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Apr 07

Planning To Travel To Mexico? Here Are Some Important Things To Know

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Mexico is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, and for good reason. Some countries have specific attractions or experiences that capture the attention of even the most well-known celebrities, and Mexico has its share of places like that. When the most popular celebrity couple at that time, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, set up home there, they helped draw global attention to the country. Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta were among most popular destinations in the 1960s and 70s. Today, Tulum and Punta Cana are Mexico’s most popular spots that provide a perfect balance of privacy and luxury.

Because of its proximity to the United States, unplanned and spur-of-the-moment trips to Mexico were easy to do pre-pandemic; and you didn’t have to be a celebrity to do that. In fact, because you could find great deals on accommodation and food, even with an average salary, you could spend an exciting holiday in some parts of Mexico. However, as we all know, travel bans and lockdown restrictions have been enforced since 2020, so you can’t be as spontaneous as you used to be. But, you can still get to Mexico if you follow both the country’s and your homeland’s travel guidelines. In addition to that, there is some other information that you should keep in mind when planning your remarkable trip to Mexico. Here are some of the most important considerations you need to take into account.


Official Documents

As an American citizen arriving from the US, you do not need a visa. Many EU countries also don’t require a visa. If you are a native of any of these countries, you have the right to stay in Mexico for a total of 180 days (6 months) – this is called an FMM, which is a visitor’s visa. Overstaying the 180 days allowance will lead to heavy fines. If you want to extend your stay, you would have to leave the country before the six-month period, then come back; even if it’s the next day. However, you should understand that if you do this once, it’s no big deal. But, if authorities see that you have been doing this frequently, don’t be surprised if they question why you are revisiting this often. The only other way to stay longer is to apply for a resident visa. Applying for one isn’t as hard as it might be in many other countries. Usually, if you prove that you have a certain amount of money or any sort of stable income, your application will have a high chance of approval. 

Upon entering Mexico, you must fill out a customs and immigration request, which is then stamped, authorizing your entrance into the country. This form has two parts, both of which must be completed. When you enter the country, the top part will be filled by immigration officials and you’re responsible for filling the second part. Keep the form with you as you will have to submit it when leaving the country. If you lose it, you can replace it, but why waste time on time-consuming paperwork, when you can simply keep your documents in a safe place?


You Might Want to Avoid Tap Water

Tap water is different in every country. You might drink the tap water in your area and never suffer any health problems, but that may not always be the case. It’s best to avoid taking any chances; you could just make an allowance for bottled water in your budget. While authorities will tell you the tap water is safe to drink, you never really know what kinds of containers and tanks water is stored in, or how often are they cleaned.


Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in the United States as an excuse to drink margaritas. However, in Mexico, it is a celebration of the Mexican army’s victory over Napoleon’s troops on May 5, 1862. Every year, that day is commemorated by a parade. On September 16, Mexico’s Independence Day, the real celebrations begin, and real celebrations mean great food!

Mexican cuisine has a lot more to offer than tacos, beans, enchiladas, and other internationally famous dishes. For instance, Mole is a traditional, authentic dish served in Cinco de Mayo. While its English translation, mole, isn’t anyone’s idea of deliciousness, it is derived from the Nahuatl word “molli,” which means sauce or concoction. Mole is a Mexican sauce made from a combination of dried chilies, spices, fruits, and seasonings. It has a rich, layered taste that comes from the unique blend of the ingredients. 

To experience the authentic dishes of Mexico, you might want to give street food carts a try. Food carts decorate many streets in Mexico, so choose one that attracts large crowds because this usually means that cart serves authentic Mexican dishes. However, keep in mind that your definition of spicy might be different from theirs, so always go for mild sauces until you figure out your tolerance level. 


Travel Insurance

Most people don’t give too much thought to travel insurance. If any unforeseen emergency occurs when you’re on vacation, travel insurance can shield you from substantial expenses and medical bills. Nobody wants to worry about injuries or unfortunate events while on vacation, but you should always expect the unexpected when you’re traveling to an unfamiliar destination. The right insurance will save the day and your vacation! Like many other countries, Mexico does not require insurance of visitors, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth considering. Think about what would happen if you or a member of your family was hurt or fell ill during your vacation? Medical care in a foreign country can be quite costly.

You can visit a doctor if you have enough money, but if you don’t, you’ll have to go to a public hospital. Many public healthcare services across Mexico lack fundamental facilities, which is why travel insurance is well worth it. Accidents and illnesses can happen anywhere, and they are always more difficult to deal with when you are away from your home, which is all the more reason why you should take travel insurance seriously.


Don’t Stick to One Area

Tourists tend to stick to the beach resort they’re staying in. While Mexico is rich in magnificent beaches, it has so many other attractions that are worth visiting, from beautiful countrysides and mountains to historical sites and markets galore. They are spread out throughout most of the country, and you’d be missing out if you stay glued to the chaise longue on the beach. For an enriching and authentic experience, visit areas that might be less popular but are just as enchanting as the spots Mexico is known for.   


It’s Not Always That Hot

Anytime we think of Mexico, we think of Cancun. While the crystal clear water and warm, golden sand are enough reasons to get your feet on Mexican grounds, Mexico’s weather is quite diverse. Some areas get very cold and others experience heavy rainfall, especially between June and September.

From late September, the climate in Mexico starts to change as temperatures at higher altitudes begin to drop. After sunset and in the early hours of the morning, towns and cities at higher elevations will feel quite nippy, if not cold, by mid-to-late December. Between late November and early February, temperatures in Mexico City’s valley, which is located at an elevation of about 7,300 feet above sea level, are usually cool during the day and a little cold at night. Los Cabos and Baja California Sur,, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, Manzanillo, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, Acapulco, Cancún and the Riviera Maya, Huatulco, Mérida and the Yucatán peninsula all get very hot during the summer but are comfortably warm during the colder seasons.  


Have Change Ready

Mexico’s official currency is the Peso. While you can use your debit or credit card in many places, traditional markets often don’t have a card reader ready, and you would be expected to pay in cash. You would probably also need to make allowances for tips, though tipping is optional in most countries. One of the cheapest times to visit Mexico is between early January and early March. The absolute cheapest time of the year is between mid to late September. 

To give you a rough estimate of the average travel cost, it costs around $864-$1,809 for a solo traveler; $1,422-$3,103 for a couple; and $2,850-$6,044 for a family of four to visit Mexico. These prices would include flight, lodging, and sightseeing, but of course, it will vary from one agency to the other, so make sure you compare your options before booking any reservations to get a good deal.

From magic beaches to ancient ruins, some of which are part of UNESCO’s Top World Heritage Sites, Mexico is one of those places that has something for everyone. It’s no wonder why Mexico is so famous; not only will you appreciate its colorful landscapes, charm, and friendly people, but and you will also fall in love with the cultural diversity of this marvelous country.  


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