Road signs in Mexico and the Yucatan


Road signs in Mexico and the Yucatan 


Like any country, Mexico has its own rules of the road.

This is especially true since, while public transport is much more efficient than you might think, many roads are bumpy and Mexicans, like drivers in other Latin countries, are not the most predictable drivers in the world.


For this reason, it’s important to be familiar with the country’s road signs.

Although some signs are obvious due to their visual elements, such as Alto (Stop), or Una Via (One Way), which resemble their equivalents elsewhere in the world, others require a little knowledge of Spanish.


For example:

– Entrada y salida de camiones (Truck entry and exit).
– Si toma no maneje (Don't drink and drive).


But here again, only the language is different; the meaning is clear.

Now let’s look at signs for insiders, signs with a direct meaning that’s easy to understand but also provides information on Mexican driving habits:


– Topes a 100m.

Literal translation: Speed bumps in 100 meters (325 feet).
Real meaning: You’d better slow down right away if you don’t want to have your organs rearranged within 325 feet. This is a warning, and there won’t be a second one.


– Poblado proximo.

Literal translation: Town coming up.
Real meaning: Soon, you’ll be hitting so many speed bumps that you’ll feel like you’re on a roller coaster.


– Zona de descanso or Paradero de descanso.

Literal translation: Rest area/rest stop.
Real meaning: Area to stop/rest. That’s it. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a vending machine, and if you’re even luckier, it will have been restocked recently. But don’t expect to find picnic tables or restrooms.


– Cruce de peatones. 

Literal translation: Pedestrian crossing
Real meaning: Poor mortal, you have no idea what awaits you. Your foot needs to be close to the brake if you want to avoid the potential diplomatic incident ahead.


Finally, some signs are simply incomprehensible at first glance.

One well-known example is No deje piedras sobre el paviment: Don't leave stones on the road. But who would go around leaving stones on the road? Drivers who have to change a tire use stones to stabilize their vehicles and have the bad habit of leaving them there.


There you go! Now you’re better prepared for the unique challenges of driving in Mexico.