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  • Overview

    Mexico is vibrant, colourful and unique, offering anything from beautiful sparse deserts, tropical rainforests and snow-capped volcanoes to bustling cities, steep canyons and inviting beaches of silver sand. Extraordinary history is found in the ancient Mayan temples, Aztec ruins and Spanish colonial towns, along with silver-mining settlements and traditional Mexican ports.

    Since the height of the Mayan and Aztec civilisations, Mexico has suffered the destructive force of the Conquistadors, European colonial rule and rebellions, along with civil and territorial wars, dictatorships and natural disasters. Despite this, Mexico's people are warm and friendly, much of the countryside remains unspoilt by development and its cities have a unique blend of architecture. Buildings display striking combinations, blending together Art Nouveau, Baroque, Art Deco and Native American design in churches and public structures. The country's culture is a similar blend of the traditional and modern, where pagan meets Christian in a series of festivals throughout the year.

    Mexico also has several hundred miles of coastline extending down through both the Pacific and the Caribbean, home to numerous extremely popular beach resorts. Resort cities such as Acapulco, Cancun and those of the Baja California peninsula are vacation favourites. The countryside enclosing these summer retreats is also rich in archaeological treasures with pyramids, ruins of ancient cities and great stone carvings of ancient gods standing as testament to a country once ruled by Mezoamerican superpowers.

    Violence linked to the drug cartels is widespread but seldom aimed at tourists. Despite recent reports of drug wars and safety issues, the country remains a hugely popular and predominantly safe tourist destination.

    Mexico has consistently proven to be one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, with gorgeous beaches, extraordinary history and diverse landscapes. It would take a few months, if not years, to fully explore and discover all that this magical country has to offer.

    Spend a few days wandering round the ancient Mayan and Aztec pyramids and ruins, explore the deserts and swamps, marvel at the rainforests or navigate an eco-tour by mountain bike, jeep, kayak or horseback. There are 67 National Parks conserving indigenous fauna and flora, and the country is a bird-watcher's paradise, with the most species of birds in the whole of North America.

    The west coast of Mexico's Baja California peninsula is regarded as having some of the best whale watching destinations in the world. The three lagoons on the Pacific Coast offering the best spots for watching grey whales are Magdalena Bay, San Ignacio Lagoon and Scammon's Lagoon. Humpback whales and blue whales breed in the Sea of Cortez, and Bahia de Los Angeles is the centre for whale watching expeditions in the area.

    Beach resort cities such as Acapulco, Cancun and those of the Baja California region are considered to be true slices of heaven. The wonderfully unique architecture and evidence of European colonial rule still exist in the cities, while El Zócalo in Mexico City, the second largest city square in the world, is where all the magic happens and is the best place to experience some real Mexican flavour.

    Mexican cruises mix old world charm with modern amenities, giving a great blend of excitement and serenity to the holiday cruise. Mexican cruises typically only visit the west coast while the beautiful and warm waters on the east are usually included in Caribbean cruise packages.

    Baja California

    Baja California is a long thin peninsula running parallel to the west coast of the Mexican mainland, extending from Tijuana on the American border down to Cabo San Lucas. A wildly beautiful place of unusual scenery and dramatic colour changes, it boasts exquisite azure bays and miles of fine white beaches. Rocky cliffs give way to dry mountainous slopes covered in a stunning display of cacti, while the coast is dotted with resorts and modern towns. The warm waters are rich in marine life, with most resort tour operators arranging whale-watching trips from January to March. The UNESCO-listed Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve, in the mountains south of La Paz, is a wonderful playground for hikers, mountain bikers and nature lovers, while the Baja Peninsula also boasts the best seafood and wine in Mexico.

    El Arco, Cabo San Lucas El Arco, Cabo San Lucas Stan Shebs

    Oaxaca is a city developed over three centuries of colonisation. This influence is visible in the stunning architecture of the buildings, a solid style adapted from European methods to stand up to occasional earthquakes. The buildings are distinctively green, made of a particular stone mined in local quarries. The city also offers a number of museums in town, including those dedicated to local history as well as to art from ancient to contemporary periods. Oaxaca is also near Monte Alban, an archaeological site of one of the earliest cities of Mesoamerica dating back to 500 BC. Oaxaca is known as the culinary capital of Mexico, and its gastronomic traditions go back to the Mayan civilisation. The street food is excellent, while some say Oaxaca was where chocolate was invented by ancient Mesoamericans.

    The Pacific Coast

    The Pacific Coast contains some of Mexico's principal resorts as well as other lesser-known scenic spots and coastal villages. Known as the Mexican Riviera, it has international favourites like Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, along with excellent seafood and a large selection of adventure tourism attractions. It's one of the leading resort destinations in the country, with miles of golden beaches, picturesque bays and excellent surf, alongside an active nightlife and luxury accommodation. The Pacific Coast offers the exhilarating action of the famous cliff divers of Acapulco, bird watching near the small fishing village of San Blas, and the jade green waters of Puerto Escondido. Taxis are readily available in the resort areas, while Acapulco, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta have ports with ferries and cruise ship dockings.

    Copper Canyon Copper Canyon Brian
    San Miguel de Allende

    San Miguel de Allende has retained its historical charm with beautiful 17th- and 18-century Baroque buildings. Narrow cobbled lanes are framed by yellow, orange and ochre buildings covered with bougainvillea vines. The city has a number of beautiful buildings including the pink Gothic parish church of La Parroquia, the magnificent Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramiez and the richly-decorated Oratorio de San Felipe Neri Church. A centre of Bohemian creativity in the 20th century, San Miguel de Allende is very popular with foreign expats and tourists in Mexico, having been noted as a desirable retirement destination for Americans. San Miguel de Allende also has a lively arts community, with productions hosted regularly at the Angela Peralta Theatre and the Otra Cara de México. The city is a three and a half hour drive from Mexico City.

    San Miguel de Allende San Miguel de Allende Esparta Palma
    Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve

    The Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve, located in the mountains south of La Paz, provides a rugged home for an incredible diversity of animal and plant life. Declared a UNESCO Global Biosphere Reserve in recognition of its distinctive fauna and flora, the reserve is home to mountain lion, coyotes, foxes, kangaroo rats, desert mule deer, gophers and badgers. This ecological treasure house attracts hikers, mountain bikers and naturalists keen to see cacti, palms and pine trees grow side by side and picturesque rock pools form underneath towering granite boulders. The core of the reserve is dominated by scenic oak-pine forests, which can make it difficult to spot animals.

    Mountain Lion Mountain Lion Tony Hisgett
    El Zocalo

    The enormous paved Plaza de la Constitución, or Zocalo, is the second largest city square in the world. Dominated on one side by the magnificent colonial Presidential Palace, and on the other by the great Metropolitan Cathedral with its ornate interior, the square is Mexico City's centre of government and religion. The square itself is always filled with activity, with vendors, buskers and informal performances and passing tourists. Every evening the presidential guards lower the national flag from the central flagpole. The square is constantly encircled by the city's ubiquitous green Volkswagen taxis and is a good starting point for those wanting to explore the city.

    Ceremony in the plaza Ceremony in the plaza krebsmaus07
    Templo Mayor

    Templo Mayor was the principal temple of the Aztecs, believed to mark the centre of the universe. It was part of the sacred complex of the ancient city of Tenochtitlan, and today it has been excavated to show the multiple layers of construction. The temple was first built in 1375 and enlarged several times, each rebuilding accompanied by a bloody sacrifice of captured warriors to rededicate the sacred area. Within the site is the excellent Museo del Templo Mayor, displaying artefacts from the original site including a great wheel-like stone carving of the Aztec goddess of the moon, Coyilxauhqui.

    Opening time: Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 5pm.
    Templo Mayor Templo Mayor AlejandroLinaresGarcia
    San Angel

    Formerly a separate village, San Angel is one of the more charming of Mexico's suburbs, an exclusive neighbourhood with ancient mansions and colonial houses along cobbled streets. It's famed for its Saturday craft market in the pretty Plaza San Jacinto, which brings colour, crowds and a festive atmosphere to the area, and has excellent art and handicrafts for sale. The suburb is crammed with little restaurants and cafes, several museums exhibiting the works of Frida Kahlo and others, and the lovely El Carmen complex consisting of a triple-domed church, a former monastery and a museum. San Angel is surrounded by a volcanic rock bed called the Pedregal. Parts of this unusual landscape have been declared protected areas where visitors can see the endemic flora and fauna.

    Frida Kahlo House Frida Kahlo House Rod Waddington
    Zona Rosa

    The Zona Rosa (Pink Zone) is Mexico City's major dining, nightlife and shopping district, crammed with bars, shops, boutiques, restaurants and hotels. The district has subtly shifted in its appeal recently. Once a fashionable hub for youth and the upper classes, the Zona Rosa is now also frequented by the city's gay community and tourists. The symbol of Mexico City, a gilded statue of Winged Victory, looms above the district and is one of the city's most photographic features. There is accomodation available in the area, but visitors are advised that it can be noisy at night.

    Zona Rosa Zona Rosa Thelmadatter

    Situated 31 miles (50km) from Mexico City, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Teotihuacan is the country's largest ancient city, dating from around 300 to 600 BC. Legend has it the Aztecs found the abandoned city, recognising signs of its previous magnificence and naming it Teotihuacan (Place of the Gods). The central thoroughfare of Teotihuacan is the Avenue of the Dead, a 1,3 mile (2km) stretch connecting the three main attractions. The Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest in the world, a huge red painted structure over a cave with spectacular views from the top. The smaller, more graceful Pyramid of the Moon contains an altar believed to have been used for religious dancing. The Citadel is a large square complex that was once the residence of the city's ruler. Within the walls is its main feature, the Templo de Quetzalcoatl.

    Opening time: Tuesday to Sunday 9am—5pm.
    View from the Pyramide de la Luna in Teotihuacan View from the Pyramide de la Luna in Teotihuacan Jackhynes
    Chichen Itza

    Chichen Itza, with its famous pyramids and temples, is the Yucatan's most visited ancient Mayan site, set in the jungle and said to have been inhabited for more than 2,000 years. The main attraction at Chichen Itza is the Pyramid of Kukulkan (the plumed serpent god), or El Castillo, a grand pyramid topped by a temple that dominates the site and has been declared one of the 7 New Wonders of the World. Inside the pyramid is a smaller pyramid, the inner sanctum, containing one of the greatest finds on the site, the brilliant red jaguar throne with jade spots, inlaid eyes and real jaguar teeth. Another building of interest is El Caracol, an observatory with slits in the dome aligned with certain astronomical appearances at specific dates.

    Transport: Bus services from Cancun or Playa del Carmen (2.5hrs by bus)
    Opening time: Daily 8am to 4.30pm. Light and sound show begins 7pm (autumn and winter) and 8pm (spring and summer).
    Chichen Itza Chichen Itza David Stanley
    Santo Domingo

    Santo Domingo is the most beautiful of San Cristóbal's churches, with an intricately carved pink Baroque facade that is especially impressive when lit up at night. The interior is richly decorated and shimmers with gold. The ornate pulpit and golden altarpieces are the main focus of this 16th-century architectural monument. Visitors are welcome at services but should prepare to be scolded by local worshippers if they don't show proper respect. The area in front and around the church is filled each day with craft stalls and village traders and is a great place to find souvenirs like woven blankets, shawls and amber jewellery.

    Santo Domingo Santo Domingo omar91
    San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan villages

    These two highland villages are the home of the Tzotzil people, descendants of the ancient Mayans and some of Mexico's most traditional indigenous communities. San Juan Chamula is a centre for religious festivals. The main attraction is the church where, every Sunday, men in loose homespun white woollen ponchos and women in embroidered finery congregate for the weekly market. The typical dress of the Zinacantan villagers is a red and white striped poncho decorated with tassels and a flat, round hat decorated with ribbons. The countryside is dotted with crosses and offerings dedicated to their ancestor gods or the Earth Lord. Visitors should respect the local traditions and customs, with the best way to visit with a local guide.

    Church of San Juan Church of San Juan Rob Young

    The setting for this spectacular ancient Mayan city is splendid, a hauntingly beautiful site engulfed in the endless tropical jungle that bristles with the shrieks of insects. The architecture is fantastic and for many Palenque is the most remarkable of the major Mayan sites. Early morning is the best time to capture the setting at its most photogenic, when swirling vapours encircle the temples and the jungle. The highlight is the tallest and most important of Palenque's buildings, the magnificent Temple of Inscriptions. Constructed on eight levels, the rear interior wall is decorated with panels of Mayan hieroglyphic inscriptions describing the history of Palenque and the temple. There is a museum near the entrance of the site.

    Palenque Palenque Judith Duk
    The Copper Canyon

    The Copper Canyon is a maze of gorges that combine to form six massive interconnected canyons, covering an area four times larger and almost two times deeper than the Grand Canyon. The Copper Canyon Railway climbs some 8,000 feet (2,400m) over the Sierra Madre, before dropping down to the city of Chihuahua, 393 miles (655km) away. It passes through 86 tunnels, crosses 39 bridges and performs a 360 degree loop, winding through some of the country's most magnificent scenery, often huggin the cliff with views of the river far below. The cliffs are home to thousands of Tarahumara, semi-nomads who farm, raise cattle and sell handicrafts. In stark contrast are the Mennonite settlements around Cuauhtemoc, where people sell farm products such as cheese and sausages but otherwise keep themselves out of society.

    View from the Pyramide de la Luna in Teotihuacan View from the Pyramide de la Luna in Teotihuacan Jackhynes

    Guanajuato is a colonial gem, founded around the rich silver deposits discovered by the Spanish in 1558. The city has an unusual layout, crammed into a narrow valley with houses and streets forced into irregular positions due to the naturally hilly topography. Brightly painted houses perch on slopes reached by narrow cobbled alleyways, hidden plazas, steep stairways and underground tunnels. The most narrow, and most visited, alley is the Callejón del Beso (Alley of the Kiss) where the balconies of the leaning houses on either side almost touch each other, a feature in the local romantic legend about furtive lovers exchanging kisses. Every weekend the famous strolling musicians lead processions through the narrow winding alleyways, strumming, singing and telling stories to following crowds.

    Transport: Bus from Mexico City (about four hours).
    Guanajuato Guanajuato Jose Juan Figueroa

    The rustic logging town of Creel is the gateway to the Copper Canyon, popular as a starting point for exploring the canyons and Tarahumara Indian country. The Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacifico (ChePe) train runs along the main canyon between Chihuahua and Los Mochis. The trip takes about 15 hours, passing through dramatic scenery and several villages. Creel is the largest town in the canyon and offers accommodation, restaurants and tours. Situated high in a valley, the cool mountain air at 7,677 feet (2,340m) makes a pleasant escape from the humidity on the coast.

    Copper Canyon, church near Creel Copper Canyon, church near Creel Judith Duk
    Isla Mujeres

    Located just a short ferry ride from the resort, Isla Mujeres is a stunning island with quiet villages and beautiful views that make for a great excursion from Cancun. The calm atmosphere is a relaxing break from the bustle of Cancun's busy beaches, and Isla Mujeres offers some excellent restaurants serving freshly-caught seafood. Hidalgo Street in El Centro is the main dining, shopping and entertainment area. Popular activities on Isla Mujeres include lounging on the pretty beaches, swimming with dolphins, snorkelling and scuba diving, exploring the remarkable Underwater Sculpture Museum, swimming with sharks, deep-sea fishing and kayaking. The most popular beaches are on the north and west sides of Isla.

    Isla Mujeres Isla Mujeres Cameron Wears
    Bosque de Chapultepec

    Bosque de Chapultepec is a truly immense urban park. Mexico's answer to Central Park spans over 686 hectares (1,695 acres), and on any given day is brimming with people. The park is home to boating lakes, monuments, a zoo, playing fields, and Chapultepec Castle. The castle stands on a hill in the centre of the park, housing the Natural History Museum and offering incredible views of the city. There's plenty to see and do in the park, but most people come to relax on lunch breaks or weekends.

    Address: Bosque de Chapultepec I Secc, 11100 Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico
    Chapultepec Castle Chapultepec Castle Nuno Tavares
    Museo Maya

    Cancun's archaeological museum, the Museo Maya, is new, modern and air-conditioned and a visit can be a welcome relief from the heat outside. The museum consists of three large exhibition halls and houses about 350 Mayan artefacts. Artefacts include carvings, pottery, weapons, as well as tools, ritual objects and burial masks. One of the highlights is the 14,000-year-old skeletal remains found in Tulum's underwater caves, greeting visitors as they arrive. The museum is enclosed by landscaped grounds and nestled within are some fascinating Mayan ruins, including a small pyramid. This site, called the San Miguelito Archaeological Site, is possibly the best part of a trip to the museum.

    Ancient ruins Cancun Ancient ruins Cancun Jok2000
    Cancun Beaches

    Cancun is unbeatable when it comes to watersports, sun-lounging and clear blue ocean water, supported by beach bars, restaurants and great tourist facilities. The northern stretch of Mujeres Bay includes the popular Playa Langosta, Playa Las Perlas and Playa Tortugas, all great for watersports, bars and restaurants. Playa Linda is a launching point for boat and dive tours, while Playa Caracol and Punta Cancun are excellent for family fun. East side beaches are breezier with rougher surf. Chac Mool, Playa Marlin, Gaviota Azul and Playa Ballenas are ideal for parasailing and windsurfing, while Punta Nizuc and Playa Delfines are perfect for a day of sand and surf. The best dive sites lie between Cancun and Isla Mujeres, at the colourful reefs of El Tunel, Grampin, Chuchos and Largo. The Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA) is also a fantastic option for divers.

    Cancun Beach Cancun Beach Rick Gonzalez
    Yucatan Peninsula

    The atmosphere of the Yucatan Peninsula is more relaxed and tranquil. It's an area famed for white sandy beaches, magnificent offshore coral reefs and diving opportunities on the Caribbean Coast, as well as for the region's splendid ruins and extraordinary Mayan temples. Visitors can explore tropical jungles, a hot countryside dotted with Mayan villages and a superb coastline with popular resorts and islands such as Cancun and Cozumel. There are also numerous archaeological sites and colonial towns. Taxis are the preferred way to get around the resort areas while there are frequent ferry services to Cozumel and Mujeres.

    Tulum, Yucatan Tulum, Yucatan Christian Cordova
    La Paz

    The holiday retreat of La Paz is the laid-back capital of Baja California Sur, known for its stunning sunsets, beaches and colonial architecture. The most romantic feature in the city is the waterfront promenade, festooned with dining and nightlife spots stretching for several kilometres along sandy beaches. The region boasts astonishing plant and animal life, the varied and dramatic geology of the inland deserts, mountains and oases. Beautiful unspoilt offshore islands offer hiking, as well as amazing diving and snorkelling from pristine beaches with dolphins, sea lions and gigantic whale sharks. The islands are the destination of kayakers, sailors and boat cruises, and the bay is a popular yachting stopover. La Paz is a fisherman's paradise and its international fishing competitions are world-famous. There's also no shortage of upmarket boutiques and high fashion stores for those with a penchant for shopping.

    Sunset over La Paz Sunset over La Paz Rick McCharles

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    The Tropic of Cancer divides Mexico into a tropical south and temperate north, which means that the northern region experiences cooler winter temperatures, whereas the south is hot all year with little seasonal variation. The coastal plains and Yucatan Peninsula of the south experience average annual temperatures ranging between 75°F and 82°F (24°C and 28°C). The annual average temperatures in the northern lowlands are somewhat lower, ranging between 68°F and 75°F (20°C and 24°C), mainly because there is greater seasonal variation. The whole country tends to be hot and humid between May and August and is pleasantly warm throughout the year. Rainfall varies widely according to region and terrain, but Mexico does have distinct wet and dry seasons: most of the country experiences a rainy season between late May and mid-October, with significantly less rain the rest of the year. February is the driest month and July is the wettest. Hurricanes are possible between June and November.

    The best time to visit Mexico is between November and early May. It is best to avoid the peak summer months (June to August), when it is uncomfortably hot, and the Easter holidays (March and April), when it can get unbearably crowded.


    Angelopolitano is a very popular restaurant which serves classic Mexican dishes with a modern gourmet twist. The setting is trendy and intimate and the portions are generous and extremely tasty. Downstairs there is a restaurant store selling traditional Mexican preserves and sauces of high quality. They serve lunch and dinner daily. the restaurants open between 10am and 10pm, and stays open a little later on weekends.

    Address: Puebla 371, Colonia Roma, Mexico City
    Café de Tacuba

    Café Tacuba has a very colonial atmosphere, dating back to 1912. Its décor features brass lamps, oil paintings and a mural of nuns working in a kitchen. The authentic Mexican menu offers traditional dishes including tamales, enchiladas, chiles rellenos and pozole, and their pastries and hot chocolate are legendary. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner; reservations recommended.

    Address: 28 Tacuba, Centro Histórico
    La Opera

    La Opera is a luxurious dining venue with dark wood booths and linen-covered tables. The décor features gilded baroque ceilings and beautiful oil paintings, and an added feature is the bullet hole which revolutionary general, Pancho Villa, supposedly put in the ceiling when he galloped into the restaurant on horseback. The menu offers an array of sumptuous cuisine including Spanish tapas and red snapper with olives and tomatoes. It's open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, and Sunday for lunch. Reservations are recommended.

    Address: 10 Cinco de Mayo, Centro Histórico
    Restaurant Danubio

    Open since 1936, many celebrity diners have frequented the classic-European dining room of Restaurant Danubio, in the Centro Histórico. The restaurant's menu offers superb Spanish cuisine prepared on an ancient coal and firewood stove. The seafood at Restaurant Danubio is excellent - be sure to try the (baby crayfish). It's open daily for lunch and dinner, and reservations are recommended.

    Address: 3 Republica de Uruguay, Centro Historico
    Website: www.danubio.com
    Mexico City International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated six miles (10km) east of Mexico City.
    Time: Local time is GMT -6 (GMT -5 between the first Sunday in April and the second last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals Passengers can ride the free Air Train between the two terminals. The general public have to take the public transportation bus between the terminals at a nominal charge.
    Getting to the city: The Mexico City Metro subway system links the airport to downtown Mexico City. There are also suburban bus services including Autobuses del Oriente (ADO) and Autobuses Estrella Roja. Some hotels offer a pick-up service; it is worth checking their charge as it is generally cheaper to take a taxi.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Budget and National.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are regulated and passengers can pay in advance at the taxi counter in Arrivals. Authorized taxis are mustard yellow with an aeroplane logo. It takes about 45 minutes to the city centre.
    Facilities: Facilities at the airport include ATMs, banks, bureaux de change, business facilities, a post office, restaurants, shops, hotel reservations and tourist information.
    Parking Parking at Mexico City International Airport is charged at MXN 44 per hour, up to a limit of MXN 288 per day.
    Website: www.aicm.com.mx
    Cancun International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated eight miles (13km) from downtown Cancun and 12 miles (20km) from the Hotel zone.
    Time: GMT -6 (GMT -5 between the first Sunday in April and the second last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals A shuttle bus runs between the main entrances of the terminals every 10 minutes.
    Getting to the city: Taxis can be used to get to the town. An official taxi company provides services from the airport and can be paid for at the airport. Airport ADO buses leave the airport from all three terminals every 30 to 45 minutes and go to downtown Cancun as well as Playa del Carmen.
    Car Rental: Major car rental companies are represented at the airport, along with a number of local companies.
    Airport Taxis: Official taxis provide services from the airport and can be paid for at the airport just outside the arrivals hall. Taxis go to both Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
    Facilities: Cancun airport has all the facilities one would expect at one of the world's mega-airports. Facilities include ATMs, a bureau de change, restaurants, shops, a pharmacy, medical services and tourist information. There are facilities for disabled passengers but those with special needs are advised to contact their airline in advance.
    Parking Parking is available near to each terminal entrance, starting at MXN 28 per hour, up to a maximum of MXN 165 per day.
    Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Guadalajara International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 10 miles (16km) south of Guadalajara.
    Time: GMT -6 (GMT -5 between the first Sunday in April and the second last Sunday in October)
    Transfer Between Terminals The second terminal is for cargo only. Passengers should only have to make use of the Passenger Terminal and therefore no transfer should be necessary.
    Getting to the city: Many local hotels offer transfers that are cheaper than taxi fares.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Budget, Sixt, National, Fox, and Europcar.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available at both terminals 24 hours a day.
    Facilities: There are shops, bars and restaurants at the airport. Other facilities include ATMs, banks, currency exchange and VIP lounges and tourist information. Disabled facilities are relatively good; those with special needs are advised to contact their airline in advance.
    Parking There is parking available at the airport.
    General Juan N. Alvarez International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 14 miles (22km) southeast of Acapulco.
    Time: Local time is GMT -6 (GMT -5 between the first Sunday in April and the second last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: Airport shuttles are the safest way to transfer from the airport to the city centre and should be pre-booked. Many local hotels offer shuttle service to guests.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies Alamo, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Thrifty, and Hertz are represented at the airport.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available outside the main terminal. Rates are based on a zone system, the type of vehicle, and number of passengers. Passengers can buy tickets at the taxi kiosk.
    Facilities: There are shops, bars and restaurants at the airport. Other facilities include banks and currency exchange services. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should contact their airline in advance.
    Parking Parking is available, costing MXN 30 for the first hour, and MXN 15 for every 30 minutes thereafter. The maximum daily rate is MXN 250.
    Website: www.oma.aero
    General Roberto Fierro Villalobos International Airport
    Location: Chihuahua International Airport is about 11 miles (18km) from the city.
    Time: GMT -7 (GMT -6 from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October)
    Getting to the city: Taxis are available. Fares depend on destination. There is no public bus servicing the airport. Car rental is also an option.
    Car Rental: The car rental desks are located inside the terminal building. Booking in advance will result in a lower fee than an on-the-day rental. Companies available at the airport include Avis, Europcar, Greenmotion, and Hertz.
    Airport Taxis: Three taxi companies service the airport. Rates are based on a zone system and the number of passengers. Tickets are available from a counter inside the airport.
    Facilities: ATMs are located on the lower level of the main terminal. Other facilities include a shoeshine service, magazine stands, fashion stores, duty-free shopping, local crafts and souvenirs, bars, and restaurants.
    Parking Parking lots are open around the clock for rates of MXN 26 for the first hour, and MXN 13 every 30 minutes thereafter. The maximum for a day is MXN 160.
    Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 5 miles (8 km) north of Puerto Vallarta.
    Time: Local time is GMT -6 (GMT -5 from first Sunday in April to second last Saturday in October).
    Getting to the city: Areomovil taxi transportation is the main source of transport from the airport, as well as combi bus (Colectivo minivan) which charge rates based on the zone of travel. The fare must be paid before departure at a small kiosk located just outside the terminal. Limos.com also provide a service for passengers from the airport. Taxis can be flagged down from the highway. The local bus also travels through to Puerto Vallarta.
    Car Rental: There are several car rental agencies located in the terminal.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available just outside the terminal and rates are charged based on the zones of travel.
    Facilities: The airport features a bank, a bureaux de change, cash machines, several small shops on the ground level of the airport, duty-free shops, a café, restaurant and a bar.
    Parking There is short-term parking available.
    General Mariano Escobedo International Airport
    Location: The airport is approximately 15 miles (24km) from Monterrey city centre.
    Time: GMT –6 (GMT –5 between the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October)
    Transfer Between Terminals Complimentary minibus shuttles operate between Terminals A and C every 10 minutes between 5am and midnight. Terminals A and B are within walking distance of each other.
    Getting to the city: A new express Skybus service runs between the city and the airport, on luxury buses with premium facilities. Departures from the airport start in the early mornings and run until before midnight, dropping passengers off at Valle Oriente Station on Avenida Lázaro Cardenas. Reservations are advised. Several hotels also offer their own shuttles.
    Car Rental: Car rental kiosks are located outside the arrivals area in Terminal A. The companies located here include Avis, Alamo, Dollar, Europcar, Greenmotion, Hertz, Payless, Sixt, and Thrifty.
    Airport Taxis: A broad selection of taxis service Monterrey Airport, departing from in front of the terminals. Rates are based on a zone system, and also depend on the kind of vehicle and number of passengers. It takes around 30 minutes to the city centre. Travellers can pre-pay for their fare at kiosks outside the arrivals area in Terminals A and C.
    Facilities: Facilities at the airport include hotel reservations, currency exchange, regional bus services, airline VIP lounges, a mini market, fashion stores, duty-free shopping, restaurants, gifts shops, bars, coffee shops, a shoeshine service, and ATMs.
    Parking Parking is available near each terminal. Short-term parking is MXN 34 for the first hour, and MXN 16 for every 30 minutes thereafter, up to MXN 360 per day. Long-term parking is MXN 68 per three hours, up to MXN 190 per day. Premium parking is available near Terminal B. In all parking lots, payment is made at the Automated Payment machines located near the parking lot exit, and both cash and credit cards are accepted.
    Website: www.oma.aero
    Bachigualato Federal International Airport
    Location: Culiacan International is located approximately six miles (10km) southwest of the centre of Culiacan city.
    Time: GMT -7 (GMT -6 between the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals The secondary terminal is a General Aviation terminal used for private planes and helicopters.
    Getting to the city: Visitors should arrange collection with their hotel, take a taxi, or hire a car from one of the reputable car rental companies located in the airport. There is no public transport from the airport.
    Car Rental: A variety of rental cars are available for hire from desks on the lower floor of the main terminal building. The companies include Advantage, Alamo, Europcar, Budget, and Hertz, among others.
    Airport Taxis: Authorised taxi companies Aero Gris and Autotransportistas Fernando Amilpa service the airport. Tickets are available from the taxi kiosk.
    Facilities: Facilities at the airport include vending machines, ATMs, a bar, magazine stands, fashion stores, and a range of restaurants.
    Parking The parking lot is located directly opposite the main terminal building. The first hour of parking costs MXN 34. After that, it costs MXN 16 per 30 minutes, up to a maximum of MXN 150 per day. Payment can be made with cash or credit card at the parking lot exit.
    Website: www.oma.aero
    Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport
    Location: The airport is located five miles (8km) from Merida.
    Time: GMT -6 (GMT -5 between the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October)
    Getting to the city: Authorised taxis or vans connect the airport to the city. There is also a bus service run by ADO.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies represented at the airport include Hertz, Europcar, National and Exective.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available from the airport.
    Facilities: Airport facilities include a bank, currency exchange, shopping (including duty-free shops), restaurants and fast food outlets.
    Parking Parking is available at the airport.
    Website: www.asur.com.mx
    Los Cabos International Airport
    Location: The airport is located seven miles (11km) from San José del Cabo city centre.
    Time: GMT -7 (GMT -6 between the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October)
    Transfer Between Terminals A shuttle service runs between terminals.
    Getting to the city: Shuttles are available at all terminals 24 hours a day. The SuburCabos bus has a stop roughly a five-minute taxi ride away from the airport. The bus route has many stops in San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas; however, the main stop for Cabo San Lucas hotels is at the Puerto Paraiso Mall. Note that the bus will only stop if someone signals for it.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies represented at the airport include Fox, U-Save, Europcar, Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Dollar, National, Alamo, and Hertz.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available to transport passengers to their required destination and can be found at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Taxi stands are open from 7am to 10pm.
    Facilities: Airport facilities include a VIP lounge (including a spa, bar and pool tables), restaurants, fast food outlets, coffee shops, shops, ATMs, and a bank.
    Parking Parking is available at the airport.
    Francisco Sarabia International Airport
    Location: The airport is located about three miles (5km) from Torreon city centre.
    Time: GMT -6 (GMT -5, April to end October)
    Getting to the city: Many local hotels offer airport shuttles for guests. Taxis and rental cars are also available.
    Car Rental: Car rental represented at the airport includes Airways, Avis, Europcar, Greenmotion and Sixt.
    Airport Taxis: Taxi services are available. Rates are based on a zone system, the type of vehicle and number of passengers. Passengers can buy tickets at the taxi kiosk.
    Facilities: Airport facilities include ATMs, car rental, waiting rooms, vending machines, VIP lounges, restaurants and shopping.
    Parking Parking is available at the airport and costs MXN 34 for the first hour and thereafter MXN 16 for every 15 minutes. A daily maximum of MXN 360 is charged.
    General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport
    Location: The airport is located about three miles (5km) from the city centre, immediately south of the US border.
    Time: GMT -8 (GMT -7, mid-March to early November)
    Transfer Between Terminals In December 2015 a new terminal was opened, on the US side of the border known as the Cross Border Xpress or CBX. The two terminals are connected by a bridge.
    Getting to the city: Blue-and-white public buses marked 'Plaza Rio' or 'Centro' run to the city centre from outside the airport. International coaches are also available to San Diego and other destinations in Southern California. Taxis and rental cars are also available.
    Car Rental: Rental cars are available from Alamo, Avis, Dollar, Europcar, Hertz, National, Sixt and Thrifty.
    Airport Taxis: Yellow taxis are plentiful, and will take passengers to central Tijuana (Zona Centro). Fares can be paid in Mexican or US currency. Tickets for authorised taxis can be purchased at ticket machines at terminal exits at a fixed rate.
    Facilities: Terminal facilities include VIP lounges, currency exchange, ATMs, shops and a food court.
    Parking There is short-term and long-term parking available at the airport.
    Carlos Rovirosa Pérez International Airport
    Location: The airport is located nine miles (15km) from Villahermosa city centre.
    Time: GMT -6 (GMT -5 between April and October)
    Getting to the city: Taxi and shuttle services can be arranged on the ground floor of the terminal. Rental cars are also available.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies represented at the airport include Avis, Hertz, Budget and Europcar.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis are available at the airport. The ride to the city centre takes about 15 minutes.
    Facilities: Facilities are limited, but there is a selection of shops and restaurants.
    Parking Parking is available near the terminal.
    Website: www.asur.com.mx

    Mexican currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN), divided into 100 centavos. Credit cards are widely accepted, particularly Visa, MasterCard and American Express. ATMs are available in most cities and towns and are the most convenient way to get money, but for safety reasons should only be used during business hours and vigilance is advised. Although many businesses will accept foreign currency (particularly US Dollars), it's best to use pesos. Foreign currency can be exchanged at one of many casas de cambio (exchange houses), which have longer hours and offer a quicker service than the banks.


    Spanish is the official language in Mexico. Some English is spoken in tourist regions.


    110-120 volts, 60Hz. Two-pin flat blade attachment plugs are standard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals: US citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in Mexico. A visa is not required for stays of up to 180 days.

    UK nationals: British citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in Mexico. A visa is not required for holders of British passports endorsed British Citizen, British National (Overseas) or British Subject for stays of up to 180 days.

    CA nationals: Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in Mexico. A visa is not required for stays of up to 180 days.

    AU nationals: Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in Mexico. A visa is not required for stays of up to 180 days. Note that visa exemptions apply to holders of an APEC Business Travel Card, provided that the card is valid for travel to Mexico (i.e. endorsed with "MEX" on its reverse side).

    ZA nationals: South African citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in Mexico. A visa is required. Passengers with a valid visa issued by Canada, Japan, USA, United Kingdom or a Schengen Member State are visa exempt for a maximum stay of 180 days.

    IR nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in Mexico. A visa is not required for stays of up to 180 days.

    NZ nationals: New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid upon their arrival in Mexico. A visa is not required for stays of up to 180 days. Note that visa exemptions apply to holders of an APEC Business Travel Card, provided that the card is valid for travel to Mexico (i.e. endorsed with "MEX" on its reverse side).

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    All foreign passengers to Mexico must hold a Mexico Visitor's Permit (FMM), which is issued free of charge, and obtainable from airlines, Mexican Consulates, Mexican international airports, and border crossing points. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers transiting through the United States are required to present a passport, or other valid travel document, to enter or re-enter the United States. Foreign passengers to Mexico should ensure that their passports and other travel documents are in good condition - even slightly torn passports will not be accepted. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    Those entering Mexico from an infected area require a yellow fever certificate. Malaria and dengue fever exist in some rural areas but not on the Pacific and Gulf coasts, while travellers who come into close contact with animals should consider a rabies vaccination.

    Sensible precautions regarding food and water should be followed, and visitors are advised to stick to bottled water. Medical facilities are basic, so comprehensive travel insurance is recommended. As medicines may be in short supply, travellers should consider taking prescription medications in their original packaging, accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what it is and why it is needed.

    Zika is still a risk in Mexico. Because Zika infection in a pregnant woman can cause serious birth defects, women who are pregnant should seek advice from healthcare providers before travelling to Mexico.


    Tipping is customary in Mexico for almost all services as employees are not paid sufficient hourly wages and often rely on tips. Waiters and bar staff should be tipped 10 to 15 percent if a service charge hasn't already been added to the bill. The American custom of tipping 15 to 20 percent is practiced at international resorts, including those in Los Cabos.

    Safety Information:

    There can be incidents of robberies in the big cities such as Mexico City. Travellers, particularly women on their own, should be vigilant and take care of their belongings, especially on public transport. Only use authorised taxi services and try to avoid bus travel at night.

    Visitors are advised to be wary of people presenting themselves as police officers attempting to fine or arrest them for no apparent reason, leading to theft or assault. If in doubt, ask for identification.

    Most of the violence related to drug cartel wars in Mexico is concentrated along the border between Mexico and the United States, with tourist zones generally unaffected. Hurricanes may affect the coastal areas between June and November.

    Local Customs:

    Mexicans are not impatient and do not appreciate impatience in others, so travellers should expect opening hours and public transport times to be flexible and laid back. Mexicans are friendly and hospitable people, with courteous behaviour greatly appreciated. Travellers should also note that it is common for Mexicans to communicate closer than one arm's length from each other and that it's not an attempt to be forward.


    In Mexico, business is ideally conducted face-to-face. Although many Mexican businessmen speak perfect English, Spanish is the official language of business in Mexico and learning a few choice words and phrases will go a long way toward ingratiating yourself with your new associates.

    Business etiquette in Mexico is marked by a combination of formality and friendliness. It is very rare to hear the word 'no' being used in a direct or confrontational way - bald refusals are seen as rude. Use titles ('señhor' and 'señhora') until specifically instructed not to, but do not shrink away from engaging in personal discussions with your colleagues. Business meetings must be scheduled in advance, and then confirmed a few days before they are due to take place.

    The dress code for the Mexican business world is smart and formal. Business hours in Mexico are generally from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, with a two or three hour siesta in the early afternoon.


    The international access code for Mexico is +52. There is widespread network coverage in Mexico from Telcel, Movistar, Virgin Mobile and AT&T Mexico. Hotels, cafes and restaurants offering free wifi are widely available.

    Duty Free:

    Travellers to Mexico over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars or 200g tobacco; 3 litres spirits or 6 litres wine; other goods to the value of US$500 if arriving by air, or US$300 if arriving by land are premitted without incurring duty fees. Prohibited goods include narcotics, firearms and used clothing that is not part of your personal luggage. The export of archaeological artefacts is strictly forbidden.

    Useful Contacts:

    Mexico Tourism Board: +52 55 5278 4200 or www.visitmexico.com

    Mexico Embassies:

    Mexican Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 728 1600.

    Mexican Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7499 8586.

    Mexican Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 233 8988.

    Mexican Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6273 3963.

    Mexican Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 460 1004.

    Mexican Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 667 3105.

    Mexican Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 472 0555.

    Foreign Embassies in Mexico :

    United States Embassy, Mexico City: +52 55 5080 2000.

    British Embassy, Mexico City: +52 55 1670 3200.

    Canadian Embassy, Mexico City: +52 55 5724 7900.

    Australian Embassy, Mexico City: +52 55 1101 2200.

    South African Embassy, Mexico City: +52 55 1100 4970.

    Irish Embassy, Mexico City: +52 55 5520 5803.

    New Zealand Embassy, Mexico City: +52 55 5283 9460.

    Mexico Emergency Numbers : 911 (General Emergency Hotline)