Home Latin Uber Mexico – Transportation in Mexico City, Cancun, Playa del Carmen

Uber Mexico – Transportation in Mexico City, Cancun, Playa del Carmen

by Sean
uber in mexico

No one knows Uber better than those of us who rely on it every day. And no one relies on Uber like a part-time expat. Take me: I spend half the year in Chicago and half in Mexico City. When Uber expanded its services to Mexico in 2013, it changed my life.  When traveling through Latin America, it is wise to figure out your transportation ahead of time. Whether you are headed there to meet women or do business, you have to have a solid plan for how you get around in Mexico

If you’ve not used Uber before it’s very easy. You simply download the app, put in your credit card information and then request an Uber to come get you. It’s very easy compared to trying to track down taxi drivers. You don’t have to worry about cash or payment as once your credit card is stored in the app, payment is taken care of. That’s one of the biggest pros for people who use Uber. There is no need to worry about getting your wallet out, which is something you have to do when you are paying up with taxi drivers. Uber is very convenient.

mexico city
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Uber vs Private Car Ownership

Uber released a guide on how to use its service in Mexico City, but it wasn’t very thorough. We will take things much further and tell you all about the ins and outs of using this transportation service while in Mexico.

Until this service was made available, I’d thought about owning my own car just for use in Mexico. That wasn’t practical. Like the rest of the world, Mexico is a bit less beholden to private car ownership than the US. For most, that’s not a big problem, but for someone in my position, it can be a hassle. Fewer private cars means fewer options for owning one and storing it for long stretches…and even then, not many of us can justify paying for a car we only see half the year.

If private car ownership isn’t quite as widespread in Mexico as it is in the States, that makes Mexico all the better an environment for ride-hailing services like Uber. Let’s take a closer look at how Uber works in Mexico

Is Uber Safe in Mexico City?

uber in mexico

Uber in Mexico City is as safe as it is in the US, and for the same basic reasons. Many of my Mexican friends insist that their teenage children use Uber rather than traditional taxicabs. When compared to cabs, Uber is considered a much safer option. 

If you are landing at the Mexico City airport, you can catch an Uber from there and use it as your primary mode of transportation the entire time you are in town. In all of the major cities including Mexico City, Cancun and Playa del Carmen, you are safe using Uber in these areas. 

Advice for Foreigners Using Uber in Mexico

Tipping Your Driver is a Must

Tipping your driver is not optional. Uber in Mexico costs roughly half its equivalent in the US, which affects drivers’ base pay. Tipping is considered such a fundamental courtesy that in Mexico, unlike in the US, your tip will affect your passenger rating.

Because Uber is so inexpensive in Mexico, and since Uber is safe in Mexico City and other popular destinations, hiring a driver by the hour can be a terrific way to explore your surroundings after arrival, or to run errands to multiple stores. 

Pay for Your Uber in Cash in Mexico

Pay in cash. In Mexico, an Uber driver is not required to accept credit or debit cards. Because drivers do not know which method of payment you have chosen before they arrive to pick you up, your driver may simply drive away if you insist on paying with a card. The app will automatically pair you with another driver, but there’s no reason to endure the delay and frustration of a canceled ride if you can help it.

uber mexico

If you don’t have quite enough cash to cover your ride, be sure to explain your situation to your driver. Most will understand (especially if you reserve a bit of cash for a tip), and will arrange for you to cover the balance of the fare with a card. 

Private cars in Mexico tend to be considerably smaller than those in the US. Several things account for this, but the overriding consideration is efficiency: gasoline is far more expensive in Mexico, and it’s just good sense to drive smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. If you’re carrying a lot of luggage or shopping bags, you might still want to hail a taxi, if only for the trunk space.

Watch for Flashing Lights

Uber in Mexico does not use stickers to identify cars; instead, drivers flash their lights at the pickup location. Before you get in, know that most Mexican passengers sit in the front seat, alongside the driver. If you must follow the American habit of sitting in the back seat, you probably won’t offend your driver, but following local custom tends to make for a happier ride.

For that matter, Uber drivers in Mexico tend to be worldly and well educated, and many speak at least a bit of English. But normally they don’t fully understand English. It’s good to have a basis of Spanish and use it as an opportunity to learn Spanish yourself. 

And just because it’s so important, here it is again:

Tip your driver. Don’t forget, or it will become more and more difficult to get an Uber as a passenger. 

Tips for a Happy Uber Ride in Mexico

uber in mexico city

It’s Good to Speak Some Spanish

The Uber app indicates whether your driver speaks English, but remember that those indications are self-reported. Your driver’s idea of speaking English (and understanding it) may differ from yours, so be ready to communicate in Spanish, even if you’re not perfectly bilingual.

Prepare a few phrases in Spanish if you’re not fluent, and text your driver once your ride is confirmed to let them know where to find you. Just a few bits of information—La entrada está en frente de la restaurant Tia Julia (The entrance is in front of the Tia Julia restaurant), Llevo vestido verde (I am wearing a green dress)—can make a big difference, and can save the day if you don’t speak much Spanish. 

Be Precise with Your Destination’s Address

Be sure to include every detail of your destination’s address when you arrange a ride, and write the address down on a slip of paper that you can quickly show to your driver. It’s not a bad idea to have your home address written down and kept in your wallet or purse. Don’t rely entirely on the app to remember every address exactly the way you intend it to.

Uber or Taxi in Mexico City

In Mexico City let’s compare the two options when it comes to getting around. This video from YouTube does a great job of comparing with is the better alternative of the two. If you are unsure whether you should use Tax drivers or Uber to get around, this video will help you make up your mind.

How Much is an Uber From Cancun to Playa del Carmen?

According to the website Let’s Travel to Cancun, the cost of an Uber from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is not available as Uber services are not currently available in Playa del Carmen. The website states that although Uber was approved to operate in January 2023, opposition from local taxi companies unions have made it unsafe for Uber drivers and passengers. However, there are still plenty of ways to get around Playa del Carmen without Uber, including shuttle buses, taxis, and public transportation. The website also provides information on the cost and availability of these alternative transportation options.

Can You Get an Uber From the Mexico City Airport?

Yes, you can get an Uber from the Mexico City airport. According to the official Uber website, Uber is available for pickups at the Mexico City International Airport (MEX). Passengers can request a ride up to 30 days before their flight, at any time and on any day of the year. To request an Uber from the airport, passengers should follow the instructions provided in the Uber app, which will guide them to the designated pickup location at the airport. It is important to note that there may be additional fees associated with airport pickups, and passengers should check the Uber app for pricing details before requesting a ride.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Uber available in Mexico?

Yes, Uber is available in Mexico. Uber is widely used in Mexico and is available in many cities throughout the country.

Are Uber rides affordable in Mexico?

Yes, Uber rides in Mexico are generally considered to be an affordable option for transportation. The cost of an Uber ride will depend on factors such as the distance traveled, the time of day, and the type of vehicle requested.

What is the safest way to get an Uber in Mexico?

The safest way to get an Uber in Mexico is to request a ride through the official Uber app. This ensures that the driver is a registered Uber driver and that the ride is tracked by the app. Passengers should also check the driver’s name, photo, and license plate number before getting in the car.

What payment methods are accepted for Uber rides in Mexico?

Uber in Mexico accepts a variety of payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and cash. Passengers should check the payment options available in their city before requesting a ride.

Where is the pickup location for Uber in Mexico?

The pickup location for Uber in Mexico will depend on the city and the specific pickup location. Passengers should follow the instructions provided in the Uber app to find the designated pickup location for their ride. In some cases, the pickup location may be at a designated pickup point or a nearby landmark.

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