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betamay Feb 3rd, 2015 07:41 AM

What is the traffic in Puebla and Oaxaca ?
We are in a planning stage of trip and are considering renting a car and driving between Oaxaca and Puebla [and then to drop off the car at Mexico city airport] . We would be staying in the centre of the two towns but would be wanting to travel most days to surrounding countryside and sights. Therefore just wondering if anyone can tell us how heavy the traffic is in these two places outside of the main rush hours ? Is it hugely chaotic and will it take us ages to get out of town ? Thanks

baldone Feb 3rd, 2015 11:29 AM

Traffic in Puebla can be quite bad, Oaxaca, much less so. Another consideration is that signage on Mexican highways and streets leaves much to be desired, even with GPS. GPS does help, but not like you'd think, given that one-way streets often don't compute, and neither do some of the laterals. So, figure in getting lost as well. It sounds like you'd be renting in Oaxaca and dropping off in DF, yes? If that's the case, figure on a REALLY expensive drop-off fee in Mexico City, well over a $1,000. You've also got to make sure you wouldn't be driving in DF on prohibited days, which is determined by the license number. I can see renting a car in Oaxaca if you're going to be there more than 2-3 days; there is plenty to see and do if you have your own car. Puebla, however, can be pretty much be done without a car, unless you're going to be there a week or more and wanna do some overnight day trips. Parking can sometimes be an issue as well. If it were me, I'd maybe rent while in Oaxaca, then bus to Puebla (and rent there as time/desire allows), then bus to DF. The trip between Oaxaca and Puebla is quite scenic and maybe best experienced with someone else doing the driving. We drive from San Miguel/Puebla/Oaxaca at least once a year, and I still get lost in Puebla even tho I've been there plenty of times.

betamay Feb 3rd, 2015 12:32 PM

Great info baldone thanks so much.

Will check the one way drop off charges as you suggest and also bus options from Oaxca-Pubela. Am interested to know if you can book bus in advance online and also what bus companies in Mexico are of reasonable standard in terms of safety, security of luggage and comfort. Sadly we speak almost no Spanish so this might be a factor in ease of booking etc. Please therefore continue to send in your thoughts fodorities !

baldone Feb 3rd, 2015 01:30 PM

ADO is the bus you'll take. The most comfortable, (though all are) is Platino. About $690 pesos, or $48 US. English booking:
Description of Platino service:
ADO site:
Nearly all buses crank up the air conditioning, so maybe bring a sweater. Typically, they'll play a US movie (or 2), dub the words in Spanish but let the 4-letter bombs fly in English without translating, go figure. Platino is direct, without stops where ne'er-do-wells might hop on en route, although the GL service I believe is direct as well.

Stewbear Feb 4th, 2015 05:17 AM

Hiring a driver in Oaxaca is far more sensible then renting a car. Cheaper also at about 125 pesos per hour. This is what we did for 4 days of touring.a couple of others we took buses/collectivos. His English was about equal to my Spanish so we got along fine BUT may English speaking cabbies around.

betamay Jun 5th, 2015 10:29 AM

Just in case anyone finds this thread for their own researches I am replying to my own query.

Driving in, and between, Oaxaca and Puebla was totally fine in terms of other traffic. No worse than any European journey, not madly chaotic indeed we found rather courteous road users. One way fees were not huge when hiring from UK websites and the GPS on google maps served us well.

The huge problem turned out not to be finding the route or the other drivers but rather the widespread use of reductors [or topes] on the roads which are outrageously huge road humps which mean that no matter how slowly you go over them you badly clunk the bottom of the hired car. I had read about these but assumed that if you drove prudently all would be OK but they turned out to be totally impossible to navigate without crashing into the underside of the car and hence very stressful.

I would not hire a car in Mexico again because of these.

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