Toll Roads in Mexico

Tolll Booth on Highway

Guide to Mexican Toll Roads and Toll Charges in Mexico

If you’re planning to travel by car on toll roads, this page contains useful information that can help you plan for your road trip.

Driving on Toll Roads in Mexico

Over the last two decades, Mexico has made massive investments in its road infrastructure in an effort to connect the country’s main towns and cities with safe, fast and reliable roads.

Mexico’s toll roads are generally four-lane highways (dual carriageways), except in mountainous regions, where at times the road is limited to a single lane each way, due to the limited space available and additional costs involved when building a road into the edge of a mountain.

The total cost you’ll pay on a particular toll road will depend on how far you travel along it. You effectively pay for your journey in parts, with payment booths set out along the highway at major towns or turnoff points. Every time you go through a toll booth, you pay an additional fee, which covers your cost to the next toll booth, and so on.

You may not be able to travel your entire journey on a fast toll road – check your road map for details.

See Also: Guide to Driving in Mexico

Mexican Toll Road Terminology

Routes which have toll roads connecting the destinations, also have a free alternative road. When you’re driving in Mexico, watch the signs and follow the route for the road type you want to use. Here is a list of the key words to look out for:

LIBRE = Free Road. Free roads are less well maintained, single-lanes each way that will take you longer to travel across. However, to see some of the ‘off the beaten track’ places, you’ll need to avoid Toll Roads, as they often double as “by-passes” (see term below). It’s recommended that you don’t take the free roads after dark.

CUOTA = Toll Road. Follow this sign if you want to take the toll road to the destination you are traveling to. Note that the highway numbers are often the same, so you can be on the right highway number, heading in the right direction, but on a free (slower) road than you’d like to be. For toll roads, follow the signs that read “CUOTA”.

LIBRAMIENTO = Bypass. Sometimes, major free roads that connect big towns and cities will give you an option to take the “Libramiento” route. This is like a toll road (and sometimes it’s part of the toll road) which, for a fee, will enable you to by-pass the smaller town city if you don’t want to go there, saving you time, and perhaps the hassle of getting lost. Libramientos work in the same way as toll roads.

See Also: Guide to Mexican Street Speak

Toll Road Charges

Charges vary, depending on the route and how long the stretch of road is to the next major town or turn off. As of January 1, 2019 tolls in Mexico must be paid in cash, or you must have a ‘tag’ (see next section) in your windscreen to pass through the cashless lanes.

Detailed information about toll roads, distance and costs between any two points in the country can be found at the “Traza Tu Ruta” online service at the Communications and Transport Ministry web site. Further information about Mexico’s road system can be found at the Mexican federal highways agency (CAPUFE) Web site.

Windscreen Payment Tags for Mexican Toll Roads

You can pay toll booth charges in cash, or you can purchase a Payment Tag for your vehicle’s windscreen.  Credit and debit cards are no longer accepted at toll booths in Mexico.

There are two tags you can get: Tag IAVE, which is administered by the agency that runs the toll roads and the Tag TeleVia which is sold at Walmart stores across Mexico.

You can either top-up your tag account at local participating stores, or register online to link your credit card and personal details to your tag.  Visit the websites above for details.

Insurance on Toll Roads

At each toll booth, you will be given a receipt for the money you pay. This receipt is also your insurance certificate. If you crash, or are involved in an accident, you will need to present this receipt in order to avoid paying road repair and maintenance charges.


Popular Destinations and Toll Route

The table below shows a list of popular destinations, starting out from Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey and Cancun. Under each of the starting points are the main destinations that people tend to drive to from there. Also listed are the highway numbers you can take, and the approximate driving distance in miles and kilometers.  Note that the highways listed are suggestions only; they make best use of toll roads, but some may be free roads as well, as the toll road network won’t always cover a journey point-to-point.

Road Logs: Your Perfect Road Companions in Mexico

When you’re taking a road trip in Mexico, these Mexico Road Logs and Driving Guides will make your highway journeys across the country much clearer, easier and safer. Download your Road Log today and drive prepared in Mexico!

From Mexico City To:

Destination Highways Distance
Acapulco 95,92 241mi/388km
Aguascalientes 57,45,110-West 323mi/519km
Cuernavaca 95 55mi/89km
Guadalajara 15,55,15 339mi/546km
Monterrey 57,57-Free,40 577mi/929km
Morelia 15,55,15 188mi/302km
Oaxaca 150,135 280mi/451km
Puebla 150 76mi/123km
Queretaro 57 131mi/211km
Taxco 95 118mi/190km
Teotihuacan 130 31mi/50km
Veracruz 150 76mi/123km

From Guadalajara

Destination Highways Distance
Aguascalientes 80,110-West 152mi/245km
Manzanillo 54 186mi/300km
Mazatlan 15 321m/517km
Morelia 15 181mi/292km
Puerto Vallarta 15,68-South 198mi/319km

From Monterrey To:

Destination Highways Distance
Chihuahua 40,45 512mi/824km
Guadalajara 40,54-Free 481mi/774km

From Cancun To:

Destination Highways Distance
Merida 180 196mi/315km
Playa del Carmen 180 31mi/50km
Tulum 180 56mi/90km


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