A few years ago when we were planning our first trip to Mexico, I quickly discovered how difficult it could be to find lodging that would accept a pet. Thankfully, it’s easier these days, but the advice that I received back then about the option of a Hotel de Paso is still important to know if you are traveling in Mexico with a pet. My online friend, Rolly Brook, is a longtime resident of Mexico and has a terrific website called My Life In Mexico. He uses the term ‘Motel de Paso’ for these interesting accommodations – and I’m sure he’s correct. But according to Google, those of us who are less knowledgeable about Mexican customs still search for a ‘Hotel de Paso’. No matter what you call them, it’s a viable alternative when you are traveling with a pet in Mexico, and I appreciate Rolly letting me use this from his site:
In the USA and Canada, the line between a motel and a hotel is sometimes blurry. This is not the case in México; here they are distinctly different. Hotels frequently do not have secure parking; motels always do. Hotels usually cost more than motels, sometimes much more. Hotels often have restaurants, motels almost never do. Many motels can be found on the highway near a town or city, while hotels are usually located near the city center. But the big difference is in the purpose of each.
Some background: In México it is common for two, three, or even four generations to share the same house, sometimes even the same bedroom. In such a situation, it is difficult for a couple to find a private time to be intimate. Motels provide a place for couples to get together when they have no other place to do so. They are not brothels.
The proper name of these establishments is Motel de Paso, but the more common name is just motel. It always will have a covered garage attached to each unit. The cover may be a regular garage door or it may be a heavy canvas curtain. The facility is complete walled off from the outside except for a single entrance/exit which is staffed 24/7. This combination provides very good security for your car. Units are typically not rented in 24 hour blocks like hotels, but rather in shorter blocks — anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. Some of them are rather plain and not very expensive, some are truly elegant and priced accordingly. Prices typically range from US$15 to $25, more for an up-scale place.
Some will have a snack bar, perhaps tacos and hamburgers in the evening. Some will have room service with orders being placed in a through-the-wall delivery compartment so the delivery person does not see who is inside. They will almost always be immaculately clean — their client base is local folks not travelers, so they must be clean and respectable to succeed in the community.
These motels will not have a swimming pool nor a children’s play area.
Would a tourist want to stay in one of these places rather than a hotel? Perhaps. While these places usually rent for a shorter time block than a traveler might want, most are willing to negotiate a discount for a longer stay, although a discount is not always available on weekends which tend to be a motel’s busiest time. They provide excellent security for a cost that is usually a good bit less than a downtown hotel with comparable secure parking, and they may be more convenient to the highway. Most accept pets; hotels are almost always pet unfriendly.
On our next trip to Mexico, I just have to try one of these out, if only to be able to tell the story at our next cocktail party!
For those who are even thinking about moving to Mexico, Rolly is one of the authors of The Best How-To Book on Moving to Mexico. This is probably the best book on the subject. That’s not just my opinion – Amazon reviewers unanimously give it Five Stars. Click Here to buy it directly from Amazon with free shipping.