Car Trouble While Visiting Mexico? Call the Green Angels

Photo Credit: Cindy Ormson

A couple of weeks ago, one of my neighbors in Mexico contacted me on Whatsapp to ask if I knew the number of a reputable tow service that could assist him with a flat tire. He said that he wasn’t able to get the lug nuts off and that he and his wife were stranded on the side of the highway just north of Tulum, Mexico.

I recommended that he save his money and call Los Ángeles Verdes (The Green Angels) to assist him. To which he responded, “Who?”

Although he and his wife had undoubtedly seen the distinctive white and green trucks patrolling the highways here in the Riviera Maya, they were unaware that they were affiliated with Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism and that their purpose was to provide free emergency roadside assistance to anyone in need.

Before my neighbors could even call, a couple of Green Angels rolled up and jumped into action (main picture).

Contact Information

Dial 078 on your cell phone to contact the dispatch center for Los Ángeles Verdes.

If for some reason you can’t get through at the above number, you can dial 088 (Servicios de Seguridad Pública Federal).

Coverage Area

Los Ángeles Verdes have emergency roadside assistance vehicles in every state in Mexico; however, they don’t patrol every highway.

Here are the current coverage areas by state:

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Let’s Wrap This Up

If you plan on driving in Mexico, it’s not a bad idea to add the number for Los Ángeles Verdes to your contacts list.

It’s one of those things you hope you never need, but if something happens and you ever do, you’ll be glad you took the time to save the number.

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About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

28 Comments on "Car Trouble While Visiting Mexico? Call the Green Angels"

  1. Good morning Paul,
    Back in the early to mid 60’s, my father was the U.S. Consul in Tampico, Tamaulipas. Every once in a while, we would go by car to Brownsville, TX when we had to get items only found in the US at the time .

    One time, we were in our ’61 Ford Galaxy, and we’re in the hills outside Ciudad Victoria. Our car began hesitating and jumping. Dad pulled over and raised the hood. I swear it wasn’t two minutes later that one of the Angeles Verdes pulled in behind us .The amazing man cleaned gunk from the fuel pump and followed us for awhile to make sure we were alright.

    ¡Gracias a Dios que existen éstos ángeles verdes!

  2. I have stopped a few times to assist Mexicans who were broken down on the libre. I called the Green Angels and they arrived in less than 30 minutes. The operators have bi-lingual speakers to help. Sometimes if the mechanic gets lost they will call back to your cell. So if you help someone be sure to give the dispatcher the cel number of the person who has broken down. The mechanics sometimes speak Spanglish. YMMV

  3. Good article. I am a Canadian living part time is La Paz,BCS
    I have had the Green Angels help me when I had transmission trouble.Good..friendly..reliable service
    Don’t forget to offer a propina (Tip)($15-20).They appreciate it and you’ve shared some good will

  4. I live in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. A tourist destination. Do you know if they service this area?

  5. 15-20 dollars or pesos?

  6. Very good to know, Paul. I was under the impression they only helped if you were on one of the toll roads.

  7. Thank you! This is good information to have but you don’t think about it until you need it.

  8. Having stopped to orientate myself while in the Creel/Divisadero area, 5 minutes hadn’t gone by before the Green Angles stopped and asked if I needed assistance.

    I didn’t know how to contact them if I were in need of there help ….thanks for sharing.

  9. Buen artículo. A mi me asistieron una vez, y de verdad son personas que ayudan desinteresadamente.

  10. I love your blogs! Thank you for all the great information.

  11. You continue to post really relevant articles…Many Thanks

  12. Great information, Paul. Do you know the dialing sequence when calling from Mexico with a US phone number?

    Thanks

    • We were on Mexico Route 15 and thought we could make it from Mazatlan to Tepic, but it got later and later and we’d had a full day of driving. Just past a toll booth we asked a Green Angel for help finding a place to stay, and he said follow me! He drove us right into a hotel parking lot in Rosario, and was gone with a wave before we could even say thanks!

  13. It should work just dialong 078.

  14. Ethel Merts aka Fran Clark | February 23, 2019 at 1:53 pm |

    Wow!! What a service and you don’t even need to pay extra for the service on car insurance. I am impressed! Now what about giving the ‘Angels’ a tip? Is that allowed?

    • People tell me that it is common to tip them but I haven’t been able to confirm that with a reputable source.

  15. Lauana Lei (writer and pen name for more than 20 years) aks Jan Lauana Leist | February 23, 2019 at 4:51 pm |

    Wondered if you received my request from several days ago……maybe did not receive it or maybe have
    many to answer…..just wanted to be sure you did get it.
    I have heard that if your car in Mexico (registered in Mexico legally from USA) is more than 10 years old,
    it does not need to be registered any longer. Is that valid?? Have you heard of that?

    Thanks

    • Hi Lauana,

      We do get a lot of emails and it’s almost impossible to respond to them all in a timely manner.

      To answer your question, vehicles that are older than 10 years old still have to have a current registration in Mexico. If some people are under the mistaken impression that they don’t have to, it likely comes from a misunderstanding of the vehicle tax called a tenencia.

      The tenencia is a vehicle tax that was created way back in 1962 to raise money to fund the 1968 Olympic Games. Once the games were over, however, the tax remained. In 1981, the tax rules concerning the tenencia changed and it was determined that it would not be applied to vehicles older than 10 years.

      There’s that 10 year thing. And since the tenencia is typically paid as part of the annual vehicle registration process, perhaps some people may believe it was no longer necessary to register a vehicle after 10 years — which is absolutely not true. If it was, you would see old cars without license plates rolling around all the time.

      In Quintana Roo, the tenencia tax has been waived each year for several years, meaning no one pays it; however, there are still some local fees associated with getting a new tarjeta de circulación (registration card) and license plates (every three years). These must be paid by March 31 each year for EVERY vehicle operated on the roadways, including ones that are older than 10 years.

  16. EXCELLENT! I just added it to my contacts. THANK YOU! BTW, I saw you and Linda the day I pulled in. You looked like you were just coming back from the beach, or maybe the pool.. I’m a stalker. 😉 Actually I’m your new neighbor, thanks to your blog.. 🙂 Thank you AGAIN! I’m sure we’ll meet sometime.

  17. Excellent site Thank You . Never trusted going to east coast of Mexico . Fell secure on the west coast . Wondering if there are places to go on east coast that gives us that warm and friendly feeling . Would like to your opinion .
    Cheers

  18. I learn something new every time I visit here. Thanks Paul!

  19. Linda Blasko | March 1, 2019 at 3:23 pm |

    Just wondering would the numbers you gave also work on a US cell phone? Would there be some other numbers required as well?

  20. Last summer I visited Cancun with my brother and sister-in-law, we decided that taking uber would be a good option, for the same reason we did not resort to any other method of transportation previously, however I tell you that it will be much more difficult to take a taxi in the city, besides there were no Uber services and most of the places we wanted to visit were in the Riviera Maya. so taking taxis was very uneconomical.
    It took us a day to realize that what we really needed was to rent a car in Cancun, then we contacted City car rental, on the way we had no inconvenience, however it is very likely that if you do not have insurance you have to resort to the red cross and green angels, I hope my comment was quite helpful for you!

  21. Last summer I visited Cancun with my brother and sister-in-law, we decided that taking uber would be a good option, for the same reason we did not resort to any other method of transportation previously, however I tell you that it will be much more difficult to take a taxi in the city, besides there were no Uber services and most of the places we wanted to visit were in the Riviera Maya. so taking taxis was very uneconomical.
    It took us a day to realize that what we really needed was to rent a car in Cancun, then we contacted City car rental, on the way we had no inconvenience, however it is very likely that if you do not have insurance you have to resort to the red cross and green angels, I hope you will be quite helpful my comment.

  22. Bob & Hallie | March 11, 2019 at 12:50 am |

    It is a wonderful service, but it is important to know that is not available if you are stranded or break down off of a main highway.

Comments are closed.