Cities

Mexico City

Capital of the Republic, one of the three largest cities in the world, and a sophisticated urban hub with a 700-year history. In Mexico City, you will find everything from parks, Aztec ruins, colonial architecture, museums, to nightlife and shopping.

Acapulco

A sophisticated urban beach setting known for its top-notch nightlife, elegant dining, and nightmarish traffic. Many of the older (pre-1990s) concrete structures have suffered tropical decay.

Cancún

One of the worlds most popular and famous beaches, known for its clear Caribbean waters, its lively party atmosphere, and its wealth of recreational facilities. During the U.S. college Spring Break (mid-Feb to the end of March) it is noted for drinking, sunburns, and debauchery.

Guadalajara

A traditional city, capital of Jalisco state, and the home of mariachi music and tequila. Guadalajara is blessed with perpetual spring weather and its colonial downtown is graceful and sophisticated.

Mazatlan

Lively Pacific coast town, Mazatlan is a shipping port, a transportation hub with ferries to Baja California, and a beach resort destination with miles of sandy shore. It is a popular U.S. college Spring Break destination due to its variety of affordable lodging options.

Monterrey

A large modern city that is the commercial and industrial hub of Northern Mexico. Monterrey enjoys a dry, mountainous setting and is known for its high-quality educational and transportation infrastructure.

San Luis Potosi

Located in central Mexico, a colonial city that was once an important silver producer, but today, relies on manufacturing for its economic base.

Taxco

In central Mexico west of Cuernavaca, this nice steep mountain town was once a major silver producer, and now has a strong place in the trade of decorative silver, from cheap fittings to the most elegant jewelry and elaborate castings.

Tijuana

Mexico's busiest border crossing for pedestrians and private vehicles, and a long-time bargain Mecca for southern Californians due to its proximity with San Diego.

Other destinations

Copper Canyon

(Barrancas del Cobre) - An exotic destination for travelers looking for a unique remote adventure! An awesome mountain rail ride -- one of the greatest in the world -- takes you upwards over 2,440 m (8000 feet) on the CHEPE, the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railway. Hiking, horseback riding, birding, and Tarahumara Indians. Copper Canyon, the Sierra Madre and the Chihuahuan desert of Mexico. This area is designed for adventurous individuals who will tolerate some rough travel to get to their point(s) of interest (although the famous train ride isn't demanding at all). Copper Canyon, a magnificent remote wilderness is not likely ever to become a mass market destination.

Chiapas

From docks on the Rio Grijalva (the only major river within Mexico) near Tuxtla Gutiérrez in Chiapas state, tour launches take you into this steep-walled National Park. You'll likely see vast flocks of flamingos, pelicans, and other waterfowl, as well as crocodiles.

Puerto Peñasco

Archaeological sites

Chichen Itza

Majestic Mayan city, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 and was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Ek Balam

A reconstructed Mayan site, famous for its unique decorated stucco and stone carved temples that you can climb.

El Tajín

In the state of Veracruz near the town of Papantla. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Monte Alban

In the state of Oaxaca, a Zapotec site dating from about 500 BC. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Palenque

Mayan city in the state of Chiapas, Palenque famous for its elaborate paintings. Also well known for having the largest tract of rainforest in Mexico located in the same area.

Teotihuacan

In the state of Mexico, near Mexico City. Enormous site with several large pyramids.

Tulum

Mayan coastal city with spectacular Caribbean vistas. Dates from late Mayan period.

Uxmal

Impressive Mayan city-state in the Puc Region, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Guanajuato

Go next (To Belize)

Chetumal

city on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico

Belmopan

capital of Belize

Go next (To Guatemala)

Guatemala

republic in Central America

Go next (To the United States)

United States

Sights

Baja California

state of Mexico

Oaxaca

state of Mexico

Guerrero Negro

town located in the municipality of Mulegé in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur

Mazunte

Playa Zipolite

human settlement

Huatulco

tourist development in Mexico

Riviera Maya

Guadalajara

city in Jalisco, México

Toluca

City in the capital municipality of Mexico State

United States

federal republic in North America

Baja California Peninsula

peninsula of North America on the Pacific Coast of Mexico

Someday

guide to

Mexico

Mexico (Spanish: México), the United Mexican States (Spanish: Estados Unidos Mexicanos), is a country in North America, between the United States of America to the north, and Guatemala and Belize to the southeast. Its coastlines include the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Arriving

Get in

Note: Mexico charges 390 pesos (May 2016) per person that has spent more than 7 days (inclusive) in the country, e.g., 1st to 7th is 7 days.

Payable on exit whatever the mode of transportation. N.B. on entrance, officials may say that 7 days is non-inclusive but you will find out otherwise when you exit the country.

If you flew into Mexico on a commercial flight, the cost of your plane ticket already included the tourism tax and you absolutely do not need to pay it again upon exiting. You will need to prove to the border officials that you have already paid, by showing the following: 1) Your FMM card you received upon arrival, and 2) An itemized receipt from your flight purchase showing the Tourism Tax

Visa and other entrance requirements

According to the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores), certain foreign nationals who intend to stay in Mexico fewer than 180 days for the purpose of tourism or 30 days for business can fill out a tourist card at the border or upon landing at an airport after presenting a valid passport, for US$22. If arriving via air, it is included in the price of the fare. This service is available to citizens of Andorra, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, Uruguay and Venezuela (see official list here). Permanent residents of the United States, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, and Schengen area countries are also eligible for visas on arrival regardless of citizenship.

The Mexican tourist card is a Forma Migratoria Múltiple (Multiple Immigration Form), or FMM. It has a perforation that divides the card into two parts, of which the right side asks for some of the same information requested on the left side. At entry, after reviewing your passport and filled-out FMM, the immigration officer will stamp your passport and the FMM, separate the FMM along the perforation and give the right side of the FMM back to you with your passport. Keep the FMM together with your passport at all times. It is your responsibility to make sure the right side of the FMM is returned to the Mexican government at time of departure so that the bar code can be scanned, thus showing that you left the country on time. For example, if you are flying with Aeromexico, they will ask for your passport and FMM at check-in for your flight home, then staple your FMM to your boarding pass. You are expected to then hand the boarding pass together with your FMM to the gate agent as you board your flight. If you lose your FMM during your visit to Mexico, you may be subject to substantial delays and fines before you can leave the country.

Electronic authorization (Autorización Electrónica) for travelling to Mexico is available on the Internet for nationals from Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Other nationalities must contact a Mexican consulate in order to find out the requirements for citizens of their country, and may have to apply for and obtain a visa in advance of travel. If you are in need of other information, Mexico has diplomatic offices in the following cities around the world. The consulates in the USA are typically open for business to non-citizens (by telephone or in-person) only from 8:30AM to 12:30PM.

If you cross the border via road, do not expect the authorities to automatically signal you to fill out your paperwork. You will have to locate the border office yourself.

The immigration officer at your point of entry into Mexico can also request that you demonstrate that you have sufficient economic solvency and a round trip ticket.

If you do not intend to travel past the "border zone" and your stay does not exceed three days, U.S. and Canadian nationals require only a proof of citizenship. Reentry into the United States generally requires a passport, but a U.S. or Canadian Enhanced Drivers License (or Enhanced Photo ID) or U.S. passport card is acceptable for reentry by land or sea.

From the United States and Canada

There are hundreds of daily flights linking Mexico to cities large and small throughout North America. This includes legacy carriers such as Air Canada, Aeromexico, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta, and discount airlines such as JetBlue, Spirit, WestJet, Virgin America and Southwest Airlines. Also to be considered is the Mexican discount carrier Volaris, which operates from several major US cities (including Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Orlando, San Diego and Portland) through their hubs in Mexico City and Guadalajara. The other carrier, Interjet also serve Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Antonio and Houston. In return, United Airlines/United Express (operated by Express Jet and Skywest) fly to additional cities in Mexico besides Guadalajara, Mexico City, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and other major beach resorts (which are already served by multiple US & Mexican carriers) such as to Aguascaliente, Chihuahua, Ciudad de Carmen, Durango, Huatulco, Leon/Guanajuato, Oaxaca, Merida, San Luis Potosi, Torreon, Tampico, Veracruz and Villahermosa from Houston. Flights to additional Mexican cities are operated by Aeromar on a code-share basis.

As in the United States and Canada, you will have to clear immigration and customs at your first Mexican port of entry, even though that airport may not be your final destination. (For example, many trips on Aeromexico will involve connecting through its Mexico City hub.) You will then have to re-check your bags and go through security again to proceed to your next flight segment.

From Australia or New Zealand

Fly from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne or Auckland (NZ) direct to Los Angeles on Delta, Qantas, United, and Virgin Australia. Air New Zealand offers one-stop air service from Australia and non-stop air service from Auckland to Los Angeles. Hawaiian Airlines and Air Tahiti Nui offer one- or two-stop air service to Los Angeles from Australia and New Zealand.

Many airlines continue from Los Angeles to Mexico including AeroMexico/Aeromexico Connect, Alaska Airlines, Volaris, Interjet, United and Virgin America, some of which have interline or alliance ticketing and baggage check through. More options are available if connecting through another USA city. Also, make sure to have a good look at visas beforehand - even just for transit you will need something for USA, and if you get a visa waiver, they treat Mexico as part of the USA, meaning if you stay longer than 90 days in Mexico, you will need to travel further south before returning to USA.

From Europe

Most commercial airlines link Mexico directly from Europe. There are direct flights to Mexico City (MEX IATA) and Cancun (CUN IATA) from Paris (CDG IATA), London (LON IATA), Madrid (MAD IATA), Amsterdam (AMS IATA), Frankfurt (FRA IATA). Some carriers will serve both Mexico City and Cancun while other will only serve one and not the other (usually only to Cancun such as those from Russia and Italy). Additional flights to Cancun from Europe may only be available as charters and some may operate during the winter months (Dec-Feb) only. It is always worth to compare flight offers from air carriers and charter companies who can bring you to Mexico City or Cancun via many European hubs. The flight duration from those cities is always approximately 11 hours.

By train

From the United States to Mexico the nearest Amtrak stations are in San Diego, Yuma, Del Rio and El Paso. The frequent Pacific Surfliner connects San Diego from San Luis Obispo via Los Angeles; while the Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle pass by Yuma, El Paso and Del Rio between Los Angeles and San Antonio. In San Antonio the Texas Eagle continues northwards towards Chicago while the Sunset Limited continues east to New Orleans. Amtrak trains do not cross the border into Mexico so passengers continue to the border by local public transportation or by taxi from the Amtrak station.

There are no trains to the US/Mexican border from anywhere within Mexico or to the other border with Mexico's southern neighbors (Belize and Guatemala).

By car

American automobile insurance is not accepted in Mexico; however, it is easy to obtain short-term or long-term tourist policies that include the mandatory liability coverage, theft and accident coverage for your vehicle, and often, legal assistance coverage. Should you decide to drive to Mexico, the Transport and Communications Secretariat website has free downloadable road maps.

Foreign-plated vehicles must obtain necessary permits before being allowed into the interior of Mexico. This can be done at the border checkpoints by showing your vehicle title or registration, as well as immigration documents and a valid credit card. It is now possible to apply for your vehicle import permit online. Vehicle permits will only be issued to the registered owner of the vehicle, so the papers will have to be in the name of the applicant. The Baja California peninsula and the northern part of the State of Sonora do not require a permit.

Due to the incredibly large volume of drugs and illegal immigration (into the US) and drug money & weapons (into Mexico) crossing the US-Mexico border, expect long delays and thorough searches of vehicles when crossing the border. At some of the busiest crossings, expect a waiting time of 1–3 hours.

By bus

A ticket to a major Mexican city from the southwestern U.S. can be bought for as little as $60 round trip (San Antonio TX to Monterrey N.L.). These companies, however, cater mostly to Hispanics or Mexican Nationals living in the U.S. and operate mostly in Spanish.

In Mexico City (main transportation hub), buses from the U.S. border arrive at Terminal Norte. Buses going to Chiapas and Quintana Roo leave from both Terminal de Autobuses de Pasajeros de Oriente (TAPO) and Terminal Norte (same as U.S. bound buses). If going between bus stations, there are ticket desks for taxis at all bus stations where passengers can buy a ticket for a sitio taxi to transfer to the next bus station. Likewise if passengers are traveling light they can also use the metro which serves all major bus stations for a fraction of the taxi fare.

Tipping

Tipping in Mexico is similar to the United States. It is usually from 10 to 15%. Meals have a 10% to 15% tip (this includes fast food deliveries). This tip is usually left by most people in restaurants, although it is not so common in street restaurants or stands, where the tenders usually have a can or box where people deposit coins. It is generally common to leave a tip on the table after paying and therefore having small change is very useful. In Mexican bars and night clubs it is often seen that they charge directly into the bill the 15% of the total amount (taxes included). That is illegal in most cases because of the imposition of the tip and because they calculate the 15% with taxes included. In large groups, or in nightclubs the barmen expect the customers to deposit their tip in a cup left on the table before serving the drinks so the service they give is in function with the tip they received. It is also customary to give a tip to the person who sometimes guard the car as if they were valet parking; in Mexico these people are often called "viene viene" (literally: "comes, comes") or franeleros and usually people give them M$3-20 depending on the zone, although they sometimes ask for bigger sums of money when the car is left close to a night life area. In medium and large retail stores such as Wal-Mart there are uniformed helpers, usually children or the elderly, who bag the products just after the clerk has scanned them. This role is called cerillo (Spanish for "match"). It is common for these helpers to not have a basic salary, so all the money earned is from the tips people give them. Most customers give M$2-5 depending on the number of products. Cerillos also put the bags in the cart and if the load is large they can even help bringing it to the car and unloading the bags; in these cases, they normally receive more than M$15. Tipping is not expected in cabs or buses, except when it is a tour. In some populated Mexican restaurants wandering musicians enter, play, and expect the customers to pay something, although this is voluntary. In filling stations, the workers usually get M$2-5 for every gasoline load. In stadiums people give a small tip to the person who shows the place where they should sit. Tips are also given to bellboys, barbers and people that work in similar services.

More information available on Wikivoyage

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