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Why carry an IDP while driving in Mexico?

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 – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.

It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Mexico highly recommends an International Driving Permit.

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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. 

How to get your IDP

We’ve streamlined the application process down by creating a platform that guides you so you know exactly what you’ll need to successfully complete your application

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1. Apply Online

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2. Upload Photos

Make sure to upload an updated photo and with the correct parameters.​

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3. Get approved

Wait for your confirmation and you are ready to go!​

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Top Destinations in Mexico

Mexico Photo by Daniels Joffe on Unsplash

One of the top 10 countries most visited by travelers across the world, Mexico is a tourism powerhouse blessed with sunshine, staggering landscapes, and delightful sandy beaches. Mexico 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 Mexico's tourism, but its rich culture and sought-after cuisine also offer tourists memories of a lifetime.

Driving in Mexico 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 Mexico also allows you to travel to such areas at your preferred pace, whether you’re there for business or pleasure while being comfortable.

Why Use an International Driver’s Permit in Mexico?

Is an International Driver's License needed in Mexico? Do you need an International Driver’s License for Mexico? As of the November 2020 update, an International Driver’s License in Mexico is needed. You can go on a driving holiday with an International Driving Permit in Mexico. You can get an International Driver’s Permit for Mexico from our website, which has international shipping. Provide your name, address, city or region, country, and zip code to receive an International Driver’s License.

Converting your driver's license to a Mexican one requires you to take a test, unlike the International Driver's Permit in Mexico, which does not. As long as you brought your valid original license and international permit, you can expect a hassle-free journey in your car in Mexico.

Cancun Photo by Gerson Repreza

Cancun

A must-visit for travelers in Mexico, 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.

If you’re driving to Cancun, it’s highly advisable to bring an international driving license. Don’t worry; you don’t need to take a test for an International Driver's Permit in Mexico and spend more time before driving in the country. An International Driver's Permit, along with your valid original license, will be accepted.

Driving Directions

If you're driving from Merida, you'll reach Cancun in more or less 3 hours.

  • Follow Carr. Costera del Golfo E/Merida - Valladolid/México 180 E to Kantunil-Cancun/México 180D.
  • Then follow Carr. Costera del Golfo/Valladolid - Cancun/México 180 to your destination in Cancún.

Do you need an International Driving Permit in Mexico, or do you need an International Driver’s License for Mexico? Driving in the country will be easier when you get an International Driving Permit in Mexico, especially if your original license is not in English or Spanish, the languages used in the country. So if others ask, "Do I need an International Driver’s License in Mexico?" you know what to say.

Foreigners, mainly the US and Canadian citizens, don't need to take an exam for an International Driver's License in Mexico, unlike those who convert their license and take written and road tests, depending on the state.

Mexico City Photo by Carlos Aguilar

Mexico City

Mexico City is the capital of Mexico 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 Mexico's famous destinations due to its classic museums, art galleries, and other attractions. Do you need an International Driving Permit in Mexico to explore the city? It definitely helps. You can easily apply for an International Driver's License for Mexico online.

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.

Driving Directions

If you're driving from Puebla, you'll reach Mexico City in less than 3 hours.

  • Get on Autopista México - Puebla/México 150D from Av 2 Pte and Boulevard Hermanos Serdán1.
  • Follow Autopista México - Puebla to Ciudad de México before taking the exit toward Aeropuerto/Ermita Iztapalapa from Autopista México - Puebla/México 150D.
  • Get on Anillo Perif. in Tlalpan.
  • Continue on Anillo Perif. to Narciso Mendoza then take the exit toward Xochimilco from Anillo Perif.
  • Take México 113 to Calle Xochipilli Tonalco in Lomas de Tonalco.

For drivers who have their original licenses in their native language that is not English or Spanish, do you need an International Driver’s License in Mexico? Yes, it will help you coordinate with immigration and local law enforcers. Make sure to always carry your International Driver’s License in Mexico. If you don’t have one yet, you can easily apply for an International Driver's License for Mexico online.

Chichen Itza Photo by Mario La Pergola

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is one of the country's most important tourist attractions. Nestled in Mexico’s 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.

Driving Directions

Approximately an hour and a half are needed to reach Chichen Itza if you're driving from Merida.

  • Take Av Fidel Velázquez and Av Quetzalcoatl to Avenida/Carr. Costera del Golfo E/Merida - Peto/Merida - Valladolid/México 180 E in San Pablo Oriente.
  • Follow Carr. Costera del Golfo E/Merida - Valladolid/México 180 E and Kantunil-Cancun/México 180D.
  • At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Avenida/Carr. Costera del Golfo E/Merida - Peto/Merida - Valladolid/México 180 E.

Keep in mind to always bring your International Driver’s License in Mexico. Coordination with authorities, especially at military checkpoints, will be easier with it. If you’re going to rent a car, bringing one is highly recommendable. As of the November 2020 update, an International Driver’s Permit in Mexico is required by some car rental companies.

Cabo San Lucas Photo by Victoria Bragg

Cabo, San Lucas

Cabo, San Lucas is one of Mexico's 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.

Clear waters swaddling the area offer tourists and travelers fun activities, such as diving, snorkeling, and even fishing. People often ask, "Do you need an International Driver’s License in Mexico?" You do, especially if they’re from non-English or non-Spanish-speaking countries.

Driving Directions

If you're driving from La Paz, you'll reach Cabo in more or less than 2 hours.

  • Take Blvd. Forjadores to Carr. Transpeninsular.
  • Follow Carr. Transpeninsular to Blvd. Hidalgo in Cabo, San Lucas.
  • Take Calle Cabo San Lucas to Calle Mariano Abasolo in Ildefonso Green.

Exploring Mexico can also lead you to other countries, like the United States in the north and the Latin American countries in the south. The country serves as a gateway for tourists looking to do some country-hopping. If your brain keeps popping the question, "Do I need an International Driver’s License in Mexico always?" You already know the answer. You can get an International Driver’s License or Permit for Mexico from our website easily.

Guanajuato Photo by Jorge Gardner

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. If you’re wondering, ‘Do I need an International Driver’s License for Mexico to drive in Guanajuato?’, the answer is not only in this city but also for the rest of the country.

As home to many art galleries and museums, Guanajuato will make you appreciate the art culture of Mexico. 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 in Mexico. Epic, right?

Driving Directions

Before entering the city, keep in mind to drive on wide roads as the narrow ones can be a nightmare for you, especially if you don't know the area well.

If you're driving from Leon, you'll be able to reach Guanajuato within an hour.

  • Head to Av. Miguel Alemán.
  • Follow Blvd. Adolfo López Mateos, México 45 and Carr. Guanajuato - Silao to Cantador in Zona Centro, Guanajuato.
  • Continue to Cantador. Take Calle de Alonso to Calle 28 de Septiembre.

If you're going to rent a car in Guanajuato, make sure to get an International Driver’s Permit for Mexico, look its zip code up, and have your international license from us, the International Driver's Association delivered there. Are you required to undergo an exam for an International Driver’s License in Mexico? Only those who convert their driver's license are mandated to take written, and road tests, which may vary as each Mexican state has its own set of requirements.

Tulum Photo by Samuel Sweet

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.

Driving Directions

If you're driving from Cancun, you'll be able to reach Tulum in under 2 hours.

  • Follow Carr. Tulum - Cancún/México 307 to Av. Coba/QROO 109 in Tulum.
  • Head west toward Calle Prol. Av. Kabáh/Av. Kabah.
  • Exit the roundabout onto Av. Kabah/Av. Rodrigo Gómez heading to Chetumal.
  • At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Av. J Rojo Gómez Kabah.
  • Continue onto Blvd. Luis Donaldo Colosio.
  • Use either lane to make a slight right turn onto Carr. Tulum - Cancún/México 307.
  • Take Calle Sagitario Ote. to Calle Polar Pte.

Is an International Driver’s License required in Mexico to drive to Tulum? It definitely has benefits, especially if your valid original license is not in English or Spanish. You can get an International Driver’s License for Mexico from our website easily.

Guadalajara Photo by Daryl.parada

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 Mexico 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 Mexico is about. You may ask, ‘Do I need an International Driver’s License for Mexico to drive in Guadalajara?’ The answer is yes, and it will absolutely help you in your driving experience.

Driving Directions

If you're coming from Leon in Guanajuato state, you'll reach Guadalajara in under 3 hours.

  • Get to León - Aguascalientes/Lib. Carretero/México 45D from Boulevard Torres Landa.
  • Follow León - Aguascalientes/Lib. Carretero/México 45D to Lagos de Moreno-San Juan de los Lagos/México 80 O in Jalisco.
  • Take the exit toward Guadalajara/México 90D/Tepatitlan/México 80D/San J. de Los Lagos from León - Aguascalientes/Lib. Carretero/México 45D.
  • Get on Lagos de Moreno - Guadalajara/México 80D.
  • Follow Lagos de Moreno - Guadalajara/México 80D and Guadalajara - Zapotlanejo to Calz. Lázaro Cárdenas/Calz. Lázaro Cárdenas Ote. in Ferrocarril, Guadalajara.
  • Take the exit toward Periferico from Calz. Lázaro Cárdenas/Calz. Lázaro Cárdenas Ote./Carr. Guadalajara - Morelia/Guadalajara - Zapotlanejo/México 23.
  • Take Av. Gobernador Luis G. Curiel to Calz Independencia Sur in Moderna.

If you’re going to rent a car, don’t forget to bring your original driving license. As of the November 2020 update, an International Driver’s Permit in Mexico is required by some car rental companies.

Copper Canyon Photo by Sandra Dempsey

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.

Driving Directions

You can ride the Copper Canyon Train in Los Mochis town in Sinaloa, to Chihuahua. If you're coming from Culiacan, you can reach Los Mochis in under 3 hours.

  • Head south on Av Dr Ruperto Paliza toward Calle Miguel Hidalgo.
  • Turn left at the 1st cross street onto Calle Miguel Hidalgo. Then take a left turn onto Av. Aquiles Serdán.
  • Make a left turn to merge onto Malecón/Paseo Niños Heroes.
  • Continue onto Culiacan y o Libramiento Recursos/Blvd. Pedro Infante.
  • Follow SIN 1D to Culiacán - Los Mochis/México 15 N.
  • Take the exit toward Los Mochis/SIN AE-1.
  • Continue onto Culiacán - Los Mochis/México 15 N (signs for Los Mochis).
  • Take the exit toward Topolobampo/Los Mochis.
  • Turn left onto Gral. Macario Gaxiola/Los Mochis - Topolobampo/Solidaridad/SIN 1-22/SIN 22.
  • Right turn onto Av. Aquiles Serdán and then turn left onto Av. Santos Degollado.
  • Turn left at the 2nd cross street onto Av. Venustiano Carranza.

Is an International Driver’s License required in Mexico to drive to Copper Canyon? When going to the natural attraction, bringing one will definitely help as you may cross military checkpoints, which usually check documents of drivers.

Merida Photo by Alvaro Rosado

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.

Driving Directions

If you're driving from Cancun, you'll reach Merida in more or less 3 hours.

  • Head west toward Calle Prol. Av. Kabáh/Av. Kabah.
  • Exit the roundabout onto Cancun - Valladolid/Carr. Costera del Golfo/Av. López Portillo/México 180 heading to Mérida.
  • Use the left 2 lanes to take the México 180D ramp to Mérida/Holbox.
  • Continue onto Cancun-Kantunil/México 180D.
  • Follow Carr. Costera del Golfo/Valladolid - Merida/México 180 O to Calle 57ᴬ in Lázaro Cárdenas, Mérida.
  • Continue onto Carr. Costera del Golfo/Valladolid - Merida/México 180 O.
  • At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Av Quetzalcoatl.
  • Turn right onto Calle 24.
  • Then turn left onto Av Fidel Velázquez.
  • Turn right onto Cto. Colonias.

To rent a car in Merida, make sure to get from us an International Driver’s Permit for Mexico, look its zip code up, and have your international license delivered there. Some car rental companies require an international license for leasing vehicles. You don’t need to take a test for an International Driver’s License in Mexico. It’s already a translation of your original license.

Puerto Vallarta Photo by Cinthia Aguilar

Puerto Vallarta

Also known as Vallarta or PV, Puerto Vallarta is one of the most beautiful cities in Jalisco state on Mexico'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.

Driving Directions

If you're driving from Tepic, you'll reach Puerto Vallarta in more or less 3 hours.

  • Head southwest on Av México Nte toward De Los Insurgentes Pte.
  • Turn slightly right at Eulogio Parra.
  • At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Calz. De La Cruz.
  • Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Boulevard Tepic-Xalisco/Nuevo Vallarta and merge onto Blvd. Tepic-Xalisco.
  • Keep left to continue on Tepic - Puerto Vallarta/Blvd. Tepic-Xalisco/México 200.
  • Continue onto Blvd Riviera Nayarit/Tepic - Puerto Vallarta.
  • Turn left onto Av. Palma Real, and then turn right onto Av. Manuel Lepe.
  • Make a left turn onto Paseo de Las Flores, and then turn right onto Av. México.
  • Turn left onto Calle Prisciliano Sánchez.
  • Then turn right onto Av. de los Grandes Lagos.
  • Make a U-turn at Río Volga.

Regarding International Driver’s Permit, Mexico's requirements are not demanding. It’s generally the same for other countries. It depends on the provider of your International Driver’s License for Mexico. Foreigners don’t need to take a test for an International Driver’s License in Mexico. It’s a translation of the original license.

Most Important Driving Rules

Driving in Mexico 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. Is an International Driver’s License needed in Mexico then? You’ll need it, especially if you’re from countries that are not Spanish or English-speaking countries. An International Driving Permit doesn’t bestow anyone any driving privileges in the country, however.

But you have to remember that driving on Mexico'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 Mexico, 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. If you don’t have one, you can visit our International Drivers Association’s application page and select an International Driving Permit package.

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 in Mexico 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.

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

For International Driver’s Permit, Mexico'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 in Mexico is required by some car rental companies. You can get an International Driver’s Permit for Mexico 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.

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