Mexico Travel Tips to Make the Most Out of It!

This page on Mexico Travel Tips will help you clear your questions when travelling to Mexico.

Drinking Water in Mexico Travel Tips

Water in Mexico is usually not safe to drink from the tap. It is due to microbiological organisms in the water and not so much due to harmful chemicals. Not even locals drink the water from the tap so don't try it.

In hotels and restaurants there are two options, they either have a filtering system or buy bottled water. Four and five star hotels will usually have their own system which makes the water from the tap safe to drink, however is best to check for signs or ask the front desk to confirm the water is safe to drink from the tap.

Some hotels and other businesses use bottled water which is distributed in 20 liter (5 gallons) containers by one of dozens of water purification companies. Delivery is free within the city, and today well recognized companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi have entered the potable water distribution business.

Some people mainly in villages, bring the water to boil and that makes the trick.

Myths

There are some myths that washing your teeth with tap water or taking a shower will get you sick. That is absolutely not true because the amount of water you are ingesting is insignificant. There is one thing that may get you sick and that is ice. Ice is safe in hotels or places that buy the ice, but there may be a risk if a restaurant uses water from a poor quality filter. To be safe ask where is the ice coming from or request your drink without ice.

Alcoholic Drinks in Mexico Travel Tips

Mexico's legal age for drinking is 18 years old. The enforcement in Mexico is not as strict as it is in the US or other countries, so you will hardly be asked for an ID. However, if you "really" look young they will ask for an ID when going into a night club and you may be denied entry if you don't have one.

Drinking on the street is usually not allowed by Mexican law, but it is allowed in beaches controlled by hotels and other open areas.

In all inclusive hotels, a bracelet given to you when you check-in, will let the bar tender know if you have the age to drink.

Tequila

Mexico offers to the world very popular brands of beers and the well known Tequila spirit. In the past Tequila was seen as a drink to get drunk quick and people would just drink it in shots. Now Tequila comes in many different quality grades and can be enjoyed alone, in cocktails such as the world famous margarita or with lime and sangrita (also called "bandera" or flag for the three colors of the Mexican flag in it; green for lime, white for tequila and red for sangrita which is tomato based). Try sipping a high quality Tequila with the legend "100% Agave" and you might just be surprised by its flavor.

Where to buy?

Well, like in many other places in the world, you can buy alcoholic drinks cheaper in supermarkets. There are also specialized liquor stores called "licorerias" in Spanish. Large supermarkets and liquor stores will not only have the Mexican beers and best tequilas, but you will have a great variety of world famous drinks from single malt whiskeys to Cuban rum.

Just be careful when bringing product into a hotel. Some hotels do not allow alcoholic drinks from outside according to their policies, but it is pretty hard for them to enforce it, and you will not get into major trouble if you are caught anyway. They will probably just say, you can't do that. So, don't make it obvious, and that's it.

Tipping in Mexico Travel Tips

Tipping in Mexico is customary and more frequent than in other places of the world. Typical services that expect a tipping are below. You can be as generous as you want, but here are the typical ranges for your reference in US dollars:
  • Waiters / waitresses 10-15%
  • Bellboys $2 per bag
  • Room Maid $1-$5
  • Bar tender $1-$5
  • Valet Parking $2-$5
  • Taxi $1-$3 extra

When going to private parties, night clubs or any crowded place, it is also common practice to tip the bar tender, waiter or waitress after the first drink. In a way, this will guarantee that you get first level attention from him/her for future needs.

Bargaining in Mexico Travel Tips

Bargaining in Mexico is quite a bit more common than in the US or Europe particularly in the markets and informal settings. In well established businesses like department stores is not common or recommended.

Other places where you can bargain are:

  • Purchases on the beach or the street.
  • Taxis in cities where there is no meter or when the destination is outside the city limits. In this case however, it is best to agree a price before boarding the taxi.
  • When hiring aquatic sports equipment.
  • Tours when hiring in a local agency. Not so much when is sold by the hotel.

Electricity in Mexico Travel Tips

Mexico Connection Mexico Connector

Electricity in Mexico for all practical purposes is the same as the one in the US. That is 120V (Volts) and 60Hz (Hertz). In reality is 127V due to the way the Mexican Electrical Company connects its transformers. Most modern devices can handle the variation in voltage without any problem. Please don't think 127V will be an issue... is just to provide complete information.

Modern hotels will have three holes sockets. The third hole in the socket is for the earth connector. Some devices will have the third prong to connect to the earth hole and some will not. However, some older constructions will have a two holes socket. If you have a three prong connector you will need to get an adaptor.

Useful note : If you bought a device in a country where the voltage is not 120V, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot connect it in Mexico or the US for that matter. Check for the input specification on the device itself or in the little transformer box that many times accompanies the plug. It should say something like "Input 240V 50HZ" or "Input 100-240V 50-60Hz". If the device has the legend as "Input 100-240V 50-60Hz", the device can be connected in Mexico by buying a simple adaptor. Otherwise the device has to be connected using a step-down transformer which tends to be more expensive. Check it out because electronic companies are every day using more and more plugs with flexible voltage input specs.

Time Zones - Mexico Travel Tips

There are basically three time zones in Mexico:

  • Northwest
    The state of Baja California.
    The main cities in this state are Tijuana, Mexicali, Ensenada
  • Pacific Zone
    The states and main cities are:
    • Baja California Sur - La Paz, San Jose del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, Loreto
    • Chihuahua - Chihuahua, Cd Juarez, Delicias
    • Nayarit - Tepic, Nuevo Vallarta, Punta Mita
    • Sinaloa - Culiacan, Mazatlan, Los Mochis
    • Sonora - Hermosillo, Puerto Penasco, Nogales, San Luis Rio Colorado, Guaymas, Navojoa
  • Center Area
    The rest of Mexico

Every year Mexico changes time in the spring and autumn to save on energy costs

The state of Sonora is the only state that does not follow the daylight savings time DST protocol.

Mexico Time Zones Mexico Time Zones


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