Updated on: 25/03/2021
Is it dangerous to travel to Mexico?
To this question we could give roughly the same answer as for paragliding.
Most people consider paragliding to be a dangerous activity because it is talked about in the media.
In the same way that we never talk about trains that arrive on time, but on the contrary of those which are late, yet in the minority. There is more mountain rescue for simple hikers than paragliding.
Mexico is a very large country (3 times the size of France), it is advisable to inquire before coming. The states of Veracruz, Sinaloa, Michoacan are not the most recommendable. Some areas are
We must not hide behind his little finger, violence due to narco-trafficking exists, but above all it is turf wars between them. And when it overflows, it is the local population that suffers.
Tourists are spared: it's not good for their business.
On the other hand, one can be stopped for a traffic stop by corrupt police officers, and have to pay a fine for a far-fetched offense. But this is not unique to Mexico and everything is negotiable.
In 5 years of presence there, I have never felt threatened. On the contrary, here in Valle de Bravo, we were given a two-seater that had fallen from the truck (really fell from the roof of the truck, poorly secured). If this happens to you, it is customary here to leave a “reward”.
If so many tourists (and paraglider pilots) come back to Mexico, it is surely that they want more!
Do I need a return ticket when I go to Mexico?
This question comes up often, and it is true that some of our students are sometimes on an indefinite trip (the lucky ones!). The answer is yes. You can also be checked not only in Mexico, but even before (transit airport). It happened to me in November 2020, at Madrid airport before leaving for Mexico. It seems that this prerequisite is imposed by the United States on the Mexican administration, to reduce the number of illegal immigrants ...
How do I get my tourist visa for Mexico?
Nothing's easier. You will need a passport valid for more than 6 months.
On arrival in Mexico, you are stamped with your passport, and you do not have to pay anything. Nada.
You will be given a small piece of paper that you will need to keep for leaving the country. Otherwise, a fine of around 600 pesos will be applied (around € 30).
Unlike many countries, the tourist visa exceeds 3 months: You can stay up to 6 months on site (180 days)!
Do I need an international license to drive in Mexico?
The French license is sufficient. It is recommended to make a photocopy, to avoid that the possibly corrupt police officer asks you for money to return it to you. Ditto for the passport.
Night driving is not recommended. The blood alcohol level tends to increase at night. I saw some cars without lights (even taxis). The roads are not always in good condition… In short.
If you are coming to Valle de Bravo to fly, it is possible to take public transport from Mexico City. The car turns out to be useless in most cases. If you rent anyway, do not skimp and take the insurance offered by the rental company.
How to understand the police checks?
Even if the offense noted was only a pretext to make you pay the “mordida” (bribe):
- Don't get upset, it doesn't help.
- Take a picture of them.
- Request a receipt.
- Pretext that you don't understand (or even English).
- Pretend to call the embassy.
- Hang out, they might get bored.
In any case, you will get a big discount on the amount initially requested. Do it discreetly.
Personally this has never happened to me: These are the advice of other travelers.
Where to change / withdraw money in Mexico?
At the airport of course, and then in all cities likely to have a bank.
I did not notice any big differences between the different banks and the exchange offices.
On the other hand, distributors advertise different commissions during withdrawals. It all depends on your bank and the international agreements it has with the bank of the distributor in question.
The ATMs sometimes have a tendency to swallow the card (not return it to you). In fact it is more the fault of your bank (which for security neutralizes the card abroad). In short, tell your bank before you leave to avoid unpleasant surprises. As a result, this type of mishap happened to me, and I had not even left the Mexico City airport… A second card can be very useful.