Mexico is a very easy country to drive in. Main intercity roads are usually in good shape and signage is OK. When traveling between town it is often possible to take either a “libre” road or a “cuota” road. The latter is essentially a toll highway and much faster albeit quite expensive. A 300 km trip will run you in the area of 30$ US. With the “libre” roads you are subject to going into small towns and often heavy traffic. Contrary to intercity roads, cities and towns often have bad roads and signage can be hit and miss. In addition, you have to deal with the ever present Topes (speed bumps). You can find pictures of these in our journals for Mexico.
- The road from Zacatecas to Guadalajara (about 300 kilometers) has some nice mountain curves for the last 100 or so kilometers.
- The road from Puerto Vallarta to Acapulco has mountain curves its entire length in addition to some beautiful scenery, the Pacific Ocean. Watch out for your footpegs but don’t be afraid to lean!
- There is a cuota road from Acapulco to Mexico city with reduces trip time to about 4 hours if you maintain a good pace.
- There is also a cuota road between Mexico city and Oaxaca. By using this road the trip takes about 6 hours including stops.
Police and military:
There are numerous military checkpoints across the country as well as a fairly heavy police presence in certain areas. Since we entered Mexico we have not yet been stopped. We did however meet 2 expats during our time here who explained to us if you do get stopped for a traffic violation it is possible and often expected to buy your way out of it. The trick is patience, respect for the officers and about 10 to 20$ US. Both of these people mentioned that it was important to admit wrongdoing and thank the officers for their vigilance (keep in mind that this is for minor violations such as speeding or burning a light). But rather than push the envelope and tempt the officers why not just keep the speed down to a reasonable 20km over the limit. So far this has worked for us very well. Besides, there are enough obstacles on the road to worry about!
Maintenance and services:
Mexico is the land of the small Japanese bike. BMW dealerships are few and far between. We know of only two, one in Mexico city and one in Cancun, but there may be others. If you are driving a Japanese bike you should have no problem finding shops that can make repairs. And finally, big bikes are rare around here other than in Mexico city and surrounding areas.
Border crossing: Piedras Negras
Cost for bike: 324 pesos (30$ CAN)
Cost for us: 237 pesos per person
Time it took: 1 hour
Comments: Insurance is not required but recommended (costs about 225$ for 6 months coverage). It is easy to miss the immigration office (once you cross the bridge it is on your left). As for the aduana (customs, where you get the temporary vehicle importation permit for the bike) it is over 30 km further and impossible to miss.