Immigration and Customs
All foreign visitors to Mexico are required to present a valid passport or passport card for travel into the interior of Mexico. Travelers with passports that are found to be washed, mutilated or damaged may be refused entry to Mexico.
Foreign visitors bringing gifts to friends and relatives in Mexico should be prepared to demonstrate to Mexican customs officials the origin and value of the gifts. U.S. citizens entering Mexico by land borders can bring in gifts with a value of up to $75.00 duty-free, except for alcohol and tobacco products. U.S. citizens entering Mexico by air or sea can bring in gifts with a value of up to $300.00 duty-free.
Tourists are allowed to bring in their personal effects duty-free. According to customs regulations, in addition to clothing, personal effects may include one camera, one video cassette player, one personal computer, one CD player, 5 DVDs, 20 music CDs or audiocassettes, 12 rolls of unused film, and one cellular phone. Any tourist carrying such items, even if duty-free, should enter the "Merchandise to Declare" lane at the first customs checkpoint.
Travelers should be prepared to pay any accessed duty on items in excess of these amounts. Failure to declare personal effects routinely results in the seizure of the goods as contraband, plus the seizure of any vehicle in which the goods are traveling for attempted smuggling. Recovery of the seized vehicle may involve payment of substantial fines and attorney's fees.
Millions of people from all over the world visit Mexico safely each year. Safety is often a large concern for foreigners visiting Mexico, especially if they have been exposed to news reports from international media focusing on transnational-drug-cartel-related crime. However, as much as crime can be a problem in the nation, the drug-inspired delusions of fear cultivated by the violence related to the drug cartels should not be a concern. While these murders and gun-fights between rival gangs and law enforcement make sensational international news, it does not generally affect people not connected to the drug industry.
Drawing from statistics and experience of consulates from several countries in Mexico, most criminal incidents have happened because people have been reckless and have not exercised caution and common sense just as they would do in any large city of the world, where crime rates are statistically higher, like Los Angeles, New York, Rome, Chicago, London or Paris, to name a few urban megacities.
Visitors should remain alert and be aware of their surroundings at all times and should always remember:
Avoid walking alone at night
Remain in groups and transit on well-lit streets or avenues
Do not flash your wealth or cash
Photocopy and carry any important document you have, leaving originals at the hotel's safe
Take only hotel taxis or previously phone-ordered taxis (locally known as "sitios")
Use of public transportation is not recommended unless you are scorted by a native resident
The Montezuma Revenge has notorious fame worldwide, but it is far from being a spell on foreigners, in fact it has multiple causes, one of them being of course the cleanness of the restaurant you have chosen to have a meal. Clearly, if it does not look clean do not eat there. The other two causes of The Montezuma Revenge may be related to your tolerance to greasy or spicy food or to the altitude factor and the water quality.
In many areas in Mexico, tap water is unsafe and should be avoided. Bottled water and beverages are safe. Ice may also come from tap water and should be avoided. Visitors should exercise caution when buying food or beverages from street vendors.
In high-altitude areas such as Mexico City (elevation 7,600 feet or about 1/2 mile higher than Denver, Colorado), most people need a short adjustment period. Symptoms of reaction to high altitude include a lack of energy, shortness of breath, occasional dizziness, headache, and insomnia.
Visitors with heart problems should consult their doctor before traveling.
Air pollution in Mexico City and Guadalajara is severe, especially from December to May, and combined with high altitude could affect travelers with underlying respiratory problems.
Health Facilities and Doctors
Adequate medical care can be found in major cities. Excellent health facilities are available in Mexico. The top level of healthcare is provided by private clinics and hospitals. Private hospitals are generally better and more consistent than those government-supported facilities.
Foreigners who are covered under their private insurance from home need to make sure that their Mexican hospital of choice accepts foreign insurance providers, and that the hospital can provide documentation for reimbursement from insurance companies.
On a whole, healthcare in Mexico is of a high standard and is provided at a lower cost than in neighboring America. As a result, nearly one million US citizens, most of whom don't have insurance, go to Mexico each year to find cheaper treatment.
Normally embassies and consulates of foreign countries have located hospitable and medical services where English-speaking service is available. If you need medical attention we suggest you to consult the lists compiled by the diplomatic representations of Canada and the United States:
Film-Friendly Mexico cannot assume, nevertheless, any responsibility over the occupational qualifications, integrity or services of the persons and institutions in these lists.