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11 things to know before visiting Mexico

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Joel Fulleda
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This country is very different from its two big neighbors by its extreme southern influence, which gives it a singing and festive accents. Mexico is a sublime country, with changing landscapes, wonderful beaches and a rich Aztec, Mayan and then Hispanic heritage. Before leaving to visit Mexico, here's everything you need to know!



1. What are the best beaches in Mexico?

On the coasts, Mexico is above all a sun destination. There are many beaches there, especially in the Cancun region, Oaxaca and the Yucatan peninsula. Throughout your stay, you will discover numerous surf spots, long beaches of golden sand and an intense turquoise blue. Cancún, Playa de Carmen, Vera Cruz for the Caribbean, Acapulco or Manzanillo for the Pacific ...



Discover in this article, the list of the best beaches in the country!

Akumal beach

2. What is the best time of year to visit Mexico?

Due to its geography, it is possible to visit Mexico all year round by choosing the region according to the climate.

  • To go to the North and to the highlands, choose the off-seasons: March-April and September-October. In winter it can be very cold, while the summers are scorching and stormy.
  • In the Gulf of Mexico or Yucatan: winters are cloudy with the risk of rain, while September and October are prone to cyclones. The ideal is therefore to go there between March and May as well as in November and December.
  • The rest of the country enjoys a relatively constant temperate climate all year round.
Tulum in the Yucatan

During the rainy season, between June and September, the showers mainly occur at the end of the day or during the night. It is therefore possible to visit Mexico during this period. Apart from the climate, the tourist influx is to be taken into consideration in order to spend a serene vacation.





so here's times of the year to avoid or to anticipate if you want to be quiet: 

  • Spring Break between February and April: Activities are concentrated around Cancun.
  • Holy Week at Easter: closed banks, hotels and full transport.
  • July and August which are the two busiest months for tourists.
  • Can also be complicated: the bridges of the month of May, Et Dia de los Muertos and the end of year celebrations.

3. What budget to plan on site?

Mexico is much cheaper than France, so you can indulge yourself on a budget! Note, however, that during the peak periods mentioned above, prices go up all over the country. The rest of the time you can easily get by for 40-50 € per day per person. Here are some indicative price ranges for accommodation:

  • For less than 20 €, you can sleep in youth hostels (note: the offer is wide, there are some very modern and quiet, others more noisy, to book only if you want to party all night!). Outside of the Riviera Maya, you can also treat yourself to a room in a hotel or a posada for that budget.
  • Between 20 and 40 €, you will have all the comforts of a hotel room, usually with breakfast included. If you are traveling with friends or family, be aware that the rooms often have multiple beds, which saves money. Between Cancun and Tulum, count around € 50 per night for this type of accommodation.
  • For a more chic range, plan on at least 40 to 60 € per night, depending on the season and region. At this rate, you can sleep in charming haciendas or colonial hotels with preserved architecture.

As for food, you can easily eat on the go for less than 10 € and feast in a good restaurant for less than 20 €.





Good to know: the Mexican portions are large, in general a single dish is more than enough! If you're traveling with kids, order a dish for two, and chances are you'll have some left on your plate.

4. How to get to Mexico from France?

From Paris, several airlines offer daily flights to Mexico City. If you want to arrive in Cancun, Air France is the only one to offer a direct flight.. Count at least 700 € for the round trip, for a journey time of around 12 hours.

Cancun

However, the majority of offers have at least one stopover, usually in the United States. In this case it is mandatory to obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) online (14 US $), at least 72 hours in advance. This is valid for 2 years, unless your passport expires earlier. The formalities in the United States can take a while, plan at least 3 hours of connection between your two flights.

5. How to get around the country?

To visit Mexico, the easiest way is to use the bus. The terminals are often outside major cities, so you will need to reach them by taxi or public transport. Depending on the level of comfort, the prices increase:



  • Local buses, known as guajoloteros: no comforts, but if you want total immersion with Mexican peasants, you can try it once!
  • 2nd class buses: no particular comfort, but they have the advantage of being very inexpensive.
  • 1st class buses: faster and more comfortable, they offer more legroom, reclining seats, toilets, air conditioning and even WiFi! Perfect for overnight trips.
  • Luxury buses: it is the best ! Individual screen, very wide seats that extend almost completely, etc.

Another solution to reach a different district or a nearby city: Collectives. These minibuses are everywhere and the route is displayed on the windshield. It is enough to make a sign for the driver to stop. For the longer distances, they do not start until they are full. If you are more than one, the taxi can also be a good option to visit Mexico. In Mexico City they almost all have a speedometer, so you have to make sure it is started. Outside, you will have to haggle to get a correct price. In the towns, application Uber allows you to travel in a safe and cheaper way.



Traditional mexican bus

If you want to visit Mexico in complete freedom, choose car rental ! The roads are generally in good condition and it is easy to find your way around. On the other hand, be sure to take out good insurance, with a buy-back of the franchise, because the rental companies do not let anything go! Considering the size of the country, it may be wise to take at least a domestic line by plane. Several low-cost companies offer affordable flights between the main cities.

6. Which region to choose for accommodation?

It will all depend on your itinerary, your budget and the time you have to visit Mexico! The housing supply is very wide, but make sure you are always close to the beach or places of interest so as not to waste time on unnecessary transport. Nevertheless, a good option is to stay several days in one place and make day trips in “star”. Take the example of Yucatan: if you stay in Playa del Carmen you can visit Akumal, Tulum, the Sian Ka'an reserve or even Isla Cozumel. During an itinerant journey, here are the regions to favor:

  • The route of the colonial towns, north of Mexico City.
  • The Sierra and especially Oaxaca and its region.
  • Yucatan and Chiapas, in the south of the country.

7. What are the main visits to Mexico?

Unless you spend several months there, you will have to make choices as Mexico has to offer! Here are our essentials:

  • Enjoy the magnificent beaches: Between the Caribbean coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific coast you will find heavenly beaches where you can put your bath towel!
  • Soak up the Mayan culture: Between two ploufs in a translucent sea, go for a walk in the various Mayan temples, recognizable by their pyramid-shaped architecture.
  • Walk the streets of Mexico: The capital of the country conceals fantastic museums and typical colonial districts.
  • Feast on the excellent Mexican cuisine: Creamy guacamole, crispy tacos, fragrant exotic fruits ...
  • Dive in the Cenotes: These natural pools with crystal clear waters invite you to swim! You will find it especially in the Yucatan and it is an ideal break between two visits to temples.
  • Discover colonial Mexico: North of Mexico City, there are many cities with emblematic architecture and incredible charm.
Izamal, the yellow colonial city of Yucatan

8. What to eat and drink in Mexico?

If you are a fan of Mexican food, take a look at Mexican sauces: guacamole, Tex-Mex sauces (Texan and Mexican), etc. For all the little gourmets, also try chocolate. Born in the Aztec and Mayan times, it tastes totally different from ours! In Mexico, it is drunk neat, diluted with water and flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. Finally, impossible to leave Mexico without bringing back some tequila! There are two types: 100% agave and mixto (51% agave azu). Prices vary depending on the type of tequila consumed and its age.

A mexican meal

READ ALSO :
The best restaurants in Mexico

9. Where to go out to party?

Americans have adopted Mexico as a great recreation area. As a result, numerous discos and nightclubs will draw you into a frenzied nightlife. Cancún is a typical tourist destination, where everything is planned for party animals: hotels, nightclubs, restaurants ... You will therefore have no trouble finding a place to relax during your evening.

Take a walk in Mexico City at night

Important city, Mexico City offers different faces and different atmospheres from one neighborhood to another. In the neighborhoods of Polanco and Santa Fe, bars and nightclubs are open until the first light of dawn. In the neighborhoods Rome and Condesa, the atmosphere is calmer, with more Mexican and international artists and intellectuals. Finally, the Pink Zone is best known for its restaurants and gay clubs.

10. What souvenir to bring back from Mexico?

Mexico has an extremely rich soil, with the production of many raw materials. Handicrafts have therefore developed very quickly, to the delight of travelers who leave home usually full of memories in their suitcases!

  • Hat and hammock

Sombreros are on sale in all Mexican cities. The only drawback ? The plane ! The sombrero is indeed quite large in size. The hammock is a Mayan specialty, to buy especially in the region of Mérida. How is it different from other hammocks in the world? Very fine and elastic nets, ultra comfortable. You will find different sizes of hammocks: one, two or three places for most of them.

  • Clothing and fabrics

In the Chiapas region, in particular towards Palenque, you will have the opportunity to buy a traditional costume, but also raw cotton clothes. It is especially the Indians who sell this type of item, as well as ponchos or braided belts. Woven and embroidered rugs sell a lot in the Oaxaca region.

  • Jewerly

Mexicans also sell a lot of jewelry. In the region of San Cristobal de Las Casas, you can buy jade jewelry in particular. The region of Taxco, meanwhile, is more famous for its gold jewelry.

Are you going to bring back a sombrero?

11. Practical information

Prepare your stay in Mexico with our practical information!

  • Formalities: A valid passport is sufficient to enter Mexico, for European nationals. You will just have to fill out a tourist card on the plane. Remember to keep it throughout your stay! Finally, if you are passing through the United States before landing, you will need to apply for an ESTA.
  • Health : Be up to date with your vaccinations and know that vaccines against rabies, Hepatitis A and Typhoid fever are strongly recommended.

From dream beaches to Mayan temples, discover this fascinating country!

Is visiting Mexico part of your future travel plans? Do not hesitate to tell us about it in the comments!

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