Tips for U.S. Travelers to Mexico
The purpose of this article is to ensure you have a safe, healthy and fun trip to Mexico. Subjects we will cover include what to know before you go, Consular information, health matters, legal problems and last but not least crime! Believe it or not almost 16 million U.S. citizens visit Mexico every year. Although the vast majority of tourists from the USA have a great trip, some do experience severe difficulties and/or serious inconveniences.
What to know before you go to Mexico
Prior to travel, learn as much as you can about Mexico and your specific Mexican destination. Use the resources of your travel agent, local/online bookstores, public library and even the Mexican embassy, these are all useful sources of information. Another source is the U.S. Department of State’s Background Notes series for Mexico which has information regarding Mexico travel.
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You should also check to see if the Department of State has issued a Travel Warning for Mexico. Even after arrival keep abreast of local and international news coverage of the area. If you are in an area where communications are poor, experiencing civil unrest or some natural disaster such as hurricane or earthquake, you should register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate leaving a detailed itinerary and passport details (this information should also be left with a friend or relative in the United States). Carry photo identification and the name of a person to contact with you in the event of serious illness or other emergency at all times. It is also a good idea to photocopy your airline/travel tickets and travelers checks details and leave copies with someone at home, and carry extra copies with you.
Mexico health information for U.S. travelers
Health problems sometimes affect tourists in Mexico. Information on health precautions can be obtained from local health departments or your personal doctor. Guidance can also be found on the Centers for Disease Control’s international travelers hotline at (404) 332-4559.
In some parts of Mexico, particularly at the exclusive resort areas, medical costs can be as high or even higher than in the USA.
Note:The U.S. government cannot pay to have you medically evacuated to the United States!
List of recommended immunizations are diphtheria, tetanus, polio, typhoid, and hepatitis A for all U.S. citizens. Normally, these immunizations are given during childhood. For visitors traveling directly from the United States, no immunization paperwork is required to enter Mexico. If you are traveling to an rural area where malaria is a possibility you should obviously consult your physician or the Public Health Service to arrange medication prior to travel.
Note:Malaria is not considered a problem in the main resort areas! If you suffer from asthma or any other respiratory or cardiac conditions it is advisable to give Mexico city a wide berth! The air pollution there is severe and in addition Mexico city is in a high altitude area. Consult with your doctor if you are unsure. In all areas drink only bottled water or water that has been boiled, and be careful of ice cubes that may not have been made with purified water. All Vegetables and fruits should also be peeled and/or washed in a purified water.
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Crime in Mexico
As a rule of thumb, take the same precautions against assault, robbery, or pickpockets as you would take in any large U.S. city. Keep your billfold/wallet in an inner front pocket; wear the shoulder strap of your camera, purse or bag across your chest; leave valuables and irreplaceable items in a secure place such as hotel safes when available. Be vigilant in crowded public areas such as bus and train stations, festivals, malls etc for pickpockets. While at the Pool or Beach. Don’t leave your valuables on the beach while swimming. Keep your passport and other valuables in the hotel safe if possible.
The USA Embassy and consulates in Mexico offer a wide range of services to assist any U.S. citizens having problems. U.S. embassy officials meet on a regular basis with Mexican authorities to promote the safety and well being of U.S. citizens in Mexico.
Useful numbers for Mexico tourists traveling from USA
Ministry of Tourism’s general hotline (91)(5) 250-8221/8555 ext. 130/297
Mexican Ministry of Tourism’s emergency hotline,  (5) 250-0123, for immediate assistance
American embassy Mexico Tel  (5) 211-0042
U.S. Consulates General Tel:  (16) 11-3000
State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs (202) 736-7720
Centers for Disease Control’s international travelers hotline at (404) 332-4559
24-hour hotline of the Mexican Ministry of Tourism  (5) 250-0123
Mexican Consulate call 1-800-446-8277