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Traveling Around Mexico

Passengers riding on a bus
Credit: Dglimages | Fotolia
Maria O'Connor blogs for Expats In Mexico from Puerto Vallarta
Maria O’Connor

One of the nice things about living in this country is traveling around Mexico to see places that might be a bit off the beaten path. Although Mexico is a large country, you can see a lot of it in a relatively short period of time, if you know how to travel.

Air travel in Mexico is fine, albeit more expensive than other methods. There are three principal air carriers here: Aeromexico, Interjet and Volaris. TAR and Vivaaerobus provide scheduled service between some of the smaller cities.

Airfares can vary but there are often great discount deals between the hub cities of Guadalajara and Mexico City and some of the resort areas. Once you have landed you can connect with local buses or rent a car to further explore some of the neighboring areas. The only thing about air routes in Mexico is there are next to no flights between beach areas. If you want to fly, for example, from Puerto Vallarta to Los Cabos, you are limited to either a puddle-jumper service like Aerocalafia or you will need to connect through a larger city.

Bus travel is another very popular way of seeing the country. For those who have not traveled by bus in Mexico, it is not a “Midnight Cowboy” experience. My favorite luxury bus line that services Puerto Vallarta is ETN. The ETN buses are more similar to European buses than American buses. ETN buses are like traveling in the first-class cabin of an airplane. Their seats recline almost flat for a nice nap, you are given a boxed lunch and also offered tea and coffee service throughout the ride. Wait, there’s more? Yes, indeed. Movies are shown and there are, of course, bathrooms. One warning, though: Bring a blanket or wear a sweater, because the air conditioning is high powered!

There are other bus lines that also service Mexico and generally you can expect that first-class bus service is clean, safe and comfortable. One of the best things about bus travel is that it is so easy and you can sleep on the bus and wake up at your destination. The other great thing about bus travel is the cost: For example, a one-way ticket to Guadalajara from Puerto Vallarta on the luxury ETN bus is just under $600 pesos or less than US$30 USD, and this is the most expensive bus!

I am one of few people I know who has never owned a car so I am not really the person to ask about car travel in Mexico. I do know that travelling by car can often be more convenient, but you need to be careful about the roads you take and the time of day you travel. Try to use the Federal Highway system as much as possible. The Federal Highways are fast, generally well maintained and patrolled for safety.

One note about traveling around Mexico: Many bus lines, hotels, museums and other places of interest offer considerable discounts for people over the age of 55 in some places and 60 or 65 in others. It is a good idea to ask. You often only need to show your passport to prove your age. Some of the museums are even free, so it definitely pays to ask.