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Practical information before you leave

Mexico… Who has never dreamed of going to this wonderful and complex country, with its colonial towns, idyllic beaches, its pyramids, its generous nature, its gastronomy, its fiestas… You will not be disappointed!

But before you put on your sombrero and leave to meet Mexico’s multi-ethnic and friendly people, here are some practical information that will enable you to discover this fascinating country with no unpleasant surprises.

 

Money

Mexico’s currency is the Peso, which symbol looks just like the symbol of the US Dollar; only difference:  the S of the peso is crossed by only one stroke.

Advice: we advise you to bring dollars or euros. Caution, these currencies can only be exchanged, you will not be able to pay with them (except in a few regions like Cancun, but with an exchange rate that will not be beneficial to you).

Regularly exchange your money to Pesos, and therefore anticipate your expenses!

Some prices:

  • 1 beer: 15 to 25 pesos
  • 1 water bottle or soda: 5 to 10 pesos
  • 1 trip in a pesero (or microbus) in Mexico City: 2,5 to 4 pesos depending on the distance
  • 1 site or museum entrance: 38 to 48 pesos (up to 111 pesos for major sites like Chichen Itza or Uxmal). Add an extra 20 to 30 pesos for video cameras.
  • Filling up the gas tank: 250 to 400 pesos depending on the vehicle
  • 1 hour of internet connection: 10 to 20 pesos

Traveler's cheque (preferably in USD) is the safest way to carry money; they can be exchanged at casas de cambio and most banks.

Credit cards: the most common ones are Mastercard, Visa and American Express. Automated teller machine can easily be found in big cities.

Hotels (for 2 persons):

  • Cheap: 17 – 28 USD
  • Affordable: 28 – 45 USD
  • Chic: 45 – 67 USD
  • Luxurious: over 67 USD

Restaurants:

  • Cheap: less than 6 USD
  • Affordable: 6 – 17 USD
  • Chic: 17 – 23 USD

Plane: depends where you land

Tips:

It is customary to leave 10 % of the bill to the waiters in cafés and restaurants. Likewise, it is recommended to leave a tip to luggage carriers (airports and some hotels). If you pay by credit card, do not forget to fill in the box dedicated to the “propina” or to cross it out if you wish to leave the tip in cash. In both cases, do not rely on the waiter to decide on the amount, you could be in for some surprises.

Souvenirs:

A fabulous local handicraft: copies of old objects (taking antiques out of the country is prohibited), musical instruments, ponchos and sombreros, paintings, textiles, gold and silver jewelry, onyx, art books… Mexico is probably one of the few countries in the world where local handicraft has a real interest. Let’s not forget mezcal and tequila!

It is not customary to bargain in Mexico like it can be in some countries of South America or Africa.

 

Health

Before you leave:

Required vaccinations to enter the country: no specific vaccinations are required for international travelers, regardless of where they come from.

Recommended vaccinations:

Systematically:

  • Hepatitis A (for children: when they reach one year of age).
  • For persons who were born before 1945, who have spent their childhood in a developing country or who have had an icterus, it may prove useful to search previously for serous antibodies in order to avoid an unnecessary shot.
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis: to be updated.

For extended stays or high risk stays (precarious hygiene conditions):

  • Typhoid: if the stay is occurring in precarious hygiene conditions (for children: when they reach two years of age).
  • Rabies as a precautionary measure: for extended and isolated stays (for children: as soon as they are old enough to walk).
  • Hepatitis B: for frequent or extended stays (for children: within the first month of life).

For children, the vaccinations included in your country’s immunization/vaccination schedule must also be up to date. In the case of an extended stay, BCG is recommended within the first month of life and measles vaccine is recommended when the child reaches 9 months of age.

It is advised to have all vaccinations completed before leaving.

 

Local living conditions:

Food

Water: drinking tap water is not recommended.

Baby: milk for babies is easy to find. National and international brands are available. It is important to check the origin and quality of the milk.

Major health risks in the country

  • Malaria:

Malaria areas:

  • Below 1000 m:
    • West coast, south of Alamos (Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan, Guerrero, Oaxaca)
    • East coast, south of Tampico (Veracruz, Tabasco)
  • In the Yucatan peninsula:
    • Campeche, Yucatan, Quintana Roo
    • In the south of the state of Chiapas
  • Not in the region of Mexico city

Mosquito nets and mosquito repellents are easy to find.

  • Rabies:

Rabies cases among animals exist in this country. Dogs are the most commonly affected (but every mammals can transmit rabies through a bite, scratch, or licking).

There is an anti-rabies treatment center: 00 [52] (55) 607.40.93 - 796.42.60 - 796.37.70.

  • Aids:
    • No serological screening test for HIV infection is required to enter the country. Except for foreigners “clinically” suspect asking for a residence or work permit.
    • Blood donations are non-remunerated.
    • Hospitals use single-use materials
    • Reliable condoms can be found locally

Other health risks

  • Diarrheal diseases are also very common
  • There are some other health risks with less serious consequences
  • There can be some exceptional health-related events (epidemic…)

 

Telephone, internet and electricity

Telephone:

Public phones work with coins or with cards (tarjetas telefónicas) that can easily be found in the numerous kiosks. You can also find some call centers that have phone booths with which it is possible to call anywhere in the world (less frequent).

Telephone codes:

(Depending on the region you want to call)

  • Long-distance calls (larga distancia):
    • Call a fixed-line number: dial 01 + city code (ex: Merida –> 999) + phone number you wish to reach
    • Call a mobile phone: dial 044 + city code + phone number you wish to reach
  • Short-distance calls:
    • Directly dial the phone number you wish to reach (7 digits)
  • Call Mexico from abroad:
    • Dial 0052 + city code + phone number you wish to reach

Internet:

There are many Internet cafes in Mexico, including in small villages. Most of these Internet cafes are equipped with broadband connections. Price for one hour: about 10 to 20 pesos.

Electricity:

Electric current runs at 110 volts.

 

Visas and insurance

Visas:

Traveling to Mexico is easy, as the citizens from most European countries, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand… do not need a visa to enter the country.

Here you will find the list of countries and territories whose citizens do not need a visa to travel to Mexico: http://www.inm.gob.mx/index.php/page/Paises_No_Visa

All you will need is a passport valid for a minimum period of 6 months. A 180 days tourist visa is issued at the airport in Mexico.

You will also be given an immigration card with your entry date. Be careful not to lose it, you will be asked for it when you leave.

Insurance:

If you pay for your flight with Visa, Mastercard or American Express (to be confirmed by your bank), your coverage includes repatriation insurance for the duration of your stay. You can also subscribe to an additional cancellation and repatriation insurance. A documentary evidence will be asked on arrival.

Mandatory individual coverage:

We mention “mandatory individual coverage” to remind you it is necessary, in case of a problem, however important, to be covered and to be able to rely 24 hours a day and 7 days a week on an organization that can, for example, organize a repatriation.

It is the case for most of our clients, through their comprehensive insurance or credit card.

We recommend that you contact your insurer or bank.

Cancellation insurance:

If you pay for your flight with Visa, Mastercard or American Express (to be confirmed by your bank), your coverage includes repatriation insurance for the duration of your stay.

Regarding our services, paying with a credit card do not allow you to benefit from a cancellation insurance.

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