• Officially: United Mexican States
  • Capital: Mexico City
    • 8.855 million people
      • One of the world’s largest metropolises.
      • Largest in North America

Facts

  • Population 116 million
  • Language Spanish (English is widely spoken, especially in larger centers)
  • Religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 75 years (men), 80 years (women)
  • Currency: peso MXN)
  • Time Zones: Mexico spans four time zones. Eastern Time is GMT−5, Central Time is GMT−6,  Mountain Time is GMT−7, and Pacific Time is GMT−8. In all states except Sonora, clocks move forward an hour in March and back an hour in November.
  • Electricity: 120 volts, 60Hz. Standard plugs have two flat blades. Plugs with two flat blades and a round pin are also used.
  • International dialling code: +52
  • Internet domain: .mx
  • Emergency numbers: 911

Geography

  • Area: 1.96 million sq km (758,449 sq miles)
  • Maps: Open Street MapsGoogle
  • Neighbouring Countries: USA | Belize | Guatemala

Notes

  • A Spanish colony for much of its past, Mexico is sprawling country steeped in history and rich cultural traditions.
  • There has numerous fascinating archaeological sites to explore.
  • Mexico has the world’s largest Spanish-speaking population.
  • Family is at the core of everything in Mexico, taking precedence over work.
  • Mexicans are warm, congenial people who are known for being helpful with a strong community spirit.
  • Mexicans are known for their laid-back approach to life. The flip side is that getting things done can take some time.
  • There’s an element of machismo in interactions between men and women, sometimes bordering on sexism by Western standards. Although women are revered as mothers, men are the dominant decision-makers in the family.
  • Women pat each other on the forearm or shoulder when they meet. It’s best for men to wait for women to offer their hand first. A kiss on the cheek is customary among friends.
  • If you’re invited to someone’s home for dinner, never take red or yellow flowers because they’re associated with the Day of the Dead.
  • Mexicans will often arrive late for social occasions, but it is considered rude to arrive any more than half an hour late to a dinner hosted at the home of a Mexican.
  • If you want to take a pet to Mexico, they must be vaccinated and have a health certificate issued by a vet in your home country just before you leave.
  • There are wide discrepancies in wealth – and poverty and unemployment are widespread.
  • Mexico is very bureaucratic, which is a source of frustration for travellers and locals alike. Getting almost anything done usually requires a capacity to tolerate delays and reams of paperwork.
  • Outside tourist traps, the cost of living is low, so much so that many expats enjoy a better quality of life than they did back in their home country.
  • The News is a popular English-language daily that’s published in Mexico City. There are few English-language radio stations.
  • Mexico has the second-largest economy in Latin America, and is a major oil exporter.
  • Many Mexicans have sought to cross the 3,000-km border with the US in search of a job and better life.
  • Tens of thousands of people have been killed in drugs-related gang violence in the past decade.

Tourism

  • On the verge of overtourism: Mexico City (World Travel & Tourism Council, 2019)
  • Mexico is the second most visited country in North America after the US.

Overlanding

  • Road Traffic: Drives on the right
  • Baja California may be an overlanders paradise

Mexico’s World Rankings in 2018 (WEF)

  • Roads quality: 47th
  • Innovation capability: 50th
  • Life expectancy: 55th
  • Quality of vocational training: 59th
  • Property rights: 85th
  • Judicial independence: 110th
  • Freedom of the press: 120th
  • Reliability of police services: 138th

Safety & Security

  • While violent crime often makes international headlines, this is often linked to the illegal drug trade and rarely affects travellers.

Government Travel Advisory

News

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