BEFORE YOU GO

THINGS TO KNOW FOR YOUR TRIP

Time Zones

There are three time zones in Mexico:which mirror the time zones in the United States. the Northwest (Pacific Standard Time), Pacific (Mountain Standard Time)  and Central (Central Standard Time). Between the first and second there is an hour of difference and between the second and third is also an hour apart.

From the first Sunday of April to the last Sunday of October, summer time is used in most of the country, which seeks to take advantage of the sunlight in the afternoon and save electricity. At this time, the clocks are delayed by one hour. Sonora is the only state in Mexico where the schedule change is NOT applied.

Weather

When planning your trip we recommend you to know the weather of the state that you will visit, in order to pack the right clothes. Many travelers assume that the weather in Mexico is always warm; However, the reality is that it can vary greatly from one destination to another and from one time of the year to another. The climate in Mexico is as varied as its orography: there are tropical forests, arid deserts, fertile valleys and snowy mountains. The coasts are usually hot throughout the year, although in some months it rains a lot. In Mexico City the climate is quite pleasant; Neither too hot nor too cold. In the central plateau the climate is cool, as in the mountainous areas. In some northern states, such as Monterrey and Chihuahua, it is very hot in the summer season and extreme cold in the winter. Before traveling to Mexican beaches, make sure it is not a hurricane season.

Currency

The current rate of exchange between the United States and Mexico is USD $1.00 = MXN $18.23 (as of July 3, 2017). You will be able to obtain Mexican pesos in the following places:

  • Currency Exchange Offices: You will usually find a currency exchange office at international airports throughout Mexico. You can identify them by the “Change” signs. You will need to present your passport to exchange the money. The exchange rate is usually shown as “Buy,” which indicates how many pesos you should receive for each dollar.
  • Banks: not all banks provide the service of exchanges of pesos and dollars, some require you to have an account with them. Check in your hotel, so that you are told which is the nearest bank that serves tourists to make exchanges. Here you will also need a valid passport to make the exchange.
  • ATMs: One of the most comfortable ways to buy pesos is to use an ATM. Your bank’s ATM card will often produce better exchange rates, although you will have to pay a commission for the service, as with most ATMs outside your banking network. Please do not accept help from people outside the bank.
  • Credit Cards: If you have a credit card, you will realize that this provides one of the best exchange rates when purchasing items inside Mexico. Although you will not receive pesos directly, your monthly balance will reflect the exchange rate you received when shopping with your credit card.

Prices in Mexico are displayed with a dollar sign ($). While some parts of the country accept U. S. dollars, payment in pesos is recommended. Always try to use larger bills first, as it is often difficult to find change when you need it. The current Mexican peso coins and notes in circulation are shown below:

Tips

It is customary to leave a tip as a thank you to waiters, valets, gas dispensers, and other service providers.   In restaurants, bars and cafes, you usually leave at least ten percent of the total of the account; If the service was very good, you can leave up to fifteen percent. Some restaurants or bars include tip in the in the final bill, so be careful not to overpay.   No tip is frowned upon.

Tax Return to Tourists

If you make purchases in Mexico, you may be able to request a refund of your tax. To do so, you must make purchases at establishments affiliated with the tax refund program and have spent at least 1,200 pesos on Mexican goods.

There is no refund for services, so you will not be able to recover the tax in money invested in lodging and meals.   The procedure is simple: the day you leave the country, you should visit one of the tax kiosks located at certain airports in Mexico. There you will need to submit a completed form that will include your bank information, passport number, immigrant form data, airline ticket number and purchase receipts. You must show the merchandise you bought. You will receive 50 percent of the cash refund of the tax and the other 50 percent will be transferred to your account within the next 40 days.   For more information visit: moneyback.mx and taxfree.com.mx.

Voltage and Plug Adaptors

Plug outlets in Mexico provide voltage between 110 and 120 volts AC. Depending on whether you will be bringing items that use a grounded plug (regular North American plug with a third rounded pin) or a polarized plug (the left blade is taller than the right), you may need to purchase an adaptor. Note that some North American plugs are both grounded and polarized, so the adaptor needs to be chosen accordingly. If you are entering Mexico with plugs other than North American ones, check the Internet for the appropriate plug and voltage adaptors.

Tourist Assistance

Once in Mexico you can dial 078 from any phone to find free information about tourist attractions, airports, travel agencies, car rental companies, embassies and consulates, fairs and exhibitions, hotels, hospitals, financial services, migratory and other issues. You can also request information via email to correspondencia@sectur.gob.mx.

All passengers entering Mexico can carry a maximum of US $300 in merchandise, in addition to their personal belongings. If this limit is exceeded a passenger will have to pay an extra charge and the luggage will be subject to review by the authorities of the Mexican Customs.

At your airport of arrival in Mexico, approach only authorized taxis to ensure a safer transfer to your destination.