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


  • 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


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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


This page was last updated on 2021.03.18 by Robert Vinet