Originally Posted by rivermanryan
We'll be crossing at Matamoras and driving to Valles on December 27th. It may be nice to have a bit of a caravan going through the border zone. Let me know if you are interested. We'll be camping on the South Padre beach the night before.
Just a suggestion to save you an hour or two: Cross at the new Pharr International Bridge just east of McAllen - It's WAY faster and easier than any other border crossing. Here's a site which shows average wait times: http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/index.asp
The downside is that it's not a 24 hour crossing (6am to midnight), but that's not a problem for me. I have always gotten up way early and waited in line to be one of the first to cross at 6am; for two reasons- it's less busy, and a lot safer because the Mexican side of the border is pretty dead at 6am. By the time the banditos are up and about at 8am, you're almost to Cuidad Victoria. Renyosa is a lot more chill that Matamoros anyway. Use this crossing, and you're out of the border town in under 15 minutes.
Once you're across & done with your paperwork, get on Hwy 2 (near the Renyosa airport) and head a mile or two west towards Renyosa. You have to go underneath an overpass and U-turn back south, and be eyes-up on the signs to MX 97. Have someone in the car looking back the other direction becuse the signs for it as you're heading west are few. It's before you get to Renyosa - look for a little pueblo of La Escondida, or a sign that points to San Fernando
(MX 97). After that- it's super-smooth sailing. That road gets to be very desolate in a hurry- watch for the interior checkpoint in about 20km. But it's a fast road that meets up with MX 180 in about an hour. WAY faster than Matamoros, Laredo, or especially El Paso. Those are some nasty crossings.
Get yourself a Guia Roji
BTW- I camped at S Padre park a couple of times- it's windy as hell and likely cold, and you have to drive about 20 minutes from the border crossing to get to where you can camp. I used that crossing the first two times I went, but I've used Pharr the last 4 times. Brownsville just adds to the trip, IMO.
Skip S. Padre and hit La Pesca
on the way home instead. It's a decent jetty break that usually has surf-able waves on a kayak, and it'll be 10 degrees warmer because it's 3 hours south. I would not recommend the raw oyster cocktail at the restaurant on the beach, BTW.