Getting round in Mexico – Lonely Planet

Mexico is big! From fluffy, white ski slopes and thick, steamy jungle to cacti-strewn deserts and elegant stretches of untouched sand, count on to make use of many transport choices to get all over the world’s thirteenth largest nation.

Between home flights, long-distance buses, hair-raising colectivo, combi minibuses and – for one spectacular stretch – an old-school passenger prepare, there are many methods to crisscross this North American behemoth; you simply want a bit persistence. Here is the right way to get round Mexico.

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Two young female tourists on the tour bus during golden hour in a Mexican city
You’ll most likely find yourself spending lots of your journey time attending to know Mexico’s bus methods © MStudioImages / Getty Photos

Low cost and dependable, make the bus your finest mate

With a very good street community and cozy, frequent, fairly priced bus companies connecting all cities, buses are your bestie in Mexico. Most cities and cities have one principal bus terminal from which all long-distance buses function. It could be referred to as the Terminal de Autobuses, Central de Autobuses, Central Camionera or La Central (to not be confused with el centro, town middle!). Stations in main cities are typically typically clear, protected and extremely purposeful.

Commonly known as camiones, native buses are normally the most cost effective solution to get round cities and out to close by cities and villages. They run regularly, and fares in cities are just some pesos. In lots of cities, fleets of small, fashionable microbuses have changed the noisy, soiled older autos. Buses normally halt solely at mounted paradas (bus stops), although in some locations, you’ll be able to maintain your hand out to cease one at any avenue nook.

Bus courses

Deluxe & Government: De lujo companies, primera plus and the much more snug ejecutivo (government) buses run primarily on the busier intercity routes. They’re swift and cozy, with reclining seats, loads of legroom, air-conditioning, motion pictures on (particular person) video screens, few or no stops, bogs on board (typically separate ones for women and men) and sometimes drinks, snacks and even wi-fi. They use toll roads wherever obtainable.

1st-Class: Primera (1a) clase buses have a cushty numbered seat for every passenger. All sizable cities are served by 1st-class buses. Requirements of consolation are satisfactory, on the very least. The buses have air-conditioning and a bathroom, and so they cease occasionally. They present motion pictures on normal screens and use toll roads the place doable.

2nd-Class: Segunda (2a) clase or económico buses serve small cities and villages and supply cheaper, slower journey on some intercity routes. A couple of are nearly as fast, snug and direct as 1st-class buses. Others are outdated, sluggish and tacky. Few have bogs. These buses are inclined to take non-toll roads and can cease wherever to choose up passengers, so if you happen to board mid-route, you may be standing for a part of the journey. In additional distant areas, these are sometimes the one buses obtainable.

Bus corporations

Mexico has tons of of bus corporations. Lots of the main ones belong to the 4 massive teams that dominate bus transportation in numerous elements of the nation. 

  • ETN Turistar Serves main cities alongside the Pacific coast, central, northern and japanese Mexico, and locations as far south as Oaxaca
  • Grupo ADO Connects Mexico Metropolis with quite a few cities within the Yucatán, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Guerrero and Veracruz.
  • Grupo Estrella Blanca Runs between Mexico Metropolis and the middle, north and west of Mexico. Main cities embrace Guadalajara, Tijuana, Puebla, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta and Ciudad Juárez.
  • Primera Plus Locations served round central Mexico embrace Mexico Metropolis, Guadalajara, Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, San Luis Potosí and San Miguel de Allende.

Shopping for bus tickets

For 1st-class, deluxe and government buses, purchase your ticket on the bus terminal earlier than the journey; in some cities, you should purchase tickets from bus places of work in central workplace places. It is usually normally doable to buy tickets on-line and be despatched an e-ticket or QR code for check-in.

For journeys of as much as 4 or 5 hours on routes with frequent service, you’ll be able to normally simply go to the bus terminal, purchase a ticket and head out with out a lot delay. For longer journeys, routes with rare service, or for any journey at busy vacation instances, it’s finest to purchase a ticket a day or extra prematurely. You’ll be able to normally choose your seat while you purchase your ticket. Attempt to keep away from the again of the bus, which is the place the bogs are positioned and in addition tends to expertise a bumpier trip.

Many 2nd-class companies haven’t any ticket workplace; you simply pay your fare to the conductor.

Ideas for touring by bus

  • Buses do often get held up and even robbed. Touring by day and on deluxe or 1st-class buses, which use toll highways the place doable, minimizes this danger.
  • Shopping for tickets a number of days prematurely or at much less busy instances of the day can usually get you a reduction fare.
  • Baggage is protected if stowed within the baggage maintain – get a receipt for it while you hand it over. Hold your Most worthy possessions within the cabin with you.
  • Air-conditioned buses can get chilly, so put on lengthy pants or a skirt and produce a sweater, jacket or possibly a blanket on board. Eye masks and earplugs could be helpful if you happen to don’t need to watch movies the whole journey!

Home flights can prevent each money and time

Greater than 60 Mexican cities have airports with scheduled passenger companies, together with Mexico Metropolis, Cancún, Guadalajara, Tijuana, Monterrey, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. Flying could be good worth on longer journeys, and regional airways have an honest security document. Flying could have a better carbon footprint, however you probably have restricted time in Mexico, a home hop by air is preferable to a 48-hour bus.

Aeroméxico, together with its subsidiary Aeroméxico Join, has the largest community, however Aeromar, TAR Aerolíneas, Volaris and VivaAerobus additionally serve many cities, usually with decrease fares. Different regional airways are Aéreo Servicios Guerrero, Calafia Airways, Magnicharters and MAYAir.

VW taxis wait near the Zocalo, in front of the National Palace for a passing fare
Taxis are a reasonably reasonably priced journey choice in Mexico © Richard l’Anson/Getty Photos

Taxis could be surprisingly low cost

Taxis are frequent in cities and cities, and they’re surprisingly economical. Metropolis rides value round M$20 to M$25 per kilometer. If a taxi has a meter, you’ll be able to ask the driving force if it’s working (‘¿Funciona el taxímetro?’). If the cab doesn’t have a functioning meter, set up the worth of the trip earlier than getting in (this may occasionally contain a little bit of haggling).

Many airports and a few large bus terminals have a system of approved ticket taxis – you purchase a fixed-price ticket to your vacation spot from a particular taquilla (ticket window) after which hand it to the driving force as a substitute of paying money. This protects haggling time and prevents main rip-offs, however fares are normally larger than you may get on the road.

Uber has turn into more and more fashionable, in addition to the same app-based service, Cabify.

Catch a colectivo, combi, minibus or pesero for brief metropolis journeys

These are all names for autos that operate as one thing between a taxi and a bus, working alongside mounted city routes normally displayed on the windshield. They’re cheaper than taxis and faster than buses. They may choose you up or drop you off on any nook alongside their route – to cease one, go to the curb and wave your hand, then inform the driving force the place you need to go. Normally, you pay on the finish of the journey, and the fare (a bit larger than a bus fare) depends upon how far you go.

2 people leave on a motorbike on a cobblestone road with colorful homes on either side. The historic Town of Guanajuato is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Renting a automotive or bike in Mexico undoubtedly provides you much more freedom © Maria Sward / Getty Photos

Use vehicles and bikes for extra flexibility

Having a automobile in Mexico provides you a complete lot of flexibility and freedom. With a bit adaptation to native street circumstances, it’s no tougher than in most different nations. The highways listed below are serviceable and pretty quick when visitors just isn’t heavy. There are greater than 6000km of toll highways (autopistas), that are typically good four-lane roads. Tolls value round M$2.50 per kilometer.

You will want a legitimate driver’s license from your house nation and Mexican legal responsibility insurance coverage to drive in Mexico. If you happen to’re concerned in an accident, you could be jailed and have your automobile impounded whereas duty is assessed. If you’re in charge for an accident inflicting harm or loss of life, it’s possible you’ll be detained till you assure restitution to the victims and cost of any fines. Satisfactory Mexican insurance coverage protection is the one actual safety; it’s thought to be a assure that restitution can be paid.

Mexican regulation acknowledges solely Mexican motor insurance coverage (seguro), so a US or Canadian coverage (even when it supplies protection) just isn’t acceptable to Mexican officialdom. You should purchase Mexican motor insurance coverage on-line via the long-established Sanborn’s and different corporations.

Attempt to keep away from driving at evening as unlit autos, hard-to-see velocity bumps, rocks, pedestrians and animals on the roads are frequent, and drunk drivers are extra frequent – normal freeway safety is best by day. Notice that some hijackings, holdups and unlawful roadblocks related with drug-gang actions happen, primarily within the north.

Automobile rent

Auto rental in Mexico could be costly by US or European requirements however just isn’t troublesome to arrange. Many main worldwide rental companies have places of work all through the nation. Renters should present a legitimate driver’s license, passport and main bank card, and they’re normally required to be at the least 21 years of age (typically 25 – these aged 21-24 could must pay a surcharge).

Hire a taxi and driver

Renting a taxi for a day-long out-of-town jaunt typically prices one thing much like an affordable rental automotive – round M$600 to M$700.

Motorbikes rent

Motorbikes or scooters could be rented in a number of vacationer facilities. You’re normally required to have a driver’s license and a bank card. Nevertheless, many renters don’t provide any insurance coverage.

Use ferries to get to and from the Baja Peninsula

Automobile and passenger ferries join the Baja Peninsula with the Mexican mainland, crusing between Santa Rosalía and Guaymas and from La Paz to Mazatlán and Topolobampo. Not solely do these save vacationers the hassle of going up and around the Gulf of California, however they’re usually in a single day, which saves on an evening’s lodging.

There’s just one prepare line – nevertheless it’s properly price taking

The spectacular Ferrocarril Chihuahua Pacífico runs via the Sierra Madre Occidental between Los Mochis and Chihuahua (the posh Chepe Specific travels solely between Los Mochis and Creel). It’s one of many highlights of Mexico journey and the nation’s solely remaining passenger prepare.

Accessible journey in Mexico

While there is a rise in wheelchair-friendly corporations providing journeys and excursions of Mexico – plus a proliferation of newer resorts and inns with dropped curbs, ramps, and elevators – there are nonetheless a lot of important accessibility obstacles for impartial wheelchair customers to beat. In lots of cities, the pavements are outdated and uneven with few or no dropped curbs. Most public transport is not wheelchair pleasant both (assume: stairs on the Mexico Metropolis Metro and no accessibility provisions on buses). Nevertheless, some taxi companies and tour corporations can organize personal transfers for wheelchair customers if booked prematurely.

For extra particulars, try Lonely Planet’s Accessible Journey web page.

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