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Important information when traveling to Mexico**

Country Description

Mexico is a Spanish-speaking country about three times the size of Texas, consisting of 31 states and one federal district. The capital is Mexico City. Mexico has a rapidly developing economy, ranked by the World Bank as the thirteenth largest in the world. The climate ranges from tropical to desert, and the terrain consists of coastal lowlands, central high plateaus, and mountains of up to 18,000 feet.


English is not widely spoken outside the main cities. Basic Spanish phrases are essential.

Weather and suggested dress for April in Mexico:

On average, April is the warmest month of the year and generally it does not rain. As always when traveling, it is best to check the weather forecast 10 days prior the conference at this link.

Dress during the conference will be casual, except for the dinner on Thursday night. Then, dress will be business casual (e.g. Sport coats) for men and (skirts/pants/dress) for women. We suggest you to bring a light jacket, casual blazer or cotton sweater.

Currency information:

The Mexican peso is the official currency, check on to see the official exchange rate of dollar to peso.

Credit cards are widely used throughout the country. VISA and MASTERCARD holders have easy access to most of ATM services in Mexico.

The Universidad Iberoamericana has four ATMs and two banks at your disposal. Banking hours are from 9 am to 5 pm. You may change US dollars or Euros to Pesos at either bank.

As a precautionary measure, we suggest that you have a photocopy of your card information and emergency numbers available.

Tipping in Mexico

Most service employees earn very little or no base salary and the tips they earn comprise the vast majority of their overall income.

a) Taxi drivers

The tip is usually included in the rate of a taxi service. However, if a taxi driver provides extra service, e.g., loading/unloading your bags, waiting for you while you shop, etc., then a tip is warranted for the extra effort.

b) Waiter/waitress

If you receive good service from your waiter or waitress, it is customary to leave a tip of 10-15% of the cost of the check. You may leave more for exceptional service, and less for poor service.

Some restaurants automatically add a tip to your bill, regardless of whether or not you’re in a large party. A charge labeled “propina” on your bill is a gratuity that the restaurant includes automatically with each bill. If this is the case, it is not necessary to tip an additional amount.

c) Bell boys

A tip of $1-2.00 U.S. per bag is customary, more if you have a lot of luggage or very heavy or otherwise difficult bags to deal with, or if they must take your bags up a flight of stairs to your room.

Personal Safety and Arrival and Departure:

Among other things, the low rates of apprehension and conviction of criminals contribute to Mexico’s high crime rate. Like in many other big cities of the world there are significant numbers of incidents of pick pocketing, so we suggest that you leave valuables items in a safe place or avoid bringing them at all.

Travelers should avoid any overt displays of wealth such as taking a large amounts of when paying a taxi driver or a restaurant bill, wearing flashy jewelry or expensive watches, etc.  Visitors should be very cautious in general when using ATMs in Mexico.  If an ATM must be used, it should be accessed only during the business day at large protected facilities. It is safe to make transactions at the four ATM’s and two banks that are on campus of the Universidad Iberoamericana. At the airport do not change large amounts of dollars, we suggest that you pay the airport taxi fare with dollars and change dollars at the bank in the University the day the International Conference begins. If you decide to exchange dollars into pesos at the Airport just change a small amount (p.e.100 us dlls).

Travelers should be aware that theft can occur even in apparently secure locations.  Theft of items such as briefcases and laptops occur frequently at the Benito Juarez International Airport and at business-class hotels.  Arriving travelers who need to obtain pesos at the airport should use the exchange counters or ATMs in the arrival/departure gate area, where access is restricted, rather than changing money after passing through Customs, where they can be observed by criminals.

We recommend that travelers keep close track of their personal belongings when out and about and that they only carry what they need.

In Mexico City, the most frequently reported crimes involving tourists are being abducted by a dishonest and unauthorized taxi driver. The link of the authorized taxi cabs at the airport and instructions on how to hire the taxi can be found on this page.

Passengers arriving at Mexico City's Benito Juarez International Airport should take only authorized airport taxis after pre-paying the fare at one of the special booths inside the airport. There are now several companies operating authorized “sitio” booths inside the airport.

You can pre-pay your fare in us dollars, by credit card or with Mexican pesos. The taxi charges are fixed rates according to your destination.

Postal and Phone information:

The Mexican Postal Service usually delivers mail in one-two weeks but it is not entirely reliable. We suggest the use of courier companies such as Estafeta, as a local carrier, or DHL, FedEx and UPS for international services.

For international deliveries, any of the well-known international companies work well, especially in the "overnight" categories as Mexico City is extremely well connected.

To make a call to Mexico you may:

  • dial the code for international calls of your country
  • + the code of Mexico (52)
  • + the code of Mexico City (55)
  • + the phone number.

If while in Mexico you want to make a call to your home country we highly recommend that you buy a phone card and make your call at a public telephone at the University because the international calls made from your hotel will be very expensive.

You may purchase an international telephone calling card on campus in the Lumen Store which sells art and architecture supplies and paper products.

Electrican Power in Mexico: 127V/60Hz. This voltage is still perfectly acceptable for appliances between 110 and 135v. If your computer is in this range of voltage you will be fine with power in Mexico without using an adaptor.

Health tips, Medical Services and Medical insurance:

Diseases from food and water are the leading cause of illness in travelers. Follow these tips for safe eating and drinking:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles.  Avoid tap water.
  • Do not eat food purchased from street vendors.
  • Make sure food is fully cooked.
  • Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized.

Diseases from food and water often cause vomiting and diarrhea. Make sure to bring diarrhea medicine with you so that you can treat mild cases yourself.

Private hospitals and clinics offer good-quality care but are generally expensive and expect payment in advance. Many will not agree to deal directly with medical insurance companies. Be prepared to pay for treatment on the spot, you would then need to request a refund from your insurance company according to its protocol when you return home.

We suggest that all travelers have information on hand pertinent to their international medical insurance. If you do not have an international insurance coverage, we encourage you to buy short term coverage for your stay in Mexico. These policies are readily available from must travel agents and from companies.

Assist Card is a company that sells short term medical insurance for Universidad Iberoamericana visiting professors. The daily rate for the insurance is 9 us dollars per day including taxes. An increase of 50% of the daily rate will occur if the traveller is older than 69 years.

If you want to buy an Assist Card please send an email to: with your request. She will process your petition and you will have to pay in cash at the registration desk the first day of the conference. You must receive a confirmation mail from her in order to make sure that you will have your assistance card. We can not buy this card if the traveller is in Mexico already.

The Universidad Iberoamericana has an infirmary where basic medical attention is provided (checking for blood pressure, attention for flu or digestive problems). The infirmary is open every day from 7 am to 10 pm.

Vaccinations requirement: there is no vaccination requirement to enter to Mexico. Based on your individual risk assessment, a health care professional can determine your need for immunization and/or preventive medication and advise you on precautions to avoid disease. Travelers are reminded to ensure that their routine (childhood) immunizations (e.g., tetanus, diphtheria, polio, and measles) are up to date.


Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is by getting a seasonal flu vaccination each year. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. This flu season could be worse. There is a new and very different flu virus spreading worldwide among people called: 2009 H1N1 flu. This virus may cause more illness or more severe illness than usual.

Preventive actions:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other measures to keep our distance from each other to lessen the spread of flu.

Influenza Symptoms

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly and may include these symptoms:

  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, also can occur but are more common in children than adults

These symptoms are usually referred to as "flu-like symptoms."

If you get flu-like symptoms which can include a fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, or body aches, follow the precautions below:

  • Check with your health-care provider. (If you have influenza, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications)
  • Try to minimize contact with your other persons as much as possible.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and put your used tissue in a waste basket.
  • Wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand rub frequently and as soon as possible if you have sneezed or coughed on your hands.
  • Take these precautions for the first 5-7 days of your illness (beginning the first day you notice symptoms).

For current health information (specifically for travelling to Mexico) consult:

**Parts of this document were made with official information of the travel advice for Mexico of the US Embassy, the Canadian Embassy and the Center for Disease Control in the United States.