Travelling soon to Mexico? Here are 10 things to know before going to Mexico: Responsible traveller edition!
1) DON’T GET FRUSTRATED BY “MEXICAN TIME”:
Mexicans enjoy life at a slower pace, and punctuality takes on a different meaning in Mexico. If you are invited to a local home, it’s not expected for you to arrive at the exact agreed-upon time. It is considered polite to arrive fashionably late, with up to a 30-minute grace period for home visits and a lenient two-hour tardiness allowance for social gatherings. The same applies if you are inviting someone, expect delays. Don’t get frustrated; it’s something you will experience, so embrace it!
2) AVOID TO BARGAIN HEAVILY :
I’m not saying you should avoid it altogether, but it’s not as common as you might think. If there’s a set price tag, you can’t negotiate (just like in any other country). However, if you’re buying something from street vendors and feel they’re overcharging you, you may politely ask if there’s room for a discount. Keep in mind that some vendors may not be in a position to significantly lower their prices. You might get a slight concession, but don’t count on a major discount.
3) DISPOSE OF TOILET PAPER THOUGHTFULLY:
Due to infrastructure limitations in Mexico, you can’t flush toilet paper. Every place you visit will have a bin in the restroom, and you’ll be asked to dispose of your toilet paper in the waste bin. Please follow this rule if you want to avoid causing issues!
4) LEARN BASIC SPANISH:
Wherever your travels take you, it’s a MUST, in my opinion, to familiarize yourself with a few expressions in the local language. Assuming that locals should speak English in their own country can come across as a bit presumptuous, even though many might be proficient. Acquiring some basic words and phrases in the local language is a simple yet meaningful way to demonstrate respect and courtesy.
Tipping is very common in Mexico. In restaurants, for housekeepers, and porters at your hotel, it’s expected for you to tip. How much to tip really depends on you and the service, but common sense would suggest somewhere around 10-15% of the bill.
6) USING SUSTAINABLE MODE OF TRANSPORTS:
Whether you’re in Mexico City or the Yucatan area, both places are surprisingly bike-friendly. Mexico City boasts around 150km of dedicated bike lanes, making it easy to explore the central areas by bike. Alternatively, if biking isn’t an option, you can always use a colectivo (collective bus), which is a shared minibus or van common in the Yucatan and some other parts of Mexico. Colectivos are by far the cheapest and quickest form of public transportation available. For example, going around Tulum with colectivos costs only 25 pesos (1.33 euros!). Plus, it’s the best way to reduce your environmental footprint!
Mexico is often considered an unsafe country, but despite negative perceptions, it is generally safe for tourists, especially in popular areas like Riviera Maya, Mexico City, and Cabo. Of course, exercise caution in less frequented regions and areas, as you would in any country you visit, but overall, Mexico is safe to explore!
8) ALWAYS PAY WITH PESOS:
While it’s common for the most touristy places to accept USD, it’s never convenient to pay with USD. The exchange rate you’ll get will probably be the worst possible, so I strongly suggest paying everything in Pesos.
9) GO BEYOND THE TOURISTY SPOTS:
In my opinion, places like Tulum or Cancun have become too touristy and lost its authenticity due to over-tourism. For a better beach experience, consider lesser-known places like Bacalar, (google it, and you’ll thank me!). There are also charming towns in Yucatan, such as Valladolid or the larger city, Merida that are worthy of your attention!
10) VISITING CHURCHES ETIQUETTE:
Given Mexico’s strong Catholic tradition, adopting a respectful approach when entering churches is crucial. Dress modestly, avoid overly short attire, and refrain from taking pictures during religious services.
I hope you find these tips helpful for your Mexican adventures! Happy travels, and stay responsible! 🙂