Once you check Mexico on a map you’ll notice how big the country is. Now that you booked the flights or already arrived in the country of Tacos the question of the best matter of transport in Mexico comes up. In our time we tested every way of transport in Mexico and summarized the best ways for you in the following post.
So first let’s tackle the question on how to get fast from A to B in Mexico.
Flights in Mexico
Time is an important asset while traveling in Mexico, as the country is big and it can be cumbersome to find busses in between smaller cities, especially if you are not on the more touristy Yucatán peninsula. Flights save a ton of time and airlines such as AeroMexico, Viva Aerobus und Volaris made flying in Mexico affordable.
We flew often in Mexico and almost never had any problems and always arrived fast and safe at our destination. In the following map we visualized all airports in Mexico from which you can fly to your destination:
Tips for flights in Mexico
Tip 1: Don’t book right away. Monitor prices for a bit and compare. Opening flight comparison pages such as Skyscanner also in an incognito window so that cookies aren’t saved.
Tip 2: Be aware of the currency you selected and make sure that the currency you selected stays the same throughout the booking process. To be on the safe side, also take a screenshot of your booking with the price you will pay.
In this process, we faced a bigger problem with the airline Viva Aerobus. In our case we booked in Mexican Pesos (ca. 1140MX$) which is round about $70. Luckily we took a screenshot that showed the price in Pesos. After the booking, we received a confirmation of the same amount but in US dollars ($1140). This amount also got with drawled from my bank account. A dozen calls with the customer support of Viva Aerobus and three weeks later we received our money back. So better be sure which currency you selected to not have the same trouble we had while Backpacking in Mexico.
Tip 3: Before booking a flight, find out where your destination airport is located exactly. Especially smaller airports are often located a couple of kilometers away from your actual destination. Due to that, you are dependent on public transport from there. So, better plan some extra time!
Trains in Mexico
In 1990 trains pretty much stopped operating in Mexico. Only two routes are possible by train. One is the so called “Cooper Valley” and the other one the “Tequila Express” that goes in between the states of Jalisco to Tequila.
As a result of very little train connections, busses are the main matter of transport in Mexico.
Taking the bus in Mexico
If flights are too expensive or no airport is close to you, you have the possibility to get on a bus in one of the 150 national bus stations. The bus network in Mexico is great and we have been always very happy with trips we made. Over 200 bus operators offer tickets in every city or town and busses are leaving around the clock. Important to know the following sub categories of busses: Ejecutiva, Primera (1a) und Económica/ Segunda (2a).
Ejecutiva Clase in Mexico
Ejecutivos basically are the premier class of busses going through Mexico. These big buddies are operating mainly between bigger cities and most of all on more touristy ways. The luxurious busses are ideal for a night drive and offer a lot of leg room, comfy seats that decline far back as well as toilets, free snacks and drinks. On top of that, you will also have the chance to browse throughout the trip thanks to the newly installed Wifi.
We never drove in more comfortable busses!
Primera Clase in Mexico
Primeras (1a), are also first class busses and seats can be reserved. You will also find air-condition, toilets, seats that can decline even though it is not as comfortable as the Ejecutivos. Busses of the Primera Clase will stop here and there and pick up people, which costs a bit of time but is not a bigger problem.
Bus companies in Mexico
Here, a table with the most important operating bus companies for your trip through Mexico.
|ADO||http://www.ado.com.mx||Mexico City, Veracruz & the Yucatan Region & South- and Southwest Mexico, Center of Cancún and Playa del Carmen|
|Estrella de Oro||http://www.estrelladeoro.com.mxx||Golf Coast Veracruz/Guerrero, incl. Mexico City, Taxco, Acapulco, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo|
|Estrella Blanca||http://www.estrellablanca.com.mx||Mexico City & Central-, North- und West coast, as well as bigger cities such as Guadalajara, Tijuana, Puebla, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta and Ciudad Juárez|
|ETN||http://www.etn.com.mx||North and Central Mexico, Mexico City, Guadalajara & Puerto Vallarta|
Económicas / Segunda Clase in Mexiko
The Económicas, busses of the second class, are local busses that are mainly operating between smaller cities, towns and villages. Here you will share the bus with a dozen of locals, what makes the trip authentic with a real Mexican vibe. In the bus you will hear chatter, laughs and discussions between locals. These busses can get really crowded and your are not able to reserve seats.
Tipps for taking the Bus in Mexico
Tip #1: Muggings of tourist busses are rare but exist. Due to the fact that robbers mainly want to steal valuables and money of tourist, injured people are very seldom the case. Busses of the Ejecutiva and Primera are driving faster, pay tolls and thus get robbed less frequently. So if possible choose one of those for a longer trip.
Tip #2: If you take a night bus – as we did it from Oaxaca to San Cristobal de las Casas – don’t choose a bus of the category Segunda. The level of comfort is comparably low and you won’t sleep very well in the 8 hour+ trip.
Tip #3: You can not only book Ejecutivos and Primeras in shops but also online. Here you can select seats and pay on the go.
Good to know
A couple of sentences should be clear before booking a bus Sin escalas? Semi-directo o ordinario? Here, a quick explanation:
Sin escalas means that the bus will stop somewhere on the way. Directo, in contrast, says that the bus is directly going to the destination. Semi-directo busses will stop multiple times and Ordinario, can get stopped at every corner.
As well as that it could be helpful to know the one or another Spanish word for booking the ticket and the trip itself.
Terminal de Autobuses – Bus station | Equipaje – Lagguage | Boleto – Ticket | Ruta – Route | Horario – Timetable | Destino – Destination | Pasajero(s) – Passenger | Viaje Redondo – To and back drive / Return | Viaje Sencillo – Single ticket | Asiento – Seat
Collectivos in Mexiko
If it is not worth taking a bus as your destination is too close, Collectivos are a great thing! These mini vans operate regularly, stop basically everywhere where you want them to and are cheap. In Puerto Escondido we took Collectivos to go in the city center and buy groceries. In Tulum we visited different denotes with the help of Collectivos.
Tip: Inform the driver where you want to go after your jumped in the car. He will give you a shout once you arrived at your destination. Then you will pay for the way while getting off the car.
Uber in Mexico
Uber certainly is no secret tip anymore. Especially in Mexico City Uber is part of daily life. The app makes it easy to hail a taxi on the street. As the app offers a rating system and track drivers with the help of GPS, Uber is safer than taxis. Especially in Mexico City we drove around so much with Uber and never had any negative experience. The opposite is actually the case we met very kind Mexican people, as almost everywhere!
Through the offered transparency and safety, especially in bigger cities, Uber is the matter transport number one. It gets even better: Ubers are extremely cheap in Mexico so that there is no reason to order to hail a regular taxi.
As Uber disrupt the taxi industry, some Uber drivers complained about broken windows and fights with taxi drivers a couple of years back.
Ships & Ferries in Mexico
Daily one ship operates from Playa del Carmen to the neighbor island of Cozumel. Further information you will find in here. In case you want to visit Isla Holbox, in the north of Yucatan (worth it!!), you need to take the ferry from Chiquita to the small island. The trip takes between 20-30 minutes and costs 140 Pesos per way. Want to find out more about Isla Holbox – Mexicos hidden gen? Follow this link!
We hope we were able to cover every way of transport in Mexico for you and wish you a great trip!
Still looking for Wanderlust?
➳ You are searching for some more tips and infos how to prepare for your backpacking trip?
➳ You are traveling to Mexico and still not sure what is worth to know? Have a look at our article Backpacking in Mexico!
➳ Eager to find the best Mexico Travel Route?
➳ You want to go surfing in Mexico? Then head over to Puerto Escondido!
➳ Mexico’s capital calling or are you about to leave to the pyramids of Mexico City?
➳ Last but not least some relaxation on Isla Holbox? Definitely worth a visit!
Hello, great article:) Just wondering if you have any tips regarding traveling through Mexico with a surfboard? Is it relatively easy to take buses etc, or are flights the way to go? Also will I need to book transfers from the airport or will taxis/uber be able to take me from A to B with a board?
Thanks a lot 🙂 In my opinion it depends on the number of stops you are planning to do. If it’s 2-3 I would say you’ll find a way either by bus or by plane (depends on the route and the prices you find). If you decide to travel a lot more, I would rent a board. In my case I decided to rent a board as we did a couple of stops and I knew that I would just be able to surf in Puerto Escondido! So it was less stressful and cheaper.
Hope that helps 🙂