Mexico is one of the biggest holiday destinations in the world. Before the trying times of the last two years arrived, nearly 100 million people went to Mexico each year.
Statistics from World Data shows that over 97 million people visited Mexico in 2019. This figure dropped quite dramatically, but not surprisingly, in 2020. Then, just over 23 million people arrived in the country.
Due to its proximity to the United States, a large proportion of people choosing Mexico for a vacation come from that nation. However, individuals, couples, and families travel from all over the world to experience the vibrant culture that Mexico has to offer. Of course, some just go for the stunning beaches and the sunshine too.
What things should you know if you are planning to visit Mexico next year? Here are some interesting facts about Mexico, and some things that will be helpful to any traveler.
How is the tourist situation in Mexico?
Due to the nature of this article, it is impossible to give up to the minute information on the travel situation. At the time of writing though, Mexico was welcoming visitors once again.
Indeed, the country is looking to the future and is channeling money towards tourism. There are major investments in Mexico’s youngest tourist destination, Riviera Nayarit. It is hoped that this little treasure will entice more visitors to Mexico who want to avoid the usual holiday spots.
The US Embassy was warning against travel to Mexico due to the ongoing situation with Covid, but their joint border remains open. Airports are also functioning as normal and receiving international flights, although the number of arrivals remains lower than in 2019.
Is Mexico a safe country to visit?
Top of any holidaymaker’s priorities when traveling, is safety. Mexico has some areas that are known to be dangerous due to higher levels of crime, including kidnapping.
Some areas such as Acapulco are said to be extremely safe, as long as tourists stay inside the resort. Unfortunately, the famous beach resort has a high level of crime. Tijuana is another well-known area in Mexico, but like Acapulco, it is possibly best avoided.
Tijuana is recognized as the most violent city on the planet, and travel is not currently recommended. However, as with many destinations for tourists, common sense and caution can make anywhere that is a little bit safer.
What is Mexico famous for?
If you mention Mexico to someone, they will almost certainly think of tequila, spicy food, and that wall.
There is more than just tacos and tequila to the country though. Some fun facts about Mexico include being responsible for the invention of the color television and having more airports than virtually any other country. Only Brazil and Mexico's northern neighbors have more airports.
Tequila and spicy food shouldn’t be dismissed though as Mexico is rightly famed for them. Street food is everywhere in Mexico, and no tourist should miss trying out all the different snacks and dishes that the nation has to offer. If you enjoy tequila, then prepare to have your mind blown by the quality of this drink available in its home country. A world away from some of the rubbish sold elsewhere.
There are ruins and temples from older civilizations, such as the Mayans, and Mexico has a rich and colorful history to explore. The country itself also has plenty of places for tourists to visit and discover.
Are there any laws someone from Europe or America may not know?
Before you can head to Mexico, you may need to apply for a visa. The country is known for having a very relaxed visa system and is generous in the time granted to visitors on their permits.
Anyone coming from the UK or US will be granted 180 days on their arrival, meaning that backpackers in particular can have a very relaxed stay. Visitors from some other countries may need to apply for a visa though.
One law that all travelers should be aware of, is that passports and entry permits should be carried at all times. A tourist may find themselves in trouble if they cannot produce these documents on demand. Failure to show these documents can lead to arrest and up to 60 days in prison.
Most laws in Mexico have equivalents in other countries, including drunk driving, possession of narcotics, etc. Travelers should be aware of taking certain souvenirs out of the country though. Taking items made from certain animal products can lead to a fine if the individual is headed towards US customs.
Where are the most popular destinations?
There are many key places to visit in Mexico for everyone, with some having been on the tourist map for decades.
Cancun, Mexico City, and Oaxaca remain popular with visitors. Mexico City is perfect for those that love cities and want to stay in world-class hotels. Oaxaca is ideal for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in Mexican culture.
High on the list of Mexican destinations sits Cancun. This city offers an awful lot to any tourist. A vibrant nightlife, beaches for sunbathing and relaxing, and close enough to nature for those who want to get into the jungle.
After Cancun, you might also want to check out the private catamaran tour from Cancun to Isla Mujeres. This alluring and tranquil place sits opposite the Bahia de Mujeres (Bay of Women) from Cancun, Mexico.
What are the cultural differences?
One wonderful thing about traveling is experiencing a different way of life and a new culture. Sometimes though, this can be overwhelming. European visitors to Mexico are unlikely to have experienced anything similar before.
In and around heavily touristic areas, such as resorts, you may find the locals speaking English with you. However, only about 10% of the population speak English, so be prepared for something of a language barrier.
Haggling is also commonplace, and anyone who has visited Thailand will understand how to go about this. While it is ok to bargain in markets for items, it is important not to overdo it.
In rural areas, it is important to take more care and respect the local culture. Taking photos of people without permission is not considered good behavior. Buying locally is a recommended way to be a considerate tourist.
Is street food safe to eat in Mexico?
Typically, street food in Mexico will be completely safe. If you are concerned with this area, then look for busy vendors. If the locals are enjoying a particular vendor then it is almost certainly ok for you too. Busy food sellers mean a high turnover of food too, so everything will be fresh.
If you avoid Mexico’s street food, you will be missing out on a major part of your trip.
When is the best time to visit the country?
Mexico can be very hot, this may be an understatement if you are traveling from a cold region of the states such as Alaska. Europeans may also find the Mexican sunshine a lot stronger than they are used to. Of course, for many, this is the attraction of a foreign holiday. Sun, sand, sea, and cerveza.
To give you a general idea, Weather Spark notes that May is the hottest time of the year in Mexico City with daily highs of 80°F. The coolest period is from the middle of November through to the middle of February.
Another factor in deciding when to go will be what is happening in the country at that time. Mexico is famed for its Day of the Dead celebrations, and this can be a genuine highlight for many tourists in the country when this occurs.
There is so much more to Mexico than can be included here. Visitors can enjoy soccer matches and baseball. The nightlife in some areas is extremely vibrant and lively. There is plenty of culture and history for those who like to learn as well as relax while on vacation.
Check for up-to-date information on visas and Covid before you travel, as these things can change with little notice. Exercise common sense and caution while traveling about cities, especially at night. And, don’t forget to try the amazing street food.