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Driving in Mexico

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IDP is essential when driving abroad

driving abroad with idp

International Driving Permit (IDP), regulated by the United Nations, certifies that you are the holder of a valid driver's license in your country of origin.

documents needed for international driving permit

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world.

How to get your IDP

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Fill in the forms

Have your driver’s license and delivery address handy

02

Verify your ID

Upload pictures of your driver's license

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Wait for confirmation and you’re ready to go!

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Driving Rules in Mexico

Driving in Mexico can be a very comfortable way to explore the country, visiting freely the beauty of its landscape. It has an extensive road network covering all areas in the country and, most of them, in a good conditions so you’ll find driving in Mexico pretty easy and straightforward.

Here are some important reminders in driving in Mexico:

  • You must bring with you a valid passport, valid driving license and international driving license, especially if you are planning to rent a car.
  • Drive on the right side of the road.
  • Legal driving age is 18.
  • Minimum age for car rental is 25 years old and should holding a driving licence for a minimum of 2 years.
  • Maximum legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers is 0.8 g/l of blood.
  • Speed limits for cars is 40 km/h in urban areas, 90 km/h in rural areas and 120 km/h in highways.
  • Phone is allowed as long as it’s hands free.
  • Seat belt is a must.
  • Avoid to drive at night when you’re alone.

Driving in the Winter

It is uncommon to see snow in Mexico unless you are planning to visit areas located at altitudes greater than 10,000 feet above sea level. There are two main seasons in Mexico: rainy and dry.

  • Rainy season last from May or June through October or November.
  • Dry season last from December to April. 

FAQ

Do you need an International Driving Permit for Mexico?

Not all who are living in the country can understand English. Although the country is nearest to the United States, it does not guarantee this fact. That's why for drivers coming to explore from foreign countries, getting an IDP is highly suggested. An IDL/IDP is a document which translates your valid driver's license issued from your home country, in which the expiration date should be more than six months. 

Can I drive with US license in Mexico?

Driving a motor vehicle like every other mexican driver in the country as a tourist is allowed. As long as you carry an International Driver's Permit along with your valid US Driver's License. If you do not carry any of this, chances are you will get stopped by local authorities to get fined or arrested, depending on what type of violation was committed aside from not carrying an IDP to support your driver's license. 

Also, if you intend to drive in another country, you need to get an insurance policy to support your rental car should you encounter any road traffic accident. This is mandated as well for the state department for US Citizens to get a car insurance policy.

Do the International Driver's Permit requirements for Mexico differ from other foreign countries?

It does not differ from other foreign countries such as Iceland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Brazil, United Kingdom, and others. We will only ask for your valid driver's license, passport-sized photo, credit card details for the payment, and for you to fill out the application form. 

How do you get a driving permit in Mexico?

For International Driver’s Permit, the country's requirements don’t differ much from other foreign countries. It usually relies on the provider of your International Driver’s License for Mexico.

If you’re renting a car, you may need an International Driving Permit. As of date, an International Driver’s License is required by some car rental companies. You can get an International Driver’s Permit from our website. The International Drivers Association can send the physical copy to Mexico. Just provide the address, city, country, and zip code to receive your International Driver’s License.

Most Important Driving Rules

Driving around is a great way to explore the country, as it saves more time and money than using public transport. It also enables you to tour places at your chosen pace. 

But you have to remember that driving on the country's roads and highways can be much different from driving back home, especially if you're from the US or Europe. Here are some of the traffic rules and regulations:

Bring the driving requirements

To drive in here, you need to be at least 18 years old to drive a car and 21 years to rent one. Of course, you also have to bring your valid original driver’s license, which you must have held to at least for 2 years. Bring your International Driving Permit, especially if your license is not in Mexico’s languages, Spanish and English.

Remember also to drive properly insured. Many tourists have been arrested or have paid an unnecessarily large amount of fines after authorities caught them without insurance. If an accident happens, your insurance will be your best friend. However, you must make sure that you are only getting it from a reliable insurance company.

Don’t drive at night

As much as possible, avoid driving during nighttime. Driving at night can be dangerous as lights on most highways are non-existent. Livestock, like lambs and goats, walk across roads, particularly outside major cities, and you won’t be able to see them. There are also topes (speed bumps) and potholes in roadways in Mexico.

Authorities also warn travelers not to drive at night due to the prevalence of crime. Law enforcers are limited in some areas at night in Mexico, so as much as possible, don't drive alone if you have to go somewhere.

Top Destinations in Mexico

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One of the top 10 countries most visited by travelers across the world, It is a tourism powerhouse blessed with sunshine, staggering landscapes, and delightful sandy beaches. the country has more than 30 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the famous ancient Aztec and Mayan sites, and they're about as popular as the country’s beach destinations. Not only do destinations and attractions form the country's tourism, but its rich culture and sought-after cuisine also offer tourists memories of a lifetime.

Driving here can be an adventure of a lifetime since you get to decide what and which to visit, something which might be impossible if you use public transportation. Driving your own car in the country also allows you to travel to such areas at your preferred pace, whether you’re there for business or pleasure while being comfortable.

Cancun

A must-visit for travelers, this island off the country's southeastern coast has one of the best beaches worldwide for its delightful sands and clear blue sea, which form an extraordinary scenery. Besides beaches, Mayan culture and monuments and other entertaining activities offer tourists enjoyment they will remember for a lifetime.

Despite being a world-class destination, Cancún is one of the most affordable vacations you can ever have in the Western hemisphere.

Mexico City

Mexico City is the capital of the country, and the seat of its government. This city is one of the largest cities in the world in terms of the populace. It's also one of the country's famous destinations due to its classic museums, art galleries, and other attractions. 

The city has many historical buildings worth visiting, including a 15-square-kilometer UNESCO World Heritage Site which has over 1,400 colonial buildings from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is one of the country's most important tourist attractions. Nestled in the Yucatan Peninsula, about 190 kilometers from Cancun, the Mayan city is an archeological site where new discoveries are still being dug up to this day! In 1988, Chichen Itza was labeled a UNESCO World Heritage Site before it was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.

Nearly a thousand years old, Chichen Itza has been engraved by different generations of its native people. Several buildings in the Mayan city survived time and nature, such as the Warriors’ Temple, El Castillo, and the El Caracol.

Cabo, San Lucas

Cabo, San Lucas is one of the top beach destinations besides Cancun. Part of a 30-kilometer stretch of enthralling beaches, some of the country's most luxurious hotels, resorts, and golf courses can be found in Cabo San Lucas, the party central of the beautiful Baja Peninsula.

Guanajuato

Guanajuato is Guanajuato’s capital state. This city, branded as a UNESCO World Heritage, is flaunted by historical and colonial buildings, colorful houses, vibrant churches, and an energetic environment. You'll walk or drive on cobblestoned roads while you explore Guanajuato, which has multiple networks of subterranean streets and tunnels. 

As home to many art galleries and museums, Guanajuato will make you appreciate the art culture of the country. If you like mummies, you can check out the Mummies of Guanajuato exhibit, where you'll see the remains of those who died due to the cholera outbreak in the mid-1800s. Epic, right? 

Tulum

Tulum is an enchanting place due to its unbelievable scenery. Nestled along a stretch of the Riviera Maya, the town is home to the only waterfront Mayan ruins in the world. The place lures both beach lovers and history nuts. You can find various hotels and other lodgings at Tulum, and even on a budget, you can find something that will be worth your time and money.

Exploring ancient ruins and swimming in its beaches and cenotes (subterranean water bodies) definitely will be worth both, as tourists who have visited the town know. It's the best way to spend a day during vacation than exploring one of the best-preserved Mayan ruins in the world. Furthermore, you can jump into the Caribbean Sea for a swim before relaxing inside at your lodging of choice.

Guadalajara

The second biggest city after Mexico City, Guadalajara, is one of the unique places in the world. It is the central state of Jalisco’s capital. Guadalajara is the cultural center of the country, and home of mariachi music which you have likely heard. Dotted with buildings structurally influenced by colonial and native Tapatíos architecture, the city is fun to explore on foot or wheels.

It also hosts several big cultural events, like the Guadalajara International Film Festival, other events that draw international crowds. Visiting Guadalajara will give you an understanding of what the country is about.

Copper Canyon

Copper Canyon, a World UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the country's most visited natural attractions. Located in the state of Chihuahua, enthralling landscapes and fun outdoor adventure await tourists in the "Grand Canyon of Mexico," which really is composed of six separate canyons and is much bigger than its US counterpart.

One of the most popular ways to explore the canyon is riding the El Chepe or the Copper Canyon Train, which traverses at least 670 kilometers from Chihuahua to Los Mochis. You can hop on and off the train line as it makes numerous stops along the way. Explore small towns and the beautiful and natural environment. You can also ride on horseback if you want to feel like you're in a Western movie.

Merida

Merida is not only Yucatan’s capital state but also the cultural capital of the whole Yucatan Peninsula. You can see the city's rich history and culture at almost every corner. Colonial and pearl-white mansions form a line along Merida's main street, Paseo de Montejo. Markets during Sundays in the city will take you back in time.

You'd enjoy exploring the city, on foot or on wheels. Narrow streets lead to vibrant plazas and the region's best museums and art galleries. If you're hungry, tasty cuisine awaits you. If you're looking for lodgings, excellent hotels and boutique hotels will assure you a delightful experience.

Puerto Vallarta

Also known as Vallarta or PV, Puerto Vallarta is one of the most beautiful cities in Jalisco state on the country's Pacific Coast. Although it's popularly known as a place full of beautiful resorts and ocean fronts, Vallarta is more of a traditional Mexican city as it cultivates a local town environment.

You will enjoy dazzling beaches, world-class hotels, lavish malls, and shopping centers, and outstanding restaurants during your stay in Vallarta. Dense jungles and clear waterfalls will also give opportunities for an adventurous vacation.

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