TRAVEL ADVICE FOR MEXICO
It’s easy to see why Mexican resorts such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel are popular long-haul holiday spots. These spectacular resorts serve up many of the Caribbean's best beaches and sizzling sunshine – without the high price tag! Check out our brilliant Mexico holidays and find out all you need to know with our guide and travel advice for Mexico.
You’ll find something for everyone here, from the shiny shopping malls and lively nightlife of Cancun’s beach-lined Hotel Zone to the incredible Mayan ruins at Yucatan and Tulum.
While there are safety concerns elsewhere in Mexico (crime and violence are high in Mexico City, for example), the popular tourist resorts of the Caribbean coastline are much safer and welcome thousands of tourists every year. The Mexican government makes an effort to protect tourism in the country, so holiday hotspots are well monitored and policed. Of course, it’s still wise to take a common sense approach to safety - so avoid carrying lots of cash, valuables or expensive gadgets on your person and stick to busy, well-lit areas after dark, drinking sensibly (yes, even in party town Cancun!).
If you wish to hire a car and explore the Mexican Riviera, be aware that the roads and other drivers may not be up to the standards that you’re used to in the UK. Also keep your wits about you if you’re stopped at a road block as a minority of officials will happily con you out of a few hundred pesos before letting you on your way.
Mexico is known for its gorgeous sunshine and warm climate, but be aware that our summer coincides with Mexico's hurricane season. The Cancun area has only been hit by two major hurricanes: Gilbert on 15 September 1988 and Wilma on 21 October 2005. Mexico is the ideal destination for a winter sun holiday, with little rain and temps in the mid to high 20s from Dec to May. So don’t forget your suncream, whenever you visit!
Swimming, watersports and adventure activities are all part and parcel of a fun holiday in Mexico, but they do have their dangers. Ocean currents can be strong and you shouldn’t assume that a lifeguard will be on duty (although some hotels provide them for their immediate beach space). Follow the simple black, red, yellow and green flag system when swimming – a black flag means do not enter the water under any circumstance. If you're interested in the watersports and adventure excursions on offer, take responsibility for your own safety by insisting on protective equipment such as life jackets or helmets if not already provided.
We've highlighted the top 15 things to do in Cancun so you can make the most of your Mexico holidays.
TAXIS AND TRANSFERS
It’s preferable to arrange your transfer in advance, but if you haven’t, make sure that you’ve clearly agreed a price with your driver before you get into the cab. Also, it's worth confirming whether the price given is in dollars or pesos, as this can catch some passengers out. In the resorts, taxis are plentiful and a great way to get around.
EXPLORING CANCUN, TULUM AND THE HOTEL ZONE
Once you've reached your resort hotel, you might wish to explore outside of the hotels and resorts for a more authentic experience of Mexico. In this case, Downtown Cancun is the first area worth ticking off your list. Sprinkled with traditional bars and restaurants, colourful markets where the locals like to shop (like Market 28) and the lively Parque Las Palapas. The central avenue, Avenida Tulum, is just a 5 minute taxi ride from the Hotel Zone, and well worth a stroll. To stay safe when exploring the area, just stick to the more tourist-friendly areas and avoid after dark.
LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
Drug offences carry heavy penalties in Mexico
Civil unions between same sex partners are now legal in several Mexican States, including Quintana Roo (Cancun), so there’s a thriving gay scene in Cancun, including gay bars and nightclubs.
Outside of the Cancun Hotel Zone and hotel resorts, however, you may encounter some hostility towards any public displays of affection.
VISA, VACCINATIONS AND TRAVEL INSURANCE
You need a tourist card for entry into Mexico, which you’ll usually be given the form for on your flight.
Passports only need validity for the duration of your holiday.
If you’re travelling with a child who has a different surname to your own, it’s possible that you might be asked to prove your relationship to the child and give the reasons why they are with you.
The recommended vaccinations for holidays to Mexico include Hep A and Typhoid, but you should check with your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before travel. Chikungunya, a disease carried by mosquitoes, has also been reported in Mexico, so take care to protect yourself with insect repellent.
Travel insurance is a must for all summer holidays. Make sure that you are covered for any watersports, diving or adventure activities that you wish to do. The EHIC is not valid for use in Mexico.
Holidays to the top Mexican resorts of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and the resorts lining the beaches of the Riviera Maya are on the whole a very safe prospect. Take a common sense approach and follow our travel advice for the best chance of a holiday that’s all about fun and sun – with no nasty surprises.