Safety in Mexico
The specificness of travelling and pretensions for physical as well as psychical preparation of passengers in Mexico are stipulated, first of all, with time difference (7 hours), smog situation, dominating all year round, rather high altitude, big temperature difference, completely different cultural and social level of the country, etc. The temperatures there are rather high, and big temperature differences between day and night prevail in winter. Rain period begins, in dependence on the position, where you are situated, during period May-September.
In United States of Mexico, mainly in capital and attractive tourist resorts, the foreigners are often assaulted and robbed. So, we wish to recommend you to move in Mexico in a group of three persons at least, to distribute and keep your financial means on several points of your body and have available, except original documents, the respective copies of all important documents. You are not recommended to walk through towns in the night, to visit remote places, to take with valuable subjects or money and spend the night in free nature. However, the security of travelling in capital, using public ways of transport or taxi, became worse in the course of past couple of years. The ordering of radio-taxi seems to be rather save. At the airports or bus stations, the kiosks of pre-paid „taxi autorizado“ (they are quite safe) are available, however, they are rather expensive.
To most dangerous areas in Mexico belong Chiapas State (armed rebels), capital Mexico City, (kidnappings, travelling in traffic jams, skirmishes), the town of Nuevo Laredo, Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. However, increased number of kidnappings was noted in last couple of years. This sort of crime is commited for a purpose of getting ransom, and this acts are done by local inhabitants. Despite this fact, you are recommended to keep increased watchfulness and consider well all localities which you would like to visit. In general, it is valid that it would be absolutely necessary to avoid all conflicts, especially in night clubs (Cancun, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan), where crime elements are moving, or during political demonstrations.
From reasons of strict limitation of motor vehicles´ traffic in capital Mexico City, there is introduced a system, known as „Hoy no circula“ (No drive today), what means, that no vehicle circulation could be permitted according to last numbers of registration cards, this motor vehicle remains out of order one day during a week. This providing refers to all vehicles of foreign registration numbers.
In order to lease the car, you need to present international driving licence and credit card. You can travel on paid (toll) or free of charge highways (marked as „CUOTA“ or „LIBRE“) The charges for use such highways are rather expensive, however, those free of charge highways are in very bad quality condition, and sometimes, some assaults are being effected there. So, we do not recommend you to travel on such highways in the night.
While driving motor vehicle, we wish to recommend you maximal prudence, as local style of driving is very undisciplined. On the contrary, the travelling by long-distance buses could be fully recommended to you, as they are on quite good level and safe. By the way, we do not recommend you hitch-hiking.
Attention: in Mexico, it does not exist absolute priority for pedestrians, so, the highest prudence is to be kept, when crossing the road, even in case of crossing the road, conducted by traffic lights. To the unit price of the goods and services (except foodstuffs, medicines and printed matters - newspapers and books) there is added IVA 15% and supplementary 5% tax for luxurious objects and goods + 2% TUA for tourist services (in hotels and similar lodge units) to local air-tickets, etc.
We wish to draw your attention to the fact that the prices of services are stated on most advertising leaflets without such taxes, i.e. you are recommended to check in advance the final price for such services before you use it. The tips make 10-15%, according to your own consideration, and they are not calculated in the price, in most of cases. In general, you have to take into consideration that price level of goods and services is relatively high.
In the connection with local hygienic conditions, you are recommended to drink packed water only, peel all sorts of fruits and vegetables, or make the respective disinfection in anti-bacterial solution, and do not take boarding at street kiosks or in mistaken restaurants.
Attention: the tourists arriving to Mexico are frequently suffering from diarrhoea diseases, so a risk of infection with jaundice, cholera, dengue fever or some intestine parasites (especially with amoebas) exists. So, we wish to recommend you to let be vaccinated un advance, before you leave, and undergone the respective medical inspections. Do not forget to take with suitable medicines, such as anti-diarrhoea pills, a sun-cream with high protection factor and necessary repelent. As you have to overcome quite unpleasant change of the time, smog in capital Mexico City and a feel of lack of oxygen and terribly hot in higher altitudes, you are recommended to take the vitamins and drink lot of liquids. In case of so called „altitude disease“, you would be transferred to lower situated area as soon as possible.
The students would travel to Mexico always with international student´s certificate (ISIC), because, when you present it, free entrance to museums and interesting objects from tourist point of view could be granted to you. The respective reduction could be effected for bus- or train tickets. However, free entry into local monuments on Sundays was cancelled for tourists since February 2003. This advantage concerns Mexican citizens only.
Attention: on some places in Mexico (especially among Indian population) there is very dangerous to make photos. So, would you always ask in advance for permit, if you wish to photo some concrete persons or objects. And moreover, you are obliged to pay for this act!
Important phone numbers:
Ambulance: 065 or 066
Information and warnings on travelling abroad is to be found HERE.