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TRANSPORT

MEXICO

Taxis:

-Taxi service is pretty cheap in Mexico, especially at inner cities and on coastal zones.

-The use of taximeters to fix the fee for the service is common in the capital of the country and in the main cities. If they do not have one you will have to negotiate the tariff with the taxi driver. You would rather do it before getting in.

-One can differentiate four types of taxis in Mexico City:
  • The yellow or white units have taximeters and go along the City looking for passengers.
  • The orange or "site" units are known by this name because they are parked on pre-established stops. Their fees are higher than those of the yellow and white units.
  • The tourism type vehicles are parked outside the hotels and they have taximeters.
  • The green and white units, better known as "peseros", are vehicles going along pre-established routes and are shared with other people.
Metro:

The metro in the City of Mexico is one of the best in the world. Hygiene, speed, economy and efficiency are the prime characteristics on its ten lines, operating every day from 5:00 hours (on weekdays), 6:00 hours (on Saturdays), and 7:00 (on Sundays and holydays), until midnight.

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The service is very easy to use; each station is identified by a logo and the lines are differentiated by a particular colour. Besides, the routes of the trains are depicted at the platforms. The cost of the ticket is 2 US dollars and it is exclusively purchased at the stations. The ticket is good for one trip (including transfers) of no matter what length.

Although it is a safe means of transportation, mind your belongings mainly during rush hours, when the cars are usually packed.

The City of Monterrey, in the State of Nuevo Leon, is the only Mexican city with a metro system other than the City of Mexico.

Urban Buses:

It is one of the main means of transportation in Mexican cities. The units offering this service have predetermined routes and only stop at pre-established bus stops. They display a number on the windshield indicating the route the vehicle follows.

A modernising process of all units of public transportation has begun in the last few years, though there are still several vehicles circulating in bad conditions.

Minibuses:

The so-called "combis" are very much used for public transportation in Mexican cities. They are known for providing a fast service, though not that safe for too often they compete against each other to pick up the would be passengers standing at the bus stops.

Minibuses circulate from 5:00 hours to midnight approximately. Remember that the fee is paid when entering the vehicle, and that it is best to do so with the exact change.

By car:

If you decide to drive along Mexican streets, keep both of your eyes wide open because traffic is quite chaotic, and more than one driver does not respect traffic regulations and drives in an irresponsible manner.

It is advisable to carry a City's roadmap with you, for the name of the streets is not always clearly visible. If you need to ask for directions ask a police officer or a taxi driver.

TRAVELLING ACROSS MEXICO

By air:

The main Mexican cities and their most attractive tourist destinations have airports handling domestic and international flights. The local airlines currently operating most of the domestic flights are Aeroméxico, Mexicana de Aviación, Taesa and Aerocalifornia.

Their rates are relatively economic and they offer different promotions, besides connections with the main cities in the United States, Canada and Latin American countries.

Numerous companies flying light and midsize planes covering a series of destinations have entered the market in the last few years; however, these companies usually increase their rates during festive seasons.

By train:

The railway system in Mexico is more than 26000 kilometres long on its three axis or main lines: the Pacific Coast, the Centre of the country, and the Northeast zone. Trips on this means of transportation are fairly long, although they also allow unveiling the geographical beauties of this ancient land of the Mayas and the Aztecs.

The most pleasant train routes for travellers are those aboard the Jarocho train, from Veracruz to Mexico City, El Tapatío train, from Guadalajara to Mexico City, the Oaxaqueño train, from Oaxaca to Mexico City, the Constitutionalist train, from Querétaro to Mexico, passing by Miguel de Allende, and the Purepechá train, from Mexico City to Morelia.

Another highlight is the train going from Chihuahua to the Pacific (north of Mexico), which crosses 37 bridges and 86 tunnels on its way across the Sierra Madre.

If you decide to travel by train, take note of the following details:

-Most of the trains have bed cars, restaurant car and air conditioner.
-Rates are quite economic, and children under 5 years of age do not pay if they travel with their parents, while children between 5 and 11 have especial rates 50 percent cheaper.
-Tickets can only be purchased at the railroad stations.

By ship:

You can get onboard the steam ferries connecting the following places on a daily basis:

Mazatlán with La Paz and La Paz with Topolobampo in the State of Baja California Sur, Puerto Vallarta (State of Jalisco) with Cabo San Lucas (State of Baja California Sur), and Guaymas (State of Sonora) with Santa Rosalía (Baja California Sur).

Ferries bound to Cancun (Punta Sam and Puerto Juarez) and Mujeres Island (State of Quintana Roo) weigh anchor at the Yucatan Peninsula eight times a day.

Another maritime excursion of interest is that connecting Playa del Carmen with Cozumel Island, in the State of Quintana Roo. Ferries weigh anchor nine times a day.

By car:

-If you decide to drive along Mexican highways and roads, it is indispensable to carry an excellent roadmap in your glove compartment (it is possible to get one at the Secretariats of Tourism, in order to avoid confusions and mistakes that might deviate you from the right direction.

-It is advisable to travel along the tolled highways when travelling from one city to another. Although tariffs are not cheap, the highways are safe, fast and well maintained; on the other hand, the state highways or freeways have many potholes and they are too crowded in occasions.

-Remember that maximum speed is of 100 kilometres per hour on the highways, and of 50 kilometres an hour on urban zones.

-Beware of the tops, concrete structures that are put on the roads to force drivers to reduce their speed. On the other hand, livestock may get in your way on rural areas.

-If you suffer any inconvenience on the highway, remember there are ambulances and mechanical service at the resting areas of the tollbooths. Besides, the Federal Road Police and the Tourist Assistance Police, or "Green Angels", can assist you along the main highways; the latter offer free mechanical assistance. You need only to cover the cost of the reparations if required and the fuel used by the officers in assisting you.

-It is recommendable to travel during the day, to keep the tank full, to travel with your side windows closed and the doors locked. Conceal your valuable objects and put your purses or briefcases under the seats. Do not pick up strangers on the highway and avoid driving along isolated places at night.

By bus:

Mexico has an excellent bus service that goes across the country with modern units. Using this means of transportation is a good alternative to know this country, mostly for travellers who have no calendar urgencies.

The vehicles going along the main cities of the country are comfortable, modern and fast. In some cases, depending on the type of service, the units have air conditioner, reclining seats, feet resting, relaxing areas and movies, amongst other "luxuries onboard".
Buses on rural areas do not have the same comfort, hence trips are much harder in such places.

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