What To Know About Driving in Mexico

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One of the things we love to do is take road trips. Since being in Mexico, we haven’t really had access to a car, and our opportunities for a road trip in Mexico have been rare. However, we did end up taking a road trip last week to visit the Monarch butterfly reserve in Michoacan state. We had such a great time traveling there and driving in Mexico.

Our Mexico road trip was a relatively short one. The butterfly reserve is only a three to four hour drive from San Miguel de Allende, the city that we have been living in for the past month. We decided that a quick weekend road trip would be perfect to get a feel for what driving in Mexico is like. After about of month of being stationary, the kids and I were itching to hit the road!

My daughter during our road trip in Mexico (November 2018)

Heading out on a road trip in Mexico

Since we sold our car before coming to Mexico, we needed a way to get to the Monarch butterfly reserve. Direct buses from San Miguel de Allende to the butterfly reserve don’t exist. You would actually need to transfer multiple times to get there. So renting a car for a Mexico road trip was the much better option for us.

Fortunately, San Miguel de Allende has a few places where you can rent cars. We opted to go with a company called BajioGo, which has an office in the central part of San Miguel de Allende. We rented a 4-door Nissan sedan for about 1,000 pesos per day, which equates to about $50 per day. This may be a bit on the pricey side, but the cost includes all the insurance costs. While driving laws in Mexico do not require you to have car insurance, as a traveler, you’re well advised to get it. You never know what might happen on the road!

Driving in Mexico on a road trip in Mexico
On the road in Mexico (November 2018)

What it’s like driving in Mexico

My husband did all of the driving while we were in Mexico. According to him, driving in Mexico was relatively easy. Sure, there are the occasional potholes to look out for. However, we didn’t get stopped by police (thankfully) during our road trip in Mexico, and we avoided accidents.

The legal driving age in Mexico is 18 years old. According to driving laws in Mexico, if you have a US driver’s license, you can drive and rent a car in Mexico without any special permits. For our family, though, we opted to purchase an international driving permit before coming to Mexico, just in case.

The driving laws in Mexico are not that different from the US. This makes getting around Mexico pretty straightforward. The speed limits are in kilometers rather than miles, and are generally slower around cities than when you’re on the open road. One thing that helped us navigate our way around the highways was having an offline Google Map downloaded to my phone. That way I could still follow the driving directions on Google, even when we didn’t have phone signal.

Another thing to keep in mind about driving in Mexico is to make sure you stay safe. This means driving the speed limit and wearing your seat belt! Mexican roads are not always in the best condition. We often had to swerve to avoid potholes, and speed humps are not always clearly marked. You might end up doing a number on your car, if you drive too fast over those potholes and speed humps. During our Mexico road trip, I think we must have gone past hundreds of potholes!

A man driving in Mexico on a road trip in Mexico
My husband driving in Mexico (November 2018)

Exploring Mexico from the road

Exploring a country from the vantage point of the road is always fun. We loved taking a road trip in Mexico, and enjoyed the freedom that comes with having access to a car. We didn’t have to deal with bus schedules, and we could go pretty much where ever we wanted with the car.

If you’re planning on taking your own Mexico road trip, make sure you give yourself a lot of time and have fun! Mexico is a beautiful country to explore. During our time here, we’ve had a great time getting to know as much of the cities and nature as we can.

Have you done a road trip in Mexico? Share your experience of driving in Mexico in the comments!

What to Know About Driving in Mexico | The Wandering Daughter

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Hi, I'm Astrid

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I'm a travel-loving mom of three from Seattle. Join our adventures as we explore the Pacific Northwest and the world!

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