Driving in Mexico? What Map to use?
One of the biggest questions visitors to Mexico have is, "How am I going to know where to go?" In the past, getting an Atlas or Road map was critical, anymore in our Smartphone/Tablet world; this is no longer the case. But which map to use when heading to Mexico? Now that is THE question. Below is our brief review of each of the most popular map apps, and sites.
One of the most downloaded apps to smartphones is Google Maps. Equally important is Google.com/maps. People love Google Maps, and there is a reason. They tend to be reliable, detailed, and have ancillary information regarding one’s destination, such as nearby restaurants or golf courses. Google Maps covers Mexico and is great. Turn by turn instructions, destination points, and even street view is available in many places in Mexico, but not all. The Google Maps availability in Mexico is relatively new as the app was announced for Android devices in November 2012, but is also available on Apple devices.
Our review: Hey its Google Maps, it’s great. It’s everything you have come to expect. It is still light on some of the destination points, but they do exist, and there are reviews for many of them, but from our experience in using Google Maps in Mexico, it has been reliable. The great thing about Google is they are adding things as I type. Assuredly there will be more street views, more destinations, etc. Also, a great thing about Google Maps is if you type in Rocky Point, Mexico it recognizes it as Puerto Peñasco. Below is a sample map of Puerto Peñasco Mexico from the Phoenix Area. One Drawback is that in its translation you may be looking for "Route 13", when really the street name is "Calle 13". So you will need to pay attention. This only occurs in the directions, not the map. The map shows the correct street name, just the directions are incorrect. That said, Google is great and allows you to plug in a name of a hotel, and in many cases you get directions to the door step. If you are going to a non-tourist area, Google Maps is the Map of choice, as we plugged in several addresses off the beaten path, and Google Maps got us there.
Bottom-line – You should feel comfortable using Google maps in Mexico.
If you haven’t heard it some people claim that BING is an acronym that stands for "BING is not Google." Well I cannot confirm whether that is the case or not, BUT BING has its moments, and to date, Mexico Maps is not one of them. It’s not that the Maps are incorrect, in BINGing (is that a word?) several areas that I am familiar with, it seems to get me where I need to go. Which is what you ultimately want out of a map, but unlike Google Maps, I am unable to get directions within Mexico using a destination like Golf Courses or Restaurants. So moving around in the city could be confusing if you are not already familiar with the area. If there is a BING map app, I am unaware, and was unable to find it. So I am unable to provide a review on it, but the online maps seem pretty solid. By the way, no use of Rocky Point here, it will need to be Puerto Peñasco. However, similar to Google Maps you can oftentimes put in the name of the hotel, but be careful this isn’t fool proof. Not great on getting you to places in the middle of nowhere, but not bad for tourist areas. The directions and the maps will use the Spanish version of street name. So if you are looking for "Calle 6ta", it will tell you to use "Calle 6ta".
Bottom-line – Not bad, BING maps will get you there if you are headed to a major gringo destination.
Apple Maps have become a great joke, unless you live in Australia and ended up in the middle of nowhere or need a hospital and passed it up because the map said it was a Supermarket. However, I have recently been to Mexico, and it would seem that Apple Maps has it right on the map part. It even may have a restaurant or golf destination, so not bad. Similar to BING you will need to use the Spanish name of the city, but the map looks great. From my experience Apple Maps will also allow you to use destinations, BUT usually will only have the most popular destinations. Similar to BING I was unable to get Apple maps to provide directions to less notable destinations even with an address. As far as the directions go they are in Spanish rather than "Route", you will see "Calle". Although, it seems it may be adding something so "Calle" may be spelled wrong.
Bottom-line – Not bad, will get you there, and may have a destination or two.
There are a lot of great maps online that can be used in Mexico. You should always need to be cautious, smart, and aware. Also, remember if you are using an app or map that will require Data from your phone there will be a cost, and that could increase when you cross the border, so be sure you understand your phone charges.
Our map of choice? Google Maps. Not perfect, but seems to be the most comprehensive free online map out there.
There are some Roadlogs that provide great information provided by OntheRoadin.com or Mexicomike.com if you are looking for something more comprehensive. Remember regardless of the map you use you will need insurance, so before you head to Mexico be sure to get a Mexican Auto Insurance policy with Mexpro.com!