Mexico Travel Tips

55 Mexico Travel Tips To Know Before You Go

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Mexico is one of my favorite countries. It boasts delicious food, vibrant culture, tons of history and some of the best beaches in the world!

Mexico’s landscapes range from the Caribbean Coast to the lush jungles in the south to mountains in the middle and deserts up north. It’s a country that takes time and effort to explore, and that is why so many travelers keep coming back here.

After spending time in different parts of the country, I created a list of Mexico travel tips to help you plan your adventure.

My Mexico tips will provide insight into the country’s culture, help you to save money and cover some of the most common mistakes that many tourists make while traveling the country.

Looking for the best things to do in Mexico? Check this article to discover best activities for any type of traveler!

Mexico Travel Tips For Saving Money

Renting a car is one of the best Mexico travel tips for exploring the country.

1. Rent a car. But watch out for scams

Renting a car is the best way to see Mexico: you get to see many places off the beaten track and travel at your own pace. Sounds awesome, right?

👉 But before you rent a car in Mexico, there are a few things you should know.

First, stay away from low bait-and-switch offers that advertise prices as low as $5-10 per day. Many times, this too-good-to-be-true price is only a shield for an exorbitant rate that involves car insurance and fees.

To avoid mistakes and save money, read my complete guide to renting a car in Mexico 🚗

A contract attached to a car rental agreement specifies what your rate is going to cover. If you have questions, ask your car rental company to make sure you understand what you are paying for.

Find Your Rental Car

Whether you want to explore the Yucatan Peninsula, Baja California or take a road trip through Chiapas, rent a car with Discover Cars that has affordable rates and good inventory in many destinations in Mexico.

I rented my cars from Discover Cars several times, and always loved their service and affordable rates.

2. Haggling is not a thing in Mexico. But you can try it

Haggling isn’t a thing in Mexico, but you can still try it, depending on the situation. For example, you could try to lower a price a bit while getting a taxi or buying a souvenir from a street vendor.

👉When taking a taxi in Mexico, always negotiate a price upfront. Most taxi drivers in Mexico are willing to haggle at least a little bit, so if a rate seems high, ask to lower it before agreeing on the final price

3. Good hotels in Mexico don’t have to be expensive

Mexico has some of the most amazing deals on all-inclusive hotels in places like Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta. While these places have great buffets, and relaxing spas, you don’t have to spend all your money to stay there. 

Mid-range and even budget hotels in Mexico can be great stays, so always check your options. My favorite websites for finding great bargains on hotels in Mexico are Hotels.com and Agoda.com.

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4. Avoid the high season in Mexico

Depending on the time of your visit to Mexico, prices on hotels can fluctuate greatly.

For example, coastal areas like Baja California, Nayarit and the Rivera Maya have the highest prices on hotels and tours from December through April, when the weather is dry and sunny, and many visitors from colder climates seek warm getaways.

If possible, plan your trip to Mexico during the shoulder season from November through early December and from April through late May to get good deals.

5. Take colectivos in Mexico to save money

Colectivos are small shared vans that are a great if you are looking to save some cash. ADO buses can get you around Mexico, as they have routes in many regions of the country, but colectivos are mostly local and can get you from one town to another for a relatively small price (20 to 50 Mexican Pesos).

Colectivos are common in Yucatan, but you can also find them in other places like Chiapas and Oaxaca.

6. Not all ATM’s in Mexico are equal

Not all ATM’s in Mexico are the same when it comes to commissions. Some banks like HSBC can charge high fees upward of 70 Mexican Pesos per transaction. 

Santander and Banko Azteca ATM’s have lower fees (just over 30 Pesos per transaction), and they are easy to find around airports, bus stations, and other major areas.

7. Always carry Mexican Pesos

One of my main Mexico travel tips is to always have Mexican Pesos in your wallet.

While some businesses accept credit cards (or tarjetas in Spanish) in tourist zones, you should always carry Mexican Pesos with you.

This is especially true if you plan to take a road trip or stop in one of Mexico’s small towns where credit cards might be accepted only in select stores and restaurants. Also, street vendors and local artisans in Mexican mercados (or markets) accept only cash. 

8. … Because cash is still king in many parts of the country

You are going to traverse rural areas with limited options for food and services while traveling around Mexico, and it’s essential to have at least some cash in your pocket.

I’ve taken many road trips around Mexico, some of which took over 10 hours, and most of the time the only way to pay for food, bathrooms and everything else on the road was with cash. 

An outside view of La Coqueta, one of the best restaurants in downtown Tulum

9. Eat where locals eat 

When visiting popular destinations in Mexico, try to eat where locals eat.

Popular areas have many restaurants, but prices there are often geared toward tourists and tend to be much higher than in restaurants frequented by locals. Eating in local restaurants is the best way to experience the Mexican gastronomy, and you will avoid paying high prices of popular tourist spots.

Get My 25 Tips On How To Stay Safe In Mexico (and avoid tourist scams)

    Mexico Travel Tips: Culture

    Exploring the country beyond coastal resorts is one of the top Mexico travel tips

    10. Get outside tourist zone

    Getting outside of your comfort zone is one of my main tips for Mexico travel.  

    It could be very tempting to spend your entire vacation in the comfort zone of Cancun or Cabo San Lucas all-inclusive resorts, but I don’t recommend doing it for one simple reason:

    You will miss out on Mexico’s cultural landmarks. 

    Mexico is full of historical sites, wonderful cities, and Mayan ruins where you can learn the country’s pre-colonial history, interact with locals, and taste regional Mexican dishes.

    While you can explore Mexico by public transportation or take, renting a car will give you the most freedom and flexibility. One of my top picks is DiscoverCars, that has flexible terms and ho hidden fees.

    Mexico Travel Tips

    11. Pueblos Magicos are musts!

    When you travel around Mexico, visit at least one of Mexico’s Pueblos Magicos, or Magic Towns designated by the Mexican government because of their heritage and significance to the country’s culture.

    When you visit these places, expect fewer businesses catering exclusively to tourists and more local flair which makes for an awesome cultural trip. 

    There are over 130 Pueblos Magicos in Mexico, and if you want to visit them, check my list of the best Pueblos Magicos.

    5 days in Mexico City

    12. Don’t forget to visit Mexico City 

    When it comes to Mexico travel, most people think about sun-drenched beaches and all-day margaritas. 

    But Mexico is so much more than that! 

    One destination that was overlooked in the past, but has become particularly popular is Mexico City.

    The Mexican capital has emerged as one of the hottest destinations in Latin America with an incredible food scene, world-class museums and historic landmarks. Visiting Mexico City is one of my top tips for Mexico travel, if you want to learn the history of the country and better understand its culture.

    I suggest no less than 5 days in Mexico City because there is too much to do here and you can take many day trips to see historic and natural landmarks within 1-2 hours from Mexico City. 

    Shopping at artisan markets one of top Mexico travel tips

    13. Shop at artisan markets in Mexico

    Artisan markets in Mexico are part of the cultural experience 😊

    Here you can buy everything from colorful textiles, handmade jewelry and clothing to home goods and so much more!

    GOOD TO KNOW: Most popular destinations in the country like Mexico City, Oaxaca or San Cristobal De Las Casas have at least artisan market, but even resort towns like Playa del Carmen, Tulum or Puerto Vallarta have designated areas for artisans where you can buy handcraft goods and souvenirs.

    Buying artisan goods is an excellent way to support local economy and make sure that your money goes to the people who live and work in the area. 

    Best restaurants in downtown Tulum

    14. Try regional Mexican dishes

    Besides the famous staples such as tacos, burritos, and guacamole, Mexico boasts delicious regional cuisines in states like Oaxaca, Puebla and Yucatan that you shouldn’t miss.

    Trying local cuisine is one of my top Mexico travel tips, especially if you are staying in a big resort where everything is catered to you.

    Where to eat in Tulum

    15. … And don’t skip some street food too

    From tacos to churros and marquesitas (crispy crepes filled with chocolates or fruits) to delicious corn, Mexico has tons of delicious street food (la comida callejera in Spanish). Go ahead and treat your taste buds to some regional delicacies!

    This might not be one of the most obvious Mexico travel tips but it’s important because you will get to try something delicious and support local vendors.

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    16. Mexican food can be VERY spicy

    As someone who didn’t grow up eating spicy dishes, I have to warn you that food in Mexico can be super spicy. One time I ordered a vegan pizza that had a flaming hot sauce on top of it, and it was the hottest pizza I’ve ever tried in my life! 🔥

    When you go to a Mexican restaurant, always ask about how spicy your food will be. Your server will most likely bring three types of salsa ranging from mild, medium mild and very spicy. If you like hot food, trying them might be fun, but if you are like me, make sure to ask for non-spicy options.  

    17. Learn Spanish

    Most people who work in Mexico’s tourism industry speak at least the basic level of English, but …

    Speaking at least some Spanish can go a long way! 

    The further you get from the tourist zone, the less English you should expect. What’s great about visiting these places is that you can see the real Mexico!

    When it comes to Mexico travel, many people are concerned about safety, but speaking the language makes you feel a lot safer as you can communicate and properly assess a situation.😉

    Grab a couple of textbooks and get your Spanish game on! 

    Xpujil is a small town in the state of Campeche that is home to some of the best Mayan ruins in Yucatan.

    18. Mayan ruins are excellent for learning history

    As a true lover of Mexican Mayan ruins, I encourage you to visit at least one of them!

    Mexico is a heaven for history buffs with thousands of ancient ruins, some which date 2,500-3,000 years back.

    Before the arrival of Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century, Mexico was populated by Mayan people, among other indigenous groups, and the Mayan heritage is deeply entrenched into the country’s identity. 

    If you don’t have a car rental, the best way to explore Mayan ruins is by taking guided tours. Get Your Guide offers daily trips to some of the best archaeological areas in Mexico.

    While you probably heard about the UNESCO-listed Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of The World, Mexico has many less famous Mayan ruins like Coba that are just as impressive and important.

    Best Mayan ruin sites in Mexico

    Best Mayan ruins in Mexico

    • Calakmul – One of Mexico’s most impressive Mayan ruins in the state of Campeche
    • Ek Balam – A less visited Mayan ruin site near Valladolid
    • Kohunlich – A Mayan ruin site about one hour away from Bacalar 
    • Muyil – A small but a very cool archaeological area near Tulum that sees very few tourists compared to the famous Tulum ruins
    • Uxmal – A Mayan ruins site near Merida, that is also part of the Puuc Route that has other ruins and cenotes
    • Palenque – My favorite Mayan ruin site in the state of Chiapas
    Best cenotes near Tulum

    19. Take a dip in cenotes

    If you visit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, don’t forget to take a dip in one of cenotes, water-filled caverns.

    While some of the cenotes are above the ground, others are underground with many stalactites and stalagmites. Many of Mexico’s cenotes have options for snorkeling, and some even offer diving, like Cenote Dos Ojos near Tulum. 

    Check my complete guide to some of the best cenotes near Tulum – some of the best cenotes in Mexico!

    Swimming in Mexico’s cenotes is a unique experience that you will not get anywhere else in the world.

    GOOD TO KNOW: Most cenotes in Mexico have entrance fees that have to be paid in cash. Many of them also offer lockers and snorkeling equipment for a small fee. 

    Playa-Paraíso-Beach-Tulum-Mexico

    20. Show good manners

    Most Mexican people are friendly and willing to help, especially when they see that you are a foreigner visiting their country. 

    They might be pitching tours or trying to sell you souvenirs, but besides this pushy attitude, they are nice and will answer any question you have.

    Make sure to show good manners though.

    While Mexican people are relaxed and informal, manners and politeness play a big role in the Mexican culture. For example, strangers will address to you as usted (a polite form of you in Spanish), and staff will always greet you in stores and restaurants. You will often hear “Provecho” when you are dining out in restaurants, and you should do the same.

    Helpful phrases in Spanish

    To make things easier, I put together a list of the most common phrases in Spanish. Please let me know if you have questions or want to know any other Mexico travel tips related to the language 😉

    • Buenos Dias – Good Morning 
    • Buenas Tardes – Good Afternoon
    • Buenas Noches – Good Night 
    • Adios – Goodbye 
    • Gracias – Thank you 
    • Por Favor – Please 
    • No entiendo/no comprendo – I don’t understand 
    • Lo siento – Sorry 
    • Disculpe – Excuse me
    • Hasta luego – See you later
    • La cuenta, por favor – Can I have a bill, please?
    • Donde es? – Where is …?
    • Derecho – right 
    • Izquerda – left 
    • Pagar con tarjeta/efectivo – to pay with card/cash 
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    21. Dress conservative in bigger cities

    Don’t go to Central Mexico cities rocking your jean shorts and a crop top. This applies to both men and women. Sorry guys, I’m not sure what men fashion is like these days, but I hope you get the point.

    Central Mexico is just one example. Inland cities in Mexico like Puebla have a more conservative way of dressing, and you should bring some jeans, medium-length dresses and other clothes that to cover your legs and shoulders to avoid strange looks and unwanted attention. 

    22. Use the right bathroom

    The letter M stands for “mujeres” which is women in Spanish. The letter C stands for “caballeros” which means gentlemen in Spanish. This might not be obvious right away, but bathrooms in public places like restaurants and museums are generally well marked.

    23. … And don’t throw paper in toilet

    The general rule in Mexico is that you don’t throw any paper in a toilet. This is because the drainage systems in many parts of Mexico are very old and could quickly break down if they become clogged.

    Many hotels have clear signs about it, but it might not be the case everywhere you go, so keep it in mind.

    How to spend 5 days in Mexico City

    24. The concept of time is different in Mexico

    Mexican people like to use the word “ahorita,” which means right now. But when someone tells you “ahorita” it doesn’t mean that something will happen this very second, or in the next couple of minutes.

    “Ahorita” could mean as little as a couple of minutes to a few hours, depending on the context. To avoid frustration, don’t expect that you will get something instantly when someone tells you “ahorita.”

    25. Don’t assume things start on time in Mexico

    If you are coming to Mexico from a Western country, be aware that that things rarely start on time. Mexican concept of time is more similar to Latin American countries than the United States or Western Europe.

    If your tour is running 10 to 15 minutes late, or your appointment is late, this is nothing unusual. Don’t get upset or try to complain, simply accept it and go with the flow.

    Mexico Travel Tips: Safety

    Mexico travel tips that will help you stay safe on the road

    26. Get travel insurance

    You shouldn’t leave your home and get on a road without comprehensive travel insurance.

    Nobody goes on a trip expecting bad things to happen, however, you never know what might occur on your next adventure.

    World Nomads Insurance covers hospital visits, accidents, lost and damaged luggage as well as personal belongings, among other things. Those travelers who plan to stay in Mexico for an extended period of time, should consider Safety Wing, one of the best insurance options for long term travel.

    Mexico travel tips

    27. Be ready for check points

    If you are going on a road trip in Mexico, be prepared to drive through check points.

    The government of Mexico takes many measures to keep the country safe, especially around tourist corridors, so it’s not uncommon to drive through military check points. 

    It might be intimidating, but unless you manage to draw some suspicion, you will be most likely asked to show your passport. Be polite, answer questions and be ready to open your vehicle for an inspection.

    28. Not all of Mexico is dangerous

    Is Mexico safe to visit?

    This is one of most common question that I get when I try to give someone one of my tips for Mexico. Taking into account the amount of bad press, the question isn’t surprising.

    Mexico gets a lot of bad rep because of its problems with cartel violence. 

    Popular areas of Mexico are a lifeline of the country’s economy and are protected. That being said, crime does occur even in popular areas, and you should always be aware of your surroundings, no matter what part of Mexico you visit.

    Check the situation in the place you plan to visit. Educate yourself on recent events and decide if visiting it is safe. If you are traveling to Mexico from the United States, check the U.S. Embassy Advisory for the most up-to-date information.

    👉Your travel safety is your responsibility.

    29. Watch out for scams

    Scams are not really a thing in Mexico, but you should never let your guard down, especially in tourist zones. As a rule, if something looks to be too good to be true, it probably is. Always follow your instincts and don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something!

    Some of the most common Mexican scams are fake guides at entrances of major tourist areas trying to convince you that the only way tom visit is with a guided tour.

    Another common scam in Mexico are unregistered taxis that are sometimes operated by professional criminals. Instead of hailing a cab, get a ride through Uber or other ride sharing app.

    Finally, stay away from overly enthusiastic sales agents at airports and other areas frequented by tourists. They typically to sell you a time share with free breakfast, transportation and other cool “perks” that often come at super high prices.

    30. Use ATM’s associated only with major banks 

    Since carrying cash is one of my main Mexico travel tips, let’s also talk about ATM’s.

    Although tourist scams in Mexico are not that common, one place where you can sometimes encounter them are ATM’s (or cajeros electronicos in Spanish).

    Use ONLY ATMs associated with major banks like Santander, Scotia Bank or Banco Azteca to avoid trouble.

    Avoid ATM’s that can be sometimes found in walls of random buildings. Criminals target these types of ATM’s by placing skimming devices trying to steal financial information from the debit and credit cards. 

    31. Skip tap water

    Tap water is not safe to drink in Mexico. This is a universal rule that you should always keep in mind while traveling the country.

    Always buy bottled water when you travel around Mexico. Some hotels in Mexico offer free water in their lobbies, so don’t forget to bring your reusable water bottle.

    32. Know how to drive in Mexico

    Exploring Mexico by car is a lot of fun, and you can have one of the best experiences of your life visiting different regions of the country. But before you get on the road, here’s what you need to know:

    • Watch out for topes (or speed bumps) Speed bumps are common in many parts of Mexico especially around pedestrian crossings and bus stations.
    • Don’t pump your own gas. Mexican gas stations have attendants who put gas in your car when you get to the pump. Specify how much gas you need and clarify the price.
    • Leave a tip. Many of the people who help you pump gas make only minimum wage, and it’s good to leave a little tip before leaving.
    • Mexico uses kilometers. One mile equals to about 1.6 kilometers (If you are traveling to Mexico from the United States).

    33. Drive during the day

    Depending on the region of Mexico, it’s a good idea to limit driving to day time. Some parts of the country are less safe than others, and you should check the most up-to-date information before planning your trip. 

    To stay safe on the road, consider taking major highways in Mexico that in most cases have tolls. These highways are more expensive than secondary roads, but they are safer to travel on.

    34. Don’t show off your wealth

    Avoid wearing jewelry and clothing that might suggest you have money.

    Dress modestly and keep things simple, even when you are visiting popular destinations in Mexico. A pair of shorts and a basic t-shirt is a perfect outfit if you plan to spend a day adventuring and visiting historic landmarks. A fanny pack that you could wear on your waist in the front is also a good idea.

    35. Leave your wallet in your hotel

    Carrying all your money in your bag is one of the worst mistakes that you can make while traveling Mexico!

    If you plan to explore all day long, leave your wallet in a safe in your hotel. Take enough cash and one credit card. In case you lose your bag, you will still have your wallet with other credit and debit cards. 

    36. Carry hand sanitizer

    While cleanliness standards are high in popular parts of Mexico that are frequented by international visitors, it’s not always the case in less developed, rural areas that see few tourists. Carrying sanitizer and wet wipes is a good idea while traveling in Mexico. 

    Practical Mexico Travel Tips

    Best things to do in Merida, Mexico

    37. Mexico has many climates

    Mexico might be famous for its white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, but it is not all warm and balmy. 

    For example, the Pacific Coast of Mexico has a dry climate and Central and Northern Mexico have mountainous and desert areas which can get cold. If you are in the mountains, you might even see some snow. 

    Mexico City has a climate which is more in line with other cities in the Northern Hemisphere, so don’t forget to bring your jacket, especially in fall and winter.

    In short, if you plan to hop around the country, one of my top Mexico travel tips is to bring more than just beachy clothes.

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    38. Be aware of the seaweed season

    If you plan a fun getaway to Mexico’s Caribbean, be aware of the sargassum season that starts in late April when tons of seaweed gets washed ashore, affecting swimming conditions.

    The issue of sargassum received a lot of attention in recent years especially in places like Tulum where many beaches were covered in this pesky seaweed. 

    Look up the Sargasso Monitoring Network of Cancun, that publishes frequent reports on conditions of Mexico’s Caribbean. 

    PRO TIP: Check this article to get the most detailed and up-to-date information on how to get from Cancun to Tulum and save money on transportation. 

    39. Use a Telcel SIM card

    If Mexico travel is in your plans, don’t forget to stay connected while traveling around the country.📱

    You can easily get a wi-fi connection in places like restaurants and hotels, but once you start getting away, your connection could disappear very quickly.

    To avoid this situation, get a Telcel SIM cars in one of Telcel stores, (the largest carrier in Mexico).

    40. Get a VPN

    VPN is a great way to protect your data while staying online whether it’s Mexico travel or not. Remember that your data could be at risk every time you connect to a wi-fi in a public place. It only takes one wrong person to have your digital data stolen!

    To protect your digital data while traveling in Mexico and other countries, Use Nord VPN, a trusted leader in customers’ data protection.

    41. Avoid ATM’s on paydays

    Most people in Mexico are paid twice a month, on the 15th and on the 30th, which means lines can be reeeeally long at ATMs on these days, especially during afternoons when everyone gets off work.

    As a rule, avoid these days if you need to get some cash from your ATM. 

    42. Book your flight ahead of time

    One of the most obvious Mexico travel tips that is often overlooked is…

    Don’t forget to book your flight early! 

    To find cheap flights to Mexico, visit Cheap Air, a website that offers incredible bargains on international flights. And the best thing, it does all the work for you! 

    Using the Cheap Air could help you save a ton of money during the high season (late November through April) and Spring Break when many North American tourists come to Mexico. And don’t forget about Christmas and New Year’s, the busiest time in the coastal areas of Mexico.

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    43. Consider guided tours

    Not many people want to buy a tour.

    Tours can be expensive, and you don’t have the same freedom as you do when you rent a car. But some places in Mexico are great for taking a guided tour to learn the history and culture of the region. 

    Guided tours are great for the ancient Mayan ruins such as Chichen ItzaUxmal, and Ek Balam as well as incredible waterfalls and Mayan ruins in the state of Chiapas. 

    You can also do a guided tour of cenotes, water-filled caverns that in the Yucatán Peninsula. This is a great option if you don’t have a lot of time and want to make the most out of your trip. 

    44. Download WhatsApp

    WhatsApp is used widely in Mexico for personal and professional communication. If you travel Mexico, you will find it very handy. Many tour agencies, car rental companies and even taxi drivers in Mexico communicate with their customers via WhatsApp. 

    It’s convenient and helps you to confirm everything and ask questions on the spot instead of having to wait for an email. 

    45. Bring ear plugs

    Geographically, Mexico is part of North America, but culturally, it’s a Latin American country. While smaller, more rural places in Mexico are more tranquillo (calm), bigger cities can be loud.

    Let’s say you book a hotel in Playa Del Carmen on La Quinta Avenida. Don’t expect things to quiet down at 9 p.m. If you stay in the center of action, be prepared for a lot of hustle and bustle outside your hotel well into the night and bring your ear plugs unless you can sleep with the noise.

    Knowing local holidays is one of the most important Mexico travel tips

    46. Pay attention to major Mexican holidays

    Mexico has several big days that are important to know to better plan your trip. Mexican people take pride in these holidays and spend with their friends and family to celebrate these special dates. Some businesses might also be closed during these days.

    • Day of the Dead – November 1-2
    • Benito Juárez Birth Day – March 16
    • Christmas – December 25
    • Semana Santa – Semana Santa (or Holy Week) runs from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Most schools and many businesses close on these days.
    • Day of Mexico’s Independence – September 16 

    A word about Cinco De Mayo 

    In the United States, many people know Cinco de Mayo as one of the most popular Mexican holidays. 

    While Mexico observes this day with re-inactions of the Battle of Puebla, and other festivities marking the historic date, it’s not a federal holiday and offices, schools and businesses remain open. 

    47. Check visa requirements for your country

    Mexico has pretty straightforward entry requirements.

    While citizens of the United States and many European countries don’t need a visa to enter the country, it’s not the case for everybody. Residents of other countries for example, are required to get an e-visa before arriving in Mexico. Check your visa requirements before planning a trip to Mexico.

    General Mexico Travel Tips

    Best things to do in Mexico

    48. Keep your immigration paper slip safe

    This is very important: When you go through the customs in Mexico, you will get back a small breakaway part of your immigration form that you had already filled out. Your job is to keep this little piece of paper safe and secure until your departure from the country when you have to present it to immigration officials.

    Some immigration officers simply tear it away from your immigration form, insert it in your passport and hand it back to you without saying anything, especially, if it’s busy. Some, however, do say that it’s important to keep it safe. The point is, you will need this form on your way out, so make sure not to lose it. 

    49. Take buses to save money

    You can travel around Mexico by bus very inexpensively, and there are several bus companies that serve different parts of the country.

    If you have traveled to Yucatan, you might be familiar with ADO, a bus company that serves the region. 

    ADO buses are very clean, modern and very affordable, of all things! You can easily travel by bus between different cities in Mexico, while paying as little as $10 USD (This is what I paid for some of travels around Yucatan).

    ADO also has an app, which is great for those travelers who don’t speak Spanish, as staff in ticket offices sometimes speak very little English, and might not be able to be able to help you, if you have a questions. 

    You can check prices and destinations on ADO’s website.

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    50. Take your time exploring Mexico

    Mexico is a vast country with many regional and geographical differences.

    While you might have seen the Mexican culture in movies and images produced by the Western pop-culture, you shouldn’t come here expecting to see familiar stereotypes on every corner. 

    For example, the north of the country near the U.S.border is drastically different from southern states like Oaxaca and Chiapas. Baja California, a peninsula that separates Mexico’s Pacific from the Sea of Cortez is different from the country’s mainland.

    51. Don’t underestimate the distance

    Mexico is a huge and driving distances can be really long, depending on your itinerary. 

    For example, you begin your trip in Yucatán and plan to travel north, make sure to allocate extra time for your time on the road whether you are traveling by car or by bus. One of my top Mexico travel tips is to allocate enough time for your trip.

    52. Take domestic flights within Mexico to save time

    Taking domestic flights in Mexico will you save a lot of time!

    AeroMexico is the most expensive and reputable carrier; Volarís is another popular (and slightly less pricey) option, and VivaAerobus is the budget airline that has the least stellar reputation because of its nickel-and-dime practices. 

    The company charges you extra for checking in your luggage, paying for tickets with a credit card and everything in between. 

    To put it short, taking a flight in Mexico will cost you more money than taking a bus, but it will save you hours that you could spend exploring a new destination.

    Tipping in Mexico restaurants is expected and appreciated as many people working in the food industry make low wages.

    53. Leave a tip

    In Mexico, you are expected to leave from 10 to 20 percent of your total bill as a tip. Waiters and waitresses in Mexico make low hourly wages, so your gratuity goes a long way.

    ✅ Check my complete guide to tipping in Mexico to find out how much you should tip your tour guide.

    Unless the service was absolutely horrible, you should leave about 15 percent of your total bill.

    Also, you might notice that service here is generally slower compared to the U.S. and Europe.

    Mexican people take their time, so don’t expect your server to check on you constantly and ask if you are doing OK. And when the time comes to pay your bill, it might take a bit longer. 

    You too, should enjoy your meal and take things a bit slower! 

    Merida, Mexico top things to do

    54. Museums are closed on Mondays

    Museums in Mexico are closed on Mondays, so plan accordingly.

    Also, Mexican nationals and permanent residents don’t pay for museums on Sundays which is why they are normally busy on these days. Plan your visit to Mexican museums either on Tuesday of Friday when they are less crowded.

    Here are a couple of important museums in Mexico:

    • Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya in Merida 
    • Museum of Frida Kahlo (Casa Azul) in Mexico City
    • Museo Nacional De Antrologia in Mexico City
    • Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City
    • Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca in Oaxaca Juarez (aka Oaxaca City)
    • Museo de la Ballena y Ciencias del Mar in La Paz

    55. … But most importantly, don’t forget to have a great time!

    Planning a trip can be hectic, especially if you have never been to Mexico. I hope my Mexico travel tips help you plan your trip and make it easier, safer and answer most of your questions.

    Remember that while you can’t prepare for everything, you can always bring a good attitude and positive mindset on your trip.

    Best things to do in Sayulita Mexico

    Mexico travel tips: FAQ’s

    If you want to visit multiple locations in Mexico check some of my tips on how to get ready for your trip:

    Is Mexico safe to visit?

    This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get about Mexico travel! Thanks to news headlines, some think that Mexico is a crime-ridden, poor country where tourists get mugged and kidnapped.

    But this is completely wrong!

    Some parts of Mexico have been affected by cartel violence and are NOT recommended for foreign visitors. 

    But not all of the country is dangerous.

    Wherever you travel, always use common sense and keep a low profile, to avoid attention. Leave your flashy clothes and jewelry at home and remember that if something seems to be good to be true, it probably is! 

    Do I need travel insurance for Mexico?

    Mexico is a big country full of contrasts, diverse landscapes and wonderful cultural and historic sites. It can take months to explore. If you plan to stay on the road for a few months, I recommend getting Safety Wing, one of the most popular options for long-term travelers. 

    Do I need a visa for Mexico?

    If you are traveling to Mexico from the United States, Canada or Europe, you don’t need a visa for Mexico. All you need to do is fill out a form that you will need to keep and turn in when you leave the country. It’s important to keep it safe, because if you lose it, you will need to pay a fine. 

    Visa requirements for Mexico have recently changed and if you plan on staying in the country for an extended period of time, you may have to answer some questions about how you plan to support yourself while staying in the country. 

    👉 iVisa is a great resource for helping you to navigate the process and get your Mexico visa, if you want to stay here for an extended period of time.

    Is it safe to drive around Mexico?

    Driving in Mexico is one of the hot-button topics thanks to the headlines in the American news. The safety of driving in Mexico depends largely on where you are. Some states are less safe than others. For example the Yucatan Peninsula is considered safe for driving, while some states in central and northern Mexico are much less so. 

    To stay safe while driving in Mexico, use major highways which have tolls and limit your driving to day time.

    Check my complete guide on renting a car in Mexico to learn my tips for driving in Mexico.

    Can I drink tap water in Mexico?

    No, you can’t. Tap water is not safe to drink anywhere in Mexico, and you should bring a refillable water bottle on your trip or buy bottled water.

    Sayulita, Mexico

    More resources for planning your trip to Mexico

    • Agoda.com – a great website for budget hotels in Sayulita and other parts of Mexico.
    • WorldNomads – Great service for insurance coverage that will keep you safe on the road.
    • Safety Wing – Excellent insurance plan for long-term travelers that offers competitive rates is you are planning to stay on the road several weeks in a row. 
    • iVisa – the best website for getting help with your Mexico visa.
    • DiscoverCars.com – There’s nothing like exploring Sayulita and surrounding areas at your own pace. Consider renting a car at Discover Cars if you want more freedom exploring the Pacific Coast of Mexico. 
    • GetYourGuide.com – This is one of the best platforms for finding best tours in Sayulita. Get Your Guide is my favorite platform that offers awesome tours and top-notch guides in many destinations in Mexico.
    • CheapoAir.com – One of the best platforms for saving money on flights within Mexico and beyond. 
    • Booking.com – a popular website with tons and tons of options for accommodations of all sorts.

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