Traveling to a new country can be an emotional challenge, especially if it’s your first time abroad. With more and more U.S. citizens making their way south of the Rio Grande to visit the wonderful attractions of Mexico, being in the know about what to expect will only make things go that much smoother. Amstar dmc happily presents these 12 highly useful Mexico travel tips for first-timer visitors.
#1 Let Your Guard Down
Mexicans are generally known for their warmth and sense of humor. Perhaps it’s your first time out of the country, or maybe just your first time in Mexico, but if you allow yourself to let your guard down, you’ll fall in love with the hospitality and pleasant nature of your welcoming hosts. Getting out and interacting with other people is always an enriching aspect of your life. To do so in a foreign country out of your comfort zone, even more so. Especially in Mexico, where the warmth and hospitality you receive is as authentic as it is endearing.
#2 Get out and explore
From ancient ruins like those in Chichen Itza to the stunning beaches of Tulum and Akumal, from the tropical rainforests and desert plains to Mexico’s mesmerizing land and seascapes, the natural attractions in this country are as astonishing as they are diverse. No matter whether you’re an adventurer or a foodie, an explorer or a beach bum, you’ll always find something amazing to see, do, feel or savor unlike anything you would otherwise experience at home.
#3 Let your kids experience Mexico
(Photo credit: Xcaret Park)
Mexico is very kid-friendly. Many restaurants here have kids menus, and there are always some that even have specially designated play areas just for the little ones. Moreover, many of the tours are fun and safe for children. Just make sure to always check the age and height requirements for each excursion, and if you have any doubts simply ask your Amstar representative. Finally, don’t worry about bringing loads of diapers or other basic necessities; you’ll be better off just purchasing those at a local supermarket or pharmacy.
#4 Don’t limit yourself to all-inclusives
Don’t get us wrong, all-inclusives are a great option for enjoying the amenities of exclusive destinations without having all the hassle of how much more you are going to spend, where you’re going to eat and how much all those fancy margaritas are going to cost. However, that said, a whole entire world exists outside of those luxurious walls. Sights, sounds, smells, colors, laughter, landscapes and much more are and just waiting to be explored.
#5 Try and speak some Spanish
And while you’re at it, try and throw in a few words of Spanish. Learning a new language is always about engaging with people, challenging your fears and inhibitions, and trying to communicate with those who speak another tongue. Beyond just improving your skills, however, native speakers will appreciate your attempts to talk to them in their own language despite your struggles. Rather than laughing at you, which is what you most likely fear, the vast majority will be grateful, not to mention kind and understanding.
This travel tip is the ying of the former point’s yang. Too often we isolate ourselves behind those gleaming screens of our smartphones. Lost in the midst of social media and YouTube clips is often times the very people that you have around you. But remember, you’re on vacation for a reason: to unwind, relax, experience new people and things, and to disconnect from your daily routine. Do it. It’s refreshing for both mind and spirit.
#7 Try the Food
Mexican cuisine is much different and much more complex than what you probably expect. While a close kin to its Tex-Mex brethren, in reality Mexican food is a breed—and in a league—of its own. Savor the fusion of indigenous, Spanish and modern flavors and spices that scrumptiously make up the delicious kaleidoscope of colorful Mexican dishes. You won’t regret it. Unless of course you eat too much chili, which we know you won’t.
#8 Shop around
Sooner or later the time will come. Whether you love to shop or love to avoid it, fate will eventually lead you to look for souvenirs before heading back home. Whether to purchase a few nice things to remember your trip or those special gifts for friends and family unfortunate enough not to have joined you, shopping is in your travel future. So deal with it wisely. Start early to get an idea of what you would like to purchase, then keep your eye out for the same items at markets and stores. By the time that sad moment comes when your vacation is over and you have to head home, you’ll already have a good idea of what’s the going rate.
#9 Haggle, sometimes
There are certain places where prices are fixed and non-negotiable. This is generally the case at any established souvenir shop. Markets, however, are another case all together. So, for instance, if you visit Cancun and decide to pay a visit to the city’s famous Mercado 28 (Market 28), haggle. They want 250 pesos? Offer 125. Go back and forth with the vendor, and be prepared to hear crocodile tears-inducing stories. Keep bargaining, and make sure you follow the previous point prior to any significant purchase. Before accepting any final price, ask the vendor what their lowest price is. But, and there’s always a but, use common sense. Don’t nickel and dime people too much and remember that wages are much lower in Mexico than they are where you call home.
#10 Pay in pesos
While most establishments do accept U.S. dollars, it’s not in your best interest to pay with them. They’re great for tipping, but when you are going to purchase anything that costs more than 100 or so pesos, do so in the local currency. Why? Because you will get a bad exchange rate otherwise. Simply withdraw pesos from an ATM (only use those at banks or hotels ) and use them to pay for your purchases while keeping in mind your bank’s exchange rate to make sure you are still getting a good deal.
#11 Choose your tours and excursions wisely
You are traveling for a limited amount of time and for a limited amount of money. Use both wisely. You will find that there are dozens of fun and interesting excursions around where you’re staying, and it’s important to make sure you choose the right ones. Think about the size of your group, what everyone likes to do and how much time you would like to be away from the hotel before choosing. It’s also important to carefully select your provider, as some are more reliable than others—as are the vendors. Amstar only works with those tour operators who have full coverage insurance, and meet all necessary health and safety regulations. Periodic audits are carried out to ensure compliance. That way, you can enjoy your excursion without worrying about whether or not you can you’re in good hands.
#12 Let Amstar dmc be your personal concierge
Amstar dmc is online and in destination 365 days a year. Our representatives are local experts who are there to make sure that your Mexico airport transfers and excursions in Mexico are safe, well-organized and hassle-free. We know the best spots, the top tours and how to solve any problems that may arise during your stay. With offices in Cancun, Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, Huatulco and Ixtapa, an Amstar representative is always close by to serve as your personal concierge during your entire journey.
Have any questions or suggestions? Feel free to let us know in the comment section!