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Known for its rich history, friendly inhabitants and delicious cuisine, Mexico ranks as the world's seventh most popular tourist destination. By car, tourists are able to enjoy modern 21st century cities, the coastal towns spanning the country’s 6,000 mile shoreline, including Cancun and Acapulco, and historical points of interest such as pre-Hispanic pyramids and Aztec ruins.
Driving Tips for Mexico
Mexico is host to fast and well-maintained toll roads that make it easy to travel around the country. Signage is abundant but drivers should be prepared to be stopped at checkpoints near the US border and are advised to exert caution when driving at night.
Driving licences: UK drivers are able to drive here with their UK photo licence but it is also advised to arrange an International Driving Permit.
Which side does Mexico drive on: the left.
Motorways: 68mph (110kph)
Rural areas: 50mph (80kph)
Built-up areas: 25mph (40kph)
Alcohol limits: 0.08 per cent, as in the UK; alcohol levels exceeding this limit may result in on-the-spot penalties or even arrest.
Driving age: 15 years; 23 years and two years’ driving experience for car hire.
Seatbelts: compulsory for driver and all passengers.
Mobile phones and GPS: using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal. GPS is allowed.
Cost of fuel in Mexico: cheaper than in Britain.
Car hire and fuel payment: credit card payments are accepted at the majority of petrol stations and by all international car hire suppliers. UK card holders should contact their bank or card supplier before heading to Mexico.
Insurance: third-party insurance is inclusive in car hire but excess insurance comes highly recommended.
Traffic and parking: metropolitan areas such as Mexico City, where parking in the historic centre is notoriously difficult to find, are among the most congested in the world. Outside urban areas, traffic and parking are more relaxed.
Amtrak trains into Mexico run from the American state of California. South of San Diego, trains run to the likes of Rio Grande, Juarez and El Paso. Trains around the country itself are limited but available in Chihuahua State and to some Pacific coast cities. They are mainly provided by Chihuahua Pacific Railway. Mexico City has a metro system, with single fares of around £0.15.
Taxis are regarded as the safest and best way to travel around cities or tourist destinations. The best way to obtain one is by having hotel staff arrange a pick up or to pick one up from a ‘Taxi de Sitio’ post. Taxis, which are cheap by UK standards, may also be stopped on the street. The fare from Mexico City’s airport to the city centre can cost up to £15.
Long-distance buses from US states such as Texas and California are supplied by the likes of Greyhound, Crucero USA and El Expresso. Tickets, while affordable, are more expensive when travelling from US towns or cities that aren't regarded as major destinations. Single fares on major routes can be had for around £40. Mexico boasts an expansive domestic bus network, with Grupo Ado and Estekka de Ori among the main players. Inner-city buses are very cheap, and typically cost around £0.50 per journey.
UK travellers usually enter the country via Mexico City airport or Cancun airport, which both receive direct flights from the UK. Mexico City International Airport features British Airways flights to and from London-Heathrow and is connected to the city by metro, metrobus and taxi. Cancun International Airport offers low-cost routes to London-Gatwick and Manchester, as well as seasonal flights from other UK airports, and is the gateway to Mexico’s Caribbean resorts.
Mexico City, the capital, is one of the world's largest cities. It provides a contrast between mind-blowing modernity and captivating history that spans at least 700 years. Tourists to the city can enjoy trips to the Aztec ruins at Templo Mayor and the National Art Museum.
Acapulco has been famous as a tourist destination since the latter half of the 20th century and is known for its urban, yet delightful, beach and renowned restaurants. Holidaymakers who can drag themselves away from the sand can enjoy cliff diving at La Quebrada or become familiar with Mexican culture in Zocalo.
Although popular as a spring break party destination, Cancun is nevertheless enjoyed by couples and families alike. It boasts one of the most popular and most famous beaches in the world, which rests next to the glistening Caribbean waters.
Those with an interest in getting a feel for life in a typical Mexican city may find what they are looking for in Guadalajara. The Jalisco State capital is known for its sophisticated and colonial downtown areas that boast a cathedral that is almost 500 years old and the Plaza of Crosses. It is also noted for being the home of tequila and mariachi music.
Visitors travelling from San Diego or southern California can make a stop in Tijuana. Most of the action here centres around Avenida Revolucion, while watching bullfighting is a popular activity.
Conditions vary around Mexico as the northern territories can become extremely cold during winter and may even experience snow. In the summer, temperatures reach 39°C in cities such as Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nueveo Leon and Durango. The area that stretches from Morella to Guadalajara boasts a near-perfect climate with daily temperatures of between 21°C and 26°C.