Before you go: Mexico.

Hello Pals,
Before you go to any country you should learn some basics but also double check those important things such as Visas and Vaccines.

  🛂 VISA 
Depending on where you’re from, you may need a visa. Countries who will need a visa, click here (Google Translate Link)
Click here to make sure you’ve got the necessary jabs!

The recognised languages are Albanian, Serbian, Bosnian. Try and learn common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please and thank you here.
Mexican Peso. Code: MXN.
Check your exchange here.

Here’s a list of things you should know before you travel to Mexico.

In this article, you’ll find: (click to be taken there)
Key Dates: Things to be aware of.
The important things to know: Cultural Aspects, Dress Codes, Driving, English, Toilets
Money exchange, tipping and working atms.

Key Dates

Easter Week: Semana Santa

  • 2020 – April 5 to 12
  • 2021 – March 29 to April 4
  • 2022 – April 10 to 17

Schools in Mexico have a two-week vacation period at this time, this is effectively spring break for Mexicans. Puebla, Oaxaca and Mexico City are all good places to witness Semana Santa.

May 5: Cinco De Mayo

Celebration of Ignazio Zaragoza´s victory over the French in Puebla, which essentially saved Mexico from being conquered.  It’s a regional holiday in which a massive parade takes place in Puebla.

September 15 – 16: Mexico’s Independence Day.

It’s speculated that over 500,000 citizens and tourists arrive to the Zocalo to chant ‘Viva!’ while the president arrives on the balcony and numerous fireworks go off.
ARTICLE: National Geographic: Mexico Independence Day: What You Need to Know

November 1 – November 2 : Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is one of the most anticipated holidays within Mexico. Oaxaca is recommended the most, Mexico City has parades, events and numerous celebrations.
ARTICLE: The Independent: ‘It is not Mexican Halloween’: How to celebrate the Day of the Dead with cultural sensitivity


To Note:

  • Sunday is a free day for locals – this means that things will be be busy,
  • When purchasing at stores, using a credit card – you may be asked for identification – licence, passport.
  • Not always, but often enough for me to mention it – booking online hostel world / is cheaper for hostels (i don’t get it either.)
  • Most things are closed on Monday.


  • Spanish is spoken by 92.7 percent of the Mexican population.
  • Mexican culture revolves around religious values and the church, as well as the concept of family and inclusiveness.
  • Mexicans love their spices! TRY THEM before you put on a whole chunk of salsa. “no picante” = not spicy.
  • Hungry? There is street food everywhere.

Dress Code?

  • Mexico doesn’t have a dress code, however as it is heavily catholic – if you’re going to be going into Churches, avoid shorts, board shorts & singlets.
  • Due to the climate, try to bring natural fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk (check your tags!) these dry quickly, are breathable and are light.


  • You’ll be driving on the right-hand side and people will pass you on the left.
  • You need to be a minimum age of 21, cheaper for those over.
  • You’ll see cheap costs for renting a car, but there are lots of hidden costs insurance wise.
  • People will fill up your tank at Gas Stations. Ensure you look out for Price Altering.
  • Have an International License if renting a car.
    Australia, it depends on which state you’re from. Click your state provider for more info:  VIC: RACV NSW: NRMA QLD: RACQ  SA: RAA NT: AANT WA: RAC TAS: RACT
    For a full guide on renting a car in Mexico, read AnnaEverywhere’s post here.


  • Major cities and tourist destinations, you’ll have no issues speaking English.
  • Most tourist destinations will have menus in english.
  • Download Google Translate Spanish offline for a great go-to application for any issues. 🔗Apple 🔗Google Play


  • You should always have travel insurance when going overseas. At least just to cover you for medical.
  • For short trips I tend to use Tick Insurance (affiliate and for AUS )– it’s 4/5 stars with FeeFo and although I’ve never had to claim – it’s super within budget. Click the banner below for 5% off your next trip! (affiliate)
  • If you’re already overseas and needing to extend/buy new insurance – WorldNomads (which you’ve probably heard of) allows you to do this.
  • Register your trip details with Smart Traveller (Australia.)


  • Majority speaking, you cannot flush your toilet paper. Use the bins provided.
  • Public Bathrooms and sometimes in Hotels/Bars will have an attendant, you tip them 1-5 pesos (depending) for toilet paper, the cleanliness and paper towel.


Domestic Airlines
Aeromexico,  Interjet, Volaris,
Most cities will have bike rental options and it’s a great way to get from A>B.
Mexico is such a large country, and mostly spread out. Take transport options when you can and walk when needed.

The three cities in Mexico that have a Metro are Guadalajara, Mexico and Monterrey.
A good resource is Mapa-Metro.
Rush Hour is:
6am and 9am + 6pm and 9pm
Collectivos run within cities and often have destinations written on the screen. To confirm which ones to take, ask your hostel/hotel or the driver.
For A>B destinations; ADO is the main provider if you’re going Mexico City + South.
Mexico used to have an expansive train network, but now the main two would be the Chihuahua al Pacífico which runs within the Copper Canyon and the Tequila Express.

Uber + BEAT
Uber is available in 41 cities across Mexico. Click here to see all 41 cities (it is in Spanish, but the names are the same except for Ciudad de Mexico = Mexico City.)
*As of June, 2019 Cancun has Uber again – but it’s iffy. Always double check.
BEAT is super easy to use if you just buy a sim at an OXXO.
For $$ your next ride; use referral code 38522of4
Also Available: DiDi, Cabify
Majority of drivers are friendly and honest – but just ensure you’re taking the right steps.
– Confirm the amount before you take the taxi
– avoid vendors outside train stations, bus stations.

If you’re interested in renting a car read Hannah & Adam’s post on renting a car here. There are often hidden costs (insurance)
Ride sharing as  co-travellers.

• Mexperience: What happened to Mexico’s passenger train network?


  • You cannot drink the tap water in Mexico.
  • Some cities, such as Mexico City, have refillable, purified free water available at train stations.
  • If your hostel/hotel/airbnb doesn’t have drinking water available, try buying larger bottles (think the biggest you can possibly get and refill your drink bottle)

    Article: Lonely Planet – Green Travel: How to ditch the plastic water bottle.


Remember that Mexico is a big country, so it depends on where you’re going to be!
Mexico has two seasons; Dry and Rainy, with hurricane often coming in during the rainy season.

May – SeptJun – Nov
most risk; Aug – Oct.
December – April


*Remember to contact your bank and let
them know you’re going overseas!*

  • You should always have some cash and other cards securely saved somewhere in case of any issues.
  • Australia: I personally use my ING Visa while overseas and withdraw from that as it gives me rebates on all international ATM fees* (including the ones charged.)
  • Not everywhere will accept your card, especially little markets or people selling on the streets. Cash is Key.
  • Large bills you get from the ATM – exchange them for smaller bills inside the bank if possible.


• Change your money at dedicated money changers
• check their calculations
• count the pesos yourself before handing over your money.
• keep the pesos in your hand, do not put it back down on the counter.
• trust your gut – if you feel uncomfortable or suspicious, walk out.
• Use a money changer that is located down a laneway or alley.
•  allow anyone to touch the pesos once counted.
•  allow anyone else present to distract you during the transaction.
•   use a money changer with an advertised rate which is better than any other in that area.
•use a money changer with a desk at the back of another business.
  • You’ll get a better exchange in Mexico.
  • The airport will give you slightly less than in the cities, so if possible – wait until you’re out to exchange, or use an ATM.
  • You can use USD in some places, but be aware that the exchange will not be as good as if you were to exchange.


  •  A tip is known as “la propina.”
  • Always leave tips in Pesos, coins are not exchangeable.
  • Try to leave tips in money, rather than on the card.
  • A service charge may sometimes be included automatically, particularly if you’re part of a large group.
  • Generally speaking, 15% is the average for a bill.
  • You tip your server, the person who bags your groceries, the people who are pumping your petrol. Anyone who’s helping essentially.

Working ATMS.

  • OXXO (similar to 7/11) will often have ATMs inside of the store.
  • Make sure you check that the ATM dispenses Pesos and not USD.
  • Some areas will only have USD ATMs (Tulum, I’m looking at you and your hotel strip!!)
  • Try to only use ATMS in Banks (some are located within the bank and are closed on weekends) or within Shopping Malls & Service Stations.
  • Check the ATM screen, keys and around – if it looks dodgy it probably is.


– Coffee Cafes & Fast Food Restaurants
– Hostels, Hotels & Airbnb.
– Parks & Public Spaces.
two flat parallel pins + grounding pin. Voltage: 127. Plug A + B. Also used in: North America, Central America, China + Japan.
– Chilaquiles (breakfast)
– Tacos!
– Tostadas
– Elote (Corn on the cob)
– Mole
– Guacamole
– Tamales
– Agua de Jamaica (hibiscus tea)
– Atole (corn + masa [corn dough]
– Horchata (rice water with cinnamon + vanilla)
– Modelo Especial (Alc.) I personally
think this is the best beer.
– Tequila (Alc.)
– Mezcal (Alc.)
– Charro Negro (tequila + coke over
ice with lime juice + salt.)

ARTICLE: Taste of Home: What is Mole Sauce Anyways?


  • Mexico is situated on the ‘Ring of Fire’, the world’s most prominent volcano and earthquake region.
  • The colours of the Mexican flag stand for independence, unity and religion.
  • The children of Mexico receive gifts for Christmas on January 6th which is the arrival of the Three Wise Men.
  • Mexico City has the highest elevation and is oldest city in North America.
  • A Mayan weapon was a “hornet bomb,” which was an actual hornet’s nest thrown at enemies during battle.


  1. Really thorough guide, looks like you’ve had a fun time there. Definitely somewhere I’ll get to at some point 🙂


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