To make your trip to Mexico as pleasant as possible, we recommend you consider the following useful information.
Population: More than 110,000,000 inhabitants, with the largest populations concentrated in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey (and their surrounding areas).
Official Language: Spanish, although still spoken are some 66 indigenous languages, which come from pre-Hispanic cultures. In tourist areas and big cities many people will speak some English.
Currency: Bills come in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 pesos. Coins are issued in denominations of 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 pesos (although the latter is no longer accepted in many places). The U.S. dollar is accepted at all money exchange bureaus across the country; it’s also possible to exchange such currencies as the euro and the Canadian dollar.
Taxes: When leaving the country by plane, you must pay departure and airport taxes, which cost about US$13 and US$8.50, respectively. When purchasing your airline ticket, ask if the taxes come included, they usually are. (Tax fees may vary)
Leaving Tips: Generally, you should tip waiters, bellhops, skycaps (about US$1 per bag), tourist guides and valet parking attendants. In restaurants, leave 10% or 15% of the bill.
Systems of Measurement: Metric (for distances), Celsius (for temperatures), and the 60-cycle, 120-volt system (for electricity), same as the US.
Making a Phone Call: The country code when dialing to Mexico is 52. For national long distance calls, you need to dial 01 plus the area code. When calling the United States and Canada, you must first dial 001. To place other international calls, dial 00, followed by the country and city codes. When calling a Mexican cell phone within Mexico, you must add 044 before the number (ex.: 044 (55) 5500-5555) if calling from the same area code, or 045 if calling from another area code (ex.: 045 (55) 5500-5555). If you need to call a Mexican cell phone from abroad, add a “1” between the country code and the area code (ex.: 00-52-1-55-5500-5555). In Mexico, you’ll find pay telephones in most cities; some are coin-operated and others require prepaid cards that cost $30, $50 or $100 pesos.
Internet Access: Mexico offers plenty of Internet cafes and public sites with free or paid WiFi access. Most hotels offer in-room internet service for an extra cost. You can also use or rent mobile internet services with 4G-LTE technology (service areas may be limited).
Emergency Numbers: Here are some important emergency phone numbers: 060 for police, 080 for the fire department and ambulances, 078 for highway emergencies, (55) 5250-0123 for tourist security, and (55) 5658-1111 for information service Locatel.
Social Customs: When greeting someone in Mexico, it’s common to shake hands with men and women that you have just met; women might also greet men or women with a kiss on the cheek.
Holidays: Official holidays are:
- January 1 (New Year’s Day)
- February 5 (or the previous Monday) (Flag Day)
- March 21(or the previous Monday) (Benito Juarez’s Day)
- May 1 (Labor Day)
- September 16 (Independence Day)
- November 20 (or the previous Monday) (Revolution Day)
- December 25 (Christmas)
Other holidays include (not always observed):
- Easter week (Thursday and Friday specially)
- May 5 (Battle of Puebla Day)
- November 2 (Day of the Dead)
- May 10 (Mother’s Day)
- December 12 (Virgin of Guadalupe Day)
Transportation: Mexico has an excellent highway system, airports in many major cities, and bus terminals in nearly every municipality. For local transport, most cities offer taxi and bus services. Mexico City, Monterrey and Leon use Metrobus or EcoVia, an express bus line, and Mexico City and Monterrey have underground metro services. For more information on traveling within Mexico see Getting Around.
Tourist Information: In every state, and at every important destination, you’ll find tourist information offices and booths, as well as embassy and consulate services.