Got Questions? We’ve got answers.
Q? I Need Help – How can I get in touch with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate?
A. A full list of United States Consulates and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City can be found here.
Q? I don’t speak Spanish. How do I get around?
A. Usually, you can get by with English but some places farther down, it may be more difficult when traveling outside of resorts. Most touristy places speak enough English for you to easily get by. It is helpful to learn a few phrases like “please”, “thank you”, “how much is it”, etc. Google Translate is an incredibly helpful app you can install on your smartphone.
Q? Do I need a traveler’s Visa?
A. You do not need a visa when visiting Mexico, however, travelers staying more than 72 hours beyond the “border zone” need a Mexico tourist card, also called an FMT. It is a government form declaring the length and purpose of your stay. If you are flying into Mexico or coming by cruise ship, your airline or ship will provide this for you. If you are driving across the border, you can obtain the form at the border.
Q? Do I need a passport to go to Mexico?
A. United States citizens need a passport to return to the U.S. from Mexico. You can also use a passport card for travel to Mexico and Canada.
Q? Are there ATMs in Mexico?
A. You can withdraw cash at ATMs all over Mexico. Some even offer US Dollars but most will be Mexican Pesos. Traveler’s checks are seldom used any more and can often be difficult to exchange. Credit cards are usually accepted in most major cities and shopping areas.
Q? Is Mexican Food Spicy?
A. Just like in the United States, different regions have different types of food. In Mexico, some cultures like their food very spicy and some blander. There is almost always a selection of hot sauces at restaurants you can try if you want to spice things up a bit. If you aren’t sure about the level of spiciness, just ask.
Q? Do I need an electrical adapter?
A. 110 volts is the standard in Mexico, the same as the United States. Visitors from other countries should bring an adapter if they do not user 110v.
Q? What is the legal age to drink alcohol in Mexico?
A. The legal age is 18 years old. Fermented drinks like beer and wine are permitted to those above 16 years old.
Q? Should I offer a bribe to a police officer if I am pulled over?
A. No, and don’t let them harass you into it either. Insist on a written ticket and go to the station to pay it. It is usually very inexpensive and if they know you are not going to give them money, they usually will let you go and not get a ticket if you didn’t do anything wrong. If they continue to harass you, take a photo of them and their badge and report them to the police station.
Q? Can I eat at street taco stands?
A. Absolutely and if you don’t you are missing out on some of the best food in Mexico! Obviously, use your own judgment but there are some wonderful finds and very inexpensive eats.
Q? Can I drink the water in Mexico?
A. You shouldn’t, however, most reputable restaurants have filtered water and ice so it is safe to drink. When in doubt, ask for bottled water and make sure it comes to your table still sealed. Wherever you are staying should have bottled water available and if not, there are dozens of small markets in just about every town where it can be purchased. Don’t drink the tap water unless you are certain it’s filtered.
Q? Can I use my cell phone plan in Mexico?
A. Most carriers let you roam on Mexico’s cell towers but always check with your carrier before you go, as the fees can really rack up if you don’t pay attention. Many carriers have add-on plans you can use while you travel.
Q? Use my home currency in Mexico?
A. Yes and No. Towns close to the border are usually fine using US Dollars or Mexican Pesos. As you get deeper into the country, however, many places only accept Mexican Pesos. Most ATMs will only dispense in Pesos but some will give out US Dollars.
Q? Can I bring my pet to Mexico?
A. Yes, but you need the proper documentation in case you are asked for it. Your veterinarian needs to issue a clean bill of health showing your pet has had all its vaccinations. The form is called International Certificate of Good Health (Form 77-043) and it essentially certifies your pet has been examined, is in good health, and is current on its vaccinations.
Q? Can I use my US Auto Insurance in Mexico?
A. No, your US or Canadian based policy stops at the border. Most major insurance companies refer to sites like SmartGringo to get temporary insurance coverage when making the trip across the border.