So I'm interested in climbing Orizaba, Izta, Malinche and doing some cragging in El Potrero as well as checking out the ruins near Mexico City. The thing is I cannot afford tickets to fly. I know if can find people to share a ride with it will be much more affordable but I'm worried about driving and parking in parts of Mexico (especially Mexico City). I've traveled to Mexico a bit (Acapulco in college and Mazatlan a couple weeks ago). I speak a little Spanish and have lived in cities in the US so I have some street smarts and familiarity with how things are in the resort towns in Mexico.
Here's my concerns, I think the drive down would be fine, albeit long. I'm worried that my car will attract attention (the new car being part of why I cannot afford plane tickets). I'm a bit worried about getting off main roads accidentally without phone service or good maps. I'm worried my mediocre Spanish skills will be a hindrance in places where there are few or no English speakers.
Anybody done a drive like this? How did it go? Am I asking to get car jacked or get my car stolen parking around Mexico City? What about other cities (Amecameca, Tlachichucha, etc.)? Does this sound like a straight up bad idea?
Anyone interested in joining me? Would be sometime in January for about 3 weeks.
I haven't driven down from the US, but I've taken long distance buses through Chihuahua etc. the drive should be fine, excellent highways. I just wouldn't leave my car parked on the street at night. In the cities nobody leaves his car outside all night, coz they might take your battery or car parts. If you don't have a garage, then you gotta pay for guarded parking. It's cheap. While on the road you can stay at motel along the highway ("autohotel").
At La Malinche you can leave your car at the Centro Vaccional. At Izta at Paso de Cortes or maybe better at refugio Altzomoni should be safe. At Tlachichuca you can leave your car with the Canchola's.
There is no real need to go via Mexico city though if you are heading for the volcanoes...
You should start inquiring now about the paperwork you'll need to take care of, so that you can drive as far as you plan to. For most towns along the border, plus a few select routes farther south, there is no paperwork, other than having all your normal U.S.-side paperwork in order (registration, driver's license, proof of insurance, etc), plus having the Mexican auto insurance. Your state's AAA should be able to help you get started.
Thanks for the replies. I've been checking into the bus thing and it seems pretty doable. Any other experiences with that? I take it busses have less problems with getting pulled over and hassled by the cops? It seems like finding partners down their should be pretty way that time of year.