With great weather, sun soaked beaches, fantastic food and unforgettable outdoor adventures, Mexico is a great place to travel to whether you prefer lounging by the pool or high-octane experiences like ATVs and zip-lines. Like any international destination that are a few things that are likely different than what you’re used to at home—especially if you don’t speak Spanish.
Here are five tips to keep in mind if you’re travelling to Mexico.
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1) Washroom indicators are swapped
You’d be surprised by how many men end up accidentally walking into the ladies’ washroom, and that’s because it’s marked by a ‘M’. However, the Spanish word for women is “murejes.” So, when in Mexico and you see a door marked with the letter’ M,’ don’t assume that it’s the men’s room. Instead, look for doors labeled ‘H’ or ‘C’ for “Hombres” or “Caballeros.”
2) Car rentals can be tricky
If you’re researching or reserving a rental car ahead of time, you might think you’re getting a steal of a deal since the price looks so cheap. However, many travellers get sticker shock when they actually go to pick up the car since there’s a mandatory insurance charge that can add hundreds of dollars to your rental (something they usually don’t advertise).
While it’s definitely worth renting a car if you want to see spots like the Baja beaches, do a self-guided trip of Chichen Itza or drive the Caribbean coast, be aware that it’s not always as cheap as you might think.
READ MORE: 5 tips for renting a car and driving in Mexico
3) The weather can vary
While most people think of Mexico as a tropical paradise, that doesn’t mean the weather always cooperates. In the desert areas on the west coast it can get quite chilly at night, and the noseeum bugs are relentless in certain seasons. On hot, sunny days it’s critical to have lots of water, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses to avoid dehydration or sunburns.
4) Explore beyond the resorts
Places like Cancun and Cabo are tourists hot spots, with massive infinity pools, lively downtown areas, casinos and free flowing tequila. However, the more authentic side of Mexico is found away from the glittering resorts, in places like the charming town of Todos Santos, La Ventana which is known for its wind sports, the cultural hot bed of Oaxaca and the incredible beaches and towns in the Baja Peninsula near Loreto.
Even if you’re not getting off the grid by going glamping on a beach or at the Sea of Cortez, there are still plenty of day trips to do from the resorts like swimming with whale sharks, catamaran tours and swimming in cenotes.
5) Stay safe
Mexico sometimes gets a bad rap when it comes to safety, so it’s worth noting that most issues (though not all) happen away from the major tourist areas. Like anywhere, it’s important to stay alert, avoid going out alone after dark, and avoid bringing a lot of valuables with you.
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