Flag of Mexico

Flag of Mexico

  • Officially » Estados Unidos Mexicanos
    • United Mexican States (English)
  • 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
  • Emergency numbers » 911

Geography

  • Area: 1.96 million sq km (758,449 sq miles)
  • Neighbouring Countries: USA, Belize, Guatemala
Map of Mexico (Source » France, June 2021)

Map of Mexico (Source » France, June 2021)

Maps

Tourism

  • Canadians allowed to stay up to 180 days without a visa.
  • There has numerous fascinating archaeological sites to explore.
  • A Spanish colony for much of its past, Mexico is sprawling country steeped in history and rich cultural traditions.
  • On the verge of overtourism: Mexico City (World Travel & Tourism Council, 2019)
  • Mexico is the second most visited country in North America after the USA.

Overland

  • Mexico’s land borders with the US, Guatemala and Belize are closed to non-essential traffic. Extended to at least August 21, 2021
  • Road Traffic » Drives on the right
  • Road Assistance
    • The Green Angles (Angeles Verdes), a highway patrol service, provides free assistance on all major toll roads from 8am to 6pm.
    • In case of emergency, dial 078 or 800-006-8839 (toll free in Mexico)
  • Baja California is an overlanders’ highlight
  • If you are driving into Mexico with a foreign-plated vehicle, you require a TIP (Temporary Import Permit)  issued by Banjercito — the government agency that administers the permits. If you fail to drive your vehicle out of Mexico before the TIP expires, the vehicle will become illegal in Mexico (this affects the validity of your auto insurance) and you will lose your deposit. A TIP’s validity is usually tied to the expiry date of a Visitor Permit (FMM) or a Residente Temporal permit.
    • A TIP is required by anyone who brings a foreign-plated vehicle into Mexico and wishes to drive outside of the Free Zones.  The Free Zones are »
      • within 25km of the land border;
      • the entire Baja California peninsula;
      • a defined area in the northern state of Sonora; and,
      • the southern state of Quintana Roo.

World Rankings for Mexico

  • Ranked 140th on the Global World Peace Index 2021 (Ahead of the USA)
  • 31st  in Best Countries Overall 2021 (US News and World Report)
    • #6 in the world for Adventure 
    • #33 Best Countries Overall in 2020
  • World Economic Forum (2018)
    • 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

Notes

  • World’s largest exporter of beer
  • 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.
  • Mexico has the second-largest economy in Latin America, and is a major oil exporter.

Safety and Security

  • Violent crimes, including homicides, kidnappings, carjacking and extortions continue to increase year-after-year, nationwide in Mexico, even in popular tourist destinations.
  • Many areas are now considered unsafe red zones by various international government travel advisories.
  • Tens of thousands of people have been killed in drugs-related gang violence in the past decade.

Bribery

  • From the Travel Canada web site for Canadians »
    • Legitimate police officers have extorted money from tourists or arrested tourists for minor offences or traffic violations. Travellers driving rental cars have been targeted. If this occurs »
      • don’t hand over your money or your passport
      • ask for the officer’s name, badge and patrol car number
      • ask for a copy of the written fine, which is payable at a later date

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This page was last updated on 2021.08.19 by Robert Vinet