Mexico is a different country. Its history differs from ours, as does its culture and mentality. As a visitor, it is important to adapt your behavior, but also to be flexible in your expectations. We must therefore be prepared for the fact that even the most well-planned ingredients in our trip to Mexico may be completely different. If we are just set on it, the trip will be fantastic!
Here are some tips for planning:
Passport, visa and customs:
Visas are required for travel to Mexico and are arranged upon entry. On board the flight, you will receive an application form for a free tourist card that is valid for a maximum of 180 days. Check that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the date of return and contains 2 unstamped pages. The passport must not be cracked or broken.
Vaccinations and health:
Before your trip to Mexico, we recommend that you review your basic protection against diphtheria, polio and tetanus. Feel free to consult a doctor or your local health center for advice at least one month before departure. Make sure you have insurance that covers health care in Mexico and what it covers in that case. For example, home transport in the event of a more serious accident / illness can be extremely costly without insurance. You must also not forget to bring your insurance documents with you on your trip to Mexico. Remember to drink a lot in the heat but do not drink the tap water. Be aware that the water you drink is either boiled or bottled. Do not eat peeled fruit from the street stalls. Wash your hands often – especially before meals. The pharmacy sells over-the-counter medicines for “tourist stomach” that you can take with you. Feel free to pack a small set of “first aid” with plasters, headache tablets, etc. Sunscreen, sun hat and mosquito repellent are good to take with you on your trip to Mexico.
Weather and clothing:
The climate in Mexico is very variable and depends mainly on the latitude and altitude of the destination. The Central Plateau, where Mexico City is located, has a dry and temperate climate. The highest mountain peaks are often covered with snow. The low-lying coastal regions, especially in the south, have a hot and humid climate. The warmest and rainiest time is from May to October. You can check daily weather reports at www.cnn.com/weather. Mexico can be found under “America / Caribbean”. Unpack airy clothes, preferably in cotton. Keep in mind that a cotton shirt feels cooler in the heat than a t-shirt that usually sticks to the body. A sun hat protects you from the strong sun. Tennis shoes feel comfortable on archeological visits, but someone prefers sandals in the heat. The shoes should have rubber soles so that you do not slip on stone paving. The attire is very informal, even in the evening. Keep in mind that temperatures drop at night in Mexico City – you may need a warm sweater. Do not forget to put down swimwear!
The temperature of the Caribbean Sea varies between 25 and 28 degrees all year round.
Currency and exchange rate:
The Mexican currency is the Mexican peso, the official abbreviation MXN. The $ symbol is used throughout, which can be confused with the US dollar sign. Most cards, such as Visa, Master Card, American Express and Diner’s Club are accepted. At Forex you have the opportunity to exchange before departure. In Mexico, you exchange USD and Euro for Mexican pesos. Do not bring Swedish currency! It is difficult to change and the price is bad. There are ATMs, where you can withdraw money from your bank card. Usually your bank draws around SEK 35 per withdrawal.
Transport and communications:
The taxi business is regulated by the state and it is cheap to travel by taxi. It is still advisable to ask in advance about the cost of the trip. In Mexico City, operations are specially controlled and all taxis are required by law to have a functioning taximeter. You can ask at the hotel reception how much a certain distance should cost. Most Swedish mobile phones work without problems. But it can be expensive to call. There are many internet cafés where you can read / send e-mails cheaply and read the Swedish newspapers’ websites.
Food and drink:
A trip to Mexico not only means visits to historical monuments, food and drink are also a nice ingredient on your trip. Mexican cuisine has a good gastronomic reputation in the world. A typical Mexican meal usually contains one or more of the following ingredients: tortillas, beans and chili. The food is always tasty, but in some cases can be very strong. Usually there is strong (chili sauce) separately in a bowl on the table. Beware because sometimes the sauce is incredibly strong! The Mexican beer is good. Well-known brands are Corona, Dos Equis XX, Sol and Negra Modelo. Juices squeezed on sun-ripened exotic fruits are refreshing and vitamin-filled. Tequila is also a well-known Mexican drink that you may want to taste in smaller doses.
Shopping and gifts:
In Mexico’s big cities, there are several large modern department stores with a varied selection of luxurious and sophisticated goods. Many famous designers and jewelers have stores in Mexico. There is also a large selection of local handicrafts in silver, onyx, obsidian, wood and ceramics as well as textiles, mainly in cotton and sisal. Leather goods can also be purchased with advantage.
General and mixed:
Local time: Mexico has Swedish time minus 7 hours. When it is 12 o’clock in the day in Sweden, it is only 5 in the morning in Mexico.
Electricity: In Mexico, 110 volts apply. Since we in Europe usually have 220 volts, you must have a transformer for the electrical appliances that can not be switched to 110 volts. In some cases, an adapter is also needed, as the electrical sockets are not the same as in Sweden. In electrical stores you can buy universal adapters and also get advice.
Baggage: It sometimes happens that the checked baggage gets lost. Therefore, pack important medicines with a certificate from your doctor in your hand luggage. The same goes for valuables. Label all your luggage carefully with the luggage tags you receive with the tickets. This is important as these notes are our identification at the airport and at our hotels. It is good to have a proper, lockable suitcase because the bags are not handled very carefully
Language: Throughout Mexico, Spanish is spoken, as well as some Native American languages. English is fluent in the big cities.
Tips: Many salaries in Mexico are based on tips. It is normal to give 10 – 15% in tips when visiting restaurants and taxi journeys.
Travel insurance: Can be purchased through Phoenix. Check what your home insurance or card insurance covers. It is recommended that you have comprehensive health and travel insurance during your trip in Mexico.