Helpful Hints

Helpful Hints

Bargaining

In street markets bargaining is expected, although the price may or may not come down. You can always give it a try by asking “cuánto es lo menos.”

Bottom line: If you think the price is fair, it probably is.

Dress

beachdressIn most big cities, dress is casual but nice. The truth is you won’t see many shorts and sandals on Mexico City streets. The standard traveler’s recommendation of wearing clothes in layers applies in Mexico as the climate varies, sometimes from hour to hour.

On the beach at Puerto Escondido but not on the streets of a colonial city.

If you’re spending your time at the beach, shorts and tank tops are perfectly acceptable. Going topless is frowned upon by locals on most Mexican beaches.

Language

Spanish is spoken all over Mexico, except in some indigenous communities where the native language or dialect is still dominant. Expect to hear English only in very touristy areas.

Knowing a little Spanish, even just please (por favor) and thank you (gracias), helps a lot.

Phones

Most pay phones in Mexico require phone cards, which you can buy in 30, 50, or 100 peso denominations at most pharmacies and newsstands. Just slide the card in and dial the number.

As you talk the money is deducted from the card. Just don’t forget to withdraw the card after your conversation if money remains on the card. Pay phones that accept change do still exist. Look for coin symbols on the phone or a sign saying: teléfono de moneda.

The country code for Mexico is 52. Cellular phones in Mexico City must begin with 044, though if you are calling a cell phone outside of the city leave off that code.

Postal Service

The postal service in Mexico has a bad reputation. You can take your chances, or use one of the package services (Fed Ex, DHL, MexPost, etc.).

Tipping

Tipping in Mexico is very common, with about 10 to 15 percent being the norm in restaurants and bars. Other services such as parking attendants (informal and formal), trash pick up, gas station attendants, baggage handlers, etc. expect a tip of anywhere from a few pesos on up depending on the service provided.

Remember: Many people who appear to be working for a wage may be receiving a very small amount, if anything.

Miscellaneous

Bring along toilet paper or a small package of tissues. Many bathrooms in gas stations, bus stations, etc. are not well supplied.  

 

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