Hola, Mexico: Un destino muy diverso
January 04, 2019
Whether you are a regular visitor to Mexico, or are new to its wide variety of experiences and destinations, it's a great time to start planning and packing. Primarily known as a warm-weather destination for winter escapes, a Mexico escape can also check off other bucket-list priorities, with world-class dining, vibrant cities, fascinating culture and unique chances to explore Mayan culture.
Must-see destinations in Mexico
Excited to try Mexican cuisine? Want to experience world-class metropolitan life? Or maybe you want to retreat to pristine natural landscapes or immerse yourself in archeological wonders. Begin planning your itinerary with these highlights as a starting point:
For the beach lover:
The sun and sand in Mexico attract visitors from around the world, with 5,800 miles of coastline waiting for you. In addition to top destinations such as Cabo San Lucas (known for its golden sand and rock formations) and Cancun (with its electric-blue waters), check out chances to swim in cenotes, naturally formed wells within caves such as those throughout Riviera Maya.
For the nature lover:
If a nature getaway is your dream vacation, check out Mexico's Barrancas del Cobre, a massive system of ravines carved by six different rivers. You can even book a ticket on a railway that traces the full length of the canyon, with stops for hiking adventures along the way.
For the foodie:
In between strolls through countless UNESCO sites, architectural marvels and distinctive neighborhoods, be sure to spend some time researching Mexico City's restaurant scene. You'll find cuisine options that range from street food to ultra-traditional dishes to the forefront of fine modern dining.
For the history fan:
Mexico City is built on the ruins of the ancient city of Tenochtitlan, and the archeological site of the city's remaining structures are a must-see for anyone who wants to explore Aztec culture. And across the country, there are fascinating sites to discover, including petroglyphs, preserved monuments and more.
Helpful details about Mexico travel
Naturally, the first thing you'll want to consider before heading to Mexico is how much Spanish you need to know. While every region of the country is slightly different in terms of English fluency, for the most part, people employed in the tourism industry understand basic English and can help you along the way — but as with any travel, learning key phrases is both fun and respectful as a guest in another country.
There are some helpful things to know about Mexican culture, whether you're headed to the country for business or as a vacation escape.
- The usual greeting between people is a handshake or a nod of the head, but friends often indulge in an embrace or air kisses. One note: women are the ones to initiate handshakes with men.
- Mexican culture is extremely family-centered, with a significant amount of free time spent socializing with relatives.
- Business culture is relaxed in some ways, more formal in others. Punctuality is not prioritized, so anticipate meeting schedules to need a little breathing room. However, business dress is much like that in the United States, but a bit more conservative.
- It is customary to leave a 10–15% tip at restaurants
- LGBTQ+ travelers will be interested to know that same-sex marriage is legal in Mexico.
Things to know before you go to Mexico
Travel documentation: if you are visiting for less than 180 days and have a valid U.S. passport, you don't need a visa. Make sure your passport passes the most recent recommendations (see more here), and go over our helpful checklist to make the best choices yourself and your loved ones, including contingency plans for emergency situations.
Vaccinations: No special vaccinations are required for entry to Mexico, but it's strongly recommended. Check out the CDC Travelers' Health destination list for the most up-to-date recommendations.
- Crime and violence are serious problems in Mexico and are common in most major cities, but are less likely to occur in tourist destinations. Be sure to research your destination, and travel during daylight hours, avoiding driving at night.
- Before you leave for Mexico, follow the Department of State on Facebook, plus enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Popular tourist attractions and cities are notorious for being hot pickpocketing zones, where thieves will use a variety of methods to try and divert your attention. Be alert and keep your belongings with you at all times, especially in crowded areas, on public transport and popular tourist areas.
- Exercise increased caution when visiting banks or ATMs, as well as bars, nightclubs and casinos. Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
In case of an emergency: the phone number for ambulance/medical emergency services/fire/police is 911. UnitedHealthcare Global recommends that travelers and foreign visitors seek care in select private hospitals located in Mexico City, Guadalajara or Monterrey. Some facilities in resort areas are able to provide adequate secondary level care, but travelers with more than minor conditions will want to seek treatment in facilities located in the major cities.
Generally, travelers are asked to be cautious when choosing where to receive care as some hospitals were found to use predatory charging practices in tourist areas such as Cabo San Lucas in recent years. More information here.
For non-urgent health care: in major cities, private physicians affiliated with local private hospitals offer a good option for outpatient care. In touristic areas, travelers are advised to contact UnitedHealthcare Global for referrals to quality health care professionals in the area.
As you plan an upcoming trip to Mexico, be sure to protect your trip as well as your health and safety with traveler protection. UnitedHealthcare Global offers SafeTrip travel insurance* to make sure your trip goes smoothly.
- Consider the International Travel Medical plan that helps you with a medical or dental emergency, connecting you with quality, English-speaking care wherever you are, plus covers your needs if your bags are delayed or lost.
- You can upgrade to International Travel Medical Plus to be covered for costs related to cancellations or changes in plans, or to add on medical evacuation that will transport you to specialty care if needed, and medical repatriation if you need to get home to loved ones.
In any situation, whether itinerary complications or health issues, a 24-hour Emergency Response Center assistance coordinator is just a call away and ready to help, so you can enjoy the wide range of Mexico's experiences with a backup plan in place.
*Policy availability varies.
© 2023 UnitedHealth Group Incorporated. For informational purposes, UHG does not guarantee the correctness or completeness of the information.
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