Drive to Sonora, Mexico

There are many places you can explore in the Sonora Free Zone, without having to get a permit for your vehicle. The free zone, also known as the “No-Hassle Zone,” extends west to the coast, south to Empalme, and is bordered by Mexico highway 15 to the east.

Sonora’s main border crossings with Arizona have easy access to good roads in Sonora, and are a popular means of travel to the state.  Click here for an overview of documentation needed for visitors and their vehicles to enter Sonora, and for driving tips.

Nogales has two vehicular ports of entry.  The downtown port of entry leads into the downtown area and a white-knuckle ride through the streets of Nogales.  A better option is the toll road that can be accessed from the Mariposa exit, about two miles north of Nogales, Arizona.

The Lukeville point of entry is a one-lane inspection station.  After passing through the station, the road winds through the town of Sonoyta before arriving at the turnoff to the highway to Rocky Point and the highway that continues to Caborca,Santa Ana and other points to the south and east.

Driving into Agua Prieta from Douglas, Arizona also requires passing successfully through the customs inspection station, and then finding a street that goes to the south and following it until you encounter the highway.  A right turn will take you to Cananea, Imuris and points west, and a left turn will get you heading in the direction of the Mexican state of Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez.

Driving south into Mexico, you will initially encounter a customs inspection station at the border, and then a few miles later is a second revision station, the “21-kilometer checkpoint,” where you can get vehicle permits for travel in the Sonora-Only Zone or south of Empalme to other states in Mexico. The 21-kilometer station was previously a customs inspection and declarations station, but that part of the customs station was closed in 2014.

Rent a car and drive to Sonora

Book a bus or shuttle tour to Sonora