Via Verde Travel (A Division of Plaza Travel)
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  • September 25, 2018
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Getting to Mexico

Cruising or flying, we have all the information you'll need on getting to Mexico!

Airports

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From Mexico City’s International Airport, visitors can reach nearly every major destination in Mexico in less than three hours. Mexico has several major airline companies that connect most of Mexico’s destinations to metropolitan cities in the U.S., Canada and around the world, as well as other destinations around the country.

Best Time to Travel

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When planning your trip, we recommend that you find out about the weather in the state you will be visiting, in order to know what clothes to pack. Many people assume that the climate is always warm in Mexico; but the reality is that it may vary greatly from one destination to the next.

Currency

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Currency exchange offices
You will usually find a currency exchange counter at international airports throughout Mexico; these can be identified by the “Exchange” sign. You will have to show your passport in order to be able to exchange money. The exchange rate is usual shown as “buy” or “purchase”, which shows how many pesos you will receive for each dollar.

Banks
Not all banks provide the service of exchanging pesos and dollars, and some require you to have an account with them. Ask someone at your hotel to tell you about the location of the nearest bank where tourists can exchange their currency. You will also need a valid U.S. passport to make the exchange.

Automated Teller Machine
One of the most convenient ways to buy pesos is by using an ATM. You will often receive better exchange rates, even though you have to pay a service fee, as with most ATMs outside your bank network. Please do not accept any help from people who are not bank employees.

Credit card
If you have a credit card, you will find that it provides one of the best exchange rates. Although you will not receive pesos directly, your monthly balance usually shows the exchange rate you received on purchases made with the credit card.

Tipping

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Tax refund for tourists
If you make purchases in Mexico, you may be able request a refund of your money. To do this, you must make your purchases at businesses affiliated with the tax refund program and you must spend at least 200 Mexican pesos on Mexican goods. There is no refund on services; therefore you will not be able to recover the money invested in lodging and meals. The procedure is simple. On the day you leave the country, you should visit one of the tax refund kiosks located at certain airports nationwide. There, you must submit a completed form, your bank details, immigration form, plane ticket, purchase receipts and the merchandise you purchased. You will receive a refund of 50% in cash and the other 50% will be transferred to you account within the next 40 days.

Tips
It is customary to leave a tip to thank waiters, valets, gas station employees, bellboys and other service providers. At restaurants, bars and coffee shops, it is customary to leave 10% of the total amount of the bill; if the service was very good, you may wish to leave up to 15%. Some restaurants and bars include the tip in the final bill, so be sure to check this in order not to overpay. Not tipping is frowned upon.

Transportation

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Airlines
Mexico City is the leading destination for international airlines, although many offer direct flights to tourist destinations such as Cancun, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Los Cabos and Monterrey.

Car
To enter the country in a private car, you will require a Temporary Import Permit, which you can obtain by showing a vehicle ownership document, your driver’s license and a fee or deposit. If you require any assistance while driving, you may call the Green Angels’ number (078), who will provide free assistance. They offer emergency services, first aid and information on road conditions.

Car rentals
Major U.S. car rental companies –Alamo, Avis, Dollar and Hertz– operate in Mexico.

Buses
They are the most comfortable and most economical means to travel between Mexican destinations. Business class is the lowest priced; it offers an onboard bathroom, television and reclining seats. First class offers spacious reclining seats, television, air conditioning, serves drinks and even snacks.

Visa Info

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According to Mexican government regulations, as of March, 2010, all U.S. citizens must show a valid passport, book or card, to enter Mexican territory, by any means of transportation, beyond the border zone (20 kilometers, 13 miles, from the border); no exceptions are made for children. No visa or tourist card is required for stays of less than 72 hours within the border zone.

When traveling beyond the border zone, or when entering the country by air, U.S. citizens are required to pay a fee to obtain a tourist card (FM-T), which is available at border crossings, Mexican tourist offices and airports, within the border zone. Major airlines will provide this form during your trip. You must include the following information on the form: numbers of days you will be in the country, passport number, destination, city of origin and other related information.

Business travelers must complete and file form FM-N 30 DAYS, which authorizes them to perform business activities, but not to accept employment, for a period of 30 days. Entering the country for other purposes, besides tourism and business, or for stays of more than 180 days, requires a visa and a valid U.S. passport.

U.S. citizens who plan to work or live in Mexico, must request the corresponding Mexican visa at the Mexican Embassy (1911 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006; telephone (202) 736-1000) or at any Mexican consulate in the United States.

All U.S. citizens who are 16 years old or older must show either a U.S. passport, in a book or a card form, in order to re-enter the country by land or by sea. Children under the age of 16 can re-enter the United States by land with a legal document (naturalization certificate or birth certificate).

Upon entering the United States by air, all citizens, regardless of their age, must show a U.S. passport in book format. A U.S. passport in a card format is not valid for entering the United States by air.

Weather

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The weather in Mexico is as varied as its geography: there are tropical forests, arid desserts, fertile valleys and snow covered mountain peaks. The coasts are generally warm throughout the year, although it is very rainy during some months. In Mexico City, the weather is quite pleasant, neither too hot nor too cold. In the central highlands, the weather is cool, as well as in the mountainous areas. In some northern states, such as Monterrey and Chihuahua, it is very hot in summer and extremely cold in winter. Before traveling to Mexican beaches, make sure it is not hurricane season.