Do you dream of RVing in Mexico to escape the cold next winter? There’s no shortage of fantastic beaches, activities, food, and fun waiting for you in Mexico. But this isn’t a trip you can do without proper planning.
RVing in Mexico is a completely different experience than traveling in an RV in the United States or Canada. Things like getting safe drinking water, plugging in for electricity, or insuring your vehicle require extra preparation and planning.
After traveling to Mexico in an RV three times, we have gotten the hang of knowing what to bring and how to prepare accordingly.
With that in mind, here are 12 items we suggest you have before RVing to Mexico.
1. Mexican liability insurance
US and Canadian carriers don’t provide proper coverage for your vehicle in Mexico. Some companies offer Mexico rider policies that extend theft and collision coverage to you personally. But they do not offer financial responsibility if others are injured in the event of a car accident.
Mexico requires, by law, that all drivers have proof of liability coverage that covers damages to third parties, even if you are not at fault. And the only company that can issue that policy is a Mexican insurance company.
There are several companies to work with. For our first two trips, we secured insurance with MexPro. For our third trip, which started in the Baja California Peninsula and then over to the mainland by ferry, we went with Baja Bound.
Both work with two different Mexican insurance companies to secure the best possible rate and coverage on liability-only or full-coverage policies.
Whether you’re driving your vehicle in Mexico for 1 day, 1 week, or a full 6 months — this insurance is required. Make sure you have purchased proof of insurance coverage prior to crossing. And remember, the cost of your policy will vary depending on the type of coverage you are seeking and the value, year, make, and model of your vehicle.
2. Travel insurance
Travel insurance isn’t required for traveling to Mexico. But we highly recommend getting health coverage when you’re out of your home country. Safety Wing Insurance is our go-to travel insurance provider for travel and medical insurance for nearly every country across the globe.
Travel plans are super affordable for extended periods or for short trips. Their plans cover common travel issues like lost luggage, trip interruption, or personal liability issues in addition to medical coverage, paying up to $250,000 with only a $250 deductible. Get a free quote for coverage here.
3. Complete guide to RVing to Mexico
Mexico is not a country where you want to RV without a plan. The Baja California Peninsula is a bit more forgiving when it comes to camping options. But mainland Mexico doesn’t have the same infrastructure for RVing. Navigating windy, tight, and crowded cities can be very difficult if you’re not prepared.
We highly recommend having a game plan for not just where you are going, but what to expect from each destination, how to navigate the language, book campsites, do laundry, and all of the other things that go along with RVing in a foreign country.
We created an incredibly thorough guide to RVing in Mexico which has over 70 pages of information to help you prepare for your big trip, tips for crossing (including a border crossing checklist and recommended border crossing points), helpful Spanish words and phrases for RV life, getting water in Mexico, how to stay connected with Wi-Fi, and so much more.
This guide will save you weeks of research and even give you a suggested route with must-see destinations and must-try foods for each region. Grab a copy of our digital guide here.
4. Electric water dispenser for 5-gallon containers
Drinking water is carried and distributed in a garafone (5-gallon water jug) in Mexico. You can purchase a garafone in almost any grocery store, convenience store, or water purification plant for a one-time fee. Once empty you can trade them out for a full one at a store or have yours refilled at a street-side dispenser or purification plant directly.
Garafones are heavy when full. This is why we recommend having a dispenser to help you easily access your drinking water from the jug. We originally purchased a hand pump dispenser in Mexico on our first trip, but it leaked. We upgraded to this fancy electric one and it works wonderfully.
It’s fully rechargeable and quiet when pumping. Just make sure to grab the jug caps, as most water filter tops we found don’t fit properly without them. You can grab the caps here.
5. Water pressure regulators
A water pressure regulator is a good thing to have no matter where you are RVing.
Water pressure can vary greatly from park to park. Too high of water pressure when filling your RV tanks or connecting to city water can cause damage to your water pump.
We’ve had 2 failed RV pumps, likely because the previous owners didn’t use a water pressure regulator. The regulator helps keep the PSI (pounds per square inch) at a set rate. You can grab the exact water pressure regulator we have here.
6. Surge protector
While not required, it is something we recommend you have before RVing in Mexico.
Most Mexico RV campgrounds have shotty electricity meaning you could get super high or low voltages to your RV. Inconsistent voltage can damage your RV’s components. Our friends lost their RV fridge from this.
A surge protector regulates the current coming into your coach helping protect your RV and its electrical components. They’re not cheap, but they are certainly a lot cheaper than replacing expensive components on your RV (like a fridge or A/C).
Starlink has quickly become a popular internet source for RVers. It allows portability, meaning you can move from state to state or even country to country and still have coverage. It also works in remote places that otherwise wouldn’t have a cell connection.
Much of Mexico (especially the Baja Peninsula) is super remote with limited cell connectivity. Having Starlink with you as you travel means you have your own source of reliable internet no matter where you are camping.
8. Solar setup
As I previously mentioned, the electricity at RV parks in Mexico can be really unreliable. For this reason, we recommend having a solar set up to help you camp off-grid. Solar panels can generate energy from the sun turning it into usable power in your RV with the right batteries and inverter.
A good solar set-up is not cheap. We’ve done it ourselves on all three rigs and it cost several thousands of dollars for batteries, the inverter charger, the charge controller, and solar panels. However, it’s an investment that has paid off tenfold.
9. Back up parts for your RV
RV parts like leaf springs, gaskets, RV roof repair products, and water pumps, among others, are extremely hard to come by in Mexico. You can order parts from Amazon but shipping takes a while and you will pay a lot more thanks to shipment and import fees. We recommend doing any deferred or routine maintenance to your RV before crossing to ensure your parts and rig are operating efficiently.
If you’re concerned about something, it’s a good idea to purchase a spare and have plenty of tools on hand for fixing things when they arise.
10. Any of your favorite products
Most products you can buy in a store in the United States or Canada can also be found in Mexico. Major cities like Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, Tijuana, Mexico City, Puebla, and Merida will have big box stores like Walmart, Costco, Petco, Sam’s, and Home Depot. But if you normally shop for hard-to-find products then you will want to stock up before crossing.
We aren’t a big fan of the scented toiletry products you commonly find in Mexico. So we make sure to have several packs of unscented toilet paper, laundry soap, and paper towels before crossing. I also try to avoid the sugary alternative milk that is popular in Mexico, so I stock up on my favorite hazelnut milk from Thrive Market.
Thrive Market is an online marketplace that delivers healthy, organic, and sustainable home goods and food products directly to your door. Their prices are often 10% to 30% cheaper than in stores and we love that we can get our favorite brands and products no matter where we are as we RV. If you’re interested in stocking up on organic health products before you cross, make sure to shop Thrive Market with this link.
11. Beach toys and sun protection
Mexico’s incredible beaches are some of the most alluring and appealing parts of RVing in Mexico. Make sure you have a good swimsuit, sunglasses (we love Sunksi sunglasses made from recycled plastic), sun hat, sun shirt, and a reusable water bottle.
If you enjoy doing outdoor water activities consider having a stand-up paddle board or inflatable kayak with you. The Baja peninsula has dozens of fantastic lagoons to camp on that have the perfect calm crystal clear waters for paddling. We also recommend having your own snorkel set to explore the world under the sea.
No matter where you’re going in Mexico though, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending loads of time outdoors and in the sun. Putting you at high risk for sun exposure. We recommend using no sunscreen if at all possible, opting for a good sun hat and clothing coverage (like a sun shirt). But if you do need to use sunscreen we highly recommend purchasing reef-safe sunscreen.
Each year around 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen is washed off into coral reef environments according to the The Oceanic Society. That equates to millions of bottles of sunscreen flooding our reefs.
Most generic sunscreens contain the harmful ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate which are not just damaging coral reefs but incredibly bad for humans too. These toxins are absorbed into the bloodstream and are linked to negative health effects. The environmental working group (EWG) has a fantastic guide for safe sunscreens giving them ratings for toxic chemicals for you and the earth.
12. RV Repair kit and tools
It’s inevitable an issue will arise on your RV trip through Mexico even with the best preparation. Always have the basic tools on board to repair small to major repairs, including a roof patching kit, a basic drill set, tools to change or repair a tire, and even a recovery kit to get you out of soft sand. You can find all of our recommended tools and repair products in our Amazon store.
As you can see it takes a lot of planning and a bit of work to have a successful trip Rving to Mexico. Hopefully, this list of 12 must-have items has taken a bit of the guesswork out of what you need before you RV Mexico and set you up for smooth traveling.