Mexico Tourist: where to go, memo for tourists, visa processing
Despite the stereotypical landmarks like sombreros or tacos, the culture and recreation in Mexico are very diverse. Favorable geographical position, rich history, and heritage, which is a mixture of Indian and European traditions, friendly locals, delicious food, and fantastic nature make the country an extraordinary place to search for new experiences and relaxation.
Tourist Mexico: where to go?
The theater begins with a hanger, and acquaintance with a new country — from the capital. And Mexico City is worth visiting. The largest Spanish-speaking city in the world has 10 archaeological parks, numerous sights of local and old European architecture, and lots of tourist attractions. In particular:
• The Soumaya Museum impresses not only with a selection of Mexican and European artists’ paintings, art pieces created by Monet, Degas, and Renoir, and one of the largest collections of Rodin sculptures in the world. Its extravagant futuristic exterior is also quite notable.
• The National Museum of Anthropology of Mexico City welcomes more than 2 million tourists annually. It exhibits the legendary Mayan calendar, Indian jewelry, and other pre-Columbian artifacts.
The museum is located in Chapultepec Park, recognized as the largest on the continent. In addition to the museum, there is a palace of the same name and a zoo.
• Xochimilco is the remnant of an Aztec water canal system, restrained by a poor working-class district that has been built in the modern era. The place attracts the opportunity to dive into the atmosphere of the Mexican festival: ride on flower-decorated trachinera shuttles, watch performances of the real mariachi, taste the local food and buy souvenirs from the artisans.
• The Island of the Dead Dolls is one of Mexico City's newest tourist destinations. And a kind of "Cinderella": a resident fished a toy out of the river and fastened it to a tree. Slowly, the strange collection of lost toys grew. And time and weather worked on it, creating a creepy, somewhat otherworldly entourage.
Also while in Mexico-city, one should visit the Frida Kahlo Museum, the Diego Rivera Museum, Anaguacalli, the Polanco district, look at the ancient churches, and ancient and modern masterpieces of architecture, including the unique building of the Jesus Nazareno hospital.
The United Mexican States (the official name of Mexico) also has something to awe and surprise even experienced travelers. For example:
• The city of Teotihuacan is 2 000 years old. Here, tourists are awaited by the ancient palaces with amazing frescoes, a citadel that guards 15 pyramids, and the great pyramids of the Sun and Moon. In the Mayan Teotihuacan means “the place where the gods were born”.
• Guadalajara is the heart of the Jalisco state and the pearl of baroque architecture. Its historic center with cathedrals, palaces, basilicas, theaters, and museums, surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains is enchanting. When visiting the city try a traditional local dish - birria.
• The city of Guanajuato attracts not only colorful walls, colonial architecture, ornate streets, and the Don Quixote Museum. There is also a unique museum of Mummies here. Some of the exhibits are the remains exhumed by the law of 1865-1958 (it presumed a tax on the buried), others are naturally mummified bodies of cholera victims.
• Puebla is a city located among 4 volcanoes. There is a national park nearby. It protects the ecosystem of the two central peaks of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt — Istaxihuatl and Popocatepetl.
In addition, Puebla is considered the culinary capital of Mexico.
• The city of Oaxaca is the epitome of all the best in Mexico. Food, handicrafts, authentic art, architecture — if you were going to dive into the local culture, this is the best place to do it.
Guests of the state of Oaxaca should also visit the ancient port of Tulum, the center of the Mayan universe in Palenque, the greatest ancient city of Mesoamerica Monte Alban, and the already-mentioned Teotihuacan.
• The Cave of Giant Crystals at the Nike Mining Complex is a sight to behold. Imagine natural karst rays, the largest of which is 11 meters long. Near the hall of crystals is the Cave of Swords and the "Ice Palace" with unique filamentous growths.
• the City of Merida is the capital of the state of Yucatan. It surprises numerous buildings made of white stone. Also one should see the monastery of St. Francis, which is an example of the Plateresque style, the Great Museum of the Mayan World, as well as the Historical and Archaeological Museum of Yucatan. Merida is the best starting point for traveling to the numerous sights of the peninsular state.
• Chichen Itza is the tourist mecca of the Yucatan. People come here not only for the sake of the ancient city and the pyramid of Kukulkan declared one of the New seven wonders of the world. There are 13 karst wells-cenotes on the territory of the complex, some of them allow diving or swimming.
• The cave complex Sac-Aktun bears the title of the longest in the world thanks to the homonymous river. Its waters constantly maintain a temperature of 23-24°C and flow between fantastic walls formed by stalactites and stalagmites. It is possible to sign up for swimming and diving tours and a guide who will tell interesting legends, e.g. what the caves of Sak-Aktuna have in common with the underworld of the Maya Xibalba.
It is also good to visit Mexcaltitan Island — the birthplace of the Aztecs and their signature drink, mezcal. And be sure to check other places that bear the title of Pueblos Magicos: the title is given to the cities that provide a truly unique experience.
Mexico for vacationers
Vacation and Travel in Mexico are synonymous. Those willing to have an interesting time on the coast should pay attention to:
• The resort city of Cancun. The pearl of the Caribbean coast of Mexico has its international airport (CUN) and offers comfortable hotels, sandy beaches, and entertainment for every taste. In particular — the Museum of Underwater Sculptures and Shkaret Ecopark. The latter is located in the resort town of Playa del Carmen and consists of more than 40 attractions (turtle farm, butterfly park, jaguar reserve, underground river, etc.).
• The resort area of the Riviera Maya is 100 km of white sandy beaches along the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea. It is one of the best places for families with children.
• The night capital of Mexico, Acapulco, is a paradise for nostalgic people whose youth passed in the 50s and 60s of the XX century, and party animals. No one will be bored: discos, beaches, architecture, nature, water attractions — everything keeps going at a comfortable 30 °C all year round.
Mexico is located in the tropical and subtropical climate zone. Therefore, it is warm and sunny here at any time of the year. Vacationers are most welcome to come here from November, and travelers — with the beginning of spring. In summer, the low season begins here with daily showers, and autumn winds are unlikely to please anyone except surfers.
Mexico has a very developed tourist infrastructure, so guests can rarely encounter serious problems or unexpected situations. Moreover, along with the state Spanish, the locals are fluent in English, and along with French or German in large cities.
Still, there are several aspects that travelers should consider. In particular:
• In the absence of appropriate papers and permits, animals and insects, plants, and food (meat and dairy products, non-canned fruits and vegetables, beekeeping products, etc.) cannot be imported into the country;
• It is better to pay in Mexican pesos (MXP). The country also uses American dollars (USD), but not everywhere and at a very unfavorable rate;
• Purchasing souvenirs at the main attractions is the best: as a rule, such items are cheaper and their quality is higher;
• Preference should be given to bottled or boiled water (including those for washing and cooking);
• The voltage in the local power grid is 110V only, so it is necessary to buy the adapter beforehand;
• Smoking in public places is prohibited and costs 2000 MXP (~100 USD);
• When renting a car use paid highways and be careful: there are many speed bumps on the roads, and there are no warning signs;
The crime rate in Mexico is low, but tourists should not:
• carry large amounts of cash;
• expose or leave unattended wallets, jewelry or gadgets;
• travel at night and/or without an excursion group or guide (especially women), the same applies to traveling to the border states of Mexico;
• catch a taxi on the street (it is better to call a trusted service);
• check into the first hotel one come across;
Visa to Mexico
Citizens of the US, EU, UAE, Israel, Canada, New Zealand, and several developed Asian and South American countries can cross the Mexican border without a visa (this also applies to residents or visa holders in some of the countries mentioned above). However, they need to get a Mexican Tourist Card. It can be obtained online or upon arrival at the airport.
Everyone else must contact the consulate and apply for a tourist visa to enter. Residents of Ukraine, Turkey, and russia can do it online.
Application for a tourist visa to Mexico requires:
• Travel ID is valid for at least another 6 months from the date of entry into the country;
• English written Certificate from the workplace indicating the position and monthly salary (for students, a similar cert from school is required);
• Bank account statement which showcases the movement of funds for the last 3 months (persons under 25 years of age can provide an extract from their parents' account);
• Visa application form filled in Spanish or English;
• 1 color photograph on a white background.
The simultaneous stay of visitors in the hotel lobby not more than one person per 10 square meters of serviceable area is allowed.
Persons can visit hotels and stay there (outside hotel room) only if they wear respirator or face mask (including homemade mask), so that the nose and mouth are covered.
Hotel guests are obliged to keep the 1.5 meters distance.
Online check-in making in advance is recommended to avoid queues at check-in to hotel.
Meals in hotels are provided through meals delivery service to rooms upon prior order or at hotel restaurants situated inside or in open areas, provided the distance of at least 1.5 meters between seats at adjacent tables.
Not more than 4 clients are allowed to stay at the table (excluding children under 14 years old). Unless these tables are separated by a special partition;
Self-serve is not allowed.
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