Safe to Caravan Through Sinaloa?

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reader writes:
Hi there,
We are planning a trip as a caravan to Navidad Mx. I’ve never driven past Monchis before. I am a little uneasy with all I have herd of driving into Sinaloa. We would leave from Nogales to Navidad. Any advice?
Thank you,
Churpa answers: I drive this route nearly every year, and have never had any problems. Don’t drive at night, use common sense, pay attention, and try not to exude an attitude of fear. Balance your wariness with friendly respect, and you should be fine. Also, only use bank ATMs.
El Codo answers:

I can’t seem to emphasize this enough…

A fender-bender accident is about a million times more likely than having problems with crooks on the highway. The odds of a traffic accident in Mexico for travelers is roughly the same as in the USA. Travelers do not drive at night and are much more conservative and alert in Mexico. Boiled down, I hope this gives you perspective on just how improbable trouble would be.

Organized crime focuses on tractor trailers loaded with goods. My standard joke is “What’s a crook going to do with a whale-size “casarodante”? It can’t be hidden, the furniture inside is useless for a house, the engine and drive train are about as much in demand as a ’92 Yugo. Years ago two motorhomes were carjacked near Cd. Victoria on the Atlantic side. The vehicles were recovered, and the crooks apprehended. One of them remarked caustically to the arresting cops “Stupidest thing we ever did. No money. Nothing valuable inside and we could not hide them”. Rumors travel fast in the crook community and the pair became victims of very rude jokes in prison.

Petty theft has ALWAYS been a problem in Mexico for tourists and Mexicans alike. Keep your compartments locked. Place valuable tool boxes together with other pricey items and then run a cable or chain and secure with a padlock. Bicycles should be padlocked to the rack. When away from the rig, draw curtains.

RV parks generally are safe at night, but petty theft is sometimes a problem. Cable lose items together.

Keep your gas tank topped off when parked for long periods on the beach. The school of hard knocks taught me it does not take much empty space inside a gas tank for an incredible amount of moisture to form and drop into the gasoline. Amazingly, two gallons of water can form in a month in an almost empty 100-gallon RV gas tank. Mexican gasoline does not contain alcohol.

Yours is a nice drive. Be aware that passing through Puerto Vallarta means extra vigilance. There is a left turn deep downtown which is usually plugged solid with traffic. The pavement within the two tunnels has been incredibly rough for the last thirty years. On the far side of the city, Mex 200 winds up the side of the arroyo past resorts that feature suicidal taxi drivers. This is a steep, long, grade, and it would pay dividends to double check radiator coolant before ascending.
If you have a dog, make a sign and scotch tape it to the outside of the door:
PERRO. Many travelers leave the sign taped on the full duration of their trip. Soldiers and cops appreciate it, and the sticky-fingered get weak kneed when they see it.
Bastante (Enough!). I need to recover from these negative warnings. A glass of mango agua-fresca is in order along with some ceviche and tostadas.


2 Responses to “Safe to Caravan Through Sinaloa?”

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  1. Jen Farrell says:

    I just drove through Sinaloa from Nayarit….just like the past three round trips we’ve done; no problems. There were many green angel vehicles along the highway to help with break downs. Have a good trip!