15 Mexico Travel Tips
Always remember, YOU are the foreigner in Mexico. YOU are a guest in THEIR home.
Some local people in smaller villages may stare at you because they don’t always see foreigners. Just smile and say Hola, Buenos Dias, Buenos Tardes, Buenos Noches, or you can just say Buenas. After all, it would be rude if you did not say Hi.
In many areas of Mexico, the majority of the local people you will encounter only speak Spanish or some other native language. This includes wait staff at restaurants, hotels, taxi drivers, and those who work at the stores. So, learn some simple phrases in Spanish because they love it when you try to speak their language. You can always point, use mime, draw on a piece of paper, or use a language translator app to try to convey what you want to say. Remember, on all our trips, you will have an English/Spanish bilingual host guide to help you out.
Some public bathrooms may not have toilet seats. Don’t question it. Don’t complain about it. It is what it is, so just smile and deal with it. This is not YOUR home, this is THEIRS and that’s just the way it is.
Speaking of bathrooms, bring a small roll of toilet paper in a ziplock bag. In more rural regions there may not be any. However, just in case you forget, your host guide will always have a roll available for your use.
Not all of Mexico is always warm and sunny like you see advertised for their beach resort locations. Most of Mexico is at a higher altitude. For instance, Mexico City is at an elevation of 7,349 feet / 2240 meters. Make sure to check the average temperatures for the region of Mexico you will be visiting. In that way you can pack the appropriate clothes for your comfort.
In the less touristy areas of Mexico, the person serving you at a restaurant will not automatically give you the check toward the end of your meal. It is considered very rude in their culture to even suggest to you that they are hinting that you should leave. So just enjoy your meal and when you are ready to go, get the attention of your server by saying, “La cuenta por favor.” Likewise, many times they will not come up to your table during your meal to ask if you would like more coffee, etc. Again, they don’t want to intrude on your meal and conversations with others in your party. If you do need something, raise your hand to get their attention and they will come over.
Need something? Forgot something at home? There are pharmacies (farmacias) and food stores everywhere. It should be no problem to purchase any food, toiletries, and most over-the-counter medicines.
Note: Your county’s currency will not be accepted in most of the locations on our tours. Your credit card may or may not be accepted. Your best way to pay is in cash with Mexican Pesos.
You can find ATMs in most towns and in all cities throughout Mexico. The most secure ATMs are the ones attached next to a bank.
It is best to always have in your pocket some Mexican coins and small bills. At many of the small shops, they may not have change for a $200 or $500 peso bill.
If you like tacos, you will never go hungry in Mexico. They are served hot-off-the-grill and they are great as a late night snack too. You can also find hotdogs and hamburger stands open late into the night on the streets of most towns.
The towns & cities throughout Mexico can sometime be quite noisy. There are early morning sellers of many kinds of items using loud speakers, beeping their motor scooter horn, shouting out what they have for sale. Also, you may hear roosters crowing and dogs barking. Then add all this to the fact that Mexicans love their music. Be prepared as you may want to dance your way to the bathroom when you get up in the morning.
Ask permission first before taking someone’s photo. If they agree, show them the image after you take it. Kids especially want to see what they look like. If someone says “no” to taking their photo, please respect their privacy. Remember, you are in their home.
During your tour you may see police cars or trucks with their lights flashing as they drive around. That does not signify that they are chasing someone or zooming to a crime scene. Keeping their lights flashing is just a way to show that they are present and patrolling the area. If they were going to a crime scene, they would be sounding their horn.
Always be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for uneven pavement on sidewalks. Tall people should look out for low hanging obstacles and signs when walking down sidewalks. When hiking in the outdoors and you want to take a photo or just look out at the beautiful scenery, STOP, get yourself on level ground, then take that picture or admire the view. The “wilds” of Mexico may not be like going to the local forest preserve or beach near your home. There are not always handrails, smooth paths, lifeguards on duty, and posted warning signs. Always be vigilant. Your Mexico host guide is there to assist you. However, it is up to you to protect your own safety and the safety of your children.
YOU are responsible for YOU.