Entry & Formalities
Here is some brief travel information for you. To enter Mexico, EU holidaymakers need a passport valid for at least 6 months. Furthermore, you need to fill out a Tourist Card (FMM). This is a type of tourist visa that allows you to stay in Mexico for up to 180 days.
This Tourist Card is distributed by the airlines on the outbound flight and can be filled out on the plane. At the airport itself, there is a high probability that hand luggage and suitcases will be checked. Just before you leave the airport you have to press a buzzer, each person, even if you are travelling in a family. This buzzer then randomly turns a traffic light green or, if you are unlucky, red.
The latter means that you can remove all your luggage. Since the import regulations are not limited to alcohol (3 litres p.adult) and cigarettes (2 cartons p.adult), but also include such subtleties as
- Gifts up to a maximum of 300 dollars in value
- Number of cameras or video cameras
- Quantity of films, cassettes
- Mobile phone`s (2 p.p.)
- Laptop or notebook (1 p.p.)
- Tablets etc.
often finds a reason for the officials to demand a little “attention”.
Country & People
Mexico is mainly located in North America. The Yucatan Peninsula, however, the actual holiday destination, is geographically located in Central America. The climate also goes hand in hand with this. The peninsula has a tropical monsoon climate. This means that in addition to a dry season (November to the beginning of June), there is also a rainy season (June to November) with sometimes heavy showers in the afternoon and at night. Temperatures are around 30°C during the day and 25°C at night all year round. Between May and the end of October, a hurricane may also hit the region.
Mexico is also a country of contrasts. Not only geographically, but also in terms of security. Many parts of the country are ruled by drug cartels. The police, they say, are not always on the side of the law.
In Yucatan, however, the country or whoever lives off the tourists. So you can move around the peninsula relatively freely and safely. Which doesn’t mean that the one or other policeman or inhabitant doesn’t try to get rich off us illegally. On the streets, there are police checkpoints almost every 500 metres, and if you want to find something, you will find it. Then it becomes relatively difficult if you don’t speak Spanish. But this also happens in other holiday regions in the world where rich and poor meet.
Otherwise, Mexicans are very hospitable. Especially in the hotels, they speak English very well. However, you should not expect this from the chambermaids without reservation. As a rule, you can only get on with Spanish. But with a nice “Holá” for “Hello” or a “¿Cómo estás?” – “How are you?” things go a lot easier. When making complaints, always remember that Mexicans are a very proud people. Therefore always: “Benevolent in person, critical in substance!
Currency & Electricity
At the moment (as of Sept. 2018), you get about 22 Mexican pesos for one euro. Of course, American dollars are also very popular in the shops. This is exactly where a “trap” lies. The prices in the shops are always in Mexican pesos. The abbreviation for the peso is $, which is actually the same as for the US dollar. You can’t blame the Mexicans for this, because they have been using this actual weight symbol for gold since before the USA.
Unlike in Germany, the electricity voltage in Mexico is only 110 volts (Germany 220-230 volts). The frequency is 60 hertz (Germany 50 hertz). Modern electrical devices such as chargers, razors and electric toothbrushes have no problem with this. Charging may take a little longer. But you have time on holiday. Things are not so simple when you look at appliances with a power consumption of more than 1000 watts (hairdryers, straighteners, etc.). These often require a voltage of at least 220 volts.
The only solution is either to get a travel hair dryer or to trust the local technology. However, I know from experience that the hairdryer in the hotel does not always meet the requirements of the modern German woman. ? If you have the right travel adapter (for Mexico, as for all of North and Central America, type A and type B), the only thing standing in your way are any power fluctuations or outages. These can occur occasionally, especially in the rainy season. However, most hotels have extra generators for this and can thus quickly bridge these failures.
Flora, Fauna & Tequila
The flora and fauna on Yucatan is really lush. Here you can easily come across washes, coatis and anteaters, amadillos, howler monkeys, skunks or hummingbirds. A photographer’s dream. It is simply fantastic to capture the variety of colours of parrots, toucans, orioles and butterflies.
Of course, there are also many reptiles, one species, the black iguanas, will challenge your place at the pool or beach every day. Speaking of the beach, you should “slurp” or trample into the water to reduce the risk of an unfriendly encounter with a stingray.
Mexico is also famous for its tequila. I can only recommend to anyone who is fond of this agave drink to get in good with the barkeeper in a bar and in a quiet minute to let a local present his or her favourites. You will soon realise that the “good and expensive” brands in local supermarkets (Don Julio, etc.) are only smiled at as “tourist fusel”. We don’t even need to talk about tequila with a hat.
Even though many Mexican hotel bars have adapted to tourists and serve tequila in so-called shots with salt and lime, you will rarely see locals using this method of consumption. A good Añejo is drunk like a good cognac. Everything else goes into the margarita.