This isn't exactly a Danger tip, it's more like a warning for those more "sensible" to some animals, such as snakes.
You will find snakes in most places you visit such as jungle or ruins (most of them in middle of jungle). All the snakes i saw were harmless, thin and long, … but nevertheless i kept away from them since i don't like snakes.
Although i have never driven a car in Mexico, i got the idea that in some places it is not safe, … some bus drivers seemed to be doing some dangerous manoeuvres, as well as other drivers i met on the road.
Yucatan main roads look safe and seem ok, but before travelling to Mexico i've heard that in some more deserted roads you might be stopped and robbed, …
Fines and police
If you are driving you should respect speed limit. Otherwise police will stop you and will give a fine. I've seen this happen even with tourism bus drivers, … Police was just right by the resort door, and driver got a fine for exceeding speed limit. Curious thing was that the driver bartered the fine as if was at a shop buying something!!! And even more curious was the fact that he actually succeeded in lowering the fine, … if i correctly recall original fine was around $80 and driver managed to lower it to something like $40.
Mexico is amongst countries with most expensive telecommunications. Phone calls are rather expensive, mainly if made in hotels.
You should try to use public phones or use some card provided by your country's operators. Even so, you might think you are being robbed, … when you make a phone call, the time (and cost!) will be from 2nd dial tone, unlike most countries when you start paying after someone answers the phone. Even for making a collect call you will be charged, and it's not cheap, …
Everyone travelling from Europe or North America is advised NOT to drink water, unless it's bottled. Eventhough in some places they might say the water is properly treated for drinking i was told that its mineral composition is different from ours and this may cause diharrea and other disturbs as well. So, you'd better stick to bottled water, just in case, ... I was even advised about the quality of ice - they say that if it is "manufactured" from tap water it will have the same effect as if you drink that water, ... i was lucky and got no diseases at all.
Pretty annoying. Sometimes you don't notice them and then, ... bingo! You just notice the bite and the hitch. I was told that mosquittoes "appear" near the sunset time and by the water. I wasn't particularly affect by them, but some people complained a lot. I was "attacked" once in the jungle (at the end of the afternoon and there was a cenote nearby) but used some repellent and it did work - no more mosquittoes!!
Be aware of the friendly "policia"!
Although, I have never had any problems I have to count my self extremely lucky.
Living only a short distance from the Mexican border most everyone I know has been across the border, and most have policia problem stories to tell.
One of their favorite practices is to demand "bribe money" for imagined offenses. If they don't recieve the dinero to their liking they can become quite brutal, in some cases going as far as beatings and or rapes.
The USA - Mexico border towns are nortorious for police corruption!
I can't speak for how they treat travelers from other countries, perhaps they just don't like Americans.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
The sun is very strong so you must be very carefull with sunburns and dehidration. Be sure to always apply a good sunscreen and drink plenty of liquids during exposure to sun (not alcohol, ...) ;-)
Even on cloudy days there are a lot of sunburns. If travelling around don't forget that the sun has the same affects as when you're lying on the beach or by the pool.
Stupidity can be costly -mistakes bargaining
Markets and having to bargain can be alot of fun, but there are two dangers in Mexico.
1)One is the obvious concern that wherever you find large numbers of people who can be close together, pickpockets and other petty criminals may be found. Take the logical precautions, do not flash money or jewelery, or dangle cameras or purses, and stay alert. (In 35 years of visiting Mexican markets, I have never been robbed, but I am careful.)
2)The second is paying way over the market price. At least ask lots of vendors before you buy. Better yet check out the store "fixed" prices preferrably at government sponsored craft or cultural centers. Learn about quality and price. Then bargain.
What not to do when you want to bargain:
1. Do not accept the first offer.
2. Do not make an automatic counter offer of half the vendors initial offer as suggested by some guide books. (It seems some of the vendors have read these books and have doubled their first asking price for foreigners.)
3. When you find something you like do not clutch it to your chest while you try to bargain.
4. Do not reach for your money unless it is to show that you have no money beyond your best bid or to pay the price asked.
5. Do not be afraid to walk away. (When I walk away, my wife often says, "You'll be sorry." Her point being that if you really like it, buy it, unless you are sure that you can go back later.)
6. And out of fairness, do not offer what you are not willing to pay.
I have had friends who have failed 1-5 of the above after asking me to help them bargain. Needless to say, they paid more than was necessary.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Don't Pay For Bus Ticket Before It Is Presented
All major bus stations now use computerized terminals to issue tickets. This warning does not apply to large stations. This warning applies to stations that still issue tickets manually. Never hand over your money in advance- that is to say before the ticket is written and stamped. Otherwise, what can happen is you pay for a ticket you never receive. Your money has disappeared into the receipt drawer. When the agent presents you your ticket, he asks for your payment. What can you do, but pay again.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Colorless hot sauce
Jicama is a tubor with a pleasant almost water chestnut taste. A cool cut slice is white and refreshing. Sometimes a little pepper powder and lime are used to add extra flavor. Faced with a nice slice without pepper it can be the most natural thing to just pop it into your mouth, but beware there is this clear pepper juice that can be added which will bring tears to the eyes of a 16 year old macho boy. I thought I could tolerate any hot sauce, but if I had been warned, I would not have taken the whole thing in one mouthful.Related to:
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
La mordida -- bribes
One of the irritations and hassles in Mexico is the request or demand for an unofficial payment or bribe. It often seems you are in greater danger of a bribe rip-off than a theft in Mexico. Mexicans suffer from these attacks but I would say they generally know the rules and the customary amounts so the trauma is less. My personal rule has been to never pay, but this may not always be practical or even smart. It requires time and patience. I practice my Spanish and imply that I have all day to discuss the issue often acting oblivious to hints of payment. No matter what you decide to do consider the following suggestions: 1) All bribe amounts requested are negotiable. 2) Smile as much as you can and thank the officer for their help. 3) If you do not speak Spanish, try not to understand a bribe request. (This worked for my mother when she paid 15 cents for "coca cola" money.) 4) Do not suggest that you are afraid or in too much hurry to go to the station. (I have offered to go, but I have never had to go. It is not a risk free option as the corruption may extend to this level or things might get real official.) 5. If you are pregnant, show your belly. (This worked for my wife.) 6. Do not leave your friends or vehicle to go with people claiming to be officials unless you are absolutely forced or you are certain of their identity.
And lastly, if you do decide to pay a bribe because it is not worth your time to negotiate further please do not rationalize it by saying they need the money. Donate your money to honest people rather than encouraging a corruption most Mexicans condemn.
Don't become a statistic!
Check your government's travel advice on crime in Mexico, take careful note and follow it. This is not scare-mongering. Robbery - with violence - is all too common. We met a young Englishman who had been robbed at knifepoint within 20 minutes of leaving the airport terminal. He was still in shock, but he was lucky - all they took was his money.
Mexico City has a particularly bad name for taxi crime and whilst there reports that the authorities are cracking down on this and other forms of crime against tourists I wouldn't be at all complacent about.
The best advice about picking up a cab in the street is DON'T.
Hopping into one could ruin your holiday. At the airport take a registered airport taxi and pay for it inside the terminal ); from your hotel or from a restaurant, get the desk to call you a radio cab and ask them to make a note of the licence plate number. If you must get a taxi in the street, make sure it's a radio cab. If in doubt - walk - all the way if necessary.
Similarly, be very careful with your personal belongings - wallets, handbags, cameras, etc, when you're out and about anywhere, particularly in crowded markets, tourist sites, busy streets, restaurants and bars and the like. Leave any valuables you don't need for the day in your hotel safe - better still - leave them at home. Don't draw attention to yourself with ostentatious jewellery and expensive watches - a cheap watch still tells the time.
Be especially kind to the Policia
Put you money in different pockets and don't show to much. Don't go alone in places that doesn't look safe. Watch for pick pockers if you have a large wallet sticking out. Tip your taxi good if he is to return to pick you up. He will notify the police if you are not there on time to be picked up.
food sold by street vendors can be a risk
i never buy food from the street vendors, even cooked food like cake or cookies; you don't know if the milk was pasteurized or if the water used came from a clean system. friends have told me that the same problem applies to the "licuado" (sort of a fruit milkshake or smoothie) shops.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Family Travel
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