Mexico travel advice

Mexico travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR FRIENDS IN MEXICO

Language tips


Vicky Rodford, from our supplier Intrepid Travel, specialists in Mexico gives great Mexico travel advice: “Learn a few words of the local language because English isn’t widely spoken. So even if just you have some basic numbers, greetings, pleasantries or how to order a drink, it is easier for everyone if you have a go, and you kind of muddle along together. Google Translate is a cracking little app, although to save money on network charges, a good old fashioned phrasebook does the trick. I have an old Footprint Latin America guide and it is so simple to use.”

Money tips


Vicky Rodford, from our supplier Intrepid Travel: “Financially it is fine to take Pesos, and get them at home before you go. Don’t worry too much about converting your Sterling into US $, to then convert into Pesos, because you are just paying two exchange rates. ATMs are fairly widely available now but they do charge you to withdraw your cash, and it seems to be a percentage amount, not a fixed one, so the more you get out, the more it is going to cost you.”

Eat – and travel – like a local


Jess Millett from our Mexico vacations supplier, Tucan Travel: “Make sure you take a food tour in Oaxaca. Try mole, tequila, grasshopper and Oaxaca cheese. Don't rule out traveling by public bus. Far more economical than a private vehicle, Mexico's public buses are air-conditioned and comfortable.”

Shopping tips


Vicky Rodford, Intrepid Travel: “There are lots of handicrafts to buy, such as wooden crafted skulls, and chess sets. One tip is to buy it when you see it. Sometimes you think, I won’t buy it yet as I will probably see hundreds of them, but that isn’t always the case. So, if it is truly indigenous to the area, I would really recommend you to buy it when you see it.”

Packing tips


Nic Slocum from our supplier Whales Worldwide who knows all about Baja: “Baja is remote so make sure you take everything you need for your vacation as many goods may not be available or have run out. Always pack a wide brimmed hat and quick drying slacks. The type that transform to shorts are the most useful. Thick soled rubber sandals are essential because cactus spines may be present on island beaches. Lastly, the average Mexican wage on Baja is very low and they rely heavily of tips from visitors. Tip appropriately, but not too generously."

Packing tips


Vicky Rodford, from our supplier Intrepid Travel: “Take something with DEET in it, because the mossies can be no fun at all. And, like any hot country, take a hat because it gets hot and you can get sunstroke.”

Health & safety in Mexico


TRAVEL SAFELY IN MEXICO

Health


Some basic vaccines may be required, depending on the regions you are visiting. Visit your GP or travel clinic 6-8 weeks before departure to ensure you are up to date.

Malaria is restricted to a few regions – the Chiapas region of Mexico and the lower lying lands of Escuintla and Alta Verapaz regions in Guatemala if you are doing a two country tour. However, risks are low. But always check with your doctor and tour operator for more details. Long sleeves and insect repellent are recommended as an extra precaution.

Dengue is on the increase in Mexico. There is no vaccination, so cover up and always use a good insect repellent.

Tap water is not recommended in Mexico, so stick with bottled water. Check with your guide or accommodation if you are unsure, particularly in rural regions and, if in doubt, boil it for one minute.

Get travel insurance that included adventure activities and also emergency repatriation.

Visit the NaTHNaC website for up to date health information.

Safety


Be vigilant in Mexico City, where gang related crime and robberies do happen. But they are well policed too. Always carry ID, and make copies that you can keep separately at your hotel. In general, most people don’t wander around at night.

Only use licenced taxis which are red with a white roof. There are pirate taxis, however. The Taxiaviso app is now very popular, as you can check if a licence plate or taxi company is authentic.

Water currents and riptides can be strong in Mexico, so always be water aware. Especially as few beaches have lifeguards outside the main resorts. Never go into the water in areas where there are known to be riptides. If you do find yourself being carried rapidly away from the shore, don’t swim against the current; you won’t beat it. Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the rip, or float until the current subsides – then you can swim back onto the beach. Drowning occurs when swimmers exhaust themselves by struggling against the current.

Don’t hesitate to check safety procedures with an adventure company. Ask for buoyancy aids and helmets, and make sure they fit properly. A responsible tour operator will only work with reputable local adventure providers.

Check the FCO website for safety information and entry requirements.

Mexico travel advice


TIPS FROM OUR TRAVELLERS

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Mexico travel advice that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation.



“Take plenty of insect repellent if you go in the rainy season and long trousers and a top with long sleeves if you are going to explore the region. Also, my husband suffered with tummy troubles, so take plenty of rehydration powder and immodium!” – Nicola Goddard

“The nicest part was the homestay in a pleasant little village with a lovely family. Try and learn some Spanish to interact with people.” – Laura Palmucci

“Be flexible, warm showers are rare and enjoy even if you are sometimes squeezed in a bus.” – Andrea Baumann

“In spite of being by far the oldest couple in the group, we had a thoroughly amazing vacation with an excellent tour leader. Try to pack light” - Helen Hore on our Mexico, Belize & Guatemala tour, Mayan encounter vacation

“Be prepared for some long journeys on rough roads and tracks, Baja looks deceptively small!” – Fiona Buck
Photo credits: [Language tips: Emilio Labrador] [Eat - and travel - like a local: Cordelia Persen] [Packing tips - Nic Slocum : Andrea Tosatto] [Review 1 - Mary Marshall: Sarah Wu] [Review box image: Graeme Churchard]
Written by Catherine Mack
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