Mexico is a large country and if you would like to see more than one destination, you will have to consider your mode of transport. Fortunately, there are a number of options for getting around. This overview of transportation options will help you decide the best ways to travel around Mexico.
Air travel is the fastest and most convenient way to get from one destination to another, particularly if you'll be covering long distances. There are a few Mexican domestic airlines, and the low-cost carriers generally offer a good service at competitive prices. Sometimes booking a flight with a Mexican low-cost airline can be difficult.
Buses are the main form of long-distance public transportation in Mexico. There is an extensive network of buses, which range from modern luxury coaches to retired school buses. If you're planning a long journey, travel in the highest class your budget will allow: the extra comfort is worth the cost. During high season you should book your bus trip in advance, during the low season, you can buy tickets on the spot.
Whether you're contemplating driving your own car into Mexico or renting a car, having a car at your disposal offers the advantage of setting your own schedule and gives you greater independence than relying on public transportation. Keep in mind that the rules of the road in Mexico are different than what you may be accustomed to, and be sure to purchase Mexican insurance.
Taxis are common throughout Mexico. Some taxis run on a meter, and for others, you should negotiate a price with the driver in advance. When arriving at the bus station or airport in Mexico City, or other major airports, you should take an authorized taxi.
Unfortunately, passenger train service has been discontinued in most of Mexico. You can still ride Mexico's most famous train, affectionately known as "El Chepe," on the Copper Canyon Railway. There's also a tourist train that goes from Guadalajara to tequila country, known as the Tequila Express.
Boat, Ferry, or Ship
Mexico is a popular cruise destination, with many beautiful and fascinating ports of call, both along the Mexican Riviera (the Pacific coast) and the Riviera Maya (the Mexican Caribbean). There are also ferries connecting islands of Mexico to the mainland, as well as a ferry running between Baja California and Mazatlan (Baja Ferries).
Mexico City has the second largest metro system in North America (after New York), and offers an excellent way to get around the city. Besides the metro, other public transportation options in Mexico's capital include the metrobús. There are also metro systems in the cities of Guadalajara and Monterrey.
A colectivo can be a car, van or pick-up truck that operates as a shared taxi, covering a specific route. They will generally stop anywhere along their route to pick up or drop off passengers. Colectivos charge per person, and the drivers will try to fit in as many people as possible, which can make for an uncomfortable ride.
They're known as rickshaws or tuk-tuks in other parts of the world, but in Latin America, these three-wheeled contraptions with a bench seat in the back are called mototaxis. They operate in small towns and on the outskirts of big cities. They usually have a specific area in which they run and they may not be authorized to take passengers outside of their zone. This is a very cheap and convenient way to get around, but keep in mind that the flimsy metal frame would not provide any protection in case of a collision.
Although it's becoming less and less common, in Mexico's rural areas you may still come across someone riding a burro. This mode of transportation is neither quick nor comfortable, but those who get around this way don't seem to be in any hurry, and you might enjoy the reminder to slow down and enjoy the view along the way.