Mexico - Cities: Trip Preparation & Destination Information

About Mexico

Overview

Dense jungles and infinite deserts, white sand beaches and bottomless canyons, legendary street food and cosmopolitan nightlife. There are 32 states with 65 indigenous groups and 68 languages, 64 varieties of chile and 59 types of corn. Put aside anything you might already know about our neighbors to the south and open your mind and heart to an entirely new world. Welcome to Mexico!

 

Capital City: Mexico City

Population: 128,574,177 (2020 est)

Currency: Mexican peso (MXN)

Time Zone: Central Standard Time (GMT -7)

Emergency Number: 911

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Mexico-Painted-Bowls

Packing List

Speak the Language

Language: Spanish is the first language of 90% percent of the population.

 

  • Hello - ¡Hola! (O-la)
  • Goodbye - ¡Adios! (AH-dee-ohs)
  • Thank you - Gracias (GRA-see-as)
  • Do you speak English? - ¿Habla inglés? (Ab-la in-GLAYS)
  • I (don’t) understand - Yo (no) entiendo (yo no en-tee-EN-doh)
  • How are you? - ¿Cómo está? (KOH-moh eh-STAH)
  • I’m fine, thank you - Bien, gracias (bee-EN, GRA-see-as)
  • What’s your name? - Cómo te llamas? ((KOH-moh te ya-mas?))
  • My name is- Me llamo… (May ya-moh… )
  • Where is... - ¿Dónde está… (DON-day es-tah...)
     
    • The bathroom - el baño (el BAH-nyo)
    • An ATM - un cajero (un kah-HEH-roh)

 

Google Translate: Google Translate: Download the Google Translate app or click here 

Mexico-City

Fun Facts

  • Mexico gets its name from the ‘Mexica’ people who were rulers of the Aztec Empire. Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire had a population of between 200,000 and 300,000 in 1519, 5x the size of London in terms of population at that time.
  • The official name of current-day Mexico is Estados Unidos de Mexico or the United States of Mexico.
  • The different states of Mexico are incredibly diverse and regional, so much so that the government recognizes 68 different languages spoken, with 63 of those languages being indigenous. 
  • Along with the diverse local cultures within Mexico, there is a fair amount of immigration. The largest immigrant group in Mexico? Americans! A census taken in 2019 showed that there are 799,000 American-born residents in Mexico.
  • The origins of the taco are unknown but historians theorize that it originated from the silver mines back in the 1800s where a ‘taco’ was in reference to a stick of dynamite. There are archives of a ‘taco de minero’ or a ‘miner’s taco’ that was sold for lunch which one could imagine was meat wrapped in a tortilla, covered with hot sauce, resembling a stick of dynamite, or a ‘taco.’
  • Although it might be debated that the modern taco is an industrial invention, excavations in the ‘Valle de Tehuacan’ in present-day Puebla reveal that tortillas have been part of the Mesoamerican diet since 3000BC.
  • While we’re on the subject of tortillas, there are as many regional variations of the tortilla as there are languages. In the northern part of Mexico, they may use flour which might resemble the flour tortillas in the USA, but there are 59 varieties of maize/corn in Mexico that range in color from white, yellow, blue, and black which all produce different types of ‘masa’ - the dough that produces tortillas.
  • Most of the Mexican food around the world is not actually Mexican but Tex-Mex/Americanization. Fajitas, chile con carne, and nachos were actually invented in Texas. And the burrito (at least the giant wrap as we know it) was invented in the mission district of San Francisco. The truth is that Mexican food is regional and differs within the many diverse cultures in Mexico. For example, the main dish on a family table in the Yucatan might have little resemblance to the main dish you’d find at a family table in Oaxaca.
  • Enough about food, what about booze? The oldest vineyards in the New World are Mexican! Spanish colonizers were unsuccessful in planting grapevines on the island of Hispaniola, current-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Still, they found success in the late 1500s Mexico, more than a hundred years before the first vineyard in California.
  • Much like most of Mexico, even the booze is regional. In the same way that Champagne is a type of wine from the region of Champagne in France, a Tequila is a type of Mezcal from the region of Tequila (although no one would say that Tequila is the ‘champagne’ of Mezcals). Mexican alcohol goes further than just tequilas and mezcals though. In central Mexico, keep an eye out for pulque, a beverage made of the fermented sap of the agave, a drink that has been consumed for over a millennium.

Tipping

Tipping Suggestions: Tips for Guides, drivers and restaurants are not included. Tips provide supplemental income, and, while not mandatory, are greatly appreciated. If the local teams have added to the experience, please reward them.

Guides USD $3-5 per person/per day
Drivers USD $2 per person/per day
Restaurants(full service) 

10-20% of total bill

 

FAQ

Where can I find information on travel safety? Check out the US Department of State's website for the most up-to-date information on safety while traveling.

 

Is the water safe to drink? Tap water should be avoided by travelers. You should also avoid brushing your teeth with tap water when possible. For drinking water, make sure to drink treated water which can be found at all lodging accommodations. 

 

Do I need a Visa? For Visa information, click here. Make sure to also check that your passport isn't expired or about to expire!

 

What about vaccines? For Vaccination information, click here.

 

Do you recommend travel insurance? While not required, we highly recommend all travelers get travel insurance for their trip to protect themselves from the unknown! Check out travel insurance options from our partner, worldnomads.com, or from a provider of your choice.

 

How much should I pack? As we will be using shared transfers and spaces throughout our tour we recommend all travelers pack as lightly as possible. Please review our luggage restrictions below.

 

What does public transportation look like? There are many ways to get around Mexico. Taxis are affordable and convenient, but be careful to only hire licensed taxi drivers.

 

Is Uber or Lyft available? Uber is available in major cities like Mexico City.

Luggage Restrictions

Luggage Restrictions purple

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