There are a wide variety of transportation options available to get around Mexico. Like most countries, it really depends on the specific area that you are visiting, starting in, and/or trying to go to. Various areas offer different forms of transportation, many of which are location dependent. The obvious example is that where there is a body of water, there may be a boat or ferry option.
Transportation and Getting Around Mexico by Air
Air travel is widely available throughout most major cities, tourist destinations, and even lesser known areas of Mexico. Flights are available on local airlines within Mexico, or on international and Mexican airlines connecting Mexico to destinations around the world.
Like many countries, there are some economy airlines and also premium airlines, offering everything from economy to first class. Some of the airports in smaller towns are still a small strip of runway with a small indoor outdoor terminal, but most major Mexican cities offer modern airports with all amenities including shopping, exchange services, restaurants, and lounges.
Air Travel can be more costly than other modes of transport, but you can often find great deals on flights. Advantages to flying can be shorter travel times and direct routes. Flights tend to run on an exact schedule, barring delays. You may be able to utilize and/or gain airline miles.
When checking in at an airport, you will need a passport, unless you are a citizen of Mexico. Most of Mexico’s major airports and bus terminals operate “Authorized Taxi” stands that offer a fixed fare service, depending on what zone you are going to/from.
Many popular destinations throughout Mexico offer airport shuttles. These shuttles can be private or shared, and direct or with stops depending on what you book. There are also usually bus and taxi options as well, but after a long flight with luggage, busses can be inconvenient and long. Be sure to take an official taxi and know that not all cabs accept credit cards. Especially if I am not yet acquainted with a country and how things work, I prefer a pre-booked shuttle, paid for in advance.
In my experience, pre-booked shuttles are relaxing, reasonably economical, safe, and efficient. After taking several private airport shuttles from various cities in Mexico, I found them to be very secure. Compare Mexico Airport Shuttles Now.
Most Mexico shuttles I have taken provide a code that only you and your driver have. The driver then provides you the code and you need to be sure it matches, prior to entering the shuttle. Sometimes the driver has your name on a sign, or you have his name. These systems help eliminate the chaos you may encounter at some airports, where many people are offering you a ride. You can compare Mexico City airport shuttles here.
Air travel is definitely a consideration when choosing transportation and getting around Mexico. When you travel by air in Mexico, you will usually need your passport. If you are arriving in, or departing from the country, you will also need to fill out immigration papers or return them, respectively.
Also see Jenny In Wanderland article, on Cancun Mexico Airport Immigration
Transportation and Getting Around Mexico By Bus
Metrobús is part of the Mexico City Rapid Transit system. They are mostly red and some are double decked. The system has 7 lines, each of which connect with the Metro. You use the same ticket that you use on the subway to ride the bus, but the bus costs MX $6.00 and there are no free transfers between Metrobús and the Metro. You do however, have 2 hours to transfer between Metrobús lines.
There are also less modern busses that run in some cities and more rural areas. The local, city, and “Urbano” busses go relatively short distances.
Mexico has an extensive network of busses that cover almost the entirety of the country, stopping in both large cities and small towns. There are several bus companies to choose from, depending on the region you are traveling to/from. Most of the companies offer 4 classes of service that translate roughly like this, although not all companies/classes are available at all times, or to all routes.
- Luxury (Lujo) class is the most posh, and often offers lounges to wait in at stations, fully reclining seats, fewer passengers, sandwich and coffee service onboard, air conditioning, toilets, television screens, allows baggage check, and more direct routes with less stops.
- Executive (Plus) class busses offer many of the luxury options, but not all. For many bus lines, this is their top class.
- First class (Primero) busses often offer many of the amenities of executive class, but not all.
- Economy (Económico) class is generally a basic bus, that stops often, and contains more seats and people, with no frills.
Mostly all options will get you from point A to B safely, just some are much more comfortable, modern, and faster than others. Be sure to compare the variety of companies and classes before selecting your bus ticket.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Bus:
- Comfort: Reclining Seats, Air Conditioning, Seat Configuration
- Services: Waiting Lounge, Television, Coffee and Sandwich Service, Toilet on Board
- Bus Occupancy: Executive and First Class busses are generally less crowded which may equate to a quieter, more comfortable ride.
- More Direct Routes: Less Stops and Shorter Travel Time. If your bus is taking longer than a flight, weigh out cost and other considerations.
- Is it Overnight? If so, a bus making many stops may feel less safe while you are sleeping. Additionally a reclining seat may be more desirable.
- Cost: If a bus is considerably less expensive than, let’s say a flight, then that could be a legitimate reason to choose a bus. If cost is more or less equal cost to another mode of transport, it is worth looking at travel time, station proximity to where you are, comfort, and experience.
- Experience: Bus may be more scenic and less hassle than an airport.
Various Bus Companies Offering Transportation and Getting Around Mexico:
ADO (Autobuses de Oriente)
Quick Fact: ADO is Mexico’s leader in the bus industry and is one of the largest bus companies in the world. ADO’s network is the largest in Mexico.
Coverage: From small towns to big cities, ADO has coverage in the entire eastern half of Mexico, including Campeche, Chiapas, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Mexico City, Michoacan, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, State of Mexico, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, and Yucatan.
Major metropolitan areas served include those of Mexico City, Puebla, Mérida, Cuernavaca, Tampico, Veracruz, Acapulco, Villahermosa, Reynosa, Cancún, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Xalapa, Oaxaca, Pachuca, and Tlaxcala.
Policies: ADO tickets are exchangeable up to 1 hour prior to your original departure time. ADO offers you the flexibility of changing plans at last minute.
Travel Note: ADO Platino is the luxury brand of ADO and serves Mexico City, Veracruz, Oaxaca, some areas in Chiapas. UNO is also a luxury bus line, offering service in Mexico City, Puebla, south-eastern Mexico, Veracruz state and Yucatan.
Omnibus de México
Quick Fact: Offers mostly luxury busses, some double decker.
Coverage: Omnibus has wide coverage in most of Central Mexico and around the Capital, but does not reach the far East or West. Areas covered include Tamaulipas, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nueva Leon, Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Veracruz, Warrior, Mexico State, Federal District, Michoacan, Hidalgo, Colima, Jalisco, Queretaro, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Gentleman, and Aguascalientes.
Policies: Once your ticket is booked, it cannot be canceled, nor can you make changes
Travel Note: Tap Plus is part of Omnibus and offers a luxury service in Culiacán, Los Mochis, Cd. Obregón, Hermosillo, Nogales, Tijuana, and Juarez.
Quick Fact: ACN has routes crossing over both sides of the Mexico-United States border as well as nationwide routes. Known as a cost effective bus, ACN does also offer a more premium service on some routes.
Coverage: Southwestern United States and Mexican nationwide coverage
Policies: Exchange at station only; No refunds.
Quick Fact: Grupo Senda has routes crossing over both sides of the Mexico-United States border.
Coverage: Mainly serving the Northeastern and Central Regions of Mexico, including: Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Estado de México, Jalisco, Nuevo León, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Georgia (U.S.), North Carolina (U.S.) and Texas (U.S.)
Policies: No refunds and tickets can only be exchanged at a Senda ticket office (usually located in the station).
ETN (Enlaces Terrestres Nacionales) Turistar Lujo
Quick Fact: These are all luxury busses.
Coverage: 65 different destinations located in the main cities of the Central, West, Northeast, Pacific and Michoacán areas of the country, including: Aguascalientes, Cuernavaca, Culiacán, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, León, Manzanillo, Mexico North, México Poniente, Mexico South, Acapulco, Puerto Escondido, Monterrey, Morelia, Puebla, Puerto Vallarta, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, San Miguel de Allende, Tequisquiapan, Tlaquepaque, Toluca, Torreón, Zapopan
Policies: ETN offers some Advance Traveler Rates. These tickets can be modified, but not canceled. If travel itinerary changes, you must pay any fare difference. The ticket is non transferable. Other ETN tickets can be modified. All modifications must be made in person at least one hour prior to departure.
Grupo AERS includes Estrella Rojo
Quick Fact: Estrella Rojo is the sister line to ETN Turistar Lujo and has 3 brands, Costaline, Futura, and Turistar Ejecutivo. It offers all 4 classes of service for traveler’s choice, based on route and cost, across its bus lines.
Coverage: These lines serve over 20 destinations including popular the areas of Taxco, Cuernavaca, Iguala, Chilpancingo, Acapulco, Ixtapa, and Zihuatanego.
Policies: Exchange at ticket office only. No refunds.
Grupo Blanco Estrella
Quick Fact: One of the oldest bus lines, built by merging with many other lines in order to provide ultimate coverage of Mexico. It offers 3 classes of service, First Class Service, consisting of 36-seat buses with fabric cover, 4 televisions distributed throughout the bus and air conditioning, as well as toilets; The Select Service, which has larger leather seats, individual screens, internet on board, refreshment service when boarding, air conditioning, and exclusive WC for men and another for women; and MIX Service, 32-seat buses with a special configuration offering 16 front leather seats with Select service features and 16 cloth seats with Primera service features.
Coverage: The buses cover many regions including Mexico City, west, north and north-west, colonial heartlands, southern and south-western Mexico.
Policies: Tickets can be changed by calling or in person, 2 hours or more prior to scheduled departure, after which, they are forfeited. No refunds.
Estrella De Oro
Quick Fact: Originally part of Tres Estrellas, the bus lines focus on the Southern part of Guerrero and Mexico City South, as well as a bit of the Central region between them.
Coverage: Mostly Mexico City and Guerrero, including Micoacán, Cuernavaca, Taxco, Acapulco, Ixtapa, Cruces and Zihuatanejo.
Policies: No refunds. Cancelations possible in person prior to departure.
Why Choose A Bus?
In my experience, there are many routes and destinations where a bus is just more practical. For shorter distances, it may take longer just to get to the nearest airport then to take a bus all the way to your destination. Busses run to many of the small towns that are not accessible by other modes of transport.
Often when you depart a bus, you are in the center of town, walking distance or a short taxi to where you need to be. Busses are generally more economical than other modes of transport. While traveling by bus you can view scenery that you may have otherwise missed. Also, busses tend to depart often and have a wide variety of scheduling options.
Buying Bus Tickets
You can usually purchase tickets in advance or on the day of travel, provided there is still space, at the ticket office in the bus station. Sometimes there are authorized sellers in town as well. It can be difficult to buy tickets directly from the bus company online because many only accept Mexican based credit and debit cards. However most take foreign cards at the station.
It can be annoying to go to the bus station on one of your travel days. If you do not speak Spanish, it can be complicated to understand exactly what you are purchasing. I mean, I doubt you will go home with a goat, but you may be on a bus for 9 hours with frequent stops or no air conditioning. Alternatively, you can plan your trip ahead and buy and compare bus tickets, options, and routes online here.
What is Colectivo in Mexico?
In Mexico, Colectivos are shared rides, usually in the form of some sort of white van, but the vehicles can vary based on the area. In more populated areas, “Colectivo” may be written on the front or side, but in rural areas, you just need to pay attention.
These shared rides are inexpensive and efficient because you are sharing a ride with other people getting on and off at various points on the route. Colectivos have areas where they normally stop and wait for passengers to fill up before they begin traveling their route. Not all Colectivos wait to be full in order to leave. While they generally have “usual spots” where they on-load passengers, you can also wave one down.
They will flash their lights to indicate there is room for you. Some make many stops, especially for locals, and sometimes they go into more remote villages. While some colectivos have a usual schedule, their timing and route is not guaranteed. Just get on one heading in the direction you need to go and let the driver know the approximate area where you need to stop.
Luggage and large bags should not be taken on colectivos. This service is meant to be a fast and affordable transport for local people. Colectivos are cash only, paid to the driver upon entrance. They generally have a set known local fee of a few pesos, but may round it up by 5 or so for tourists. Make sure you have small change in pesos. Some drivers will take dollars but the exchange rate is poor and it will slow the process of paying which will annoy the locals.
Transportation and Getting Around Mexico By Ferry, Lancha, and Boat
In coastal and inland water areas there are various options to travel by boat. While the ferry is the most practical from point to point, other types offer transport to small villages and scenery otherwise unreachable.
One of the most well used forms of transport in Mexico is ferries. They are often crowded tourists, reaching some of Mexico’s most popular island destinations.
Ferries Within Mexico
Although there are only a few main ferry routes throughout Mexico, there are more than 100 different ferries that run in a single day, with almost 900 ferries running a week. Most island ferry service is operated by the company Ultramar, with some competing routes by Winjet. There is also the Holbox Express, a catamaran with modern bathrooms, video screens, air conditioning and comfortable seats; The trip to Holbox takes approximately 15 minutes and usually runs every hour from 5AM to 9:30 PM.
Baja Ferries allows you to travel between Baja California and mainland Mexico without having to take the long road driving north. Baja ferries travel from Pichilingue terminal in La Paz, Baja California to Mazatlan and Topolobampo with two ferries, the California Star (vehicles and passengers) and La Paz Star (offers private suites). There is also service along the old Guaymas to Santa Rosalia route, however on a smaller boat, and with unreliable service.
The main ferry routes in Mexico are:
- Cozumel to Playa Del Carmen
- Isla Mujeres to Puerto Juárez
- Chiquila to Holbox
- Topolobampo to La Paz
- Mazatlan to La Paz
Ferry fares are controlled by a wide number of factors, such as what time of year you are sailing, what route you are taking, and how you are traveling, so there is not always one set fare per route.
International Ferry USA to Mexico
There is a ferry from the USA to Mexico. It is the only hand-operated cable ferry in the USA. It crosses the USA-Mexico Border and goes from Los Ebanos, Texas to Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The ferry is $2 per person (and $5 for car if you take vehicle). The nearest town in Mexico is two miles further in. Drive your car or take a taxi.
At the ferry landing, Homeland Security has an inspection station, so you will need a passport. Ferry hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. seven days a week. If the river gets too high from rain, the ferry does not operate.
Many people utilize this ferry to make quick runs over the border for lunch, novelty, and duty free shopping.
Rental and Charter Boats
You can rent boats in many seaside areas, with or without drivers, to explore the coastline villages or fishing areas. It is important to understand where you are permitted to dock the boat in order to visit areas of interest.
Taking a catamaran, glass bottom or fishing boat offers the opportunity to have a great experience and potentially travel to a new area. Try some of these awesome Mexico options.
Driving a boat can be dangerous and stressful if you are unfamiliar with boating or the area. Consider relaxing on a private or small group charter or tour.
Cruise ships arrive regularly in many of Mexico’s port cities from both within Mexico and from international ports. They can sometimes be picked up within Mexico to travel port to port. Explore some of these Mexico cruises at great rates.
Smaller Boats, or Lanchas, are available in many tourist areas in order to tour lakes and surrounding towns, or to visit canals such as in Xochimilco. Always use caution when operating a small boat. Be sure it is water safe and that you have proper safety equipment on board, such as life preservers.
Using the Metro in Mexico
There is a Metro in Mexico City, called, “Sistema de Transporte Colectivo,” (STC). It is a rapid transit system that serves the greater Mexico City area, and some outlying areas in Mexico State. It is the second largest metro system in North America after the New York City Subway.
Why Use the Metro?
Traffic can be absolutely horrendous in Mexico City and public transportation can be a lifesaver. The last time I visited, I tried to take an Uber just 6 miles across the city to a ballet. It took over 2 hours and I was of course, late. Needless to say, when possible, the Metro is a great alternative to fighting the traffic.
The Metro is extremely inexpensive and very efficient. It tends to run on schedule and to be relatively clean and safe.
Additionally, taking the Metro can be quite the cultural experience. All types of people utilize the Metro, from locals to students to professionals to workers, to tourists. Depending which station underground you are in, you may find everything from stores and services to food stands. You may be surprised to find an entire world going on underground!
Metro Practical Information
The Greater Mexico City Metro System consists of 12 lines, numbered 1-9, 12, and A-B and named. They are color coded which makes it very easy to follow the map, which is located in each station.
The Metro runs every day of the year during the following hours:
- Monday–Friday from 5:00 to 24:00
- Saturdays from 6:00 to 24:00
- Sundays and Holidays from 7:00 to 24:00
Currently, a single ticket, costs MXN $5.00, which permits a rider one trip anywhere within the system as long as it takes, with unlimited transfers. There are also specially priced tickets for students, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Cash in the form of bills and change are accepted.
How to Use the Metro in Mexico
You buy your Metro tickets at the station. You must have a ticket in order to ride. Ticket booths called “Taquillas” are inside the station, once you descend into the metro. There are usually several booths, but at least one manned booth is in every station.
There are a few metro entries that do not have ticket booth access, although the station itself always does. You will know prior to descending, as a sign is posted above the entrance. If the entrance where you are does not have a booth and you need a ticket, look for the closest entrance nearby. There are usually several entrances, the best option may be directly across the street.
There are generally two types of tickets available to travelers, a single use ticket or refillable card. If you choose the rechargeable card, there is a nominal one time fee of approximately MXN $10.00. When you enter the metro platform, there will be turnstiles. Insert your card and the fare will be subtracted from your balance. When you need to refill your card, there is a self service machine in most stations, prior to the turnstiles. Just insert your card, hit “Recargar” (Recharge) and insert your money. Credit cards are generally not accepted.
Turnstiles and Entering the Platform
Just past the ticket booths, you will find a set of turnstiles that you must enter to get on the platform to catch the metro. You will be able to pass once you have inserted your ticket. If your ticket is returned to you, you must collect it. You will reuse it to leave the station at your final destination. If the machine takes your ticket and does not return it, that is fine. You no longer need it.
Tip: Be sure to enter the turnstiles in the direction you want to go.
Finding Your Way
As mentioned, each of the 12 lines is color coded and has a name. When you enter a metro station, you can choose to take the train in one of two directions, named by the line’s two endpoints. So, if you enter a station at the end of a line, there will only be one direction in which to go. In Spanish, the signs will read “Dirección a (Insert endpoint here)”, meaning in the direction of…
If none of the stops on the line from the station where you enter, are your destination, do not worry. You can use the map to see where the train you are taking intersects with another line. Then transfer (at no additional cost) to the new line, and follow it in the direction of your destination. You can do this as many times as needed with no additional fee, to arrive at your final stop.
Transportation and Getting Around Mexico by Chauffeured Car
Private car hire is a convenient, but generally expensive way to sightsee, travel within an area, or go from one location to another.
When to Choose a Chauffeured Car
There are times when convenience, comfort, and time outweighs price. For example, when I arrive at an airport, after a long flight, I may want to pay for a private car to wait for me in the terminal, and whisk me directly to my hotel.
I tend to use a private car service when I am tired. It is also helpful when you are still getting acquainted with a destination, haven’t changed money yet, and just want to get to my hotel. It is worth it to me, for ease, convenience, and timing. You can usually pre-arrange and prepay for private car service. Therefore it is generally safe and hassle free.
How to Make A Private Car and Driver Affordable
One way of making a private ride more cost effective is, to invite friends, people you have met, or even strangers, if they’d like to share the expense. By socializing with other travelers, you may find someone who has a similar need or interest. Compare affordable private cars or very small group tours now.
When I was visiting Mexico City, my friend met me there for part of my travel. We hired a private driver for a few of the days. We had limited time together and specific areas, like the pyramids, that we wanted to see. They were far outside the city limits. A private car allowed us to go there, stop randomly at points of interest along the way. We were able to stay the duration we chose, without being rushed by the constraints of a group tour. Private drivers will generally answer questions, offer local tips, and give advice.
Our driver found out about our interest in art and told us that he had a close friend who had the largest collection of Frida Kahlo art outside of a museum. He offered to call and see if we could visit. What ensued was without a doubt one of the top highlights of my travels.
TIP: It is common and expected to tip a private driver 15% to 20% of total fare.
A shared semi-private ride is generally a ride that you set up ahead of time through a private company. Many are vans or shuttles that can carry a very small quantity of people that are going to your destination, or one very close by. They will share your ride with you, also sharing their portion of the cost. This option offers the convenience of having a preset ride, catering mostly to your need, without the steep expense of incurring the entirety of the cost.
One location I often use a semi-private ride is when I arrive in Cancun. There are so many people arriving and going to hotels on the same strip, I figure, why not split the ride and cost. It is a situation where it works very well.
Mexico City and some other areas have built aerial cable cars to resolve their two largest problems, traffic and crime. These sky transports dangle on a cable high above the city. They are becoming more and more popular.
Motorcycles and Scooters
There are a variety of motorcycles and scooters available to rent in Mexico. They are popular with locals as traffic can be extremely bad in many urban areas and parking is at a premium. However, like any crowded city in the world, many people drive erratically, some roads are in disrepair, and it is very congested in many cities, which can make riding somewhat dangerous.
This said, motorcycle and scooter riding can be very fun and efficient on some of the islands, through Baja California, and in other beautiful locations. Always use common sense, wear a helmet, which is required by law in most areas, and look out for potholes and gravel. The minimum rental age is mostly 21. You need a valid drivers license and insurance.
It’s a good idea to purchase insurance before you go since your American plan likely won’t cover you outside of the country. Also be sure to have Mexican cash available for tolls.
Moto Taxis and Tuk-Tuk Travel in Mexico
Some areas of Mexico offer 3 wheeled vehicles that generally look like an electric or foot powered Rickshaw. While sometimes bumpy and loud, these rides can be an inexpensive way to go a short distance. They are fantastic if you are tired, your hands are too full, or it suddenly gets late and you find yourself uncomfortably walking alone. They are cash only and a small tip is generous.
Transportation and Getting Around By Animal in Mexico
Some rural areas and tourist areas of Mexico may offer animals such as horses, donkeys, horse and carriage rides, etc. as transportation. While sometimes this option seems fun or is unavoidable, it is important to be sure that the animals are being properly treated, fed, hydrated, rested, and cared for.
The regulations of treatment may be lacking in some areas, and it is important not to support inhumane treatment of any sort. Also consider your own safety. Never stand behind an animal, as you may get kicked, and keep your hands away from an animal’s mouth.
Bicycling In Mexico
Bicycles are not an extremely common way to travel town to town in Mexico. While people cycle, many of the roads have potholes, obstacles, and may not be well lit after dark. Many maintained roads are major highways or congested.
That said, bicycles are used to get around locally within certain communities and cities. One great example is Tulum, where it seems mostly everyone is cruising around this laid back beach town. My boutique hotel offered bikes with large baskets for free with my room, and even provided locks. Always lock your bike when you are not on it. Unfortunately, bikes disappear at an alarming rate and you are responsible for your rental.
Like in many countries, biking is becoming a norm. In areas like Cancun, Tulum and Mexico City, where bicycling is more popular, you can find bicycle rentals available on an hourly or daily basis.
Using a Golf Cart in Mexico
In some communities and on certain islands, such as Isla Mujeres, it is possible to rent a golf cart and drive it throughout the island as your form of transportation. In small areas this can work out extremely well, as you can tour at your own leisure, and have the freedom to explore. When splitting this with friends, or other travelers, this can be a cost effective option.
Renting A Car In Mexico
Renting a car in Mexico can be a great way to get from location to location. In most major cities, car rental by major companies is available with competitive pricing. Drivers must be at least 25 years of age and hold a current drivers license from your home country. You will need a credit card for a security deposit. It is highly suggested, if not mandatory to purchase Mexican car insurance.
Some rental car companies, even well known names, have a poor reputation of accusing customers of damage or overcharging upon return. Be sure you have a clear contract and have examined the car thoroughly.
Laws can differ in Mexico and insurance may double the cost of your rental. In addition, gas can be expensive, or hard to find, in some areas. Some routes in Mexico may not be safe to travel at night due to road conditions and/or political issues. Interacting with police may be a different experience than you are used to. Driving in a foreign country can allow you great freedom and convenience, but can also be dangerous, costly, and stressful. Weigh out your options and always be sure to know the rules of the road.
Using Taxis to Get Around in Mexico
In Mexico, there are generally 2 types of taxis; “authorized taxis,” (usually marked in airports and train stations with an official stand and sign), and private taxis. I recommend always using an authorized taxi. Private taxis are required to have permits and fixed fares to/from many popular destinations. They are considered relatively safe. Hotels, airports, and restaurants often can arrange them for you.
In bus, ferry and airport terminals, (especially in Mexico City), you may find a person in a green or yellow jacket, offering to carry your bags to the taxi. Using this service is optional, but allowing these people to help you with your luggage only costs a few pesos, and provides them with a wage.
Ungoverned private taxis often charge inflated fares. They are considered less safe and more shady. Sometimes they just look like a regular car. Authorized taxis may seem to cost a tiny bit more. Sometimes unauthorized taxi drivers try to change the fare to an unreasonable or inflated rate. He may become angry when you do not agree to pay it. Authorized taxis often provide a numbered ticket so that you can trace your driver in case you encounter any issues.
“Taxi rank cabs,” those originating at hotels, airports, and major attractions, may have a small surcharge that “street taxis” may not have.
TIP: Always negotiate, and be clear on, how much your taxi ride will cost, prior to entering the taxi. Never assume the rate will just be acceptable. Agree before you go to avoid any problem.
Ubering in Mexico
In areas of Mexico where Uber is available, it works on the app on your phone. It functions the same way it does at home. I used Uber quite often in Mexico City. I found it to be incredibly inexpensive and relatively safe. It was easy, in that no money needed to be exchanged.
The communication was very clear between the driver and myself because it was mostly through the app. I could send someone my ride to track my whereabouts. Uber was readily available. The only downside in Mexico City, specifically was the traffic, but this was not a comment on Uber, so much as the fact that sometimes walking or the Metro or bus can be faster.
Also see Jenny In Wanderland article, How to Safely Use Taxis and Ride shares.