Summary: With a history deeply rooted in Amerindian civilizations thousands of years before the Spanish arrived in 1519, Mexico's terrain is wide and varies from rugged mountains, to plateaus and deserts, to coastal plains. Mexico has a modern and traditional economy based on industry and agriculture which is being strengthened by its ties to North America via NAFTA, Central America and the EU.
Capital: Mexico City
Time Zone: DST -0500 UTC
Languages: Spanish, various regional indigenous languages
Power: 127 V, 60 Hz
Currency: Mexican Peso
- Currently 1 MXN = 0.0810 USD $
Climate: Mexico's climate varies from tropical on the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts to desert in some of the heartland.
- Currently 63º, Sunny
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| Mexico City: Home to the mingling of the ancient and the modern, Mexico City is the largest city in Latin America with over 25 million residents, and sits at 8,000 feet above sea level. Among some of the places to see include the National Museum of Anthropology, as archeology is a big draw for this country, Alameda park, fantastic for strolling, and the outdoor market at La Lagunilla, where virtually anything Mexican can be purchased. The ruins of Teotihuacan, the first major city in the Americas, 35 miles outside of Mexico City will attract the scientist in you to wander a bit through the Pyramid of the Moon.|
| Acapulco: The harbor area had made Acapulco a gateway port during the Spanish colonial days, but beaches bring the crowds in now. Divided into sections, the center is called the traditional Acapulco while Acapulco Dorado is the bay and resort area, and Acapulco Diamante to the south is where the five- star hotels and resorts are. Among the places to visit are the Capilla de la Paz, the Chapel of Peace, the Zocalo, a large but peaceful treed square lined with cafes, and the Parque Papagayo, a huge amusement park area. Take a daytrip over to Isla Roqueta for the zoo and other sights including a glass-bottomed boat ride that leaves from the beach.|
| Cancun: A tourism program picked this spot to develop, and it has turned out well - the beaches offer snorkeling, swimming and sunning, and exploration above and below the water is popular with visitors. If you can tear yourself away from the beaches, the nearby Ruinas del Rey, with a Mayan pyramid and plaza are worth the trip alone. A few hours away are more ancient Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, Coba, and Tulum. Also near Tulum is the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve and the Xcaret eco- archaeological park, both great ecotourist spots.|
| Puerto Vallarta: The 1964 movie "Night of the Iguana" turned this spot into an international destination. When not beaching, fishing or sailing around, walk though the centrally located Plaza de Armas and the nearby Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, and visit the Mismaloya Beach to the south with the nearby Los Arcos National Park with its natural rock arches. Otherwise, dress up and hang out at the Kit Kat Club to socialize, eat and drink.|
| Cozumel: An island of the coast of the Yucatan and not far from Cancun, Cozumel hasn't been overrun with tourists like some of the resort cities, and the locals are warm and friendly. While here, see the Museo de la Isla de Cozumel and the Chankanaab National Park to get an education on the culture and life of the island, and explore its ancient history in the large Parque Arqueologico de Cozumel, and see the sites of Mayan ruins, including San Gervasio, Aguada Grande and El Castillo Real. Don't forget to go diving to explore its beautiful reefs.|
Holy Churches: Some of the most historic sights are the churches and cathedrals in the country. Remember to dress appropriately when exploring the churches on your path.
Pickpocketing: Violent crime does not happen very often, so the most likely thing to be aware of is your wallet or purse. Don't carry extra money around if you don't need to.
Timing is Everything: So many people love the temples and history of Mexico that they can get somewhat crowded. Plan your day by coming during the earlier morning and later evening to have an experience less hectic and more personal.
Siestas: The image of naptime at lunch is not really accurate, although lunch is considered the main meal of the day and most offices take a long break, normally from 2pm to 4pm. As a result, they tend to stay open longer into the early evening.
Food: Figuring among typical Mexican dishes are poblano sauce, the more traditional beans and tortilla plates, and Aztec turkey and fish dishes, not to mention the fresh fruit juice.
Phrases: Mexicans sometimes call Mexico City Chilangolandia and its residents Chilangos. Yes = si, no = no, hello = hola, please = por favor, thank you = gracias, do you speak English = usted habla inglés?
Tipping: Check your bill, as service charges are normally not included in the bill, so normal tipping rules apply for 10% - 20% for great service. Other service staff will also expect a small tip, including taxi drivers, porters and bellhops.
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