Fact file: Mexico

Did you know?
The name Acapulco is derived from ancient Nahuatl words meaning 'where the reeds stood' or 'place of giant reeds'.
Language
Spanish.
Visas
No visa required but a Mexican Government tourist card (terjeta de turista) is necessary. These are available from embassies, international airports or at border crossings and will usually be validated for 30 days, although a stay of up to 180 days is generally permitted if requested.
Getting there
There are regular flights from London to Mexico's capital Mexico City and Cancun. Don't choose a US airline if you want to fly direct — most stop in a US city en route.
Flying time from London
From 10hr 30min direct.
Getting around
Flying is a good option over long distances — airports are dotted around the country. Bus services are cheap and efficient, with de lujo (deluxe) the most speedy and comfortable. The railways offer scenic views, but are slow, unreliable and at times hazardous. Car hire is viable, but watch out for bandits.
Currency
Nuevo (new) peso. The US dollar is accepted in many places.
Costs
Bottle of beer, £1; roll of film, £4; moderate meal, £5-£10 per person; litre of petrol, 30p; 4-mile taxi ride, £4-£7. All prices will vary, particularly in resorts.
Weather
The coast and lowlands are hot and humid, with temperatures in the high 80's (30C-35C) from June-August, but seldom below the mid-70s at any time. Summer is the wettest period although inland and at higher elevations it is dryer and cooler.
Time difference
Most areas of Mexico are 6 hours behind GMT. The western states of Nayarit, Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja California Sur are 7 hours behind GMT, and Baja California Norte is 8 hours behind GMT. Daylight saving time is observed from April-October.
International dialling code from the UK
00 52.
Voltage
110V, 60Hz AC. Mexico has three different types of electrical outlet, so travellers will need transformers and plug adaptors to run European appliances.
Opening hours
With high midday temperatures, siesta is important to Mexicans. Most shops and businesses are open Monday to Saturday from 9am-2pm, shut for siesta, then reopen from 4-7pm. Some do not reopen on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday nearly all archaelogical sites and museums are free; many are closed on Mondays.
Health — before you go
Vaccinations are not required but a few are highly recommended; make sure you're up to date on tetanus and polio shots and consider jabs for hepatitis A and typhoid. Malaria protection is advised for travel in certain regions; visit your doctor at least 2 months prior to travel. Take out travel insurance to cover health costs.
Health — when you are there
Local clinics or Red Cross facilities are usually sufficient for minor treatment, but if you suffer serious disease or injury you may want to find a private hospital or even, in extreme cases, fly out to the US. Five-star hotels, the tourist hotline or the British Consulate will be able to recommend a doctor or hospital.
Warnings
Robbery is common in all cities and epidemic in Mexico City. Watch out for teams of pickpockets: one may create a distraction or grab you while the other relieves you of wallet, bag or camera. Leave valuables and traveller's cheques in your hotel safe; hand over money if accosted as you will usually be left unharmed. Do not camp or drive overnight in lonely places.
Emergency
There is no national 999 equivalent; in the event of an emergency, contact the Ministry of Tourism's 24-hour tourist hotline for assistance, tel 01 800 903 9200. British Consulate: Rio Lerma 71, Mexico City. Tel 207 20 89 or 207 24 49.
Customs
Mexicans value congeniality over promptness. Try a little Spanish on people you meet, no matter how inept. Shake hands whenever possible: it's a great gesture of friendship and respect.
Pets
Animals will be subject to quarantine on return to the UK.
Tipping
In large tourist resorts staff expect American-sized tips of 15% or more; elsewhere 10% is sufficient. Taxi drivers don't accept tips, but petrol station attendants do.
Tourist office
Mexico Tourist Board, Wakefield House, 41 Trinity Square, London, EC3N 4DJ. Brochure line: 00800 11112266 (freephone) or for information, call: 020 7488 9392.
Did you know?
The name Acapulco is derived from ancient Nahuatl words meaning 'where the reeds stood' or 'place of giant reeds'.
Language
Spanish.
Visas
No visa required but a Mexican Government tourist card (terjeta de turista) is necessary. These are available from embassies, international airports or at border crossings and will usually be validated for 30 days, although a stay of up to 180 days is generally permitted if requested.
Getting there
There are regular flights from London to Mexico's capital Mexico City and Cancun. Don't choose a US airline if you want to fly direct — most stop in a US city en route.
Flying time from London
From 10hr 30min direct.
Getting around
Flying is a good option over long distances — airports are dotted around the country. Bus services are cheap and efficient, with de lujo (deluxe) the most speedy and comfortable. The railways offer scenic views, but are slow, unreliable and at times hazardous. Car hire is viable, but watch out for bandits.
Currency
Nuevo (new) peso. The US dollar is accepted in many places.
Costs
Bottle of beer, £1; roll of film, £4; moderate meal, £5-£10 per person; litre of petrol, 30p; 4-mile taxi ride, £4-£7. All prices will vary, particularly in resorts.
Weather
The coast and lowlands are hot and humid, with temperatures in the high 80's (30C-35C) from June-August, but seldom below the mid-70s at any time. Summer is the wettest period although inland and at higher elevations it is dryer and cooler.
Time difference
Most areas of Mexico are 6 hours behind GMT. The western states of Nayarit, Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja California Sur are 7 hours behind GMT, and Baja California Norte is 8 hours behind GMT. Daylight saving time is observed from April-October.
International dialling code from the UK
00 52.
Voltage
110V, 60Hz AC. Mexico has three different types of electrical outlet, so travellers will need transformers and plug adaptors to run European appliances.
Opening hours
With high midday temperatures, siesta is important to Mexicans. Most shops and businesses are open Monday to Saturday from 9am-2pm, shut for siesta, then reopen from 4-7pm. Some do not reopen on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday nearly all archaelogical sites and museums are free; many are closed on Mondays.
Health — before you go
Vaccinations are not required but a few are highly recommended; make sure you're up to date on tetanus and polio shots and consider jabs for hepatitis A and typhoid. Malaria protection is advised for travel in certain regions; visit your doctor at least 2 months prior to travel. Take out travel insurance to cover health costs.
Health — when you are there
Local clinics or Red Cross facilities are usually sufficient for minor treatment, but if you suffer serious disease or injury you may want to find a private hospital or even, in extreme cases, fly out to the US. Five-star hotels, the tourist hotline or the British Consulate will be able to recommend a doctor or hospital.
Warnings
Robbery is common in all cities and epidemic in Mexico City. Watch out for teams of pickpockets: one may create a distraction or grab you while the other relieves you of wallet, bag or camera. Leave valuables and traveller's cheques in your hotel safe; hand over money if accosted as you will usually be left unharmed. Do not camp or drive overnight in lonely places.
Emergency
There is no national 999 equivalent; in the event of an emergency, contact the Ministry of Tourism's 24-hour tourist hotline for assistance, tel 01 800 903 9200. British Consulate: Rio Lerma 71, Mexico City. Tel 207 20 89 or 207 24 49.
Customs
Mexicans value congeniality over promptness. Try a little Spanish on people you meet, no matter how inept. Shake hands whenever possible: it's a great gesture of friendship and respect.
Pets
Animals will be subject to quarantine on return to the UK.
Tipping
In large tourist resorts staff expect American-sized tips of 15% or more; elsewhere 10% is sufficient. Taxi drivers don't accept tips, but petrol station attendants do.
Tourist office
Mexico Tourist Board, Wakefield House, 41 Trinity Square, London, EC3N 4DJ. Brochure line: 00800 11112266 (freephone) or for information, call: 020 7488 9392.


Telephone

+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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