November 22, 2017

Tips on Driving in Mexico As a Foreigner

I went to Mexico a few years ago but this time we rented a vehicle instead of going on planned excursions. We drove the total of 5000 km in a week, all around Yucatan and Quintana Roo. It was a liberating feeling- we visited to cenotes that were off the grid, which turned out to be beautiful and no one but us were in it (and saved about $15 CDN per person on entrance fees if we were to go to a touristy cenote). We ate at local joints which was super cheap and super tasty. It was a totally different experience.

Driving around Mexico is very affordable and safe. For example, we did Chichen Itza with $10 gas total, $4 lunch and $20 CDN entrance fee per person- whereas the resorts was charging $60 USD per person for the excursion.

It is scary to drive in a foreign country. There were definitely a lot of "what ifs" that went through my head. I thought I'd share a few tips driving in Mexico:

Car Rental Places
You can rent a car from the airport or from other rentals near the airport. Airport is more expensive to rent a car. We rented from Easy Way which was a 5 min drive from the airport- they picked us up and took us to their shop. The people at Easy Way were open and honest when we dealt with them. We saved about $150 CDN renting from Easy Way rather than picking up a car from one of the airport rentals for the week.

Note: This is not a sponsor post, I had good experience renting from them so I thought I'd share their name. Please use them at your own discretion.

Gas Stations
1. Map out where the nearest gas station is around your place.

2. Gas is usually full serve, which means there are many ways they can trick you. When gassing up the car, always get out of the car. Keep a close monitor of how much they punch in meter and make sure they zero in the meter.

3. When you give them money, always tell them exactly how much you are giving them, or count the money in front of them.

4. If you give money to one attendant and you see him switching spots with another guy, stop him and tell him to finish gassing for you. This reduces the risk of the second guy pulling the trick of "you didn't pay" on you to try to make you pay twice- especially if they know you don't know how to speak their languange.

On The Road

1. Photocopy your passport so when roadside assistance asks to check your ID, give them the photocopies. Never give them your actual ID. This is to avoid them making you pay to get your ID back.

2. Download google maps and map out the places before you leave!

3. Don't drive around dark and unfamiliar places at night. Use your female intuition- if you feel something is off, don't keep going down that road. This is common sense but I just have to say it!

4. Another common sense... Always keep your tank at least 40% full, you don't want to be running out of gas in the middle of the jungle or while you're driving at night.

Driving in Mexico is super easy as the roads aren't congested compare to some other countries I've visited. It's as easy as driving in Montreal or Toronto. Just watch out for the speed bumps and you're set! :)