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Cancun , Mexico - Frequently Asked Questions
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Cancun , Mexico | Frequently Asked Questions

General Info, Travel Info, & FAQs are provided to assist with your vacation.

What is the population?
In July 2006 the estimated population of Mexico was 107,449,525. The population of Quintana Roo, the state in which Cancun is located, is 880,000.

How big is the country/island?
The total land area of Mexico is 761,000 sq miles. The size of Quintana Roo, the state in which Cancun is located, is 15,136 sq miles.

Can I drink the tap water?
It's safe to drink the tap water in the big hotels, which usually have water purification systems. Traveller's diarrhea is the main health risk for tourists in Mexico, however, so you may want to stick with bottled water.

What are the best things to buy here?
Quintana Roo, the state in which Cancun resides, is a duty-free zone in Mexico. Look for duty-free luxury items such as resort wear, perfumes, jewellery and cosmetics.

For souvenirs with local flavour look for pottery, woodcrafts, baskets, silver jewellery, leather items, pewter, hammocks, rugs and traditional Mexican huaraches (sandals) and huipiles (colourfully embroidered Mayan dresses).

You can also visit a number of open-air bazaars. The largest markets downtown (El Centro) are Ki Huic Market on Tulum Ave and Mercado 28 (pronounced "mare-cah-doh vain-tee ocho"). In the Hotel Zone you'll find La Fiesta Market at Kukulcán km 9 and Mercado Coral Negro on Kukulcán Blvd, across from the Forum by the Sea shopping mall.

Are there nude beaches?
Topless and nude bathing are illegal in Mexico, although topless bathing is tolerated in some areas.

What are the main industries?
The main industries in Mexico are oil, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, ranching, timber and mining.

What is the drinking age?
The legal drinking age is 18.

What native dishes should I try?
The national dish of Mexico is mole poblano, which is turkey served with a chocolate chile sauce. In Quintana Roo, the state in which Cancun resides, traditional dishes include chocolomo (veal seasoned with bitter lime, lemon, onion, garlic and habanero peppers), cochinita pibil (suckling pig seasoned with annatto paste, bitter orange, garlic and cinnamon, cooked in banana leaves and served with a spicy sauce), papadzules (tortillas stuffed with boiled eggs in a pumpkin seed sauce), panuchos de pavo (tortillas filled with a black-bean paste and topped with boiled egg slices then fried and topped with turkey breast and pickled onion), and poc chuc (pork marinated in bitter orange juice and annatto paste, grilled and served with a spicy onion sauce). Fish prepared in numerous ways is also very popular.

Can I use my calling card from here?
Directory assistance:
International operator, 090
Local enquiries, 040

AT&T: Service is available using AT&T Calling Cards, AT&T Corporate Cards, American Express, Diners Club, Discover/NOVUS, MasterCard and Visa. Dial 01-800-288-2872 + area code + local number and follow the voice prompts. If this number doesn't work try the access number 001-800-462-4240. If calling from a pay phone, use one marked Ladatel or Telmex.

BT: From a Telmex/Ladatel public phone dial 01-800-123-0244 and from an Avantel phone dial 01-800-021-6644, input your account number and PIN, then dial the number you require.

Canada Direct: Dial 01-800-123-0200 or 01-800-021-1994 for direct access to a Canadian operator. Service can be used with calling cards from Bell, MTS, Aliant, SaskTel and Telus. If calling from a pay phone, use one marked Ladatel or Telmex.

MCI MinutePass: Service is available on Telmex/Ladatel public phones. Dial 001-800-674-7000.

Sprint: In major cities dial 001-800-877-8000. In other areas dial 95-800-877-8000. An English-speaking Sprint phone operator will request your Sprint Foncard number.

For more information see the section in General Info: Telecommunications.

How should I dress to go out?
Dress in Cancun is casual. Still, it is unacceptable to go into restaurants without footwear or shirts or wearing bathing suits and short shorts. You may want to bring a light sweater/jacket for evenings.

Can I use my hair dryer and electric shaver?
Electricity is 110 AC, 60 Hz, which is the same as in North America.

How much should I tip?
Tips are supplemental income to the low wages most workers earn. Although many restaurants include a service charge, you may wish to tip the wait staff an additional 5-10% if you feel the service was exceptional. In general, tip waiters, waitresses and bartenders 10-15%; maids 10 pesos per day; porters US$2; parking attendants 5-10 pesos; tour guides about 50 pesos per half day; and gas station attendants 5-10 pesos, depending on the number of services they perform. Taxi drivers do not expect tips, however, it is customary to round up the bill.

Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All information should be verified prior to travel.

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