More Safety Tips in Mexico

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Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Mexico

  • susiemargare's Profile Photo

    archeological artifacts

    by susiemargare Updated Oct 11, 2015

    it is illegal to buy archeological artifacts, i.e., pieces that are held out to be genuine pre-columbian/pre-hispanic remnants of pottery, artwork, statues, etc. these are considered to belong to the mexican people; in practical terms, this means the mexican government. don't even be tempted.

    the office that oversees the preservation of items of cultural heritage is the instituto nacional de antropología e historia (INAH, the national institute of anthropology and history).

    their street address is insurgentes sur #421, col. hipódromo, mexico city.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    safety for travelers in mexico

    by susiemargare Updated Apr 3, 2015

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    it is still safe to travel in many areas of mexico, but the u.s. state department does issue periodic warnings about places that you should avoid. you can find these at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/mexico-travel-warning.html.

    the u.s. state department has a very useful website where you can register the details of your trip, how you can be contacted while you are traveling, and who they should contact if you are in an emergency situation. this is at https://step.state.gov/STEP/Index.aspx.

    you can also sign up for periodic e-mails that update the travel warnings for various areas within mexico. do this at https://step.state.gov/STEP/Pages/Common/Subscribe.aspx.

    general information on travel to mexico (and other countries) is available at the website for the bureau of consular affairs (website address below).

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    the question of cuban cigars

    by susiemargare Updated Mar 19, 2015

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    for a very long time, it has been illegal to bring cuban cigars from mexico into the united states, no matter what your flight route is. as of march 1, 2015, it is still illegal to bring cuban cigars into the united states FROM MEXICO, regardless of what anyone tells you.

    however, with the advent of improved diplomatic relations between the united states and cuba, some restrictions have been eased. if you go to mexico and THEN have an "authorized" visit to cuba, AND return directly to the united states FROM CUBA, you are allowed to bring up to $100 worth of cuban cigars and/or cuban-origin alcohol with you for personal use.

    before you go to either country, check the u.s. customs website for current information on bringing cuban products into the united states.

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  • susiemargare's Profile Photo

    carrying a lot of cash with you may be unnecessary

    by susiemargare Updated Jun 10, 2014

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    i have never had a problem with theft, but i am VERY careful and usually do not carry more cash (in pesos) than i think i will need for each day. if it turns out that i need more, i can always make a quick trip to an ATM.

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    driving and insurance

    by susiemargare Updated Jun 10, 2014

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    despite what anyone may tell you, american car insurance is not valid in mexico. you MUST have mexican insurance to be protected there. of course, you can always drive without mexican insurance, but if you are in an accident, the police are very likely to haul you off to jail and ask questions later. in addition, your american car insurance will be of no good to you as far as property damage or personal liability.

    as a practical matter, this means that if you rent a car in mexico, you are wise to sign up for the insurance even though, as in the united states, the cost is likely to be ridiculous.

    if you are crossing the border from the united states into mexico, there are offices close to the border where you can get mexican car insurance.

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    phone calls to the usa

    by susiemargare Updated Mar 7, 2014

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    it is VERY EXPENSIVE to call the united states from mexico, especially from a hotel. it is easier, i have found, to arrange a date, time, and location for someone else to call you instead. another VT member who has recently been to mexico tells me that with the advent of phone "calling cards," this advice may no longer be true. perhaps you should check some of the other mexico/puerto vallarta pages to see what they say about this.

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  • Beware of Vacation Class S.A. de C.V. (advertising

    by BarbaraC08 Written Jul 5, 2013

    Beware of Vacation Class S.A. de C.V. (advertising The Bliss Resorts, Bliss Vacation Club, Grand Mayan, Vida Vacations, VidaSales and more).
    My mother and I traveled to Mexico to celebrate my graduation from college. After about seven hours traveling we were met at the airport in Cancun by some saleswoman misrepresenting her intention. The next day we were at their Grand Mayan where we were subjected to five hours of high-pressure sales tactics before we relented signing an English-only document purporting to be selling "lodging rights and services."

    After getting away, we learned more about whom we had been picked up by from websites like tripadvisor, timesharescam, complaintsboard, scam, mescam, pissedconsumer, independenttraveler, and fodors, to name a few (all ending dot com). We notified the sales office that we cancel and asked for our downpayment back. They pretend to be confused and refuse.

    We learned that Mexican law protects consumers under PROFECO; that all contracts regarding property in Mexico, including timeshares, must be in Spanish and bear certification by a Notario--neither of which was true for us; and that we can file a complaint in at any Mexican Consulate.

    Our lawyer is putting together copies of their responses to share with you the names (and taunting words) of these sales people and the additional aliases they use. We hope that this post reaches you before you travel to Mexico, so you know to stay away from these people when they try to get you at the airport.

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    Sharing the roads

    by DSwede Written Dec 20, 2011

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    Driving in Mexico can be fun, but also requires a fair amount of concentration.

    You will have to dodge lots of unmarked topes (speed bumps), pot holes and generally bad roads. See my other 'transportation' tip for more details here.

    But add to that the fact that many like to enjoy the nights and the local police are much more liberal to let drunk driving go without penalty than in other countries, and the roads at night can have some additional hazards.

    For example, many will drink in public plazas before driving home, or as shown in the photo, you can even buy alcohol directly into the car. If you you are going somewhere at night, think about where the partying crowd may be and either choose other routes or opt for a taxi.

    Drive Through Liquor Stores
    Related to:
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    • Road Trip

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  • Driving in Mexico

    by jeanfinney Written Jul 12, 2010

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    First, please drive defensively, the rules of the road - all those carefully painted lines, warning signs, blind curves, etc - do not seem to exist for many Mexicans. They will pass when they feel like it. So be quite alert! Also do NOT drive at night on lonely roads, just don't, pull off at dusk at any kind of lodging, start at dawn, whatever. The toll roads and big highways are ok, but not the little roads and byways. For instance, the road up to San Cristobal from Palenque can be dangerous at night, and I mean dangerous as in bandits armed with machine guns. I met some people two years ago who had had that experience on the night bus from Palenque (another NO NO; do not take local night buses on little country routes; the main ones are fine. ) - adios forever to that nice camera, that handy wad of cash - The banditos are strong, tough, well armed and could care less about some gringo tourists. During the day you will be fine, no problem, there is a lot of traffic, if sometimes careless traffic. But at night something could happen, and it is a happier journey if it doesn't. Plus, of course, the visibility is better on those dramatic drops and curves, or those lonely dark tree shaded back roads. Just please plan your trips wisely, and all should go well!

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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  • wrldtrvlr3341's Profile Photo

    Beware of crowded street jewelry stalls in Taxco

    by wrldtrvlr3341 Written Mar 31, 2010

    Taxco, Mexico has great shopping, picturesque plazas, and good restaurants, however the silver district has many crowded street jewelry stall where people are bumping against each other and it is difficult to know that your pocket has been picked. Don't keep cash in cargo pockets. The velcro closures are no match for the expert pickpocket.

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  • rkearns's Profile Photo

    to bus or to car, warnings for both:

    by rkearns Updated Feb 6, 2010

    i can't speak for oaxaca to acapulco, but i can speak about taking a bus from puerto vallarta to puerto escondido. we took the bus in increments. the roads were totally fine, but the bus took about twice as long as a car would have. also, we were on a bus ride for 5 hours one time, and it didn't stop once. we had to literally beg the driver to stop so my friend didn't end up having to pee in her nalgene bottle.

    on other trips, the bus stopped for on-bus vendors and at stations where we could buy food. they are only there for a short time. we were also stopped by the policia where they got on the bus with guns and sniffed around our luggage for drugs and weapons. of course, my friend and i, the only americans, were targets. (it was kinda funny, they actually made my friend take her altoids out of the container because they looked like pills. we didn't know the word for breath mint so we described it as gum and had them smell it). they let her keep them.

    so, i don't know if they stop cars as well, but you may have to bring bribe money if you think you may be cited for something ridiculous because you're out-of-towners. just a head's up.

    we took an hour cab ride in mexico one time (cause we were just tired of being on a bus with a crazy driver who had us being thrown from one side of the bus to the other) and split among three people, the fare was SUPER cheap, surprisingly, for an hour ride. so if you find people going the same direction, i would definitely think about that as an option.

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  • International Tourists Beware of Corruption

    by TulumTruth Written Feb 3, 2010

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    International travelers, please use caution and boycott Ana y Jose and S & S Hip hotels. Ocho Tulum was illegally seized by a powerful family out of Monterey Mexico. The owners of Ana y Jose and S & S Hip hotels are aligned with the scheme. Support safe tourism by taking a stand against corruption.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Luxury Travel
    • Spa and Resort

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  • rkearns's Profile Photo

    you may not want to eat street food

    by rkearns Written Jan 25, 2010

    yeah, i have traveled all over and eaten street food everywhere. i do drink bottled water in certain countries, but mexico is the ONLY place i have ever been sick. meaning on the toilet for the three weeks i was there. it put a damper on my vacation. i guess i would advise being careful with food you know doesn't agree with you. maybe it was just the way my body responded, maybe it was just back luck. but just to be safe, for your son's sake, you may stick to restaurants. it's a shame bc the street food was really good!!!

    the photos are of food NOT consumed on the street, and it was good. somehow, some restaurants (like the big touristy kind) don't give that same authentic home cooked meal. this is why i hit the streets in search of real mexican food that doesn't cater to the traveler but to the working class. the lengua and cabesa street tacos were the best!!!! you can decide if it's worth the gamble.

    fresh oysters caught that day interesting way to serve drinks home made salsa in a restaurant, puerto vallarta

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  • Florida999's Profile Photo

    store in San Miguel Cozumel

    by Florida999 Written Apr 5, 2009

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    For the first time ever during our travels to many places, I got ripped off. I suppose it was bound to happen. It really made me angry too, and sort of made me not like Mexico.
    We tried to avoid the vulture-like sales people all over town , and decided to go into a store to buy some souvenirs . We found some t-shirts , a doll, some other things and I took them to the cash register to pay. She started ringing them up and I handed her my credit card ( big mistake!) . While waiting I picked up this cheap little kids bracelet next to the cash register for $1, just for something to do. You guessed it...I bought it! Not only did it fall apart , but the woman at the register got very nasty with me and got to the point of threatening to call the police if I didn't pay it immediately! I told her I barely touched the thing. She insisted. So I said, fine, but now I don't want the other stuff any longer. She said too late and swiped my card through the machine!!!! I was really angry at that point, threw a dollar at her, ripped the card out of her hand and we left ( without the merchandise) . I called my credit card company as soon as we got back to the ship.
    Our tour guide on the bus trip told us that tourism is one of the top 3 industries in Mexico. Let me tell you something, if THAT is the way they treat the tourists, I am surprised any come back!!

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  • Florida999's Profile Photo

    Local "sales people"

    by Florida999 Written Apr 5, 2009

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    Ughh!! If anything makes me not wish to go back to Mexico this would be it!! The locals descend on any tour bus or tourist like vultures and just won't take no for an answer!!! The guy in the photo kept yelling "one dollar" when we got off the bus to Chichen Itza, and unsuspecting me walked over to pick up a piece of pottery. He then demanded $20 for it. I told him no, but he really didn't want to take no for an answer and I suppose if you touch something over there you bought it....I ended up putting it on the ground and walking away...I think he cussed at me....

    There was worse to come, see next warning

    don't even make eye contact!!

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Mexico Warnings and Dangers

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