Monday, March 10, 2014

Things to know when going to Mexico

We are 43 days into our adventure-- day 10 in Mexico.  We have slowed our pace dramatically and are slipping into an everyday life mode.  Yesterday we actually cleaned and did laundry.  I did want to publish a list of hints for the next time we go to Mexico.

Money – bring lots.  This is not the Mexico of the ‘60s, they are serious about tourism.  They have high quality restaurants, great entertainment, and exciting tours. If you are buying jewelry, bring more.  Figure that you will spend what you spend at home for dinner out. You can get the best exchange by using your bank card or credit card.  Most places take VISA.

Clothing – focus on casual.  Multiple bathing suits are a must.  Some women will find a fun summer dresses suitable for evening wear, however her date will likely be in shorts.  Comfortable shoes are necessary.  There will be walking.

Groceries and Sundries – anything you need you can usually find here.  Do not bring any food.  Mexican Customs will check your bags, all of them.  Declare all items on your declaration form and do not try to hide anything.  They will fine you on the spot and if you resist, they will detain you.  Groceries are readily available at large, clean, well-staffed stores.  Buy the local brands, they will have US brands, but you will pay much more.

Tips - Many Mexican people live off the tips that they make.  While it is true that some do get paid for the days that they work, many do not.  They work long days and have families to feed. For those who get a wage, just know that that the minimum wage is 65 pesos a day, that is a little over $5 US. There is great disparity between the those that live in this beautiful part of the world and those that travel here; think of the extra $$ as just part of the cost.

Safety - You can not be blind to the ongoing violence in parts of Mexico; security and safety in Mexico varies dramatically depending on the location. Beach towns and cruise ship harbors tend to be safest because of the impact that tourism has on the local economies.  More than 10 million visitors arrived by air last year, five million by ship. Best advice is the same in any place in the world; be mindful of your surroundings, do not take unnecessary risks and follow the local laws.

Any Questions – just ask.  You will find many people who are very happy to answer any questions or share tips and tour ideas.  You will meet many nice people in the process.

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