From Phoenix, leave town west-bound on Interstate 10 to the 112 exit, highway 85 south 31 miles to Gila Bend. Go through Gila Ben and follow the signs to a right turn onto state highway 85 to Ajo (means "garlic"in Spanish). It's 40 miles to Ajo. Stay on the highway as it winds through town and head on south, passing the town of Why, then through Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to the border at Lukeville (a small shopping center, actually, with a motel and trailer park).

From Tucson, get on I-19 south to Nogales and almost immediately take the exit to State 86 west to Sells. Stay on 86, which takes you through the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation about 115 miles to Why, then south to the border.

BE AWARE that it is illegal to bring into Mexico any firearm or ammunition! I can’t emphasize how serious this is. Americans have been arrested and sent to Mexican prisons for having a box of .22 shells in their car. If you carry weapons or ammo in your car as a normal routine, be sure to THOROUGHLY check your car to make sure you got everything out. Even a single bullet rattling around under the seat will get you arrested!

Border crossings are normally pretty routine if you are following all the rules, but, if you don't, it can get nasty real quick!


Just as you cross the fence and enter Mexico, you will see a sort of traffic light ahead. When you car passes over a switch embedded in the pavement, the light will randomly (so they say) turn either red or green.

If you get a Green Light - Generally means you can drive through without a customs check. But, if you have something that ought to be declared, pull over.

If you get a Red Light - Pull your vehicle left to the parking spaces in the center for inspection.

Mexican customs officers will ask what you have and where you are going. It can be that simple and they’ll pass you through. Sometimes they want to look in your car, sometimes a suitcase. Don’t try to sneak anything in, like appliances...the fines are horrendous.

Carry all vehicle titles/registration paperwork, or you may be turned back at the border (or may get them confiscated) by Mexican Customs (includes quads, motorcycles and dune buggies).

ALWAYS buy Mexican auto insurance on your vehicle! If you hit a chicken or have a minor fender-bender and don’t have Mexican insurance, you could wind up in jail until the matter is settled.

I see lots of people bringing Dogs & Cats into Mexico and don’t understand why they do it. It’s not particularly healthy for healthy American pets. But, if you must, bring a valid U.S. Veterinarian Health Certificate Form & Rabies Certificate # 77043.

VISA'S/AUTO PERMITS: are not required for tourist travel within the “Free Zone” down to Puerto Peñasco.

Once through the border, drive south a couple of miles to the intersection with Mexico Highway 2. Here you want to curve around to the left to the stop sign. Go left and cross the bridge into Sonoita. Then stay right as you come into town and bear right past the traffic median. Now you are on the highway to Rocky Point. You still have to go slow through the main part of town.

On your left just past the median is Vasquez's. Curios, liquor, furniture, lots of stuff...interesting place to shop.

Keep some change handy. You'll probably pass a Cruz Roja (Red Cross) road block leaving Sonoita. They are taking donations. You actually are not required to stop or donate, but I always give 50 cents at any of the Cruz Roja blocks because, if you get hurt, they are the people who will come and pick you up. There will probably be another one as you come into Rocky Point.

From Sonoita it is about 60 miles to Rocky Point.


BORDER HOURS: Closed midnight to 6am

Declare EVERYTHING you are bringing back from Mexico. Authorities have the right to search your vehicle or do anything they want. In terms of search and seizure, the Constitution pretty much doesn’t apply here. The best bet is just be real humble, answer the questions, and DON’T JOKE with the customs officer. Joking has led to people having their car torn apart or taken inside for a strip and rectal search.

Any or all occupants in your vehicle may be asked to prove their citizenship.

Have receipts for any big items you bought in Mexico. You can bring back $400.00 worth of merchandise in any 30-day period. Don’t try to cheat, these guys can see cheating in your eyes and it’s not pleasant dealing with them.

However, you can only bring one bottle of booze or 1 six pack and 200 cigarettes. If you buy medicine in Mexico, have a prescription.

DON’T try bringing back these items: Desert/Marine Wildlife or Plants; Freon-12; Coral/Whale skeleton parts; Plants; Fruits/Vegetables; Pork products; Eggs/Potatoes; Avocados (with seeds); Birds; Fireworks; Firearms.