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Driving and Licenses - Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico

Requirements for obtaining your driver's license in the Ajijic, Lake Chapala area

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Most people love visiting Mexico for a vacation. These are normally Americans. Lake Chapala is one of the exciting places to visit. I know you might think of just visiting the exciting Mexican restaurants and have a taste of Mexican food but there is more life in this place. This makes it one of the destinations to be. However, as everything comes with its regulations. 

Then there are the driving issues. The Mexican government has made various strategies that will help in this issue. As there are very many foreigners visiting the place and not all countries do have the same traffic rules. This has made the government very careful in this area to prevent accidents and other disastrous problems. This article will cover a larger part of the driving issues in Mexico majorly in lake Chapala.

The difference in driving in Lake Chapala and North America

First, the roads in Mexico are different in Mexico and the USA. To save yourself from problems you should be able to obtain insurance cover even if you are visiting for a day. This is always easy. Mexico is very different from the USA as the courts in America you are innocent until proven guilty. In the Mexican territory then you are under the Napoleonic code. This is where the guilt comes first before innocents so here are the differences of Mexican roads and the American.

The Road Signs

The Mexican country does not use English as their main language. They use Spanish. This means that their road signs are written in Spanish. This varies from the American signs which are always in English. This will require the driver to google these words of the Mexican road signs to save themselves from trouble. This will save you from the mercy of the court in the Mexican country.

Street Lights

The United States of America has ensured that all its highways have lights. When you visit Mexico things are very different. This means you must be very careful when driving as you will be depending on the vehicle’s lights alone. This also implies that you avoid depending on the road lights as you may find yourself in trouble. Furthermore, the Mexican roads sometimes have some livestock wandering on the road. This should make you very careful as you might end up hitting one which is always very dangerous.

Mileage measurement

In Mexico, they use kilometers to measure mileage while in the united states they use mile. There is a huge difference between these two measurements. This means that you will have to know the difference so that you might not drive past the required sped when you see a sign saying so. This is very important as you will save yourself from the traffic offense which might be an issue for you.


Speed bumps

In the united state, this has greatly been avoided as people use their paths to cross the road. However, the speed is always limited to lanes. This makes driving very cool. There is also the use of road signs which aids greatly in the American roads. When you come to Mexico they have topes. This is the road pumps that you would not want to hit at high speed. It will cause a very serious problem for you. It also means that you will be in for an accident. This is what you should also know before you start driving on a Mexican road.

Military checkpoints

After crossing the border you will come over several checkpoints in the Mexican country. This is not there in the united states as the police deal with this and there are no checkpoints. In Mexico, you will find several on the road. The good thing to do is to roll your back windows so that they can have a clear view of the back. This will help you from various unnecessary questions in the Mexican country.


Gas stations

The gas stations in the United States are situated almost everywhere. This will not keep you worried as refilling your vehicle is easy. When you come to Mexico things are different. Gas stations are always far apart. You are not sure where you will find the next station. So when you are at one station find out the next station. This will enable you to know how much gas to fill in your vehicle. Also, the gas attendants who are working in these stations are poorly paid. This will make them ask to be tipped. Tipping always requires some 10 pesos.


How to obtain a driving license in Mexico

If you are just planning to visit Mexico for a while then there is no need for obtaining the driving license. But if you are going to stay there then you are required to have the driving license after having your vehicle. You are always given one year after having your vehicle. Therefore, the following is how you can obtain your driving license.

The most important documents are the plastic immigration card, passport, and proof of address. You don’t need the original copies of these documents but you can have a copy of them. If your proof of address is not under your name. let's say it is under your family name or a friend's name then you have two options.

If you are a wife or husband then you can carry with you a marriage certificate. This will be very easy for you. If you are under friends care then you have to go to the immigration with the bill in your friend’s name. have them write a letter for you that shows that the address is your address. As this will be an original then you will be required to take a copy of it. 

Take your documents to the department that is in charge then wait if everything is okay they will take you through a test and if you pass it then you will get your driving license within a short period. You should also keep in mind that this will be done in Spanish so you can either go with someone to help if you are not well conversant with the language.

Article by:


Conner Collins

Director of Sales at Collins Real Estate

+52 (33) 2969 2068  /

Conner Collins is a 20 year resident and trusted realtor in the Lake Chapala area.

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