Europeans often enjoy traveling to different countries on the weekends, with the EU consisting of smaller countries freely opening its borders to each other. Although Mexico and the United States don't necessarily have such a free flow of travelers, Mexico is still a favorite road trip destination of many Americans, because of the country's amazing mix of food, history, music and culture. Here are some helpful tips if you're planning to cross the border on nothing but a car and a wild thirst for adventure.
1. Travel Safely - Don't be deterred by the Mexico travel warning issued by the US Department of State warning American travelers of organized crime threats in Mexico. Although they announced that the Mexican government is raising its efforts in dealing with criminal groups in the country, they are simply warning citizens to be more aware of their surroundings while enjoying border crossing to Mexico. BootsnAll suggests to travel during daylight hours and to stick to the main roads or "cuota" roads, which can also speed up travel time.
2. Get ready for inspections - Expect to be stopped several times during your road trip especially in the north. Armed guards will likely search your car for drugs, weapons or fugitives, but if you aren't harboring any of those, there's no need to worry. (READ: Five Things You Didn't Know About Mexico's "Day of the Dead")
3. Take Ruta 1 or the Pacific Coast Highway Drive - From LA to San Francisco, this beautiful ocean road goes right down to San Diego's border crossing and into Tijuana. According to GQ, stop by Tijuana's Plaza Monumental to witness a bullfight, and the Sierra de San Pedro Martir National Park, featuring peaks of up to 9,000 feet, home of the California Condor. For a more historical scene, check out Baja's Sierra de San Francisco's cave paintings, 5,000 years old and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cave features paintings of deer, rabbits, sheep and turtles. Lastly, enjoy the sunset at La Paz by the bayside boardwalk. (READ: Mexico's Most Expensive Hotel Suite On Secret Cuixmala Island)
4. Fly to Mexico City and rent a car - The country's bustling capital is much safer than most of its northern states and features amazing history, culture and food. Enjoy some of Mexico's city's best at Teotihuacan, the Zocalo and Presidential Palace, and Diego Rivera's famous murals. Take a road trip south to Oaxaca and then to the amazing aquarium in Veracruz. (READ: A Guide to Mexico City's Best Museums, Streetwalks and Food Markets)
5. Take the Northern Loop - Travelers can cross into Mexico via Brownsville Texas and arrive at Matemoros and drive to Ciudad Victoria, a nice city bound by the majestic Sierra Madre. Drive through Gogorron National Park and take a dip at Laguna Media Luna's warm springs then head to the bustling city of Guadalajara. From there, go to the famous Puerto Vallarta and then possibly head back to the US border via Nogales to Tucson, Arizona, which is a safer border crossing than Ciudad Juarez to El Paso, Texas. Do take note that Northern Mexico is a bit more dangerous than the rest of the country, with rampant extortion and paramilitary presence, so telling the embassy about your plans is a great way to ensure safety.