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Photocopy all your travel documents including your passport and any document that has your signature on it and leave them with a relative or friend that you know you can contact in the event that you loose all your documentation. The copies can be faxed to you.

Mexico peso (Mex$) = 100 centavos

In 1998 there were 9.6 million telephones main lines in use.

There are 31,048 km of railways in Mexico.

Females are allowed to volunteer for military service.

In 1997 Mexico had 31 million radios in use.

Mexico's exports partners: US 89.3%, Canada 1.7%, Spain 0.6%, Japan 0.5%, Venezuela 0.3%, Chile 0.3%, Brazil 0.3%.

Mexico produced 176.055 billion kWh of electricity in 1998.

The main industries are: food and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, tourism.

The Mexican name for the Atlantic coastal region of the Yucatan Peninsula is Riviera Maya. The English use is either Maya Riviera or Mayan Riviera. It is used all three ways in this web site.

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Mayan Riviera
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Tips and Info

Buckle Up!

Mexico now has
a seat-belt law.


This FAQ is geared towards the vacationer and quickly answers many questions. Links to more in-depth information also accompany some answers.

What exactly is the Yucatan?

In fact, the Yucatan is officially a state. The landmass that juts out into the ocean is known as The Yucatan Peninsula. This peninsula is divided into the states of: Quintanna Roo, Yucatan, Campeche. At the bottom or southern most end you hit Belize and Guatemala. On the western edge of the southern border is the state of Chiapas.

What is Cancun like?

It is a hotel zone with beautiful beaches. The city has built up to service the hotel zone. Twenty-five years ago there was a fishing village there. It is touristy and well suited for the vacationer.

Should we take American money?

No, use Mexican money.

Can you find bottled water where ever you go?

Water is sold almost everywhere.

How do we save money on tours?

It depends on where you stay. If you stay on the Mayan Riviera you can take the collectivo [bus] from Tulum to Playa for $1.50, which means you can visit a number of attractions. You simply walk out to the highway and wait for the collectivo.

What is the weather like?

Hot and hotter. Wet depending on the season you go.

Where is the best place to stay if you have kids?

If your kids enjoy adventure and swimming then somewhere on the Riviera is best. You are close to Xel Ha, Xcaret, Tulum, and Coba. There is also much more in this area.

What is a natural beach?

Think about a beach that is NOT nice white sand. If you are an avid snorkeler then this is the kind of beach you want. If you have children then this kind of beach is not recommended because of the coral.

Will a barracuda attack me?

Barracudas are extremely curious fish. A large barracuda will not be afraid to approach you. Remain calm and do not antagonize the fish. He will not bite you unless provoked.

Are there sharks?

Yes, however sightings are rare and shark attacks are rarer. More people get drunk and fall off their balcony then get attacked by shark.

Can I get my diving certificate in Mexico?

Yes. Check to see what resorts offer this service. There is also a number of private dive facilitites that can certify you as well.

What is Marco Polo Chicken dinner?

It is a stewed chicken dish in a spicy tomato sauce.

Can I get contact lens stuff?

Yes. In Playa, Chetumal, Merida, Cancun and any large town will have pharmacies, which will carry contact lens solutions and accessories. Some flea-market vendors carry cheap bulk items.

What happens if I miss my airplane?

This all depends on the situation. In Cancun you can expect the flights to be on schedule unless there is a problem concerning the weather. If you miss your flight and it is your fault you may have to purchase a new ticket however if it the fault of a tour operator or airline then your chances of receiving a replacement ticket free of charge is greater.

What is the hotel rating system?

There really is no star rating system. If you check enough travel catalogues, newspapers and brochures you will find numerous variations in ratings on the same properties. In some catalogues a resort is 3 stars while in another it is 5 stars. There are 5 star resorts side by side that have completely different beach property and different menus to the extent that there is a large difference that is NOT reflected in the rating system. Even pricing is inconsistent with the star rating system. Some 4 star resorts are more expensive than some 5 star resorts. Then there are the new 5 and 1/2 star resorts. What is a half star?

There is in fact no official standard body that sets the standards and rates every resort. The rating system is a marketing ploy. It is simply a quick reference that helps you to identify properties that fall within a certain category.

Are there other poisonous animals?

There are snakes, tarantellas and scorpions. It is the black scorpion that is deadly and they are not found in the Yucatan. The tarantalas is not lethal unless you are allergic to its bite.


Tarantalas move slowly unless provoked, then they can move lightening fast.

In the water you have to be careful not to step on a sea urchin or stingray tail. Also watch out for jellyfish which move about slowly.

Are you allowed to climb the pyramids?

At Chichen Itza you are still permitted to climb to the top of the Great Pyramid and you may still climb to the top of the Coba pyramid.

Are there special requirements for single parents traveling with children?

If the minor is traveling alone, he/she must also have a notarized letter signed by both parents or legal guardians, giving the minor permission to travel out of the country. If the minor is traveling with one parent, he/she must have a notarized letter signed by the parent or guardian not traveling, giving the minor permission to travel with the one parent or guardian. A custody document should be provided in the event a minor is in the custody of one parent. A death certificate should be provided if one parent is deceased.

Do we need to take our own beach towel?

Beach towels are available at every all-inclusive resort/hotel. You are given your own towel card, which they take from you in exchange for the towel. When you return the towel, they return your towel card. If you don't return the towel, you will not have your towel card when you check out, and you will be charged for the towel(s), usually $20 or more per towel. At check out you can either hand in your towel or towel-card.

I know tips are included in all-inclusives, but can we tip?

Tips and taxes are included in your all-inclusive vacation package. The staff will never hesitate, or gesture for a tip. However, tipping is still a personal thing. If you are accustomed to tipping, and you receive exceptional service and want to tip, then by all means do so. If you are staying at an all-inclusive for any length of time it is a good idea to tip the egg-lady at the buffet on your first day. She will remember you. In many resorts the egg-lady is in charge of the breakfast.

Are there casinos in Cancun?

The only legal gambling in Mexico is sports betting. There are no legal casinos in Mexico. Some resorts do have Casino Nights, but you don't play for money, you play for prizes. Some resorts have slot machines, but the prize is not cash. Your winnings are in the form of vouchers that are good only for stuff at "that" resort. Check the resort for details.

Will I get Montezuma's Revenge?

Usually when people get sick in Mexico it is not from the water but from something they ate - quite often a salad. The most likely items are cilantro (the curly herb like parsley) or lettuce. We suggest requesting at restaurants "Sin Cilantro" and that you only eat salads at the villa. The key is to immediately upon sitting down at a table or if before you are seated ask if they have bottled water. If they do not then they most likely are not using clean bottled water for cooking. Go somewhere that has bottled water.

What is the best Maya ruin site to visit?

If it is your first experience then the place to visit is either:

  • Chichen Itza or
  • Uxmal or
  • Tulum/Coba
Chichen Itza is recommended as it has a large pyramid temple and the biggest ballcourt in Mesoamerica. Every resort will have a tour operator or be able to recommend one that can get you to Chichen Itza. There is a great bookstore there and a number of restaurants. Of all the Maya ruin sites Chichen Itza is the one that is the most touristry and popular.

Where is the best place to snorkel?

There are numerous excellent places to snorkel however the single beach we recommend is the beach along Hotel ElDorado on the Maya Riviera. Due to its proximity to numerous resorts and Cabanas this is a quick place to get to and the beach is almost all coral. It takes 2 days to fully explore this beach.

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In Mexico they speak: Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages.

90% of Mexicans age 15 and over can read and write.

Mexico Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Mexico has a population of: 100,349,766 (July 2000 est.)

There is 61,000 sq km of irrigated land. (1993 est.)

Mexico's natural resources are: petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber.

There is 9,330 km of coastline.

The life expectancy is: male 68.47 years, female 74.66 years. (2000 est.)

The geographic coordinates are: 23 00 N, 102 00 W

Mexico had 38.6 million people in the labor force in 1999.

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