The mystery of the ancient Mesoamerican civilizations, famous beaches, delightful colonial cities, arid deserts, mangrove lagoons, tropical rainforest, sun-scented islands, crystalline rivers, vibrant cities, tequila, extraordinary cuisine, and last but not least, the hospitality of the people make Mexico one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Mexico is visited by over 20 million tourists annually.
Name: Mexico (United Mexican States)
Capital: Ciudad de Mexico
Location: State bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the United States and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the United States
Main towns: Ecatepec, Guadalajara, Puebla, Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Leon, Zapopan, Monterrey, Nezahualcoyotl
Currency: Mexican Peso – MXN
Timezone: UTC-8 to -5 / Summer UTC-7 to -5
Tipping: Tipping is customary in Mexico, and is expected in many situations. So if you receive good service, it is a good idea to show your appreciation accordingly. Tipping in either dollars (bills only, no coins) or pesos is acceptable, though pesos are usually more practical.
Tip the porter between 10 and 20 pesos per bag. You should also tip your housekeeper, the norm is between 20 and 50 pesos per night. Leave the money on the bed or side table, preferably in an envelope. If your concierge offers you good service, tip between 50 and 150 pesos.
At restaurants tipping between 10% and 15% is expected for good service. It’s best to tip in cash, in the country’s currency (peso). If the service is good, tip around 15%, or around 20% if the service is exceptional. Some restaurants add a service charge (propina), around 10%. You do not need to tip more if this is added to your bill.
Tour guide – tips are expected. For large tours, you should tip between 50 – 70 pesos per day per person. Tip more if the guide is also the driver. If it is a small tour, you can tip 15% to 20% of the cost, depending on service.
Voltage: Network parameters: 120 V / 60 Hz; A, B socket is used, you need adapters.
Exploring Mexico means going along the desert lines (north of Zacatecas), admiring the volcanoes (Popocatepetl), walking along tropical beaches (Puerto Escondido, Cancun), climbing to the ancient ruins (Teotihuacan), getting lost on narrow streets, full of history (San Miguel de Allende, Patzcuaro, Oaxaca, Morelia, Taxco, San Cristobal de Las Casas), or getting to know the modern neighborhoods of the Mesoamerican cities (Alban, Palenque, Uxmal, Chichen Itza).
Talking about the best time of year to visit Mexico is like trying to explain the best time of year to visit the United States or Europe. Mexico is a big country and the answer to “What is the best time of year?” is “It depends”.
In general, there is more rain in Mexico during the late summer months: August and September. This also coincides with hurricane season on the east and west coasts. To guarantee a sunny day, you probably don‘t want to go to Cancun or Puerto Vallarta in late August. But you can get some of the best travel deals during those times and Tulum is great in early September if you like empty beaches and a dramatic-looking sky. Then again, there are probably a lot of people who probably wish they weren‘t in Cancun last October during Hurricane Wilma.
Central Mexico is on a high plain, which means that even in the summertime, the nights can be cool in places like Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende. Southern coastal cities like Puerto Angel, Mazatlan or Tulum are going to be warm most of the year, and in the summer, quite hot. If the heat bothers you, be sure to reserve a hotel room with air conditioning! Baja California is a hot desert that just happens to be next to the ocean. Valle de Bravo outside of Mexico city is a lake in the mountains with typical mountain weather…warm during the day and cool at night.
Unless you plan to climb one of its many volcanoes, there is one thing you will probably never have to dress for on your trip to Mexico: snow!
In Mexico City you can visit the world-famous Anthropology Museum, the beautiful Frida Kahlo residence, the colorful floating market of Xochimilco, the Bazar del Sabado, the Basilica of Guadalupe where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared. Ciudad de Mexico is also the starting point for the road to visiting the historical site of Teotihuacan.
The archaeological site of Teotihuacan, on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1987, impresses through its temples and pyramids, testimonies of its ancient splendor. The mysterious past reveals little about the builders and its inhabitants (nahua, otomi, totonac). Their origin, lifestyle and even their disappearance remains a mystery. The name of the city in the nahuatl dialect is translated as “the birthplace of the gods.”
With lush beaches, a perfect climate all year round and with the reputation of being one of the world’s top destinations in the Caribbean, Cancun is the pearl of the peninsula. In the waters of the bay you can practice all known water sports, from diving and snorkelling to sport fishing and parasailing. There are golf courses in the area as well as handicrafts for souvenir lovers. Cancun is the ideal holiday destination, suitable for all your desires.
The Celestun Biosphere Reserve is a complex ecosystem favored by the convergence of La Esperanza Estuary’s sweet waters with the salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the warm climate and other natural factors: mangrove forests, sand dunes, typical only to this areas. Celestun is home to more than 300 bird species.
With over 40 km of golden sandy beaches along the Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta is considered by many tourists the most beautiful beach destination in Mexico. An area worth a few hours of your time is Viejo Vallarta, the so-called Romantic Zone, where you will be away from the noise and buzz of central areas and where you can spend some hours in peace enjoying the delightful nature.