20 Important Things to Know Before Visiting Mexico
Before travelling to Mexico, it’s important that you spend time getting to know the country first.
This article aims to help you prepare for a dream trip to Mexico with some essential things you should know before departing.
Firstly, there are so many reasons why you should visit Mexico is famous for producing one of the world’s best margaritas, beers, and tequilas. Aside from these drinks, soap operas, and Día de Los Muertos were also known to have originated from Mexico.
If you want to authentically experience all of these things, schedule your trip to Mexico soon. With the number of attractions this country has to offer, Mexico surely won’t disappoint.
Here are some helpful and useful things you need to know before you visit Mexico:
1. Best Time to Visit Mexico
Mexico has a warm climate all year round and there isn't a perfect time to book a trip. May and June are generally the hottest months so avoid this time if you are not a big fan of the heat.
One of the most popular periods to visit Mexico is from December to April, which is dry season with hardly any rain. December to February is also though the coldest time of the year to visit, but by cold, temperatures still reach averages of 28℃.
2. Mexico is Safer Than You Think
If you have watched Narcos on Netflix, or seen Mexico in the news, the chances are you have an image that this country is a lawless places to visit.
Although Mexico does have huge problems with drugs, gang violence and corruption, the chances of encountering any issues are slim especially if you avoid certain areas where touirsts wouldn't normally go anyway.
Contrary to popular belief, Mexico isn’t a country full of violence and crime and the government in this country has poured in resources and money to ensure tourists feel safe.
Tourism is huge for the local economy and the government invests heavily to avoid any negative publicity. It is not uncommon in places like Cancun and Mexico City to see armed guards.
3. Make Sure You’re Insured
While Mexico is safer than you probably think, it is recommended to get travel insurance just to give you peace of mind and to be covered incase of any emergencies. We recommend buying travel insurance with a company like World Nomads who offer comprehensive cover.
4. Book Flights in Advance for the Best Deals
Flights to Mexico aren't the cheapest depending on where you are departing from and you will need to make a booking well in advance of your departure date to get the best deals.
These airlines offer flights to Mexico direct from United Kingdom:
- Aeromexico, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, TUI
Other airlines flying to Mexico from international destinations include:
- American Airlines, Air Canada, Air Transat, Delta, WestJet, LATAM, United, Avianca, Hainan Airlines, KLM, Air Europa, Air New Zealand, Iberia, Alitalia, China Southern, Air France, eurowings, Lufthansa and SWISS
If you are looking to buy flights to Mexico, we recommend Skyscanner.
5. When You Enter Mexico You’ll Get a Paper Slip – Don’t Lose It!
When you arrive in Mexico an immigration officer will check your passport and give you an immigration form which is on separate piece of paper. Make sure you don't lose this because you’ll be asked for it when you leave the country. If you do lose it, you risk a fine.
6. Mexico is Huge
Mexico has an area of 1,972,550 sq km (761,606 sq mi) with a population of over 125 million people!
7. There is More to Mexico Than Cancun
Cancun is one of the most well known destinations in Mexico due to the beaches and resorts.
Staying in Cancun offers pretty much a luxury experience in a safe environment but staying in an expensive hotel that’s far from the real Mexico doesn't really allow you to see or get a feel for the country.
Mexico is famous for its beaches and temples, and venturing outside of Cancun will give you a great chance to see the country and experience local traditions, history and cuisines.
So, for an upcoming trip to Mexico, check out more locations and don't just play it safe by only staying in Cancun. Or even if you stay in Cancun, make sure you research day trips and experiences for example visiting Tulum.
8. Where to Go
If you have a few weeks or more available you will be able to experience some of the highlights of the country. You’ll be able to experience and enjoy Mexico better if you don’t schedule yourself too tightly.
These are some of the best destinations and tourist attractions to add to your Mexico itinerary:
Cancún, Mexico City, Chichén Itzá, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Mérida, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Oaxaca, San Juan Teotihuacán, Acapulco, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Isla Holbox, Guadalajara, San Miguel de Cozumel, Uxmal, Akumal, Puebla, Mazatlán, La Paz, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Puerto Morelos and Valladolid.
More places to consider if you have a flexible schedule include: Zona Arqueológica Palenque, San José del Cabo, Ensenada, Tijuana, Sayulita, Puerto Escondido, Ixtapa, Campeche, Bacalar, Santiago de Querétaro, Loreto, Monterrey, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Nuevo Vallarta, Zihuatanejo, Todos Santos, Chetumal, Punta Mita, San Cristobal de las Casas, Cuernavaca, Taxco and Heroica Veracruz.
9. Mexico City is Really Underrated
When you think of highly rated cities around the world, the chances are Mexico City doesn't feature. But this this is one of the most up and coming cities in the world with food, history, culture, shops and amazing tourist destinations.
Mexico City centre is also safe to wander around for international tourists. Hotels are affordable and most are very modern with fantastic facilities.
10. Accommodation for All Budgets
There are so many different types of accommodation in Mexico for all types of travellers. If you plan to go backpacking on a budget there are lots of cheap hostels and guest houses. For more comfort and privacy, hotels offer great value. Or if you want an extra level of luxury or just treat yourself there are so many world class all-inclusive resorts throughout the country.
The local curreny in Mexico is the Mexican Peso. US dollars are accepted in some places too. We recommend exchanging money before departing to get the best rates.
12. Getting Around Mexico
If you're planning a short break to Mexico the chances are you will stay in a hotel or resort and day trips and organised tours of Mexico can be arranged on arrival.
If you plan on being a bit more adventurous and would like to see more of Mexico, then you need to know getting around Mexico can be a challenge, especially if you don't have a good level of Spanish.
Options include public bus, private bus, plane or even driving yourself. Another option which is the most hassle free is to book a overland tour which is the easiest and safest option.
13. Mexican People Are Very Friendly
Mexicans are also some of the friendliest and most welcoming people on the planet, expect warmth and good hospitality.
If you don't know any Spanish, we recommend you learn at least basic words and phrases before arriving to make communication easier and the whole experience of travelling here even better.
Local people will likely meet you with smiles rather than any malice and will be impressed if you can speak a little bit of the local language. If you have enough time, you might want to find Spanish schools in Mexico and book a language class to combine experiences.
14. The Food is Delicious
Mexico is one of the best destinations in the world when it comes to food and throughout the country you can find amazing places to eat from small roadside trucks to world class restaurants.
Don't leave Mexico without trying these specialities:
- Tacos al pastor
- Chiles en nogada
15. Don’t Drink From The Tap
Unfortunately tap water in Mexico isn't the cleanest or healthiest, so although it isn't environmentally friendly we recommend buying bottled water to avoid any stomach problems.
16. Mexicans Love Football
Football in the number one sport in Mexico, be sure to try to watch a local game to experience the passion for yourself.
17. Mexicans Label Their Restroom Doors Differently
Regardless of where you’re planning to visit in Mexico, you’ll need to use public restrooms.
However, before you enter any door in public restrooms, pay attention to the labels on the doors first. In Mexico, restrooms marked with a letter “M” doesn’t mean that it’s for males. The letter “M” in the door means “Mujeres,” which is a Spanish term for women.
For men, make sure to use restrooms that are labeled with either letter “H, ” which means hombre, and “C,” which means Caballeros. Using restrooms with the letter “M” on the door is one of the most common mistakes English-speaking men commit when they’re in Mexico.
18. Mexico is Great Value for Money
Whether you want to travel indepedently, or go on an organised Mexico backpacking adventure, your money will go a long way especially if you are arriving from the Australia, the USA, Canada or Europe.
WiFi is available in most hotels, hostels, shopping centres, restaurants but to avoid high roaming fees we recommend getting an eSim for Mexico.
20. Why Not See More Countries
If you have have more time and love to travel, lots of tours of Central America start in Mexico and travel south taking in other countries in the region like Guatemala, Belize and Costa Rica.
Now that you know more about Mexico, you can invite your friends or family and book a ticket for your flight. List down all of the attractions you want to visit and prepare an appropriate budget for it. It’ll be easier to enjoy a trip to Mexico if you know what to expect and are prepared, and hopefully our tips will help you to plan your break.