Welcome to Mexico, USA's most popular travel destination! In addition, 2011 was the Year where Mexico scored high in International Tourist arrivals with 22.67 Million! As for 2012, it is expected that the number could rise even higher, mainly to the preparations to celebrate the Mayan Calendar Year.
Total area: 1,972,550 km² (761,606 sq mi)
Population: 112,322,757 (2012 Estimate)
Officially registered as the United Mexican States, Mexico is a federal constitutional republic to the South of the North American continent. It is the 5th biggest country in the Americas. On its North, it is bordered by the United States of America; on the south and west of Mexico lies the Pacific Ocean; on its southeast, it is neighboured by Belize, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea; and over its eastern border, it is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the thirteenth largest independent nation in the world. With an estimated population of over 112 million it is the eleventh most populous country and the most populous Spanish-speaking country. Mexico is a federation comprising thirty-one states and a Federal District in Mexico City, the capital itself. Mexico is considered to be a middle-income country.
Mexico contains a variety of tourist attractions, such as archaeology sites, pyramids, ancient cities, museums and national parks. Mexico's mysterious and rich history, specifically the Aztec and the Maya civilizations, have also attracted numerous tourists worldwide. Mexico in addition, offers diverse forms of entertainment for all people. These include unique food and drinks and a great nightlife. A range of sports and activities are also available in Mexico, such as golf, fishing, scuba diving, Mexican rodeo (charrería), bullfighting and soccer. Mexico also boasts lush natural resources such as jungles and deserts, as well as an unparalleled biodiversity. Its expansive coastlines and beaches, such as those of Cancun and Acapulco, have been popular destinations for spring break parties and other occasions.
There are various languages used in the country, with the dominant language being Spanish. Mexican currency is the peso (1 USD amounts to 10 Mexican pesos approx.)
The country of Mexico passes through the Tropic of Cancer. Thus, the country is separated into two climatic zones; a temperate and a tropical zone. Northern areas generally experience a cooler climate than those in the southern areas, especially during the winter.
The weather depends a great deal on the topography of the area where you will be staying. If you are 1,000-2,000 meters above, temperatures can range from 16-20°C (60.8 - 68°F). The valleys of Mexico, which lie above 2,000 meters, generally have a temperature ranging from 16-18°C (60.8 – 64.4°F) and can go as low as 8 °C (46.4°F). Mexico City, which lies at 2,300 meters, has a temperature around 15°C (59°F) throughout the year.
Generally, Mexico has dry and wet seasons. The peak of the dry season is from February to July and southern areas of Mexico are best to be avoided during this time. Meanwhile, the rainy season is typically around June to October. During this time, the coast areas experience the most rainfall. Since the country lies in the hurricane belt, coastal areas are affected by hurricanes during the winter.
The best time to visit Mexico is around the months of October until May, when the whether is quite agreeable. The remaining months are usually very humid, especially in the southern areas of the country. If you plan to arrange a trip around December to February, better prepare some warm clothes, as it can be really cold in certain areas, especially in the northern mountain ranges of the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Sierra Madre Occidental, where sometimes snowfall makes its presence.
Mexico has one of the world's largest economies, and is considered both a regional power and middle power. The economy is strongly linked to those of its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, especially the UNITED STATES. Mexico ranks fifth in the world. Mexico has the 13th largest nominal GDP and the 11th largest by purchasing power parity.
Mexico is the largest North American auto-producing nation, recently surpassing CANADA and the U.S. The auto industry produces technologically complex components and engages in some research and development activities. The "Big Three" all American auto companies General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have been operating in Mexico since the 1930s, while Volkswagen and Nissan organically expanded there since the 1960s.
The Tourism industry promoting as a travel destination is working well in the last 5 years since 2008, allowing since a rise in annual tourism numbers. Mexico is lately (2012) investing heavily in its tourism industry, by building infrastructure and private hotel and hotel complexes which will be ready anywhere from now till 2015. Famous for its deep history and beautiful beaches, Mexico is one of the most traveled places in the world. According to the WTO, it is the 8th most traveled destination by foreign visitors.
Sources: AboutMexico.Net, GoMexico, Wikipedia
Famous for its deep history and beautiful beaches, Mexico is one of the most traveled places in the world. According to the WTO, it is the 8th most traveled destination by foreign visitors.
Sectur, the Mexican Ministry of Tourism, reported 22.67 million international travelers visited Mexico in 2011, an increase of 2 percent over 2010 totals, and a 5.7 percent increase over 2009 figures. The 2011 numbers also represent a 0.2 percent increase over 2008 totals, making 2011 Mexico's best year for international tourism.
The record tourism numbers were generated primarily by growth in non-North American markets, including Brazil (with visitor arrivals up 66 percent), Russia (up 55 percent), China (up 30 percent), Colombia (up 23.2 percent), Italy (up 13 percent), Australia (up 13 percent), the United Kingdom (up 11.6 percent) and France (up 10 percent).
The vast majority of tourists come to Mexico from the United States and Canada. Many other visitors come from Europe and Asia. A small number of tourists also come from other Latin American countries. In the 2008 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, Mexico ranks fifth among Latin American countries, and the ninth in the Americas.
Mexico is also the twenty-third highest tourism spender in the world, and the highest in Latin America. In 2009, 13.1 million Mexicans travelled to the United States, representing almost a quarter of the total foreign arrivals to the country.
Currently, Mexico is the second most visited country for cruise travelers. Expedia mentions that bookings to Mexico have risen 25% over the last year, with the majority of the demand coming from Canada, the UK and the U.S. Likewise, it was noted that many consumers pick Mexico as a favorite travel destination of choice despite these uncertain times. Mexico has the attractions, culture, experiences and most importantly, value that travelers seem to be seeking.
Several airlines including Virgin America, most notably, recently launched nonstop flights from San Francisco International to Cabo San Lucas back in December 2011. Many airlines are considering increasing their routes to Mexico – including American Airlines and Continental.
Sources: Wikipedia, TravelPulse, The Mexico Tourism Board, Sectur, Expedia
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Mexico City is most popular with tourists and a place of many popular tourist attractions such as the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. The city is also home to the Plaza México and to the Mexican National Palace, built on the site of Montezuma's palace, and the huge Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, built over the even greater Temple of Teocalli.
Guadalajara, Jalisco, the second-largest city by population in the Republic, is home of some of Mexico's best known traditions, such as tequila, mariachi music and charros, or Mexican cowboys. Its similitude with western European countries mixed with modern architecture and infrastructure makes Guadalajara very attractive to tourists. Along with Mexico City and beach destinations (Cancún, Acapulco), Guadalajara is one of the most visited cities in Mexico. Cultural tourism seems to be the main attraction, the city being home to a large number of museums, art galleries and theatres.
Monterrey, was founded in the late 16th century. The downtown district is the oldest section in the city, surrounded by newer neighbourhoods. The Museo de Historia Mexicana (Museum of Mexican History), MARCO (Monterrey Museum of Contemporary Art), Metropolitan Museum of Monterrey and the Museum of the Palacio de Gobierno, or State House, are some of the better known museums in the city, as well as nationally. The Santa Lucía Riverwalk is a popular tourist site, connecting the Fundidora Park with the Macroplaza, one of the largest plazas in the world.
Locations such as Merida, Leon and Queretaro, all reported significant increases of over 8% across the board. It is also worth noting that several major hotel chains are investing (May 2011) in Mexico and are set to open new properties in the near future.
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Driving in Mexico
Although Mexico is a big country, it can be easily travelled by car - if you prepare well enough beforehand by checking route maps and studying road signs and other directions that will be presented in Spanish. Most toll roads and expressways are in good condition and can be travelled at a good velocity. However, other roadways may not be in good condition and it's not commonplace to find "shoulders" to roads. If possible, confine your driving to daylight hours. Different main highways go from the U.S. border along the coasts as well as inland to the south.
For most streets in Mexico a passenger car is suitable, but pay attention on the ride height: When entering a city, you will often find steep bumps - "topes" - where you have to drive extremely slowly and/or almost stop the vehicle. In the rainy season pay attention on landslides or – in the mountains – falling rocks. In any case, you should inform yourself carefully about your route:
Your home country drivers license is accepted in Mexico. The traffic rules may be confusing and corruption amongst police is commonplace and tourists are oftentimes abused because they do not speak Spanish nor do they understand the rules.
The maximum speed limit in the city is 40 km/h, 80 km/h outside and 100 to 110 km/h on highways - but always be on the lookout for speed limit signs so as not to violate a local law. Along major roadways you will find PEMEX gas stations at various intervals. However, once you leave the toll roads and other expressways stations may not be conveniently located and you might want to "top off" your tank once the indicator falls below half a tank. Gasoline prices are set by the government and typically rise each month.
Short and concise tips from seasoned US Drivers crossing the Mexican border over the years
1. Buy Insurance first.
2. Plan your crossing into Mexico carefully.
3. Drive only during daytime.
4. Take your time to enjoy the adventure that lies ahead.
Sources: TripAdvisor, Mexconnect, Wikipedia
Mexican tourist destinations are safe and Mexico continues to be the number one destination for Americans. As the U.S. Department of State has noted, "millions of U.S. citizens travel safely to Mexico each year," including "at least one million U.S. citizens who live in Mexico". We just finished Easter week with over 90 percent occupancy rates in most of the destinations and without any incidents related to tourists.
The current advisory in place is an extension of the advisory that was issued in late 2010. Authorities in Mexico are working closely with the destinations pointed out by the travel advisory to ensure that there is necessary infrastructure in place to address any safety concerns.
Last year more than 22 million foreigners visited Mexico and internationally-celebrated destinations in the country. Mexico continues to be a top destination for foreign visitors.
Most of Mexico's tourism destinations are located many hundreds of miles away from the Mexico/U.S. border where the majority of the reported incidences have occurred and we ask all our visitors to exercise the same safety precautions they would use when visiting any tourism destinations within or outside their own country. At this time, Mazatlan and Acapulco are currently undergoing a period of transformation as infrastructure modernization; security and business development continue to be a key focus.
Sources (2012): Eturbonews, GoMexico, Wikipedia