Scooters, Mopeds and Motorcycles in Playa Del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen is a very European feeling city by the sea and the thought of zipping around on a scooter appeals to many people. Scooters and motorcycles are very popular ways to get around due to the low initial investment and cost of operations. They also offer some freedom from public transportation and taxis. There are however, some important things to think about before getting a scooter or moped. Here is our everything guide to scooters and motorcycles in Playa Del Carmen.
Benefits of having a moped or motorcycle
Here is a list of reasons why you might buy one.
- Very low cost for a means of transportation.
- Low cost of gas. Most people can get away with less then 200 pesos a month on gas depending how much you drive.
- Good second vehicle option for families not wanting the expense of two vehicles.
- Not much parking space needed. While parking is not really an issue, some new condo building have limited indoor or underground parking. Having a scooter pretty much always guarantees you a spot.
Dangers of driving a scooter in Playa Del Carmen
There are some special considerations you need to think about before buying a scooter. There have been many lessons learned from other drivers before you, and some were learned the hard way, meaning by having accidents or incidents while driving. Here is a list of things to look out for.
- Other cars! Scooters and motorcycles are almost second class citizens on the road. Respect and giving right of way to scooters is not as much as if you were in a car, so extra defensive driving is necessary. Also, when a person is coming on a scooter it can be hard to tell how fast they are coming toward you because you are much less visible to a driver in a car. Cars will pull out in front of you especially at intersecting roads with stop signs. This is where many accidents happen.
- Rain! This is the kryptonite for Playa Del Carmen and for scooter drivers. You will need to be prepared for rain with a good poncho and plan on how to get where you need to go. When it just starts to rain the roads are extra slippery because oil can build up on the roads during dry times. Just a little water can make it slick and with just two tires making contact it can be dangerous. After it rains for a while puddles form and hide potholes. When passing though puddles, slow down because something that a car would pass over just might bump you off your scooter.
- Some concrete roads in Playa Del Carmen are slick even without rain. Higher speeds should be avoided and becoming familiar with the roads you use is good.
- The main highway through Playa Del Carmen does not allow motorcycles (or similar type of vehicle) on the bridges because of the expansion joints.
Regulations for Driving a Scooter
- You will need a special license , not just a car license. To get one see our article on getting a drivers license in Playa Del Carmen and just apply for a motorcycle one.
- You will need eye protection. This is important because dust or debris in your eye can lead you having to stop suddenly. Tip: Get a helmet with a drop down visor. This way you always will have eye protection with you.
- Helmets are required. You can find very reasonably priced helmets in Playa Del Carmen. It is just up to you as to the quality you desire.
- Believe it or not there are laws as to how many people can ride on a scooter and carrying ladders on scooters but you see 3 people with a baby or dog on a scooter or someone carrying a ladder more times then you can imagine.
Can people on a tourist visa buy and register a moped?
The quick answer is NO. If you ask around you will always get people saying they did it and there are ways. Even if it is legal to buy one, registering it is another thing. Regulations are always changing in Mexico and getting more streamlined. Tourists are tourists and the laws are not set up for people to buy and register vehicles when they don’t legally live in the county. The good news is Mexico is making it a little easier for people to get temporary residential visas, and this will open more options for you.
How much do mopeds and motorcycles cost?
The cost of a motorcycle or scooter is much less then you might think. The starting price for one is about 15,000 pesos and range up until 30,000 pesos.
Italika is a Mexican company that makes stylish scooters, almost Italian looking. These are very popular in Playa and they are very affordable. To see more about Italika you can see their website here in Spanish. http://www.italika.mx/
Well recognized international companies have scooters and motorcycles that cost more but are more long lasting and are more powerful for light highway use.
The cheapest category is a sport scooter. These have a smaller engine, are lighter in weight and are for local trips.
Midrange in price are scooters. These can get up to higher speeds and are a little heavier.
The higher price range includes motorcycles that you can use on the highway and go for longer distances.
Where to buy a scooter or motorcycle
It feels like you can buy one almost anywhere in Mexico. Grocery stores sell them, stores like Electra sell them, and specialty shops sell as well. Here are some places you can go shopping.
- Walmart, Mega, Chedraui and Soriana grocery stores all sell scooters. See our grocery store guide for locations of each store.
- Italika Dealership. 30th Avenue between 42nd Street and 44th Street. Phone: 984-803-6430 This is one of the most recommended places because Italika is popular here in Mexico and a good decent scooter maker and this is a dealership unlike buying at a grocery store.
- Honda Dealership. 30th Avenue between 2Bis Street and 4th Street. Phone: 984-803-3923
- Moto and Co. 30th Avenue on the corner of 4th Street. Phone: 984-803-2623
- Yamaha Dealership. Calle 1 Sur and the Highway. This dealership faces the McDonalds. Phone: 984-803-4526
- Suzuki Dealership. 30th Avenue and 12 Bis Street. This is next to the Aki Supermarket in the same plaza.
- Motorcycle House and Boutique. Constituyentes Avenue between 100th Avenue and 105th Avenue. Phone: 984-147-3309
Should you buy a new or used moped?
The cost of a new scooter is so low and considering the factor that it should be problem free if you get it new, this certainly adds to the argument for a new one. Things in Mexico are often sold used for higher prices then you would think and care of cars and motorcycles are not always the best here. Considering all of this, we recommend just getting a new one. The good news is when you go to sell it you will get a good sales price because used things usually go for higher amounts.
Places to get scooters repaired
Almost all of the above locations where you can buys a scooter or motorcycle have repair shops except the grocery stores. In addition to the dealerships here is somewhere you can go.
- “Vento” on the corner of 14 Bis and 35th Avenue. (Vento is not the name but that the big sign you see. They are just a Vento authorized dealer.) This place seems to be able to fix anything and they are always working out front. Open Monday -Friday 9:30am-7:00pm Saturday 9:00-2:00pm.
Protecting your Investment
Theft is frequent of scooters or parts of scooters. You will not see too many parked on streets outside of the center of Playa Del Carmen because people will park them in carports or lock them up. Theft of mirrors or batteries is also common. The battery is easily accessed on most bikes and once gone it is an inconvenience to say the least. Think about where you will be riding it and where you will be parking it. Most of the theft comes at night, so where your bike will be after dark is important. See our parking guide to Playa for a map on special scooter parking.
We hope this guide was helpful for you. For more Everything Guides, you can see many more Guides to Playa Del Carmen here.