Take Santa Teresa, New Mexico to El Paso, Texas
Increased concern about terrorism and drugs often translates into long, uncomfortable delays at the border for tourists returning to the U.S. from Mexico. If you plan to enter the U.S. from the state of Chihuahua, consider crossing via Santa Teresa, New Mexico, rather than at El Paso or Columbus, N.M. The Santa Teresa border crossing currently has light traffic -- I've used it three times in the past six months, and the longest wait was 40 minutes, the shortest about 20 minutes. Compared to El Paso, where delays of two or even three hours are possible, Santa Teresa is a breeze. Better yet, the air is clean at Santa Teresa -- no heavy city smog or thousands of idling vehicles to choke the air.
As you drive north from Chihuahua City on Highway 45, watch for the new cut-off to the east. It is several miles south of the km 30 aduana station. It isn't easy to miss -- look for large billboards announcing the turnoff, urging drivers to use Santa Teresa.
According to our odometer, the turn-off is 53 miles north of Villa Ahumada, at kilometer marker 331.
The toll for this spur highway to the border from Hwy 45 is a reasonable 30 pesos.
There is one caveat: As yet there is no place to cancel your Mexican vehicle import permit at Santa Teresa (cancelling the permit also cancels the bond you posted with a credit card or cash when you entered Mexico). Therefore, if you will not be returning soon to Mexico, don't take the Santa Teresa cutoff. Instead, keep going north on Hwy 45 and turn into the km 30 aduana station, cancel the permit, and continue on several more miles to the big glorieta.
The glorieta is another "can't miss" landmark, just south of Ciudad Juarez, as you enter the sprawling industrial outskirts of the city.
When you reach the glorieta, make a left and take the highway west toward Janos, Casas Grandes and Santa Teresa. It is well signed.
This might not seem efficient, especially if your ultimate destination is El Paso, but in my experience you'll still save time and avoid frazzled nerves and smog, by detouring from the glorieta to Santa Teresa.
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Copyright 1972 - 2002 by Carl Franz and Lorena Havens. Published
by Carl Franz on 4/5/02 using version 1.0.1b2
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