 37-RV convoy driving to the shoreline of the beautiful Sea of Cortez.
We re-arranged our previous reservations and made adjustments to accommodate the detour into Mexico. Going with a group led by professionals made it easy to take our first drive across the border and deal with border crossings, campground reservations and excursions we could enjoy while in the area.
The adventure began in Gila Bend, AZ where we had an orientation and met our fellow adventurers. The two event host couples had led this trip to Puerto Penasco for several years, and their experience with organizing the necessary passports, Mexico liability insurance, vehicle registrations, CB radio gear and what not to bring into Mexico was invaluable. Click here for the official border crossing requirements.
Bright and early the first morning we left Gila Bend and traveled highway 85-S for about 80 miles. We regrouped at the U.S./Mexican border crossing at Lukeville to stretch our legs and view the wall that separates Mexico and the U.S.A. here.
After a short break we queued up and waited for our turn to cross. Eventually, Betsy welcomed a Mexican border police official aboard to check her out for compliance.
After only a couple of questions we were on our way.
In order for all of the rigs to catch up after the crossing and be together at our destination, we pulled over a few miles south of the border to wait for the rest of the group. It must have been quite a sight for folks passing by!
The next 64 miles to our final destination at Playa Bonita RV Resort was a non-event, as we passed through the Mexican side of the Sonoran Desert, with Organ Pipe Cactus dotting the landscape.
At the orientation we were reminded to be extra careful when driving in Mexico – be aware of the many topes (speed bumps); obey speed limits (even if the locals whiz by); and stop at all ALTO signs.
Puerto Penasco is declared a “free zone” to promote tourism, which means visitors are not required to obtain visas when visiting for short periods.
It took helpful volunteers over an hour to park 37 rigs at the resort, in a very organized manner.
As soon as we settled in we immediately walked to the beach, dipped our feet into the water and jumped for joy that we were in Mexico and had made an unscheduled stop at the sea this winter. Time to party and experience everything Mexico!
Next Up: Lots to do at Puerto Penasco