Mexico - Facts for the traveller, when to go, events
Facts for the traveller for MexicoVisas: Citizens of many countries - including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, Chile and virtually all Western European countries - do not require visas to enter Mexico as tourists. However, if they are staying longer than 72 hours, or are traveling beyond the Border Zone or certain exempted areas, they must obtain a 180-day Mexican government tourist card (tarjeta de turista), available from embassies or at border crossings (US$18).
Health risks: Malaria, Chagas' Disease, Cholera, Dengue Fever, Filariasis, Hepatitis, Rabies, Tetanus, Typhoid
Time: GMT/UTC -6 (Most of Mexico is on Central Standard Time in Winter), GMT/UTC -7 (Baja California Sur and several other states in the northwest are on Mountain Time), GMT/UTC -8 (Baja California Norte is on Pacific Standard Time), GMT/UTC -7 (The North West state of Sonora is on -7 GMT all year round)
Dialling Code: 52
Electricity: 110V ,60Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
When to Go to Mexico
Mexico is enjoyable year-round, but October to May is generally the most pleasant time to visit. The May-September period can be hot and humid, particularly in the south, and inland temperatures can approach freezing during December-February. Facilities are often heavily booked during Semana Santa (the week before Easter) and Christmas/New Year, the peak domestic travel periods.
Mexico's climate has something for everyone: it's hot and humid along the coastal plains, and drier and more temperate at higher elevations inland (Guadalajara or Mexico City, for example). Try to avoid Mexico's southern coast between July and September - the resorts are decidedly soggy and jam-packed, as July-August is also the peak holiday months for foreign visitors.
Mexico's reputation for full-blooded festive fun is well founded: just about every month sees a major national holiday or fiesta, and every other day is a local saint's day or town fair celebration. Carnaval (Carnival), held late February or early March in the week before Ash Wednesday, is the big bash before the 40-day penance of Lent; it's particularly flagrant in Mazatlán, Veracruz and La Paz. The country's most characteristic fiesta is the wonderfully macabre Día de los Muertos, held the day after All Saints' Day on November 2. The souls of the dear departed are believed to return to earth on this day, and for weeks beforehand the country's markets are awash with the highly sought-after candy skulls and papier-mâché skeletons that find their way into many a visitor's souvenir collection. December 12 is another big day on the Mexican calendar, celebrating the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the country's major religious icon.