Travelling to Mexico

By | March 22, 2021

Security for foreigners

Soldiers

Soldiers

Due to the current spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), flight connections to and from Mexico are increasingly being discontinued. The Federal Foreign Office therefore advises Germans staying in Mexico to return to Germany immediately.

There has always been petty crime in Mexico. Since the former President Felipe Calderón declared war on the drug cartels in 2006, the security risks have increased considerably, which is why certain parts of the country should be avoided. The Austrian Foreign Ministry provides detailed information about this and recommends rules of conduct for everyday life and travel. The German Foreign Office regularly updates country-specific safety information that should be strictly observed.

Military patrol in Puerto Vallarta

Military patrol in Puerto Vallarta

In September 2017 and February 2018, several major earthquakes occurred in Oaxaca, Chiapas, Puebla and Mexico City. When traveling to these regions, it is still recommended to stay away from buildings at risk of collapse.

Attending political demonstrations is not recommended, especially before upcoming elections, as there have been violent clashes in the past.

Stay healthy

Prayer against swine flu in the Catedrál Metropolitana (Mexico City) in April 2009

Prayer against swine flu in the Catedrál Metropolitana (Mexico City) in April 2009

As a country located in North America according to allcountrylist, Mexico has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since the end of February. The Mexican government has set up a special website with information about the coronavirus that is updated regularly. In addition, a “Corona traffic light” has been introduced, which shows the current situation in the country. As soon as the traffic light turns green, all economic activities are permitted again and all public, private and educational institutions are allowed to reopen. Current figures on the spread of the virus in Mexico can be found here.

No special vaccinations are required for a trip to Mexico. Nevertheless, it should be noted that in southern Mexico (rainforest) malaria can occasionally occur. Also dengue, a disease that is transmitted by a mosquito bite should be avoided by exposure prophylaxis.

Tap water is not allowed to be drunk in Mexico. Mineral water with an intact closure or boiled, filtered or chemically sterilized water is used everywhere. Ice cubes should be avoided.

On the website of the Secretaría de Salud, you can find out more about health issues and risks.

Many Latin American countries were affected by the 2015/2016 Zika epidemic. In November 2015, cases of infections with the Zika virus were first known in Mexico. The virus, transmitted through mosquito bites, can cause flu-like symptoms. However, an infection often goes completely unnoticed. Pregnant women are particularly at risk, as the virus can be transmitted to the unborn child and lead to malformations (microcephaly). Mosquito repellants and long, light-colored clothing are recommended as protection against infection by mosquito bites. The latest information on the Zika virus can be found on the World Health Organization website.

With children in Mexico

Village festival with children

Village festival with children

Family ties are generally very strong in Mexico. Children have their place in large families as well as in public life. They are present everywhere and their playing and romping is not only accepted, but welcomed. However, where family cohesion is broken, children suffer the hardest from the consequences, as there are only a few government agencies that take care of the well-being of children. For this reason, there are many street children (niños callejeros) in the Eldensviertel of the big cities who have to look after themselves and live from street sales or small offenses (e.g. theft, drug trafficking etc.)

For safety reasons, it is necessary and customary not to leave children unattended. They are brought and fetched to school, courses or friends and cannot play freely in the street or in playgrounds. This also applies when traveling, where children must not be left out of sight, especially in crowds or at markets and public festivals.

On the other hand, there is a general great sympathy for children. When traveling, they are often an opportunity to talk to locals. As a rule, your special needs are taken into account in a particularly courteous manner (e.g. in hotels and restaurants). At larger private parties there are often “piñatas” so that the children can have fun.

If you are leaving with children, you might want to find out about possible schools in advance. The German Embassy has addresses of German schools available. The German-Mexican meeting center offers an extensive school and cultural program in various large cities in Mexico.

Telecommunication, Internet

The Internet is used extensively in Mexico. According to the 2016 Digital Report the reach of the Internet in Mexico was 47% in 2016, well below the North American average (88%) but slightly above the Central American average (44%). According to the 2016 Digital Report, the average Internet speed in Mexico is 5.5 MBps. There are still fewer house connections than in Germany, but internet cafés are available and affordable in every city and in most villages. In addition, around 39% of the population use mobile internet. Surfing the Internet is sometimes difficult in remote regions, but even there, tourist accommodations generally have WiFi connections. In the meantime, free wifi is offered in central places in some cities and tourist villages. In Mexico City, this is part of the campaign#CDMXDigital. A dynamic Internet startup scene has established itself in Mexico City in particular in recent years. Social networks are used by around 47% of the population in Mexico, with Facebook and Whatsapp being the most widely used platforms. Mexican computer keyboards are assigned according to the QWERTY arrangement.

Cell phone calls with SIM cards from German cell phone providers can incur high roaming charges in Mexico. It can therefore be worthwhile to buy a Mexican prepaid SIM card even for a short visit.