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Although Mexico is a big country, it can be easily travelled by car - if you prepare well enough beforehand by checking route maps and studying road signs and other directions that will be presented in Spanish. Most toll roads and expressways are in good condition and can be travelled at a good velocity. However, other roadways may not be in good condition and it's not commonplace to find "shoulders" to roads. If possible, confine your driving to daylight hours. Different main highways go from the U.S. border along the coasts as well as inland to the south.
Your home country drivers license is accepted in Mexico. The traffic rules may be confusing and corruption amongst police is commonplace and tourists are oftentimes abused because they do not speak Spanish nor do they understand the rules.
The maximum speed limit in the city is 40 km/h, 80 km/h outside and 100 to 110 km/h on highways - but always be on the lookout for speed limit signs so as not to violate a local law. Along major roadways you will find PEMEX gas stations at various intervals. However, once you leave the toll roads and other expressways stations may not be conveniently located and you might want to "top off" your tank once the indicator falls below half a tank. Gasoline prices are set by the government and typically rise each month. See current gas prices for more information.
For most streets in Mexico a passenger car is suitable, but pay attention on the ride height: When entering a city, you will often find steep bumps - "topes" - where you have to drive extremely slowly and/or almost stop the vehicle. In the rainy season pay attention on landslides or – in the mountains – falling rocks. In any case, you should inform yourself carefully about your route: Take a good map with you (e.g. “Carreteras Nacionales" by Ediciones Independencia or the Guia Roji road atlas for Mexico) and, before travelling, get informed on distances, road conditions and the estimated travel time. On Mexico Channel you find an extensive table of distances. On the website of Cochera Andina there is useful information on more than 240 routes in the Mexico (travel times, road conditions etc.)There is also a Government website that will provide one with point to point routing, estimated travel time & distance, toll costs and fuel cost: Point to Point
Speed bumps/"Topes". As mentioned above, "Topes" are legendary car-stoppers. They are NOT your average speed bump. If you see a yellow highway sign with a thick horizontal black line with circular bumps (some with the word "Topes" on them), slow WAY down when you see it. Some of them are made of Steel Spheres imbedded in the road! If you hit those going too fast, you may injure the rental car. And if you damage the car, you must pay directly with a credit card for the damage, even if you have extra insurance (which is a good idea!). The "topes" are the major difference between 4-lane restricted access roads elsewhere. Other than that, 307 is a great highway that runs the whole length of the Eastern side of the Yucatan. Just keep your eyes peeled for those 'bad boy' Topes!
Returnos. If you need to exit the 4-lane to the left, look for the big green sign that says "Returno" and the name of the town/Resort Complex. Instead of building expensive over-passes, the Mexicans very cleverly put in the Returno system. It takes you past your left turn destination, and you make a safe U-turn from your left lane into a pause-zone. You wait for the traffic to subside and then zip right in. You back-track, oh, a quarter mile or so to reach your road to turn safely to the right.
Toll Roads. Driving Cancun to Chichen Itza is $30 US (10 pesos $1.10 US exchange rate at toll booth). It saves you speed bumps and decreased speed zones through villages and the maximum km/h is 110 rather than 90 on free roads. But there is no scenery - it is so monotonous, with no places to stop, no gas stations, no bathrooms, nothing, that driver fatigue is a problem. The libre (no-toll) roads take longer but are MUCH more interesting.