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Mexico Travel Guide (Best Things To Do)

How to organize a trip to Mexico?

It all depends on what kind of trip you want to take. Mexico is, according to us, a land that must be experienced strictly on the road and outside the touristy Riviera Maya, away from luxury resorts and classic tourist tours. It must be experienced to the fullest, in contact with Mexicans and immersed in the wonderful nature that characterizes it.

During a trip to Mexico, attention to safety and places to avoid should not be lacking. Mexico is classified as a dangerous country, but with the right precautions you will not run into any kind of danger. Mexicans are wonderful people and always ready to help you without wanting anything in return. We have traveled much of Mexico and have never had any problems.

In this article, we will analyze together the main points to consider to organize a DIY trip to Mexico in the best possible way.

Documents required for a trip to Mexico

To travel to Mexico, you need to have a passport that must have a residual validity of at least 6 months at the time of arrival in the country and at least one free page. If you are traveling with minors, they must also have their travel document (passport).

A tourist visa is not required to enter Mexico for stays of less than 90 days (renewable on-site for an additional 90 days). Upon arrival in Mexico, you will need to present a form at customs that you will be asked to fill out directly on the plane, and once the checks are completed, you will be given a small part of the form that you must keep and show to customs officials again when you leave the country. Losing the tag can result in a fine of about €30.

When traveling to Mexico, you also need to pay an airport tax, which is usually included in the air ticket purchased in Italy (with UK code) or you can pay it when you leave the country at the airport bank counter and after completing another form. If your flight includes a stopover in the USA, you must also have an ESTA (read the ‘Flight Search’ chapter to learn more).

An international driving license (Geneva or Vienna convention) is recommended for renting a car, but our Italian license was also easily accepted. The international license must be requested from the motor vehicle registration office by presenting the following documents in addition to a valid driving license:

TT746 request form (which you can find at the offices) completed and signed
certification of payment of €10.20 to c/c 9001 (pre-printed bulletin that you can find in the post office or motor vehicle registration office)

certification of payment of €16.00 to c/c 4028 (pre-printed bulletin that you can find in the post office or motor vehicle registration office)

Two recent passport photos, one of which is authenticated. You can have it authenticated directly at the counter if you are personally making the request.
. front and back photocopy of a valid driving license and health insurance card.

.Insurance and health

Before leaving for a trip to Mexico, we recommend that you always take out health insurance that covers both medical expenses and repatriation if necessary. In Mexico, there is no public assistance for foreign citizens, so in case of hospitalization or first aid, you will have to go to private healthcare facilities, which are often very expensive. At the time of hospitalization or visit, you will be asked for health insurance or a credit card as a guarantee to receive the necessary care. We use the annual Mondo insurance offered by Columbus and so far, we have always been satisfied.

There are no particular dangerous diseases in Mexico, so there are no mandatory vaccinations, but as always, vaccinations against hepatitis A and B are recommended. Still, ask your trusted doctor for advice a few weeks before leaving. In Mexico, there is a risk of contracting dengue and chikungunya fever, two viral diseases transmitted by the bite of a female mosquito. The symptoms for both are high fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, vomiting, nausea, and rashes on the chest, arms, and legs.

We, therefore, recommend avoiding mosquito bites by using excellent mosquito repellents, wearing clothes that cover your arms and legs, and sleeping in rooms equipped with mosquito nets or air conditioning. In case of dengue or hemorrhagic dengue, avoid taking aspirin or other medications with the same active ingredients, as they can aggravate bleeding. Instead, use other medications such as paracetamol. Also, for this, always seek confirmation from your trusted doctor.

We advise those with cardiovascular and respiratory problems to be particularly careful and move with caution, as many locations in Mexico are located at very high altitudes, such as Mexico City. To stay updated on the health situation, we recommend always consulting the Viaggiare Sicuri website before leaving for any trip.

.When to go to Mexico: seasons, climate, and time zones.

Mexico is a very vast country that extends between different latitudes and altitudes, and consequently, the climate varies greatly from one territory to another. Certainly, Mexico is a country with pleasant temperatures throughout the year, which increase as you move from north to south. In the coastal areas located in the south of Mexico, there is a hot and humid climate, typically tropical, with high temperatures throughout the year. The best time to visit this area is the dry season, from November to April, when the hottest temperatures are recorded (31°C), while the coolest is recorded between December and January (28°C).

In the areas located in Central-North Mexico, there is a more pleasant, dry, and arid climate in summer, with temperatures around 25°C but colder in winter due to a cold wind coming from the United States, with temperatures ranging from 2°C to 7°C. In the Baja California peninsula, there is a very mild climate on the west coast, where temperatures range from 20°C in winter to 25°C in summer, and the sun shines throughout the year with little rain between November and March, and a warmer climate on the Gulf of California coast, where summer temperatures are around 35°C and winter temperatures around 20/25°C.

In the areas located in Central-South Mexico, there is a climate that presents different temperatures based on altitude. They are divided into 3 zones: tierras calientes up to a thousand meters, tierras templates between one and two thousand meters, and tierras frìas above two thousand meters. The tierras frìas are those located on the plateaus, such as Mexico City, characterized by a strong temperature range between day and night and two different seasons: the dry season from November to April and the rainy season from May to October. Winter is dry and sunny, with cold nights (sometimes they can drop a few degrees below zero) and pleasant days (21/23°C). Temperatures gradually increase towards spring (about 27°C), while they decrease in summer with the arrival of the summer monsoon.

The tierras templates are those located at intermediate altitudes and characterized by mild temperatures, ranging from 18°C in winter to 25°C in spring. The tierras calientes are those located in the flat and hilly areas, characterized by a hot climate throughout the year, with a dry season (between December and April or between November and May depending on the areas) and a rainy season (between May and November or between June and October).

.What to see in Mexico

Mexico extends over a very vast area, it is rich in places to visit and a single trip to Mexico is not enough to visit it all, of course. On our 25-day trip, we saw a good part of Southern Mexico, in a circular itinerary from Cancun to Mexico City, but of course, we had to leave out many places. We recommend visiting it in zones, depending on your available time, and dedicating more trips to it. It’s pointless to rush from one place to another like spinning tops and not enjoy the wonder of certain places.

Below are some main stops that should not be missed during a trip to Mexico. We won’t list them all because otherwise, this small guide would become a poem.

☀ Riviera Maya and the cenotes: the most known and touristy area of all of Mexico. Here you can find some of the most famous destinations, such as Cancun (where boats depart for Isla Mujeres) and the MUSA underwater museum, Playa del Carmen (where boats depart for Cozumel, the largest island in Mexico), Tulum with its archaeological site, the Rio Secreto (an underground river and a cave system dating back 50 million years), Akumal where you can swim with turtles, Isla Holbox, and many others. You can also find many cenotes scattered throughout the area.

☀ Merida: built-in 1542 on the ruins of the ancient Maya city of T’ho, today it is the largest city in Yucatan. It is nicknamed the Ciudad Blanca (white city) thanks to its colonial buildings made with very light-colored limestone. To visit its historic center, the second largest in the country after Mexico City, where you can get lost among the thousands of alleys, the Plaza Mayor, and the Catedral de San Ildefonso, the oldest in America.

☀ Campeche: a small port city dating back to the colonial era, with baroque architecture, a historic center surrounded by walls, and cobblestone streets. To see the Fuerte de San Miguel, which houses an archaeological museum exhibiting relics from various Mayan sites in the area.

☀ Rio Celestun or Rio Lagartos Biosphere Reserve: easily reachable from Merida, to admire the pink flamingos. You can take part in boat excursions.

☀ Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve: national park and World Heritage Site since 1987. It includes 23 archaeological sites and is divided between the mainland and the Caribbean Sea, including one of the most beautiful coral reefs in Mexico. You can take part in boat excursions to observe the marine fauna that inhabits the reserve.

☀ Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, Tulum, and Coba: the most important archaeological sites in Yucatan, to immerse yourself in the history of the Mayan civilization. Chichen Itza is perhaps the best known, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco and included among the New Seven Wonders of the World.


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