Mexico is located in North America and is one of the popular beach destinations in the world. Known for its white sand, turquoise waters, pleasant and warm weather, Mayan architecture, amazing cuisine – Mexico is quite a holiday spot. Mexico is ranked as the 7th major destination for foreign visitors, according to the World Trade Organization. So if you are planning a trip to Mexico, read this helpful guide, “Things to know before your Trip to Mexico”
Mexico’s extensive coastlines of more than 10,000 km include the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Its world-class destinations include Tulum, Cancun, Cozumel, Los Cabos and Mazatlan. Its capital – Mexico city – is known for parks, Aztec ruins, colonial architecture, museums, to nightlife and shopping.
Things to know before your Mexico Trip
Visa : Mexican warmth can be felt in their visa granting process. They are pretty generous when it comes to entering their country. Mexico exempts visa to 65 countries (this includes citizens of USA, UK and Canada & Canadian Permanent Residents). Tourists and business visitors can stay in Mexico for up to 180 days (unlike 90 days for Europe for US/Canadian passport holders). Visitors in transit can stay for up to 30 days.
The Electronic Authorization System is an online system, which allows citizens of the eligible countries travelling by air to obtain an electronic authorization to travel to Mexico for transit, tourism or business purposes without a consular visa. It is valid for 30 days and a single entry. (Includes Morocco, Ukraine, Turkey)
Currency: National currency of Mexico is Mexican Pesos. US Dollars is widely accepted as well in resorts, tour agencies, etc. ATM machines are available in most locations. Credit cards accepted in stores, hotels, bars and restaurants.
Conversion: 1 USD = 20 Pesos (approx)
Carry loose change (ranging 1 to 10 USD) to tip porters, servers, tour guides. A little goes a long way.
Accommodation: All-inclusive stays are most popular (a typical 7 night stay with return flights is 1100 USD per person, double occupancy), airBnB is popular too.
All Inclusive versus Airbnb
You can live in a villa for $30 USD a night or get an amazing place by a beach. Airbnb has it all.
But I think, there is a beauty in staying in an all-inclusive. In my experience, in an all-inclusive (even 3 stars in Mexico)they treat you like royalty. Food, access to the pool anytime or the beach, security and the easy pick-up for tours ~ it can save you money and the experience is different if you always take bed and breakfast or 3-star hotels elsewhere in the world. Try an an-inclusive once, if you visit Mexico. (A typical all-inclusive, 3-star starts at 100 USD a night, double occupancy. Could be lower in off season or when clubbed with an airlines ticket)
Read my review on the Gran Porto Resort in Playa del Carmen, where we stayed in
Health & Safety: Currently, there is a travel advisory issued by the US government for 11 Mexican cities (2018). In my opinion, make yourself aware of these warnings, but as long as you stay in a resort or a known airbnb and avoid unknown areas you are fine. We were in Mexico post hurricane and after the earthquakes in Mexico City. Tourism definitely helps this country, so prepare yourself with all information, but don’t cancel travel plans due to a news item.
As always, be aware of your surroundings, adhere to local safety instructions in case of emergencies. More on Safety in Mexico
Health-wise, in the recent years there has been warnings issued with regards to Zika virus (currently listed at alert level 2 which means that travelers should practice enhanced mosquito-bite precautions, particularly at-risk groups like pregnant women or couples planning a pregnancy) and contaminated liquor leading to serious illness and/or death in some cases. Zika virus alert is under level in most resort towns in Mexico.
Best time to Travel: Mexico is a huge country and its weather varies by region. These are general weather conditions :
- December – April – Best time to visit, little to no rain. Perfect beach weather
- May -October – Hurricane season, lots of rain, also very hot
Read about Backpacking in Mexico – an Itinerary
What to carry: Of course, being a beach destination – carry swim-wears, light cotton clothes, slippers and comfortable clothes when going out for tours, dressy clothing/ heels for night-outs.
In your toiletry bag, carry sunscreen lotions, mosquito repellent, dry shampoo, light moisturizer
Carry an umbrella for sun-protection and go with an open mind & go with the flow!
Planning to visit a cenote and dive – read this guide!
Learn a Few Phrases in Spanish
Mexicans speak Spanish and you will find it useful to learn a few words/phrases to communicate with them. In resort areas you’ll find most people speak some English, but you might encounter people in certain areas with no English.
Also it leaves a good impression, when you can say Hola! (hello) in the morning at the breakfast pool or Gracias (thank you) to the helpful porter.
Mexico, is an amazing country to visit and unwind! Hope you have a great time <3
Read about Mexico Experience from another traveler.
Visiting Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya? Read this itinerary or have a layover in Mexico City, read this or read about ordering food in Mexico experience or turtles in Akumal to add to your Mexico trip.
Cruising to Mexico? Read this post
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