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Travel Infos Mexico

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Mexico - Travel Infos



Climate

In Mexico, it is possible to get a heat stroke on one hand, and freeze to death on the other.  Anything is possible, depending on one’s location.

Due to the far spread out country, the large variation in elevation, and its position between to large oceans, Mexico has very different climate zones: 

In the southern region of the peninsula Baja California, there is a Mediterranean climate.  Average temperatures range from 25° C (77°F) on the coast and drop with raising elevation in the Sierra.

The most Northern regions and along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico a desert-like climate with little precipitation prevails.  In the Sonora desert, temperatures may climb as high as 40° C (104°F) during the summer and drop below 15° C (59° F) in the winter. 

The coastal region of the Gulf of Mexico enjoys a tropical climate with average temperatures of around 25° C (77°F).  The Trade Winds bring much rain and are responsible for precipitation up to 1500 mm per year.

In late summer and fall, hurricanes whip into the coast with wind speeds of 120 to 250 km/h (75 to 155 mph), bringing down pouring rain.  The hurricanes form due to the high temperatures over the ocean and move forward in elliptical tracks. 

In the Meseta, the inward high-lands of Mexico which covers over half of the country, temperatures range between 18° C and 20° C (64° to 68° F) with very little precipitation.  The region receives less than 800 mm in the more humid areas and less than 400 mm in the drought areas.

The best travel season for Mexico is November to March; the most beautiful time of year is October to December when everything is green and in bloom.  Swimming season is from December to February. 

Time Zones

Mexico stretches over 3 time zones:  almost the entire main land falls under Central Standard Time (CST), in winter this is Central European time -6 hours, in summer -7 hours. 

In Baja California Sur, as well as in several other states along the Northwest, Mountain Standard Time applies (Central European Time

-7, summer -8 hours), and in Baja California Norte Pacific Standard Time applies (Central European Time -8, summer -9 hours).

Traffic

Speed limits within towns are 40 km/h (25 mph), on highways 80 km/h (49 mph), and on interstates 110 km/h (68 mph). 

Mexico offers a well developed road network, which connects all larger cities of the country.  It is currently being privatized, which may cause closure of certain routes at times.

Road conditions in Mexico are good.  Highways are operated by Caminos y Puentes Federales de Ingresos y Servicios Conejos and charge a toll.  The organization Angeles Verdes (Green Angels) offers a free break down service as part of the Tourism Minister’s office.

Mexico furthermore offers an excellent an reasonably prices bus network. 

Taxis, mainly in Mexico City, should not be hailed from the street for security reasons.  Motorized Sitio-Taxis are marked by an “S” on the license plate and are available either at taxi stands or via telephone order.

In Mexico City, on certain week-days, cars with certain letters on their license plates may not be operated – “Hoy no Circula”.  This also applies to rental vehicles. 

Health

In Mexico, Chagas-Disease, Filariasis, and Dengue Fever occur.  Travelers who chose to stay in simple quarters or outdoors are advised to bring a mosquito net and insect repellent. 

Hepatitis A and B occur throughout the country.  A Hepatitis A vaccination is generally recommended.  A vaccination for Hepatitis B should be obtained for longer stays as well as if close contact to the local residents is expected.  The vaccination should also be given to children and youths in general.

HIV/AIDS is widely spread and a large danger for all who take a chance of infection:  unprotected sexual contact, unsanitary injection needles and cannulas, and blood transfusions may carry a significant health hazard. 

Rabies occurs throughout the country.  Aside from dogs, bats are the biggest threat for infection to humans.  A rabies vaccine is recommended.

Security

Crime in Mexico has risen significantly.  In Mexico City alone, several hundred crime cases are reported each day.  Unfortunately, even police and uniformed security personnel have been involved in crimes. 

When driving in a car, keep doors locked and windows up.  Do not leave purses and such visible on the seat, but stow these items away under the seat or in the trunk.

In Mexico City, only taxis from official taxi (Sitios) stands should be hailed, or charged telephonically. Taxis hailed off the street may bring danger of getting robbed, particularly during night hours.   

Especially on remote streets and in the southern states of Gerrero, Oaxaca, and Chiapas, armed robbers by criminal gangs have occurred in the past.

Traveling at night – except for bus travels – is not advisable, due to the higher risk of crime and accidents throughout the country. 

There are only few guarded rest areas in Mexico.  Travels with RVs are hence not without danger.

If a tour guide is hired, a careful check of credentials should take place.  Tour guides should be in possession of an official identification by “SECTOUR”, the Mexican Minister of Tourism.

If traveling by subway, there is danger of theft and pick pocketing.  Thieves are even specialized in stealing fanny packs.

Should you become victim of a robbery, do not offer any resistance as criminals will immediately make use of their weapons.

Traveling as a hitch hiker should never be done.  Travelers should also never take along a hitch hiker. 

Caution at cash machines:  withdraw money only when not alone, and look for suspicious persons in the immediate area prior to the withdrawal.

Important documents such as passports, airline tickets, etc. should be deposited at the hotel safe.


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Travel Tips

Driving to Mexico

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When driving to Mexico there are a number of things that you are supposed to do, though it’s not exactly apparent how you are supposed to know these things. The first thing is to get Mexican insurance before you cross the border. This we thankfully knew. In the small town before the Tijuana border there are a few different insurance options. We went to a couple of places and one was about $30 cheaper so make sure you shop around. Incidentally, the one that was cheaper looked a bit dingier and not quite as well presented but we still got insurance for an adequate amount. The second thing you are supposed to do is stop and get your passport stamped before you cross the border. This we... [more ]

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