What It’s Really Like to Ride Your Motorcycle Through Mexico
We’ve heard a lot of things about traveling to Mexico on our bikes, but we wanted to find out for ourselves and then pass that information along to you.
We heard stories about the Mexican roads and wondered ourselves what would lay ahead.
We wondered about gas, the quality of the motels and had no idea about insurance either.
So we put together a group of 8 bikes and 9 riders one cold Canadian day and headed off to ride 1100 miles from Las Vegas Nevada to Cabo San Lucas Mexico.
Watch the video! See what the roads are really like
What the Roads are Really Like in Mexico
Everything You Need to Know About Riding to Mexico
- Safety: Is it safe to ride your motorcycle in Mexico?
- Insurance: Yes! You need Mexican insurance…
- Border Crossing: What you’ll need to know about crossing the border into Mexico on your bike
- Mexican Roads: What are the Mexican roads really like. Learn about driving in Mexico
- Gas: What are gas options like and where?
- Biker Friendly Accommodation: What sort of options are there for clean cheap motels?
- Military Checkpoints: Multiple military checkpoints along the highway
- Bathrooms: you’ll want to be aware of this
Planning a Ride to Cabo?
Read the rest of this page for trip planning details. You’ll be glad you did. If you find it useful, please share it
Crossing the Border – Getting Gas – Bike Insurance
Crossing the Mexican Border on Motorcycles
We wondered how much trouble it would be crossing the border into Mexico, and as it turns out, it’s no trouble at all. At least for the crossing at Tijuana.
- Fill out a Mexican tourism card
- It was as simple as filling out a tourism card, which is the same card you’d fill out if you travel to Mexico by airplane. Cost: $26
Crossing the border was a bit more of an adventure than just the tourism card though.
Mexican Motorcycle Insurance
Doesn’t matter how much coverage you’ve got for your bike, to be fully covered while in Mexico, you must have Mexican motorcycle insurance.
We got ours through Adventure Mexican Insurance.
- Full Coverage
- Most street legal motorcycles are eligible for full coverage mexican insurance and only applies while being driven on ‘conventional’ roads. Full coverage includes collision, theft, liability amount of choice, and legal assistance
- Liability Coverage
- Liability Only Mexico motorcycle insurance fulfills the legal requirement you need for driving your motorcycle in Mexico. In the event that you are involved in a vehicle related incident, the liability coverage will pay for damages caused to third parties, and again… coverage applies while on ‘conventional’ roads.
Getting Gas in Mexico
Lots of options for gas in Mexico. From the absolutely normal to the most unusual.
You’ll be looking for Pemex – a state owned gas outlet. Pemex is full service. you’ve no choice in pumping your own fuel if you’re in a car, but they let us pump for our bikes.
As we heard there was sparse fuel over the long distances, the majority of our group carried additional fuel in Jerry cans. We didn’t need them.
However… there used to be one stretch of highway that runs 318 km (197 miles) that you may want to plan for. We discuss that in the post about Mexican gas stations.
See What Getting Gas is Like
Biker Friendly Motels & Hotels in Mexico
Baja Cactus Motel in El Rosario
Distance from Mexico / US border: 225 miles
Distance to Cabo: 838 miles
Time to Hotel from border: 4h 25m
Phone: (619) 694-1082
Website: Baja Cactus Website
our rating: 4 / 5
price: $44 US or $440 Pesos
* Pesos are preferred
- Beautiful rooms, large rooms, 2 beds are both king size, all tile
- Very clean
- Bathroom is gorgeous, shower with glass doors and surrounded with tile, great shower head, hot water
- Laundry service on site, buy token from front desk, they provide soap
- Restaurant and fuel station right beside motel
- Free Wifi close to lobby
Other Reviews of Baja Cactus here and here.
Baja Cactus on Facebook
Rice & Beans Motel in San Igancio
Distance from Mexico / US Border: 531 miles
Distance to Cabo: 532 miles
Time to Hotel from border: 9h 55m
Website: Rice & Beans Hotel and RV Park in San Ignacio
our rating: 2.5 / 5
price: $65 US
* US Cash, credit card or pesos accepted
- Rooms are OK, 2 queen size beds in each room
- Good restaurant and bar right in motel
- Attached RV campground
- Many of the Baja 1000 crew stay here
Other Reviews of Rice & Beans motel (Baja California) are here.
Desert Inn in Loreto, Mexico
Distance from Mexico / US Border:697 miles
Distance to Cabo: 366 miles
Time to Hotel from border: 12h 55m
Website: none, book through Desert Inn on Trip Advisor
our rating: 3 / 5
price: $65 US
* US Cash, credit card or pesos accepted
- Rooms are good. 2 Queen size beds with balcony facing the water.
- Bathroom shower awkward for taller people.
- Good food, restaurant and bar in main building
- Pool and hot tub
- Free Wifi close to lobby
- Hard to find. At the end of a boardwalk, up a dusty back lane to a street that looks like you’ve leaving town
- This is a chain hotel owned by the Mexican govt.
Other Reviews of Desert Inn Loreto are here and here.
Mexican Roads – Military Checkpoints & Mexican Shitters
What Are Mexican Roads Like?
I’ll tell you, it was nearly the first thing I wondered about Mexico. What are the roads like and are they going to cause us any grief? We asked our fellow riders this exact question and this is what they had to say.
- “other than a few spots that were cautious – they were amazing”
- “awesome! Better than roads in Saskatchewan”
- “new blacktop for most of it”
- “the majority of the roads in Mexico are better than Alberta”
- “narrow with no shoulders but I wouldn’t be afraid to come down to Mexico”
- “roads were way better than we first would have guessed”
There’s a few more details we’d like to share, so have a look at our post about it.
When we first heard of the checkpoints, we were a little worried. However, after experiencing them, it’s nothing much really. We encountered 4 military checkpoints during the 1000 mile stretch of Mexican Highway #1. They did their jobs, opening up our saddlebags and such, but they were mostly interested in the bikes. They’re bikers too, a lot of them, and when they see a good ride, they’d like to know more. When they came out of their shacks en masse, that freaked us out even more.. but as we found out, they just saw some cool bikes they wanted to look at closer up.
- They’re friendly
- They’re there to protect the tourists
- Some have lineups, some do not (obviously)
- Spent anywhere from 2 minutes to 20 minutes, depending on traffic
- They look through all the bikes
Just so we can claim to have the most complete motorcycle travel guide to Mexico, we thought we better include the shitters.
you’d expect that most gas stations would have working public washrooms for their patrons. That is NOT the case. Mostly they were glorified out houses and like an outhouse, NO running water.
Your best bet for toilets in Mexico while riding the highway, is nowhere. You have to plan for road side potty breaks. Have on hand, ready to go:
- hand sanitizer
- baby wipes
- your own toilet paper
ideally, pack it in, pack it out
safe bets for finding a clean shitter:
- restaurants (for the most part)
- probably a mall
Mexican Road Side Potty
In the short video to the right, you’ll see how our group of women riders improvised a Mexican Road Side Potty.
Women Riders Find a Safe Place to Pee
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Watch the 2 Episodes Riding Mexico Here!
Episode 1:Riding Down the Baja to Cabo
In Season 2 Episode 1 “Riding our Motorcycles Down to Mexico”, we take you on a journey as 8 Canadian friends make our way from Las Vegas NV through San Diego and then crossing the border into Mexico. We take you down the coast all the way to Lands End in Cabo San Lucas. Spend some time with us and find out what it’s like to spend a couple weeks riding in Mexico, on 2 wheels with very little Spanish speaking skills.
Episode 2: Riding Around the Baja
Riding our Motorcycles Around the Baja and back up to California, we are very glad to have our own personal motorcycle tour guide (Wild Bill from Harley Davidson of Cabo) to take us for a beautiful 400km day ride, to a few local places that we never would have rode to. We become tourists for a day or two, ate some local cuisine, did some laundry then packed up to head back home. We took 4 days to ride back up the Baja to San Diego, to our surprise the ride and the views were totally different then the ride down. We stopped at 3 different motels on the way back up, and enjoyed our favourite place to stay in El Rosario, Baja Cactus!