You’re ready for your vacation to Mexico, bags are packed and your car is heavily laden with everything you need for your trip. You’ve planned where you’re crossing the border, at the San Ysidro Border of course! But are you sure you’ve thought of everything? Probably not, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog…
As you most likely know, the San Ysidro Port of Entry is the largest land border crossing. According to the very reliable Wikipedia there are over 70,000 vehicles and 20,000 pedestrians crossing each day making it extremely busy. In fact, it is the busiest crossing in the world so make sure you’re prepared. Here’s what you need to know to make crossing the San Ysidro Border a breeze:
Before Crossing the San Ysidro Border
Pack the essentials, as they say in the Boy Scouts, BE PREPARED, here’s a list of the things you should have in your vehicle before your road trip to Mexico:
Mexican tourist cards, otherwise known as Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM)
Once you have all of your documents in order and you’ve packed the essentials it’s time to start planning your trip. Plan your route to the San Ysidro border and find a time to get to the border crossing that suits you but also a time where the border is not at it’s busiest if possible. There are a handful of sites you can use to check border crossing waiting times, be mindful that crossing the San Ysidro border can sometimes take up to two hours. Check out the Customs and Border Patrol wait time app to find a time to cross that works best for you.
Remember: Your American vehicle insurance is not valid in Mexico, so you must buy Mexican Auto Insurance before your travel.
Crossing the San Ysidro Border
At the Border Crossing
You will be called forward and a border agent will check your documents and send you on your way! You will sometimes be asked questions or for further verification, but if you have the correct documents you should have no trouble at all.
Border agents do not always need to inspect every vehicle, so as you pass, if you get a green light you can continue on your way.
As we said earlier, it could take up to two hours to cross the San Ysidro border, so make sure you have plenty of in-vehicle activities planned for while you’re waiting at the crossing. If you’re traveling with children the license plate game is one of our favourites, it’s educational and keeps them quiet! Here’s how to play:
Print off a list of all the states for each child (and adults too if you fancy it!). Alternatively, you could print off a map and this will help the children to learn about where each state is and understand how far people have traveled.
Get the children to cross off each state when they identify it on a license plate
First one to get all 50 states wins!
Learning some basic Spanish during the journey to Mexico is another educational activity and will also prepare you for driving in Mexico when you arrive. Print off some flashcards so you can test each other. You can Google the signs, such as Alto meaning Stop or Curve Peligrosa meaning Dangerous Curve. Having this knowledge can be vital when driving in dangerous areas, you will be able to spot the signs and understand what they mean.
Make sure you have plenty to drink and eat so everyone is happy and well fed! There are places to eat near the crossing, you can go for a quick and easy McDonald’s (heads up this McDonald’s does not have its own restroom!). Alternatively, you could try Jack in the Box for a delicious milkshake. These two are probably the closest eateries to the San Ysidro crossing but if you’re willing to travel a little out your way there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat before you join the crossing queue.
After Crossing the San Ysidro Border
Once you’ve passed the San Ysidro border agents you’re free to go explore Mexico. Make sure you’ve planned your trip well and know which roads you’ll be taking as some country; back roads can be unsafe. We recommend you stick to toll roads otherwise known as “Cuota” roads, these are generally much safer and faster. We also suggest that you do not drive at night, it’s much safer to drive in the daylight as it’s so much easier to see hazards on the road such as animals and pedestrians.
Topes, or speed bumps as we call them, are extremely hazardous in Mexico so make sure you watch out for them! If you see a yellow highway signs with a horizontal black line with circular bumps you need to slow right down as these signs indicate there are speed bumps ahead. They are particularly troublesome as they often vary in size and height so you never know what to expect.
As a top Mexican Auto Insurance provider, we really know our stuff about traveling to Mexico by car. If you haven’t yet bought your Mexican Auto Insurance, get a quote now using our quick and easy online form.
Driving to Baja for a Summer Vacation? You Must Get Baja Auto Insurance
What is Baja Auto Insurance?
Baja Auto Insurance is exactly the same as Mexican Auto Insurance. It is essentially Auto Insurance that is underwritten by a Mexican Carrier meaning that it will be recognized by the Mexican authorities.
So if you’re looking for Baja Auto Insurance, you really just need Mexican Auto Insurance which you can get right here from XBorderAuto!
Your US or Canadian Auto Insurance is not recognized by Mexican authorities. So, if you’re driving to Baja it is vital you have a minimum of Mexican liability cover that is underwritten by a Mexican carrier.
If you have an accident and you do not have Mexican Auto Insurance you could go to jail, have your car impounded and be severely penalized for violating Mexican law.
Depending on which Mexican State you have an accident in you could be liable for more than $300,000 if there is a fatality.
The Details: If you’re driving your own vehicle to Baja, Mexico, you are legally required to have Mexican Auto Insurance. Mexican Auto Insurance will give you the comprehensive cover you need to protect you and your vehicle during your trip to Baja.
Only Mexican Insurance policies are recognized in Mexico, so even if you have a US or Canadian Auto Insurance policy it will not be recognized while you’re in Baja or anywhere else in Mexico.
Whether you’re going on vacation, a business trip or simply a short weekend away to Baja… You must buy Mexican Auto Insurance to ensure you are protected during your trip.
XBorderAuto make getting your Baja Auto Insurance simple with our online form.
Unlike most Mexican Auto Insurance providers our service is almost entirely online, this means no long waits on hold to sort out getting your insurance quote. Then having to wait some more to go ahead with buying your insurance. Being an online insurance provider also means we have less overheads which allows us to offer you Mexican Vehicle Insurance at a great price!
Our online form is quick and easy to complete, just enter the number of days you need to be covered for and enter your vehicle details (Make, model and actual cash value) to get your free quote. You will receive your quote immediately. You can then buy your Mexican auto insurance online straight away for your Baja vacation.
How do You Make a Baja Auto Insurance Claim?
We know it’s hard but in the unfortunate event of an accident try to remain calm. You must remember that you and the other people in your vehicle are the most important. Make sure that no one is hurt before doing anything else. Remember, have the confidence that you are protected by your Baja Auto Insurance.
Once you have made sure everyone is safe, you must report your Mexican Auto Insurance claim immediately to ANA Seguros. Call them on 01-800-911-911-9 and if it is possible report it to the Mexican Authorities. Keep your policy available at all times.
There are a variety of documents and information that you need to take note of in case of an incident. Make sure you visit out Mexican Auto Insurance Claim page to get the full details of everything you NEED to know.
What to Do on Your Baja Vacation?
Make sure you make the most of your trip to Baja. Get to know THE best places to go in Baja, after all, it is quite a long journey! And remember, get your Baja Auto Insurance before you drive to Mexico.
Baja is an amazing place offering beautiful scenery, wildlife and the most incredible food. Plus, there are plenty of beaches for you to relax on, from the serene bay of Balandra beach to the party beach of Tijuana! Read the full article on our favorite places to visit and the best things to do while vacationing in Baja Mexico, or read our quick summary here:
Wine and Cheese Tour: Ensenada, Baja Mexico
One of our absolute favorite things to do is relax in the sun drinking amazing wine and chowing down on some incredible food. So, inevitably, the Ojos Negros Valley wine and cheese route is top of our list. Located not far from Ensenada, this beautiful valley is home to artisan cheese maker La Cava de Marcelo where you can take a guided tour.
Take a taxi or book a trip from your hotel so you can fully enjoy the experience.
Visit Playas de Tijuana Beach: Tijuana, Baja Mexico
Discover the hustle and bustle of Tijuana beach. Popular with the locals this vast beach is full of color, culture and city-life. Simply sit on the soft sand or stroll down the boardwalk and take everything in.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink, showers and amenities so you can happily stay for a day or even for an entire week!
Shop at El Popo Market: Tijuana, Baja Mexico
Escape the tourist traps with a visit to El Popo Market. This busy, authentic marketplace is crammed with everything you can imagine! From fresh food to traditional pottery. This is the perfect place to buy all your trinkets and souvenirs to take back home. You will experience true Mexican culture, with the air filled with fragrance and dried spices, you are surrounded by colour and noise. Soak up this true taste of Mexico and ‘shop til you drop’.
Relax at Balandra Beach: La Paz, Baja Mexico
This tranquil beach is located just outside of La Paz. The calm waters and the golden sands are surrounded by a rocky, mountainous terrain, making Balandra beach seem even more secluded. Take a walk through the cool, clear water at low tide to view the spectacle of the Mushroom Rock. The sea never really comes up very high, usually only knee deep, making it a great place to take children.
Watch the Water Show at El Parque de la Bandera: Ensenada, Baja Mexico
Get ready for a lively, vibrant show when you visit El Parque de la Bandera. You will be mesmerized by a fantastical display of music, lights and ‘dancing’ water. Starting at around 8pm almost every night you can join the crowd of excited bystanders waiting for the show to start.
Before the show be sure to take a walk down the esplanade and around the marina to look at the boats and the wildlife, you can sometimes even see the seals relaxing on the rocks.
A great evening out for the whole family to enjoy.
Explore Santa Maria Beach: Cabo San Lucas, Baja Mexico
Located right at the very end of the Baja peninsula, Santa Maria Beach is the perfect location to soak up some sun and relax.
This is also a fantastic beach for snorkeling, with an abundance of little fishes to swim alongside and you may even be lucky enough to see the Gray Whales breaching just offshore.
Remember, stay safe while visiting Mexico, do your research and if you’re planning on driving your own vehicle to Mexico make sure you purchase Baja Auto Insurance before you travel.
Prepare for your roadtrip to Baja by getting your Mexican Vehicle Insurance online, quickly and simply, with XBorderAuto today.
Get a quote for Baja Auto Insurance today and find out how much it will cost to insure your vehicle for your Baja vacation.
Taking that amazing drive from the US to Mexico City for a short vacation? Mexico City is a big place so we took a road trip down there to bring you our favorite eateries, adventures and top locations to experience Mexico’s incredible culture and history; from lunching on a beautiful balcony looking over the Zocalo to cheering on the Technicos at the Lucha Libre wrestling, we had an amazing time! So, without further ado, here are the best places to eat and visit to ensure you get the most out of your Mexico City travel adventure.
Where to eat on your Mexico City travel tour:
Get ready for a taste of Mexico with our top places to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner while exploring Mexico City:
For the best brunch in town visit El Cardenal Alameda. Despite it’s location (in the Hilton hotel) this is restaurant offers authentic Mexican delights from chilaquiles to vanilla concha. One of our personal favorites is the Huevos a la Veracruzana, this is dish we have searched far and wide for online and there are hardly any clear recipes to be found! Essentially it’s fried tortillas, Mexican bean sauce all topped off with delicious scrambled egg. If anyone has a good recipe, we implore you to share it with us!
You may want to call ahead and reserve a table – they get pretty busy over the weekends, we’ve seen queues out the door!
Take in the city over a long lunch on the balcony of El Balcon del Zocalo.
Enjoy gourmet dishes looking out at the main square and the incredible cathedral of Mexico city. El Balcon del Zocalo offer traditional Mexican food with a contemporary twist. Enjoy their unique dishes with the local wine from Guadalupe Valley or, even better, choose their tasting menu which pairs each dish with a delicious wine to suit.
The service is impeccable so if you’re undecided on what kind of dish you fancy simply ask for a recommendation and they are more than happy to suggest something. So if you’re looking for a lunch or evening meal that truly takes it to the next level this restaurant is a MUST.
For beautiful dishes both visually and in terms of flavour visit La Capital, your taste buds may not forgive you if you don’t!
This place blew us away with it’s lively atmosphere, knowledegable and friendly staff, fantastic variety of dishes all of which we assume would taste delicious based on what we ate there…
We ordered a range of dishes to have a taste of everything from fish tacos to the stone soup, all followed by unforgettable fresh and fruity cocktails and exquisite desserts. All dishes were presented beautifully and the bill was a very reasonable price.
What to do on your Mexico City travel tour:
Just taking a short break to Mexico City? Here are our top three attractions and experiences for you to visit while on your trip:
Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)
Visit the Metropolitan Cathedral to get some culture and history while on your Mexico City travel tour. This incredible cathedral is one of the largest in Latin America and is situated right on the main square, making it very hard to miss on your trip! Admire the incredible architecture and intricate design while marveling at it’s impressive size.
Make sure you have plenty of time to explore as there is plenty to see, from the ornate golden altar to the pendulum in it’s center that measures the building’s movement over time. It’s an incredible and interesting place to visit, what’s more, it’s actually free to get in! We recommend going early in the morning as it can get quite busy.
Lucha Libre: Mexican Wrestling
Lucha Libre is essentially Mexico’s version of WWE, this colorful and exciting tradition is truly a spectacle to behold! There are three main arenas you can visit to watch the Lucha Libre, we would personally recommend the Arena Mexico and to get your tickets before you go. Once you’re at the arena there are plenty of food stalls to grab something to eat before the entertainment begins. There are also LOADS of memorabilia stalls so you can pick up some goodies to remember your trip or take back home as fun gifts for your friends and family.
Whether you’re cheering for the Tecnicos, or the Rudos you’ll be sure to get caught up in the action and have a fantastic time!
Although this is technically a bar/restaurant we’ve included Salon Tenampa in our ‘What to do’ section because of their amazing Mariachi music (and huge tequila menu)! Going to see a Mariachi band is a key experience when traveling Mexico and Salon Tenampa is THE place to see not just one but many! Founded in 1925 this festive salon is steeped in history, color and Mexican tradition.The bar is full of music, singing and dancing and is truly an experience to remember (or not depending on how many tequilas you’ve had). Make sure you put this lively bar at the top of your to do list!
Mexico City offers a wealth of history, adventure and incredible places to eat, so on your road trip be sure to include this on your list of destinations. For more AMAZING places to visit on your travels around Mexico read Visit Mexico: Must see Attractions. Or looking for somewhere to relax after your Mexico City trip? Check out our guide to the Best Beaches to Visit in Mexico.
Have you been on your own Mexico City travel tour? Let us know! We would love to hear where you ate and what you explored while visiting this amazing city… who knows, we may also even add your recommendation to this article! Get in touch: email@example.com
Remember: If you are driving your own vehicle from the US to Mexico City you must buy Mexican Auto Insurance to make sure you’re covered for your trip to Mexico. Get your free Mexican Vehicle Insurance quote, quickly and simply, online today.
Getting ready for your drive to Mexico? Dreading the long drive across the border with your kids in the back asking you a million questions? To help you on your way and keep up the excitement about your trip to Mexico; we’ve put together some fun and interesting facts about Mexico to keep you and your kids intrigued on your journey!
Interesting Facts about Mexico for you and your kids!
Some of our favorite foods were introduced to us by Mexico
Our first interesting fact has to be about food! Mainly because the food in Mexico is SO delicious, because of this it’s no surprise that our friends across the border introduced us to some of our favorite foods. Chocolate, chilies and corn are just a few of the awesome foods that Mexico introduced to the world.
Mexico has the world’s smallest volcano!
That’s right, Mexico’s smallest volcano, Cuexcomate, stands at just 13 meters tall and is situated in Puebla city. Don’t worry though, this mini-cano is inactive so you can happily and safely walk up this little mound of molten rock with your family. You can even go down into the volcano via a spiral staircase. An interesting and very different sight to see for the average tourist! Although, we would not recommend doing this if you get claustrophobic.
Mexico has a very diverse environment
This interesting fact will be great to get the whole family excited about the amazing and diverse environment you are about to venture into: Mexico is one of the top five countries in terms of biodiversity. This means that Mexico has plenty of amazing habitats and incredible natural environments for you to and your family to discover on your trip to Mexico.
See a huge variety of wildlife in their natural habitats as you explore the awe-inspiring rain forests, mountains and deserts. And with International Biological Diversity Day just around the corner (22 May) it’s a great fact to raise awareness of the importance of protecting these environments to your children.
Remember to always explore safely and with respect for the nature surrounding you.
This interesting fact brings us nicely to our next one…
Almost 34% of Mexico’s land area is covered with forest
It is no wonder Mexico has such a vibrant and diverse range of wildlife as almost 34% of it’s land area is covered with forest. These forests are home to a huge variety of native animals from Spider Monkeys to the Mexican Grey Wolf.
Mexican law is based on Napoleonic Code where guilt prevails over the presumption of innocence
One of the most important interesting facts about Mexico is this one: Mexican law is based on Napoleonic Code where guilt prevails over the presumption of innocence. This is why it is SO important to buy Mexican Auto Insurance if you are driving your own vehicle into Mexico. Drivers are legally required to have Mexican vehicle insurance, without it you are at the mercy of the Mexican court of law. Luckily, you can get your insurance quickly and simply, online with XBorderAuto. Get your free quote now.
Mexico uses four time zones
This interesting fact is a must know if you’re traveling to Mexico!
Did you know that Mexico uses four time zones?
So, make sure you do your research before you travel and change your watch time as you drive through each time zone. Don’t be caught out!
Mexico City is actually sinking
Mexico City is beautiful, with so many different attractions and great places to eat, but did you know the city is actually sinking? Yes this is interesting fact about Mexico number 7!
Having been built in the middle of a lake that had been formed in a volcanic crater, Mexico City has sunk approximately 10 meters in the past century alone. The Aztecs built the city in the middle of the lake in around 1352 as the water made the city easy to defend and gave them seemingly infinite amounts of water and food. We guess they weren’t planning on having the huge (and heavy) high-rise buildings you see in the city today.
Do you know any more interesting facts about Mexico? Get in touch! We’d love to add them to our blog post. Email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
We know that thefirst thing you’ll want to do after crossing the Mexican border is feel the silky white sand in your toes and take in the fresh sea air. So we’ve explored and researched the top beaches to visit in Mexico; here are a variety of amazing beaches that will suit all types of vacationers on your visit.
Balandra Beach in La Paz Great for families This amazing beach is located on the Eastern side of the Baja California Sur peninsula. If you’re taking children this is the place is one of the best to visit in Mexico as the water rarely rises above your waist height. You can keep the whole family entertained by renting a kayak or paddle board or simply enjoy the untouched scenery.
Playa del Amor in Cabo San Lucas Secluded and romantic cove Escape to lover’s beach, this secluded beach can be found off the coast of Puerto Vallarta. Take yourself a picnic and plenty to drink as this beach can only be accessed by water taxi but trust us it’s worth it for the opportunity to snorkel amongst the amazing rock formations. Keep an eye out for seals, jumping stingrays and pelicans that often visit the area.
Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres Watch the sunset over the sea Situated north of Cancún this five mile long beach is a beautiful place to watch the sunset over the calm sea. This palm tree lined beach has plenty of places to eat, we suggest tasting the delicious seafood while enjoying the chilled vibes.
Playa del Carmen Coral reefs and nightlife Situated along the Yucatán Penisula’s Riviera Maya strip of the Caribbean shoreline visit this popular town to experience the relaxing palm-lined beach juxtaposed against the opulent nightlife and shopping destinations. There are plenty of attractions surrounding this resort so you could make it your one stop for your visit in Mexico.
Punta Negra, Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco Quiet beach, popular with locals Walk down the long set of stairs and find yourself on the quiet Punta Negra beach, a favorite with the locals. Enjoy the soothing sounds of the ocean or read in the shade of the big cliff edge surrounding the beach. This beach is perfect for total relaxation, just remember to pack food and drink as you won’t find many vendors or restaurants.
Cozumel Island Untouched, incredible scuba diving This small island in the Caribbean Sea is a scuba diver’s dream, home to the Mesoamerican Reef and the Museo Subacuático de Arte’s submerged sculptures. You can dive in the eco park amongst the dolphins, manatees and sea turtles or adventure in the wild jungle. If adventure isn’t your idea of a vacation you could always lay on the soft white sand taking in the Caribbean climate and the calm shores towards the south of the island.
Tulum, Quintana Roo Amazing history and spectacular coastline After visiting the archaeological ruins of Tulum relax on Yucatán beaches with your pick of traditional Mayan spa treatments or just take a swim in the calm clear waters. This beach meets all requirements of a vacation – adventure, history, culture and relaxation.
Costa Esmeralda Relax and get away from it all… This beautiful beach in Veracruz is the perfect place to totally unwind. The beach comes as a recommendation from award winning blogger, Fabiola, author of the My Heart of Mexico Blog. Here’s why she loves this amazing beach:
“Costa Esmeralda still retains that laid-back, secluded air without the big resorts and the crowds of tourists. You can just unplug, get lost, and get away from it all.” – Fabiola, Author of the My Heart of Mexico Blog
Mazatlán Sandy beaches and fishing This historic Mexican resort town is famous for its big-game fishing and the beautiful, romantic old town landmarks. This lively coastal town will not only offer you history but also beautiful beaches, amazing food, traditional music and a friendly welcome from the locals who are said to treat you like ‘old amigos’.
We have put together the information you need for when you travel in Mexico, from details of mandatory documents such as the Forma Migratoria Multiple Mexican tourist card to popular destinations for you to visit while traveling in Mexico. If you’re traveling to Mexico with pets there are multiple requirements you should be aware of which we have detailed in the article below. If you would like any more information we are always happy to help, just get in touch via email or take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page where we answer the most popular questions people have when they travel in Mexico.
Mexican tourist card:
Not all Mexican Insurance Companies will tell you about the Mexican tourist card, known as Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM). When traveling in Mexico some visitors require a FMM and they can be obtained at the border crossing.
As well as Auto Insurance for Mexico, you should call your US medical provider to find out exactly what they will and will not cover while you travel in Mexico.
Traveling in Mexico with pets:
If you have the right documents then traveling with your furry friends is relatively easy. You need an International Certificate of Good Health issued by a licensed veterinarian who has examined your pet. You will also need a Proof of Vaccination against rabies and distemper, administered at least 15 days before your pet travels to Mexico.
We recommend you bring proof of ownership. Keep it with your Mexican auto insurance documents.
Upon returning to the US, if you have the correct documents and the US border guards don’t suspect your pet of being ill, there is unlikely to be any need to quarantine your pet before crossing the border.
Popular destinations and activities:
Just minutes from San Diego, Baja California is the ideal location for a break. With towns like Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada, there’s plenty to see and do. And once you have your Mexican Auto insurance to travel in Mexico, there’s nothing stopping you!
The wine country of Guadalupe Valley offers beautiful vineyards and has been described as “what Napa looked like 20 years ago”. When you’re traveling in Mexico it is an absolute MUST to stay in one of the rustic ranches and sample award winning wines.
Baja offers fabulous nature experiences, including some of the best bird watching and great fishing spots. Most spectacular of all are the whales. Baja provides some of the best opportunities to spot grey whales while they migrate from the cold northern waters of Alaska to the warmer climes of Mexico.
Baja has some fantastic golfing destinations. Whether you want a short break or something much longer, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Baja.
For the more adventurous of you, there are plenty of great sporty activities to get involved in. Sea kayaking on the azure waters surrounding the land, scuba diving in a unique paradise suitable for beginners and pros, plus some of the best wave hunting for surfers of anywhere along the Pacific coast.
You have your Mexican vehicle insurance, your trip is planned, and you’re really excited about driving in Mexico. To make your trip even more enjoyable, it’s crucial you understand that driving etiquette in Mexico is significantly different to that of driving in the US. We’ve put together some important points to help you feel safe and secure on your trip. By paying attention to our practical advice you can be relaxed in the knowledge that your trip will run as smoothly as possible.
1. Stay safe
This may seem obvious, but try and keep you and your companions safe. Firstly, road conditions are a challenge in Mexico. Some roads are well-maintained, while others have potholes that can flatten a tire or break an axle! The further you travel from the main towns, the trickier the roads become. It’s recommended to drive a four-wheel-drive vehicle with high ground clearance, especially if you do plan to visit off-the-beaten-path locations.
Secondly, be mindful of the police. Corruption amongst police is commonplace and tourists are often taken advantage of because they do not speak Spanish nor do they understand the rules. Don’t assume they want a bribe, be polite and respectful and follow their orders.
And finally, watch the behavior of the vehicles around you carefully, but don’t necessarily follow their lead. Drunk driving in Mexico is very common, especially at night. And remember, you should never drink and drive!
2. Stick to the toll roads
If you haven’t driven in Mexico before, and especially if you are not very fluent in Spanish, stick to the toll roads. These privately owned modern “Cuota” toll roads are generally much faster than the free “Libre” roads; these roads will slow you down considerably as you travel through small towns and villages. Though, it must be said, these roads are much more interesting.
Toll roads can be tricky. However, when driving in Mexico it’s advised you do use them but they can be expensive. And even with the price, some might not reach the desired standard. Remember, insurance is included in the price of the toll so make sure you keep your receipt, because you must report damage caused to your car by the toll road at the next immediate tollbooth.
Driving on the toll roads is good. There are clean bathrooms and snack shops, pure luxury!
Although you’re probably aware of this (especially if you’ve browsed our great site already) you must purchase Mexican auto insurance if you plan on driving your own vehicle into Mexico. If a driver from the US has a traffic accident in Mexico, they must have the means to settle any damages or injuries they’re responsible for. We aren’t trying to scare you, but if you are in an accident and someone is injured or killed, you may end up in jail, no matter whose “fault” it is. So, be sensible, get the right Mexican vehicle insurance.
4. Driving in Mexico at night
Driving at night can be particularly challenging. Many guidebooks and travelers advise against this. When driving the “Libre” roads at night you are likely to encounter pedestrian traffic, animals, slow moving traffic, road hazards and the occasional person who has fallen asleep or is simply sitting on the road. So, watch out! Driving on toll roads is safer, though the roads may have poor lighting and sometimes may be used by pedestrians.
5. Learn some basic Spanish
Mexico is a big country, it’s recommended you check route maps before you travel – there are lots of good resources out there. But also, spend some time studying road signs and other directions in Spanish. You can simply Google signs such as ALTO (STOP) or CURVE PELIGROSA (DANGEROUS CURVE). But we recommend you brush up on as many signs as possible before you start driving in Mexico. Apart from keeping you safe, it’s also fun to learn a new language!
6. Stick to local speed limits
The maximum speed limit in the city is 40km/h, outside of the city its 80km/h, and on the highways its 100km/h. It’s advisable to drive at or below the speed limit, to make sure you aren’t violating any local laws.
7. Top up your gas whenever you can
Along major roadways you will find PEMEX gas stations at various intervals. However, once you leave the toll roads, gas stations may not be so conveniently located so always top up your tank once the indicator falls below half a tank. Don’t be caught short!
8. Be aware of “Topes” aka speed bumps
If you see a yellow highway sign with a thick horizontal black line with circular bumps, slow right down! Topes are Mexican speed bumps, and they mean business! Do not hit these at full speed. They vary in height size so always approach them slowly, if they are very high you may have to bring the vehicle to a stop.
9. Pay attention to your environment
In the rainy season keep your ears and eyes open for landslides or, especially in the mountains, falling rocks. During rainstorms, you can expect flooding on the roads due to a lack of proper drainage, and dirt roads will often turn into mud roads. Rain in Mexico can be very different to rain in the US.
10. Driving in the Mexico mountains
Being in the mountains of Mexico is a rewarding experience but there are certain rules to be aware of. When on steep, narrow or single lane roads, uphill traffic has the right of way over downhill traffic. If you are driving downhill and you see oncoming traffic, pull over to the side of the road, and either slow down or stop. If you are going uphill, use caution as other drivers may not know the rules. Always keep your cool when driving in the mountains. Don’t try to pass big trucks on blind curves. Be patient, eventually there will be a pull-out or slightly wider section where it will be safe to pass.
11. Military checkpoints
Yes, you can expect checkpoints along most major and minor roads manned by the Mexican military, and they will mostly be armed. You will be asked for your driver’s license and driver information, and your vehicle will be searched. They do not accept bribes of any sort, don’t even try. They are looking for drugs or weapons, so stay calm as you won’t have those on you!
There you have it! 11 handy tips to safely guide you when driving in Mexico. You may feel like this is a lot to take in but use your common sense and your trip will be full of the rewards that traveling through Mexico can bring. To get a great quote for your Mexican auto insurance, click here.