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Driving in Mexico: What Do You Need to Know

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getting ready to drive in mexico

At one point or another, if you are going to be doing a longer trip in Mexico, either rent a car, come in a car, or have something to do with a car, even if you hire a private driver. Today we’re going to be talking about driving in Mexico.

These are perfect tips and just an understanding of how Mexico works overall at this point. We rented a car in Mexico, and we have driven a car in Mexico. We crossed the border from one country to another into Mexico with our car. I have a podcast completely going into if you are bringing your car across the border, which is really common, especially if you’re coming from Guatemala, Belize, or the United States into Mexico, chances are you could do that.

Driving in Mexico

I really want to cover just about the ways of driving in Mexico. Because as every country has its own thing, Mexico obviously has its thing as well.

Get Pesos

First and foremost, I really recommend you have pesos on hand to have the local currency because it’s just excellent to have and obviously a credit card. But just in case, if your credit card doesn’t work, you always want to have a backup plan.

We have found that US dollars and other currencies are not accepted in Mexico. Just like that. It’s really hard to find where to exchange money. And I have an entire podcast about exchanging money in Mexico because it’s not as easy as people think.

driving a bike in mexico

Toll Roads

The reason why I bring that up is that there are a lot of toll roads. I mean a lot. The roads in Mexico are really great and for a good reason because of the tolls (the tolls pay for these great roads.) They were not that cheap. I remember we did one drive which was around 7 hours, and we probably hit ten tolls each of them.

The average was $5. So the majority of them you can pay with a credit card. But just in case, if it doesn’t work and their systems could fail, we also had pesos on hand, which was really helpful. We were surprised at the number of tolls that there are in Mexico.

Either because of the caravans that were going from Central America through Mexico into the United States or whatever the reasons are. There are tons of checkpoints. Don’t freak out with them. They’re literally just checking to see about illegal migrants.

Don’t get freaked out

They’re not there to bribe you. We went through a ton of checkpoints. Not once did any of them ask for money as a bribe. I know that that’s kind of like a myth that’s been going around. If it is true, we certainly did not have any of that experience, and we drove probably a total of maybe 80 hours in Mexico in a car. That’s a lot of hours in a car in Mexico, in various parts of Mexico. The majority of times they won’t even stop you if they see who you are.

You know, they are looking for specific cars, but there will be times that you will be stopped.

road distances in mexico

What if You Get Stopped?

Make sure that you have a car insurance, make sure that your paperwork is up-to-date because they will give you problems if your paperwork is not up-to-date. But again, if you are brought in through the border, chances are your paperwork is up-to-date because they will not let you cross the border.

If you’re renting, everything should be completely in order as well.

No Toll Way

Yes, you do have options for the no toll way, which usually adds one or 2 hours on top of the drive. Mexico is huge. There are many isolated roads, lonely roads, even the toll roads. If you’re going to go for the no toll to save some money, those roads are not great. They might actually even end up costing you more because they could be dirt road or bumpy or in holes and all this other stuff.

Speed Bumps

The other thing that we found is there are a ton of speed bumps. So be careful. The majority of time they do have signs for it, but there are also a lot of times they don’t, and they are not drawn out. So either because the villagers got together and decided to just put in a random speed bump that is not legal. So you can’t tell.

Just be always on the lookout for them and they could happen on a highway. If you see a couple of little houses that are starting to form into a little village, chances are there might be a speed bump there which could totally destroy your car if you are going really fast.

stop on a road in mexico

Distances

Now back to the roads, each distance is really far from another. Mexico is a really big country and each state is huge. So have gas because there were times that we went almost 200 km with absolutely no gas station in sight. It’s just nothing. That’s total barren land. So always have a full tank of gas whenever you see a gas station. Don’t let your car get less than half a tank. If you are going to do a long distance, that is a pretty big deal.

We drove mainly in the daytime because there are rumors saying that it’s not safe to drive at night. This and that. Overall we did end up having to drive a couple of times in the evening, especially in the cities. It’s not that bad. We never once felt unsafe, but you just want to have precaution on your side. So these are the main things that I really recommend and just what we’ve experienced driving in Mexico.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2023

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