How to travel in Mexico: Key transportation informationby Pancho Barranco | November 10, 2022
Mexico is a magical land of ancient ruins, pristine white sandy beaches, burritos, margaritas and tequila.
It has lots of varied landscapes you can explore, from dusty deserts to snowy mountains, so if you are planning to travel to Mexico and are looking for information on how to travel around this fantastic country, in this article there are a few ways to make your way around.
Mexico is a lot bigger than you would imagine, so it’s particularly important for you to plan your transport carefully so you don’t get caught out once you’re there.
There are more than 50 airports in Mexico in several cities but the main ones are Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City, Cancun International Airport and although they are smaller, the airports of Guadalajara, Monterrey and Tijuana also run flights.
When you land at the Mexico City airport, there are two terminals where you will find buses that run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are buses that will take you to the following cities: Cuernavaca, Pachuca, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Toluca, Queretaro, Córdoba and San Juan del Rio.
If you want to go into the center of Mexico City, you can catch line 4 of the Metrobus, which has stops at the Buenavista Terminal and San Lazaro subway stations, and other main points in the city.
There are cab terminals 24 hours a day at the terminals. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the city center of Mexico City. It usually costs around 300 pesos. Make sure the meter is turned on before leaving. If the driver doesn’t have a meter, make sure you haggle the price before starting the ride, otherwise you might get ripped off.
You can also take the subway to the center from Terminal 1. You will get to the city center in 34 minutes. The trip costs 5 MXN.
There are many reputable car rental companies in the terminals. If you are going to drive around Mexico City, it is advisable to rent a smaller car as there is a lot of traffic and parking is more difficult. Outside the city it is much easier to drive.
Getting around the city
Uber and cabs are an option in the city, but they can be expensive depending on where you are heading.
If you want to get around Mexico City easily, the ADO bus is the most popular bus company in the city and has multiple stops around town.
Metrobus is an express bus that travels over a 125 km network within Mexico City. The ticket, regardless of the destination, always costs 6 MXN.
If you want to move around the city by metro or metrobus, there is a rechargeable card that can be purchased and can be used on all transport within the city.
There are no passenger trains in Mexico. Trains are designed for freight, so the best option is to travel by bus or metrobus.
You can easily get a cab in the city, as they are quite affordable. Make sure that the cab you take is official, and that the meter is running to avoid scams. If there is no meter, then make sure you agree on the price with the driver setting off. At night it is best not to take cabs as muggings can be a problem in Mexico City.
Getting around in Mexico
As mentioned above, renting a car is a good option in Mexico, but if you decide to drive be aware that the roads might be in bad condition, which can damage the car. On Mexican roads there are usually many police controls so it is advisable to follow the rules of the road if you want to avoid fines.
There are tolls on the highways in Mexico and they do not accept credit cards. Make sure you have coins to hand before setting off.
ADO, the same company that operates within Mexico City also has medium and long distance buses that can take you around the country. The buses are called ADO GL or ADO Platinum. The buses tend to be comfortable and clean. It is best to book your ticket in advance online to ensure tickets don’t run out.
As Mexico is such a large country, if your trip is short, it may be quicker to travel with an internal flight instead of traveling overland. There are several companies that operate internal flights between cities in Mexico, including VivaAerobus, Aeromexico, Volaris and Interjet. Mexico City is the country's main airport, so you may have to take a connecting flight depending on where you want to go.
Tips to travel in Mexico
- Make sure you have enough coins and notes to pay for public transport as they don’t take cards.
- Toilet paper is not provided on long distance buses, so make sure you bring your own.
- Theft can be a problem in Mexico. Make sure you look after your belongings when traveling and don’t hand over your bag to anyone who is not officially working for the bus company.
- Due to road conditions, trips around Mexico can take a lot longer than you think even if distances are short. Make sure you give yourself enough time.