Last month Cap’n Greg tackled John Warner’s question about the travel time to Rocky Point from Phoenix. This month he will cover the return trip.

JOHN: You told me to count on four hours of drive time heading south, right?

CAP’N GREG: Right. Except holiday weekends might slow you down some.

JOHN: And it should take the same four hours to get home?

CAP’N GREG: Should is the correct word. Could is closer to accurate.

JOHN: But it’s the same number of miles.

CAP’N GREG: True but going south through Mexican customs is much faster than going north.

JOHN: Why is that?

CAP’N GREG: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are not in the tourism business. Their duty is to prevent the passage of people and possessions that, by law, should not enter the States.

JOHN: I get that. Just show ‘em my driver’s license and I’m good to go.

CAP’N GREG: No way, José. I mean, no way, Juan.

JOHN: Why? Friends told me I wouldn’t need a passport.

CAP’N GREG: Did those friends mention how long it took to cross after they handed the officer their licenses or birth certificates or library cards?

JOHN: Uh, they were a bit vague about that.

CAP’N GREG: Peñasco is in a so-called free zone, meaning you don’t need a visa to travel there. However, since 2009, to get processed fast on the return, you need a passport, PASS card, Enhanced Driver’s License, or approved tribal or military ID. While a CBP officer may be able to verify your identity with a regular driver’s license and let you cross, that process can add minutes to your wait. Take those times 100 others in line without the correct documents, and you can see why a four-hour drive home might take five or six instead.

JOHN: I guess I better get a passport.

CAP’N GREG: Wise decision, John.

JOHN: But however long it takes, the trip is still worth it?

CAP’N GREG: That’s one thing I know for sure. Be patient, drive safe, have a ball, and just accept that, like any amazing beach destination, it is worth investing the time to come and go.

JOHN: Thanks for the advice, Cap’n Greg.

CAP’N GREG: De nada back atcha, John.