IMPORTING ANIMALS To import your dog or cat, upon entering Mexico you must provide a health certificate issued within 15 days of your departure and signed by a registered veterinarian stating your pet is free of contagious diseases. You must also provide a vaccination certificate specifying the animal has been vaccinated against rabies, hepatitis, distemper and leptospirosis (if the animal is old enough).
For more information contact the animal health directorate, Dirección General de Salud Animal, at tel 52-55/9183-1000 ext 34058.
GETTING THERE BY AIR Flights arrive at the Cancun International Airport/Aeropuerto Internacional Cancún (airport code CUN), which is about a 20-minute drive from the Hotel Zone in Cancun. Flying time is about 3.5 hours from New York, 4.5 hours from Los Angeles and 12 hours from London.
Airlines that service Mexico include Aerocaribe/AeroCozumel/Mexicana (tel 800/509-8960), Aerolineas Azteca (tel 800/229-8322), Aeroméxico (tel 287-1822), Aeromar (tel 800/237-6627), Alaska Airlines (tel 800/252-7522 US), American Airlines (tel 800/904-6000), American Trans Air (tel 800/435-9282 US), Condor (tel 49 0 180 5 707202 Germany), Continental Airlines (tel 800/900-5000), Copa Airlines (tel 800/265-2672), Cubana de Aviacion (tel 9887-7210), Delta Airlines (tel 800/123-4710), Iberia Airlines (tel 55/1101-1515), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (tel 800/907-4700), LAB Airlines/Lloyd Aereo Boliviano (tel 10-2159), Lan Airlines (tel 800/123-1619), Lauda Air (tel 43 0 820 320 321, Austria), Líneas Aéreas Azteca (tel 800/229-8322), MartinAir (tel 886-0070), Northwest Airlines (tel 800/907-4700), Taca Airlines (tel 800/400-8222), United Airlines (tel 800/003-0777), US Airways (tel 800/428-4322) and Varig (tel 52-55/5280-9027).
Note: The phone numbers listed above are local access numbers unless otherwise stated.
BY BUS Greyhound and other private bus lines operate from gateway cities in Texas and other major US border cities into Mexico. Several Mexican bus lines have scheduled service to destinations all over the country.
GETTING AROUND BY FOOT When walking around be on the defensive as drivers generally do not heed pedestrians. Do not assume you have the right of way when crossing a street.
BY CAR There are plenty of car rental agencies. To rent a car you will need your valid driver's license from home or an international driver's permit. Mopeds can also be rented. Ensure you obtain Mexican auto insurance as you're responsible for any damage to your rented vehicle and any damage that you cause to others. You are considered guilty until proven innocent, and unless you have insurance you could be jailed until investigations are complete.
Toll roads (called cuota) are in excellent condition, although they can be expensive. Non-toll roads (referred to as libre) are usually in much rougher condition. In rural areas roads are generally in poor condition. Traffic moves fast and traffic lights don't always function. Signage is often poor. Watch out for speed bumps (called topes), one-way streets, large potholes and pedestrians. In rural areas watch for animals, pedestrians, potholes, unmarked speed bumps and those on approach to towns and villages, and rock slides during the rainy season. Banditos (bandits) are a concern in rural areas, so avoid driving at night, and whenever possible use toll roads.
Gas stations are plentiful in populated areas, but they don't usually accept foreign credit cards or US cash. In rural areas fill up whenever you can.
Driving is on the right and wearing seat belts is mandatory. One-way streets are common. Speed limits are indicated in kilometres. The left lane is reserved for passing, so ensure you drive in the right lane. When crossing a narrow bridge, the vehicle that flashes its lights first has the right of way. A vehicle flashing its lights is generally a warning of danger up ahead.
Traffic circles or roundabouts (called glorietas) and speed bumps (called topes) are used for traffic control. Slow down when driving over speed bumps or you will damage your car or tires. If you've never used a roundabout, remember: vehicles already in the roundabout have right of way, yield to traffic on your left, signal and slowly move in.
No-parking areas are indicated by a circle with a diagonal line superimposed on the letter "E," which stands for estacionamiento.
The Mexican Ministry of Tourism operates the Green Angels/Angeles Verdes (tel 55/5250-8221), a fleet of trucks that patrols major highways to help stranded motorists. The drivers are bilingual and can provide basic supplies and mechanical help, first aid, towing and such. While their services are free, it is customary to tip them according to the size of the job they have performed. You must, however, pay for any gas, spare parts or other materials used to get your vehicle running again. For highway emergencies call 078 or the Tourism Ministry's 24-hour toll-free hotline at 800/903-9200.
BY TAXI Taxis are white-and-green striped and have a number. For your safety only use licensed radio-dispatched taxis. The driver's picture should be on his permit.
Taxis are not allowed to transport passengers from the airport into town, however, they can take you from town to the airport for your departure. Authorized transportation lines, which are possible to book in advance, operate from the airport. Another option is to take an airport van (called a collectivo), which carries 10 passengers and drops people off at their respective hotels in turn.
Taxi fares are set by zone. Fares should be posted at your hotel. If not, check with your hotel service desk for the fare you should expect to pay for your destination. Ensure you confirm the rate with your taxi driver before getting into the vehicle. Taxi drivers are also supposed to have an official rate card in their vehicle. Island taxi tours are available in addition to standard taxi service.
BY FERRY Daytrips to Isla Mujeres (Island of Women) are popular. A 20-minute express ferry leaves from Puerto Jaurez every half hour from 6:30am to 11:30pm. The price is about 35 pesos and you can buy your ticket at the office or once on board. Another express ferry leaves from the Gran Puerto dock every half hour between 5:30am and 12:30pm. The price is about 35 pesos and you buy your ticket at the ticket office prior to boarding.
A car ferry operates from Punta Sam. The 45-minute trip costs about 185 pesos for the car and driver, 71 pesos for a moped and 58 pesos for a bicycle. Additional passengers pay about 14 pesos each. Again, buy your tickets once on board. There are five departures between 8am and 8:15pm.
Fares and schedules are subject to change.
BY BUS Public buses run frequently along set routes with designated stops. Their routes are posted in the front right window of the bus. You can flag them down along the side of the road or wait at a bus stop. Fares can only be paid in pesos and it's best if you have correct change. Keep your receipt upon paying your fare as bus officials sometimes board and ask for proof of payment. Buses are usually packed with people and drivers don't usually speak English.
A number of bus lines also operate regular schedules to destinations all over Mexico.
BY AIR Driving distances to other Mexican cities can be far and the driving slow, so you may want to fly. Airlines that fly locally include Aerocaribe/AeroCozumel/Mexicana (tel 800/509-8960), Aerocosta and Allegro.
Disclaimer: Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All
information should be verified prior to travel.