Military Checkpoints In Mexico

Military Checkpoints In Mexico

News and information from Mexican Insurance Store

Story and Photos by Jim Foreman

Among the most prominent differences between traveling in Mexico and the USA and Canada are the military checkpoints set up throughout the country.

For a first time traveler, the sight of freshly graduated soldiers with military rifles can be quite unnerving.

Military Checkpoints have been built and manned as an effort to stem the tide of drugs free-flowing from Mexico to the United States. Like the TSA airport screeners, they serve mainly as window dressing. The big difference is that the Mexican Military won’t be putting their hands down your pants to feel you up.

First things, first. What are the Military Checkpoints looking for?  They are looking for drugs, illegal weapons, and federal criminals. Some checkpoints have drug-sniffing dogs; others don’t. In most cases, they merely ask only a few questions. Expect to hear, “A donde va?”, “De donde eres?”, and “Por que estas aqui?” These questions translate to, “Where are you going?”, “Where are you coming from?”, and “Why are you here?”

Before each day of travel, know the answers to these questions. Sometimes the accents of the soldiers are quite thick so that a hand gesture can help.

Point your thumb back behind you and tell them what city you left this morning. Then motion ahead to the city you plan to stop in tonight and say that city’s name. Lastly, say, “Turismo” as to your purpose.

Now, in most cases, they will probably say, “Pasale” and wave you through. If it’s an exceptionally desolate checkpoint, a dull day, you are driving an RV or luxury car, or are traveling with exceptionally lovely passengers, they may ask you to pull aside for a more thorough inspection, however they will rarely ask for your Mexican Insurance Store policy.

Do not be alarmed or worried by this. Despite whatever motivation, the soldiers are not there to ruin your day. Play along casually, and you’ll be on your way in no time.

A couple of things that will help speed your passage through the checkpoint is to be calm and respectful. Open up and show them whatever luggage they wish to inspect. Smile and nod in respect to them and the job they are doing. In most cases, nobody will speak English, but if you happen upon someone who does, be kind and even engage in some small talk.

If you have a cold drink in a cooler, offer one to them and their compatriots. It’s a great way to indicate that you are a good person and respect their roles.

Unless you are a complete jerk or like being arrested, don’t do any the following:

  • Don’t joke about having drugs or being part of the Narcos, Cartels, or Corridos.
  • Don’t belittle, berate, or become abusive to them.
  • Don’t act like you’re too special or in a big hurry.
  • Don’t tell them how to do their job.
  • Don’t ignore them and keep driving on when asked to stop.

Doing any of these things will guarantee you an extra thorough search and possible detainment. They will probably also call ahead and make sure you are hassled again at the next checkpoint, too.

Being waved through


The Mexican soldiers are human, just like you. The universal rule is to treat others the way you wish to be treated.

During disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and fires, it’s the military that does the bulk of the heavy work to restore life to normal.

Traveling in Mexico is easy. It’s especially true when you begin to understand the subtleties and differences from what you’re accustomed to back home. Military checkpoints are a part of life in Mexico and no big deal. After passing through a couple, it becomes quite simple and even fun conversing in a little Spanish.

To drive in Mexico, you must have a Passport and should have car insurance coverage. If you are planning to stay longer than a weekend or travel outside the Hassle-Free-Zones, stop and get your tourist visa and Temporary Vehicle Import Permit (TVIP). Then the whole of Mexico is yours to enjoy.

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16 Comments. Leave new

  • Carrying a road map when you travel on the road is important. Preparedness is necessary and this includes having Mexico insurance coverage.

  • For some, GPS is almost making printed maps obsolete. We disagree with that. Carry a good general Map of Mexico. Even the AAA Map of Mexico is pretty darn good and free for members.
    While in Mexico, stop into a bookstore (librería) or Convenience store and look for the Guia Roji guides. They are the ‘Thomas Bros.’ of Mexico.

  • Linden: Assuming your GPS has maps of Mexico. Mine does not.

  • Linden, that would be assuming your GPS has maps of Mexico. Mine does not.

  • Frank, You are correct. The GPS Signals work around the world, but they are only as good as the maps loaded on your unit. Sadly, may top-of-the-line units have mediocre maps of Mexico.
    I’m a huge fan of paper maps, but today’s trends are for everything electronic.
    When traveling throughout Mexico, I only use GPS in the bigger cities to find where I’m going. I find that Google Maps actually works better than anything else.
    For general traveling throughout Mexico, turn off the GPS. Maps are better and simply follow the easy to read signs.

  • Shaniqua Hogg
    December 6, 2017 4:58 pm

    Mexico insurance for tourists is necessary if you’re driving a friend’s car so you get compensated in cases of serious accidents.

  • Mexican Insurance Store policies are NOT named driver policies.

  • Luetta Stephenson
    April 16, 2018 6:18 pm

    It’s not scary being checked. In fact, you would not encounter any problem as long as you rest easy, you have no weapons and you act in accordance with the checkpoint.

  • Christian Baptiste
    May 3, 2018 6:07 pm

    Just feel relaxed when being inspected by a military. It is less aggressive when traveling south, while going north is usually a much deeper search.

  • Maragaret Macon
    May 8, 2018 5:40 pm

    Mexican insurance is much needed while traveling. As you travel in Mexico you are likely to encounter some military checkpoints in the highways — normally on the northbound routes.

  • Checkpoints are done to legally keep track and stop unlawful actions along Mexico roads. It’s a normal activity in Mexico to ensure security.

  • Nolan Sessions
    July 22, 2018 7:50 pm

    Before going to Mexico, be sure to have keep yourself and your luggage ready for inspection. If you’re a tourist, be sure to know some Spanish words to efficiently communicate with the inspectors.

  • Just remain cool and comfortable and have things ready – these will hurry up the military checkpoint being done.

  • Military checkpoints vary depending on nations. One big difference when driving in US versus in Mexico is the way how military checkpoints are done.

  • Stewart Satter
    July 22, 2020 6:03 pm

    It’s easy to go online and purchase Mexican car insurance. Compared to the border, prices are much cheaper online and most prefer buying online.

  • India Haskell
    June 20, 2022 6:40 pm

    Travelers must be conscious about safety concerns when dealing with people in Mexico. Thanks to the rich culture and natural scenery of Mexico, not mentioning the friendly Mexican people.

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