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One of the best things about living in Mexico is travelling in Mexico. The country may look small on a map, but it’s a big place with a wide variety of places to visit. You have many options for travelling around the country, including by plane, bus, and car.

Plane

Almost all Mexican cities have their own airport, with some 50 airports nationwide providing regional and international flights. Two of the most common entry points for international flights are Mexico City and Cancun, although Monterrey, Guadalajara, and San Jose del Cabo also receive many international flights.

In addition, several national airlines offer domestic and international flights at low rates, including Aeromexico, Interjet, and Volaris. They often have big discounts at certain times of the year. Check their websites for these discounts, which may not be available on travel websites like expedia.com.

This means that you should always look for an inexpensive flight before you commit to a long-distance bus ride. A flight is often cheaper, and obviously much faster.

Bus

The most common mode of transportation in Mexico is the bus. Every city and town in Mexico has at least one bus station, and some have several. Mexico City, for instance, has four major bus stations, each with bus lines that go to a different part of the country.

There are many bus companies in Mexico that travel in specific regions. The best way to compare the different companies and their prices is by visiting a bus station. You can usually buy tickets right before your trip. Or you can look at their websites, some of which are listed at the end of this article.

Buses that leave from the bus station are usually either first or second class. The difference is not only in price. First class buses typically have wide seats that recline far back with plenty of space. Second class buses, while not quite so luxurious, are usually also quite comfortable and clean.

Aside from those at the main bus station, many parts of Mexico also have “third-class” bus companies that leave from independent stations elsewhere in the city. These are often much cheaper than a bus from the main bus station. Sometimes these buses are quite old and prone to breakdowns, although in many cases the buses are just as good as any bus from the regular bus station.

Local buses and colectivos

Local buses travel within cities and from major cities to surrounding communities. They are typically noisy, fast, and inexpensive. Local buses usually have the places in the city that they pass through written on the windshield to help you figure out its route. Or, you can just get on and ask the driver. You might see some bus stops and shelters on busy roads, but most of the time you can simply stand anywhere on the road and wave down the bus.

Colectivos or combis are passenger vans that serve the same purpose as local buses. Just like with local buses, the destinations are written on the windshield. Colectivos are especially common in the south, such as popular tourist destinations Oaxaca, Chiapas, and the Yucatan Peninsula.

Taxi

In most parts of Mexico, taxis don’t have meters. Before you get in, tell the driver your destination, and he will tell you the price. If you don’t speak Spanish, hand him a piece of paper with your destination written on it and a pencil so he can write it down.

In some parts of Mexico, it is not safe to hail taxis on the street. A better alternative is to ask the person at the front desk of your hotel to call a taxi for you. Or, find the number of a taxi company and call one yourself. Upon arrival at an airport, for instance, do not get in a taxi waiting outside, but rather go to one of the taxi booths inside the airport.

If you must hail a taxi on the street, make sure that it is in decent condition and does not have tinted windows. Check for a laminated paper in the window with the driver’s picture, name, and other information. To be extra safe, take a photo of this credential and immediately send it to someone, and make sure the driver sees you do this.

Some taxis are colectivo taxis, which like colectivos or local buses, have a destination written on the windshield. You can usually tell which one is a colectivo taxi because it is usually full of people. They are much cheaper than regular taxis, but remember to take the same precautions.

Subway

Mexico City has a comprehensive subway system that goes practically everywhere in the city. Called the metro, it is usually a better option than a bus for getting around because buses are subject to Mexico City’s heavy traffic. Tickets are five pesos each, or you can get a reloadable card for the same price. It’s a good idea to buy many tickets at once so you won’t have to wait in line at a busy station during rush hour.

Monterrey and Guadalajara also have light rail systems that serve the cities and surrounding areas. Other than those, there are no passenger trains in Mexico besides three that are specifically designed for tourists: the Chepe train that travels through the enormous Copper Canyon in northern Mexico, and the Tequila Express and Jose Cuervo Express, both of which travel from Guadalajara to distilleries near the town of Tequila.

Driving in Mexico

Cars are a convenient means of transport in Mexico. You may rent a car provided you have a valid driver's license. However, you are required to buy Mexican insurance before driving. If you drive your car from the United States, you will need the insurance as well as a temporary import permit. This costs $51 USD plus tax and is easy to buy at border crossings or online.

 Useful links:

Airlines

Aeromexico
Interjet
Volaris
VivaAerobus

Bus companies

ADO
Caminante
Estrella Blanca
Estrella de Oro
ETN
Flecha Roja
Omnibus de Mexico
Primera Plus

Other

Mexico City subway map
El Chepe Copper Canyon train
Tequila Express
Jose Cuervo Express
Temporary vehicle importation permit

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.