NEED TO KNOW
Capital City: Mexico City
Population: 106 million
Area: 762,000 square miles
Telephone Calling Code(s): 52
Electricity: 127V, 60 Hz
Currency: As of Nov 22, 2011:
1 Mexico Pesos = $0.07 US Calculate Other Amounts
Mexico does not require visas for citizens of the United States. A valid passport and a Mexican Government Tourist Card, available at border crossings and on flights into Mexico, are sufficient for a three-month stay.
GOOD TO KNOW
Books and Movies
To get a sense of what Mexico is like now, check out some of the new generation of gritty and sexy films that have won awards around the world like Amores Perros and Y Tu Mamá También.
Above all else, you must sample at least one dish prepared with an authentic, traditional mole. Rich and dark brown, mole is a concoction containing Mexican chocolate, cinnamon bark, nuts, seeds, several types of chiles, and often raisins.
Water should be treated as contaminated, unless marked otherwise. Fortunately, most of the best hotels and resorts now have sterilized tap water. But check with the front desk about that before testing the theory yourself.
Confused by price abbreviations? Note that "Dlls." or "USD" stands for American dollars and "M.N." stands for moneda nacional, or pesos. Many hotels and tourist restaurants show both dollars and pesos on the final bill. You can pay with either.
In general, Mexico is relatively safe, although in urban areas you should use the same precautions you would in any unfamiliar city: Don't wear expensive jewelry or flash a full wallet around, and only take cabs that hotels or tourist-friendly restaurants order for you. In Mexico City, be especially careful that your taxi is a properly licensed one before you get in; in Cancún, avoid using ATM machines late at night or in deserted areas, especially during Spring Break season. Mexican bus and taxi drivers have occasionally been known to cheat passengers by returning inexact (and too little) change; try to carry enough small bills and coins to pay the exact fare.
Mexicans are excessively polite, especially in the face of a dispute.
January: 1, New Year's Day
February: 5, Constitution Day
March: 18, Oil Expropriation Day; 21, Benito Juárez's Birthday
May: 1, Labor Day; 5, Cinco de Mayo
September: 16, Independence Day
October: 12, Day of the Race
November: 2, Day of the Dead; 20, Revolution Day
December: 12, Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe; 25, Christmas Day