Travel Advisory for Mexico
To enjoy traveling to Mexico, you need to have handy accurate information so you can freely enjoy your experience through this exotic and exciting North American country.
Top Rated Activities
For your Mexico trip
Before and during your trip
practical travel information
The capital, Mexico City, is famous for its museums, architectural works, and its breathtaking tourist attractions, such as the Plaza del Zócalo. Representative of Latin culture, this city is known for the picturesque friendliness of its inhabitants and its exquisite cuisine. When traveling to this country, you should not miss a tour of the capital city, which houses a variety of tourist attractions for all tastes.
The official language is Spanish. The indigenous people often speak their own language, such as Maya, Mixtecs and Zapotecs. In remote areas it may happen that the population does not speak English. English is widely spoken in tourist areas. It is advisable to learn a few words of Spanish in order for you to communicate with the locals easier.
GMT – 6
The flag of Mexico is a vertical, tri-color green, white, and red flag with the national coat of arms in the center of the white stripe.
Your passport should be valid for at least six months after departure from Mexico. Please note that passport requirements can change in a short notice. Therefore we advise you to check the passport requirements with the embassy or consulate of your country.
You are required to fill in a visa form upon arrival in Mexico. You will receive a copy of this visa which you have to hand in when leaving Mexico. Please note that visa requirements can change in a short notice. Therefore we advise you to check the visa requirements with the embassy or consulate of your country.
Upon departure from Mexico you are required to pay a departure tax of around 20 dollars per person.
Mexican Peso (MXN)
It is possible to withdraw money in most cities in Mexico. Stickers on the ATM’s show which cards exactly you can use. Credit cards are accepted in the larger hotels and restaurants. At the supermarkets, hotels and car rentals it has become more common to pay by credit card.
The Mexican cuisine is a mixture of Spanish and Indigenous influences. Corn products, such as tortillas, beans and peppers are important ingredients for a Mexican dish. The famous drink of Mexico is Tequila (a liquor made from the juice of agave).
There are no vaccinations required to enter Mexico. However, you are being advised to take precautions against hepatitis A, typhus, diphtheria, tetanus and polio. Also precautions against malaria are also advised. Furthermore, you are being advised to discuss your travel plans with a health-care provider to determine which vaccination you might need.
While traveling in Mexico, you are being advised to avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes. It is advisable to only drink bottled or boiled water. Also try to avoid street food and always wash your hands before eating.
The electricity current is 127 volts, 60Hz. Mexico generally accepts the following plug:
➢ Flat blade plug
The climate varies by region and altitude. The northern steppes and deserts have a desert climate and the Mexican plateau and around Mexico city a mountain climate with large temperature differences. The coastal regions have a tropical climate with little temperature differences. In the rainy season it is warmer and the humidity high. The rain season starts approximately in June until October.
Mexico has a wonderful climate year round making it a great travel destination. Holidays and celebrations in Mexico are spectacular to be a part of, so traveling around a holiday, such as Day of the Death might be of interest to you.
Many people travel throughout Mexico safely daily. It is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times when traveling anywhere. It is best to keep a limited amount of money and personal items on you, as robberies do occur in all parts of the world. Many people prefer to use crossbody purses or waist bags for more security. Keep valuables, including your passport, locked up in your hotel room, when they are not needed. You can carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times for identification. For extra peace of mind, consider using tour guides and traveling during the day.
top rated activities
Mexico has many diverse areas to visit in each region. You can spend time relaxing on the beautiful beaches or visit the different Mayan ruins. Take in the beauty of the ancient architecture and artifacts at museums and cathedrals. It is advisable to take a guided tour of each site you visit. In that way you will have the best experience and information of every place.
The Mexico Caribbean beaches like Cancun or Playa del Carmen, and its pacific beaches like Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and Ixtapa, Its beautiful islands like Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, and the Veracruz Coral Reef System constitute an extensive variety of tourist destinations you may visit. There is something for everyone in Mexico.
The country has a variety of very famous museums that visitors cannot miss on their trip to Mexico. Each of them has different collections of valuable pieces that can be seen and admired. The antiquity and representation of human culture, art, and science, is striking.
The architectural constructions of the Mexican museums are very amazing also with different representative styles in each of the states of the country. Museums are renowned outside its borders. As they house a number of collections of precious objects that are many centuries old and a good option to visit. Some of the most famous:
› National Museum of Anthropology:
This museum contains the largest collection of ancient art of the world. The museum has 23 permanent exhibitions. Archaeology exhibits are located on the ground floor. Ethnographic exhibits about present day indigenous groups in Mexico are on the upper level. Several of the exhibits have re-creations of archeological scenes. Like murals in the
‘Teotihuacan’ section and tombs in the ‘Oaxaca’ and Mayan rooms.
You will have the chance to see the pieces in the context in which they were found. The museum is big and it has an extensive collection. You want to set aside enough time to do it justice. This is undoubtedly within the three best anthropological museums in the world.
› Frida Kahlo Museum:
It is known as the Blue House. It is located in Mexico City, and it is one of the most renowned since it was the home of the artist of the same name Frida Kahlo (2007-1954). She was a painter known for her self-portrait works which reflected issues of gender, race and classism of his time. In the museum, you can admire her magnificent works, the places that could be for her workshops and where the artist lived.
› Palacio de Bellas Artes:
The building is an impressive architectural work dating from 1904. It is built on the site of the old National Theater of Mexico. It is well-known for its beautiful and impressive murals.
› Castillo de Chapultepec:
Its construction dates from the 17th century. It houses twenty different rooms of the history of Mexico, and is without a doubt a jewel of history.
Guided tours in the cities of Mexico are an excellent option to know the attractions of each state, its architectural buildings, squares, parks and markets. Enjoy a nice walk, visit the most popular places in Mexico and taste its typical gastronomy. The country is rich in colonial cities. Here is a glimpse of a city tour of the capital, Mexico City:
› El Zocalo:
It is located in the heart of Mexico City, and it is called Constitution square. But is better known by the inhabitants as ‘El Zócalo’. It is a place for the political and historical events of the city, and is representative of the independence of Mexico. Other events are religious and establish the very marked spirituality of Mexicans. In its surroundings, admire very beautiful architectural constructions. Such as the Presidential Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral, shopping centers and popular stores.
› Garibaldi Square:
Its history dates back to the 17th century when it was still a popular marketplace sales plaza. It is representative of the Mexican revolution, and it is located in the northern part of Mexico City. The Square is famous for its activities with mariachis and folk dance groups in picturesque costumes. Tourists love to enjoy the show while tasting typical dishes.
Get a close encounter with local traditions
Mexico is a country with very marked traditions. Its costumes, crafts, and gastronomy have a lot to do with its history and its spiritual beliefs. Interact with the locals throughout every single location. Here is an example of their culture:
› Guadalupe shrine:
As Mexico is an eminently Catholic country, the Virgin of Guadalupe is venerated and the basilica is important to many believers in the country and throughout America. It is the largest Catholic pilgrimage center in honor of the Virgin. The basilica is famous for its impressive architecture and history. Legend has it that in the 15th century, a believer named Juan Diego prayed to the virgin and the image of this appeared in the cloak of the believer. So a bishop, upon hearing the incredible story and the miracle that happened, ordered to build this Catholic sanctuary.
The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is December 12. There are many celebrations for this reason in Mexico City. This is the time that it is most recommended to visit the basilica due to the religious ceremonies and pilgrims’ tour of Mexico City. Ten million people, between pilgrims and tourists, visit the basilica each year.
The Mayan World
The Mexican territory is home to many archaeological sites that keep a magical heritage of the ancient Mayan civilization. When you take a trip to this country, it is essential for you to know the ancient Mayan world. In several states, there are different Mayan cities with pyramids, ruins and hieroglyphics representative of the history of much more than two millennia ago. These are just two samples of the experiences you will have:
› Maya City Edzna:
It is located fifty-two kilometers from the state of Campeche on the Yucatan Peninsula. The archaeological site has many visitors to see its great pyramids, the temple of Mascarnones, the temple of five floors, the great Acropolis and many other sites. The squares that the Mayans used for their ball game can also be seen here.
The structures are from the 400 century BC. The surface area of this Mayan city is approximately 25 square kilometers. It contains more than six thousand two hundred different types of structures, so it takes a full day to make the journey.
› Equinox at Chichen Itza:
Witnessing the equinox in a Mayan city is a unique experience! The equinox occurs when, due to the movement of the sun, the duration of the day and night is the same throughout the world. The autumn equinox (September 22 and 23) and the spring equinox (March 20 and 21) are the two opportunities when visitors from all over the world come to witness this incredible phenomenon.
For approximately forty-five minutes, the afternoon sun creates an illusion of a feathered serpent in the biggest pyramid. This serpent symbolized the union of the earth and the underworld to the ancient Maya. The serpent simulates descending down from the stairs of the pyramid. It is an astronomical spectacle without equal. During the visit and before the equinox, you can see folk groups like to wear white to attract good vibes.
If you are looking for recreational and relaxation activities in this country, there are many of them. Each state offers different activities for visitors in its picturesque states. These are two samples of these types of activities:
› Xochimilco canals:
People considered the canals the Mexican Venice. Explore the canal by boat. The Mexican folk music “Mariachis” accompanies the trip. Vendors approach the canoes selling delicious local dishes. Enjoy the landscape, the music and the traditional Mexican food. If you are in Mexico City, this is one of the tours that cannot be missed. The canals are located twenty four kilometers from Mexico City.
› Guadalajara Tequila tours:
Tequila is probably the most traditional drink that identifies Mexico and its festivals. It is obtained from the fermentation and distillation of the maguey. The tequila tours in Guadalajara are famous and a lot of fun. Some tours include a train ride to the city of Tequila for a tour of the distilleries, buffet with margaritas, mariachis and folkloric ballet. Tours can be planned for a full weekend or less. The city of Tequila is located sixty seven kilometers from the city of Guadalajara in Jalisco state, the largest producer of this Mexican drink.
For Natural Lovers
For those who love nature, Mexico offers extensive biodiversity throughout its territory. The magical natural landscapes allow many hiking activities.
› Humpback Whale Watching in Cabo San Lucas:
Visitors take the tour, in inflatable boats, through the waters of the cape to observe the humpback whales in close proximity. Upon reaching the open sea, you can see the stunts, jumps and turns of the whales, which is a delight for tourists. Studies have found that whale stunts and the movement of their fins is a form of communication between them. Whales can grow to fourteen meters in height and can weigh forty tons. Cabo San Lucas is located to the south of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico. A professional guided tour is necessary.
› Ría Celestún Biosphere Reserve:
Visitors here can take a boat tour of the reserve to enjoy bird watching. Located in the north of the Yucatan peninsula, it is a natural reserve of ecosystems. There are many migratory birds, hosting both forest and aquatic birds. You will find hummingbirds, woodpeckers, herons and ducks. The most preferred bird for visitors is the pink flamingo for its color and beauty.
Swimming in Secret Natural Pools – Cenotes
The Cenotes are natural freshwater ponds that are supplied by an underground river. Erosion of the earth created the cenotes. Inside the cenotes, there is a natural pool, that combined with the rock formations, gives its waters turquoise and jade tones, a true natural wonder!
The Yucatan peninsula is famous for its cenotes with approximately one hundred and forty cenotes suitable for visiting tourists to hike, swim, snorkel, cave and dive. There are many Cenotes in Mexico, so here are just two examples of them:
› Gran Cenote:
This is one of the most beautiful cenotes in Mexico. The Cenote is located on the Mayan Riviera of the Yucatan peninsula, specifically in Tulum, Quintana Roo. It is like a beach with shores of different types of vegetation and a jade-colored pool with incredibly crystalline waters. This amazing Cenote is ideal for snorkeling where you can see little fish and turtles at the bottom of its waters with clarity.
› Suytun Cenote:
It is located in an ecological ranch north of the Yucatan Peninsula in the colonial city of Valladolid. The Cenote is underground and a small opening in its ceiling gives it natural lighting. Inside, it has beautiful mineral formations and a five-meter deep natural pool of blue water, making this cenote ideal for relaxing in its waters admiring the beauty of its interior.
White Sandy Beaches
The beaches of Mexico are famous worldwide for being paradisiacal places. Their reputation is preferred by visitors for enjoying a perfect vacation. If you travel to this country, it is mandatory to at least visit one of them, and there are many on the list. It is recommended to look for information about the beaches to plan the trip. A couple of them are mentioned below:
› Mujeres Island:
It is one of the most popular beaches that Mexico offers. A short ferry trip from the port of Juarez in Cancun takes visitors to the island. It is located exactly at the tip of the Yucatan peninsula surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. It has white sand and palm trees. Its waters are warm and crystal clear, and are home to dolphins and turtles, making it ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
If you like diving, there is a coral reef called Manchones in the southern part of the island. It is twelve kilometers long and has a variety of marine life inside combined with the colorful reef. The turtle farm is a sanctuary created for the care of turtles, inspired by the illegal hunting of the species.Visitors can see how the eggs are saved from predators. After they hatch, the small young are laid in a pond and later returned to their marine habitat, The travelers can help free baby turtles into the ocean. To visit the turtle farm you must set aside a guided tour.
It is located in the northeast of the Yucatan peninsula. Tulum is also an ancient Mayan city on the seashore. After the visit of the archaeological sites of Tulum, you can enjoy the attractions and beauty offered by its paradisiacal beaches.
Like many in Mexico, the beaches of Tulum are white sand and very clear waters. There are a variety of hotels, bars and restaurants to make the visit enjoyable. You can take boat tours and bicycle tours. You can also plan a visit to some of its cenotes, since it has several.
The Sian Ka’an Reserve is located thirty minutes from the town of Tulum. It is home to many protected species and very beautiful beaches for kayaking, snorkeling or boat tours.
Swimming with Turtles in Akumal is a remarkable opportunity. This small marine turtle reserve is located twenty kilometers from Tulum. Since the state tries to protect the turtles to the maximum, only a certain number of tourists swim with them. It is an unforgettable experience since they are very beautiful marine beings.
suggested packing list
The territory of Mexico is extensive and has a great variety of landscapes and climates. Consider the variety of climates of Mexico while packing. As well as the weather, consider the places you will visit and the activities you plan during your trip. Both are important hints of what to bring and pack. You will need to be prepared for things like mosquitos, warm and tropical beaches or walking through tropical forest. Check the weather information before you pack. Check Accurate Weather for more information.
Whether you visit a paradisiacal coast, a colonial city, or hike in a mountain, the following list will help you to pack.
-Passport, Visas (if necessary), and your Return Flight
-Your usual medications
-Credit and Debit Card
-Phone and camera
-Cords, Batteries and Chargers (Phone, Ipad, etc)
-Waterproof cases for electronic devices
-Universal Power Adapter
-Comfortable closed toed shoes
-Flip Flops for shower
-Sturdy walking and hiking shoes
-Cap or a hat
-Lightweight Rain Jacket
-Day pack/small backpack
-One sturdy water bottle
-Spanish phrasebook and or dictionary
A good idea to bring:
-Copy of your passport
-Personal sport equipment
-Extra SD Cards
What you should not bring to your Mexico trip
-Expensive Jewelry or watches
-Fancy and Bulky Electronics
Mexico Essential Travel Apps
There are several useful applications you may download to your cellphone to help you during a Mexico travel, we list some below.
1. Google Translate. Good to decipher menus and signs, or to express what you need or want.
2. Uber. It is present in several places throughout the country and it is a good option for transportation.
3. Waze. A navigation software that will give you travel times and route details. It is present in most of the country.
4. Happy Cow. Excellent to help you find local, vegan and vegetarian restaurants.
5. SkyAlert. A disaster warning system, provides updates on storms and volcanic activity.
6. DuoLingo. Excellent to practice new words and Spanish phrases before or during your trip
7. Prey Anti Theft: Will keep your data safe in case of an emergency. It also tracks devices.
Traveling, it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.
5 useful tips
The more you know about its culture, history, economy and politics, the more secure you will feel during your trip.
› Learn some basic phrases in Spanish
Most Mexicans do not speak English. So, it is very useful to prepare yourself. Learn some essential phrases in Spanish. In the tourist destinations and beaches you will certainly find many people who speak at least some English. However, learning some phrases is good to communicate when your interlocutor only speaks Spanish. There are sources where you can learn Spanish on-line like Duolingo. Lonely Planet sells a Latin American Spanish Phrasebook: Lonely Planet
› Make sure of having the right travel insurance
It is certainly very important for your tranquility to have a Travel and Cancellation insurance. We highly recommend avoiding unpleasant surprises in the future and securing your trip by purchasing travel insurance. Make sure it covers unforeseen events like flight cancellations, medical problems, etc. Please take into account that Travel Insurance which covers Cancellation is not included in our tours prices.
› Mexico Vaccines
Consult your doctor in advance to have the information of the vaccines necessary to travel to Mexico. Also, be up to date with your vaccination regimen. Take into account the essential vaccines such as Tetanus and Hepatitis A. Find detailed information at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
› Inform your credit and debit card companies about your travel dates.
Let your credit or debit card providers know that you will be using your cards internationally. Find out about possible additional charges for international use and ways to reduce the foreign fee. Read more information in Credit Cards.
› International health coverage
Check with your health insurance company about its international coverage. If you do not have it, buy an additional or separate clause of limited-term to ensure your trip. Search for more information about it in International Health Insurance.
It is a big world out there. Go explore.
tips for personal safety
The news of theft or violence in this country could make you think twice before traveling. When you hire a travel agency like Mayan Gateway, you will have the advantage of traveling with experts in the area. Firstly, we have the knowledge of the places, their people and culture.
Secondly, guides and drivers know how to avoid places that could be risky. And finally, we will give you the necessary safety tips every step on the way to keep your trip hassle free.
Find below a general guide information for your safety during your trip to Mexico:
Tips for personal safety
1. Mexican food can be spice and heavy, so be wary of what you eat and drink
2. Drink in moderation, especially if you are traveling alone.
3. Try to use always ATMs located in safe locations like inside a hotel or a mall
4. Don’t do public displays of jewelry, money or expensive electronic devices, etc.
5. It is best for your safety not to share your travel itinerary or hotel details.
6. Carry with you only what you will need during the day in a money belt and don’t carry valuable items.
7. Be aware of the people around you, and strange behaviors that may indicate a pickpocket plan
8. Keep your passport safe and have with you a couple of notarized copies of it.
9. Always keep your belongings in sight or close to you when you are out.
To travel Mexico, like with any other new country, you should do general research. Inform yourself about the particularity of their customs and thus avoid making occasional mistakes in an unknown environment. Take a look at this list of the things you should avoid.
Some things you should not do in Mexico
1. Drinking water from the tap. Tap water is not drinkable and can make you sick
2. Underestimate the hot sauce. Even the one who claims not to be ‘so spicy’
3. Miss out on the markets. Traditional food and crafts and the authentic local culture
4. Over showing your valuables. It is better to leave your valuables at home
5. Hire a random taxi. Choose safer means of transport like Uber
6. Criticize Mexican food. Avoid the social faux pas of casually dismissing it.