An in-depth guide to transportation in Mexico

Mysterious Aztec ruins, vibrant local food, the feisty Frida Kahlo, and some of the most spectacular beaches in the world – there really is no lack of reasons to visit Mexico! Home to some of the friendliest people you’ll meet, a trip to Mexico is all about immersing yourself in the local culture. It’s almost impossible to be in a country like Mexico and remain untouched by its food, culture, and people! 

Having said that, your first trip to the country needs careful planning, especially when it comes to finding your way around using the local transportation. Mexico has a well laid out network of different modes of transportation and with a little bit of advanced preparation, it is entirely possible to explore the country by yourself.

Cross-country transportation in Mexico

Flights

Mexico is a fairly vast country and if you want to cover ground in a single trip, be prepared to do a fair bit of travel. But thankfully for us, Mexico has an excellent network of airports connecting all corners of the country. Fast, convenient, and reasonably priced, flying across the country is one of the best modes of transportation in Mexico.

©Elena Ferranto/Flickr

Operated by multiple local airlines like Volaris and Aero Mexico, it is easy to travel within Mexico by air. Here are a few routes you could consider when planning your itinerary:

RouteFrequencyPrice
Mexico City to CozumelOnce a dayStarts at USD 52
Mexico City to OaxacaUp to 13 times a dayStarts at USD 46
Cancun to CozumelOnce a dayStarts at USD 130
Mexico City to TijuanaUp to 7 times dailyStarts at USD 66

Ferry

Did you even experience Mexico if you didn’t pay a visit to Cozumel, Cancun, or Playa del Carmen? Mexico’s seaside cities and islands are some of its biggest highlights and nothing beats a relaxing ferry ride to take you to these destinations.

©Tristan Higbee/Flickr

Undoubtedly one of the best modes of transportation in Mexico, high-speed ferries are run by multiple operators such as Ultramar and Winjet and are typically equipped with all basic amenities like toilets, WiFi, air conditioning, and onboard entertainment. Here are some ferry routes for your inspiration:

RouteFrequencyPrice
Cozumel to Playa del CarmenUp to 8 times dailyStarts at USD 14
Cancun to Isla MujeresUp to 15 times a dayStarts at USD 10
Chiquila to HolboxUp to 9 times dailyStarts at USD 11

Bus

Bus transportation in Mexico is one of the most popular ways to travel long distances across the country. With a large network of routes, bus transportation companies in Mexico such as Futura and Ado offer excellent connectivity between most cities.

©tom spinker/Flickr

Buses in Mexico are comfortable, equipped with reclining seats, air-conditioning, toilets, and sometimes even some form of entertainment. From Cancun and Tulum to Playa del Carmen, map your itinerary with some inspiration from some of our favorite bus routes in Mexico.

RouteFrequencyPrice
Mexico City to San Miguel de AllendeOnce a dayStarts at USD 33
Cancun to Playa del CarmenUp to 20 times a dayStarts at USD 6
Cancun to TulumUp to 10 times dailyStarts at USD 12

Minivan/car

Minivans and cars are great for traveling from cities to the nearest airports or ferry ports. They also offer the flexibility to pick up and drop off passengers at their respective hotels, making them a slightly more convenient option than buses.

Hiring a private car is an expensive affair, but if you’re traveling with friends or family in a group, it might be a good idea to consider this option. 

RouteFrequencyPrice
Cancun to ChiquilaUp to 4 times dailyStarts at USD 44
Cancun to Playa del CarmenUp to 24 times a dayStarts at USD 3

Transportation within cities

Metro rail

Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey are three cities in Mexico that have a Metro rail network. In fact, the capital city’s Metro system is the second largest in North America, making it the most common transportation in Mexico City.

©Malcolm K./Flickr

While the trains may seem a little outdated, they offer a convenient and economical way to travel from one part of the city to another. Although they run every day till midnight, it is best to avoid them after dark if you are traveling alone since they pass through parts of the city notorious for crimes.

Metrobus

A fairly new addition to Mexico City’s public transportation system, Metrobus is a rapid transit system that is efficient, reliable, fast, and cheap. With dedicated bus lanes available for the Metrobus, they are a much faster way to travel in Mexico City than local buses and are also considered safe.

Local bus

Local buses in Mexico are an adventure by themselves. With very little official information available about routes, bus stops, and timings available, make sure you plan ahead if you want to travel by local buses.

©David Boté Estrada/Flickr

It is also a good idea to avoid taking these buses late at night for safety issues, especially if you are new to the city. 

Taxi

Probably the safest and most convenient mode of local transportation in Mexico, taxis can be hired easily using Uber and Didi. Try to avoid the local cabs that may be unregistered and can even scam tourists into paying more. Having said that, no matter where you hire the cab from, make a note of the car’s number plate and driver’s name before hopping in to be on the safer side.

Mexico is a huge country offering a myriad colorful experience and it would be a shame if you don’t make the most of it during your time there. We hope this Mexico transportation guide helps you plan your trip better and see the country in all its beautiful glory!

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