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facts about mexico

México (Also known as "Old México")

México is bordered on the north by the USA (California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas); on the west by the Pacific Ocean; on the south by Guatemala and Belize; and on the east by the Gulf of México and the Caribbean.

Full country name: Estados Unidos Méxicanos

Capital city: Mexico City (22 million people)

People: Approximately 60% mestizos (mixed European and Amerindian descent) and 30% Amerindian (indígena - including Nahua, Maya, Zapotecs, Mixtecs, Totonacs, and Tarascos or Purépecha)

Language: Spanish and 59 indigenous languages (Other languages spoken, mostly as an additional language are: English, Mayan and Chinese (Taiwanese dialect). In resort areas, border towns and villages it is not unusual to find many people speaking 2 languages.

Religion: 92.5% Roman Catholic, 6% Protestant, 1% Other,
.5% None.

Government: Federal republic

Average Income: US $9,100

Land Area:
761,000 sq. miles-- about three times the size of Texas

Population:
99,124,567 (2000 Census)
101.8 million (2001 Estimate)
Annual growth rate of 1.5%
 
Independence Day: Sept. 16, 1810

Mexico has a chief executive (president); a bicameral legislature; a judicial system with a Supreme Court, local and federal courts; and an administrative subdivision of 31 states and one federal district. Mexico has a rapidly developing economy and has sought economic prosperity through liberalization of its trade regime. The climate ranges from tropical to desert, and the terrain consists of coastal lowlands, central high plateaus, and mountains up to 18,000 feet.

Average rainfall in the south-east:

1,350 millimeters.

S.E. Climate:

Sub-Tropical

Education:

School is required but not enforced in some small very poor outlying villages, Due to overcrowding in public schools the students are divided into 1/2 day classes in many places. School begins at age 4. Corporal punishment is against the law especially if it is a boy. Most, but not all Universities are comparable to Jr. or Tech Colleges in the USA. Private schools are much better at educating and usually have full day classes and teach English.

Military:

Service is required for males born in México to Méxicanos for 6 years after school is completed, although there seems to be exceptions. There have been no wars in the last 100 years except for the war on drugs, border patrol, police assistance, national security issues like elections and presidential visits and to function similar to the US National Guard in emergencies like floods, hurricanes, land slides,... They do have branches like army, navy,...

Electricity:

110 Volts AC, 60 Hz - American Style 2-3 pin plugs, although not usually grounded properly. Computers are inside Internet Cafes in Mexico, so if you are visiting just bring your thumb drive U3 or SD card drive.

Currency and Exchange Rate:

Mexican Peso (MXP). APX.$1USD=$10.25MX (It is assumed MXP unless it states USD) Figure 10 to 1 and you will always be good, especially if you use the ATM (fees are included in Mexico but US banks change ATM fee and some charge an international ATM fee- let your credit and debit banks know you are visiting. If you plan on living here it is best to always have a US address with someone who you trust. I recommend Good Sam Mail Forwarding Service if you don't. They will give you a Pensacola, FL street address and PO address starting at $10 per month plus postage for up to 4 people who are together.

Country Code:

52 (outside México), there are numerous city/area codes which are always required when calling or using a cell phone.

Sales Tax:

Usually Included in Posted Price!

Tips:

5% in villages, 10% in cities, 12-15% in Resorts and México City.

Time Zone:

Central Standard in most of the country. (-6 GMT)

Pets:

Must have vet certificates which include rabies shots and the certificate must be less than 180 days old to return to the USA only. Current rabies tag is all that is needed for Mexico. There are lots or stray dogs everywhere, so if you don't have one now adopt when you get here. Cats are mostly wild here and are mostly dog food for the strays that catch them, so bring a fixed savvy cat or keep it in. Please have your dog fixed before or very shortly after you arrive here there are too many dogs. Your dog can legally bite, if it bites someone in your yard and has it's shots.

Other Facts of interest:

*Smoking is not prohibited in most places, it is usually posted if prohibited. Mall stores, Wal-Mart, Sams Club, Home Depot,...No Fumar! Most signs are pictorial and have a RED Slash thru it if it's not allowed. eg: E with slash means NO PARKING! 

*Please be advised that drug use is illegal in México.

*As in the USA, México requires insurance on all vehicles not licensed in México and always requires it on cars, trucks and RVs, but not a México licensed 2 or 3 wheeled Motorcycle, Scooter or an unlicensed ATV or golf cart (check local laws for ATV and golf carts). Check our links for the cheapest, you can click, quote, buy and print it on-line, with a US or Canadian address is the cheapest way. Remember this only keeps you out of jail and if you are involved in a wreak exchange insurance info and leave (not illegal) because it is either your fault or no ones, it is never the Méxicanos fault, no matter what. Remember Taxi drivers are the worst and they back each other up, no matter what. Please watch out for the many, many scooters and bikes on the roads as well as pedestrians. They have the right away and don't always cross when lights are red.

*Please remember that we are thought of as rich and when we do wrong we must pay with CASH or sit in jail until we do!

*And YES México has an extradition treaty with the USA. (I hear that Panama doesn't, but that's probably a rumour too!)

*ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: The Government of Mexico requires that all U.S. citizens present proof of US citizenship and photo identification for entry into Mexico. In other words a passport or passport card.  A tourist Card/Paper is issued at the border that you must fill out and they will stamp, this paper is your VISA and good for 180 days (if you stay for 7 days or longer you will need to go to a bank and pay about $24USD, let them know if you plan to return while the visa is in effect and they will give it back to you to reuse and they will just stamp your passport out at least at the south borders.  A U.S. passport or US passport Card is required for readmission into the United States. Things are a little different for those travelling in or out by bus or plane, the airlines or bus companies usually take care of this. 

"U.S. citizens do not require a visa or a tourist card for tourist stays of 72 hours or less within "the border zone," defined as an area between 20 to 30 kilometres of the border with the U.S., depending on the Mexican state. U.S. citizens travelling as tourists beyond the border zone or entering Mexico by air must obtain a tourist card (paper), also known as an FM-T, available from Mexican consulates, Mexican border crossing points, Mexican tourism offices, airports within the border zone and most airlines serving Mexico." The tourist card costs approximately $24.00; the fee for the tourist card is generally included in the price of a plane ticket for travellers arriving by air. If you travel by bus, car,... stop at a Banjercito bank branch and pay this fee by showing your tourist visa paper and paying the $24 fee if you stay 7 days or more. 180 day visas are now given at the borders and this fee must be paid or they will send you back in to pay it and if you are over your 180 days there could be great difficulty.

Tourists wishing to travel beyond the border zone with their car must obtain a temporary import permit or risk having their car confiscated by Mexican customs. To acquire such a permit, one must submit evidence of citizenship, title for the car or a car registration certificate and a driver's license to a Banjercito branch located at a Mexican Customs office, and pay a processing fee of about $25. Mexican customs law also requires the posting of a bond at a Banjercito office to guarantee the departure of the car from Mexico within a time period determined at the time of the application usually 180 days outside the border zone. For this purpose, American Express, Visa or MasterCard credit card holders will be asked to provide credit card information; others will need to make a cash deposit of between $200 and $400, depending on the age of the car. In order to recover this bond or avoid credit card charges, travellers must return to the Mexican Customs office immediately prior to departing Mexico. You will be given a certificate with a sticker attached- the sticker goes on your windshield before you go any further and don't lose the certificate you will need it and the sticker when you leave Mexico especially if you want to drive in again. For further information, U.S. citizens should inquire with Mexican Customs offices about appropriate permits for their vehicle.

Upon arrival in Mexico, business travellers must complete and submit a form (Form FM-N 30 days) authorizing the conduct of business, but not employment, for a 30-day period. Travellers entering Mexico for purposes other than tourism or business or for stays of more than 180 days require a visa from a Mexican Consulate and must carry a valid U.S. passport.

Avoid excessive speed and, if possible, do not drive at night. Loose livestock can appear on roads at any time. Construction sites, abandoned vehicles or other obstacles are often unmarked or poorly marked. Be prepared for sudden stops.

If you have an emergency while driving, the equivalent of "911" in Mexico is "060", but this number is not always answered. If you are driving on a toll highway or "cuota," or any other major highway, you may contact the "Green Angels," a fleet of trucks with bilingual crews that operate daily. The "Green Angels" may be reached directly at (01) 55 5250-8221. If you are unable to call them, pull off the road and lift the hood of your car; chances are they will find you.

DRIVING INFORMATION: U.S. driver's licenses are valid in Mexico. Mexican insurance is required for all vehicles, including rental vehicles.

The Government of Mexico strictly regulates the entry of vehicles into Mexico (Please see information on bringing your car into Mexico in "Entry Requirements". Mexican Customs laws require that vehicles must be driven by the owner or the owner must be inside the vehicle. If not, the vehicle may be seized by Mexican customs and will not be returned under any circumstances. If you do not follow the law concerning import and insurance your car can be impounded and will not be returned especially if you are in an accident (even if not your fault), and you could go to jail till someone is paid off.

Visitors should be aware of their surroundings at all times, even when in areas generally considered to be safe. Armed street crime is a serious problem in all of the major cities of extremely large populations and resort areas after dark. Please ladies be with someone you trust and men let someone know where you are going and returning that would be concerned after dark and in the early mornings in resorts and large cities. It is no more or less dangerous than US cities and resorts. Just be aware of your surroundings and showing cash off. Villages are often safe but remember you stand out as rich even if you are on a fixed income.
Motorists should be aware that within Mexico City, vehicular traffic is restricted in order to reduce air pollution. The restriction is based on the last digit of the vehicle license plate. This applies equally to permanent, temporary, and foreign (U.S.) plates. I of course do not recommend Mexico City.
Monday: No driving if license plate ends with 5 or 6.
Tuesday: No driving if license plate ends with 7 or 8.
Wednesday: No driving if license plate ends with 3 or 4.
Thursday: No driving if license plate ends with 1 or 2.
Friday: No driving if license plate ends with 9 or 0.
Saturday and Sunday: All vehicles may be driven.
Cars with license plates with letters only may not drive on Fridays.

For additional information concerning Mexican driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, mandatory insurance, etc., please contact the Mexican Secretariat of Tourism (SECTUR) at telephone 1-800-44-MEXICO (639-426), or its web site at http://mexico-travel.com. Travellers are advised to consult with the Mexican Embassy or the nearest Mexican consulate in the United States for additional, detailed information prior to entering Mexico.

Available Services:

DHL (at least 2 days, usually more), Estafeta, FedEx (in some areas), Western Union, cell phone service (Telcel GSM uses a sim card like AT&T and T-Mobile cell phones which you can unlock to use in México or use AT&T service via Telcel, but it is expensive), very slow snail-mail, ATM Machines accept Cirrus and PLUS (these charge more in Airports). Please make sure your bank knows your in México and some banks charge 1% service charge for international debit withdraws (Paypal debit MasterCard doesn't); Dial-up, 3G, DSL and Satellite internet services (bring your satellite activated and pay online if you can it's cheaper to purchase and pay in the US and Canada), TV is in Spanish unless you bring a Dish Network Receiver with you, activated and buy a larger dish unless you stay in Northern México, DirecTV pulled out of México and only works in Northern México with a US set-up, or buy a FTA Satellite Dish and Receiver here for English TV; Hollywood Movies are mostly shown in English with Spanish Subtitles (Closed Caption) in large cities only and Newspapers are mostly in Spanish.

For other facts or questions that you can not find in this website, please feel free to e-mail me.

For now I will concentrate mostly, but not exclusively on Southeast México which is comprised of the Yucatan Peninsula. (States (Estados) of Quintana Roo and Yucatan.)

Chetumal:

The Capital of Quintana Roo. The name "Chetumal" comes from the Mayan "Chatemal". The town has undergone cultural and economic transformation over the past 4000 years. It was originally founded by Mayans in 18??.

Old Chetumal consisted of wooden colonial structures organized into a town. Then on September 27th, 1955 Hurricane Janet hit Chetumal. Though tragic, it also created an opportunity for rebuilding a modern city with modern electricity, water, sewage, cement homes and many modern hospitals. We also have the Mexican Navy to patrol the Bay and the Rio Hondo (the Hondo River which separates México from Belize and belongs to México), complete with Navy Barracks, Base, Marina and Hospital.

Mennonites from México and Belize are frequently seen shopping in Chetumal. They are successful farmers who choose to farm without the assistance of modern technology.

Belizeans are frequently seen on the weekends shopping at the new market, Sam's Club, the Mall (Plaza de Americas), Wal-Mart's Bodega and enjoying the restaurants, bay and beach. The BELIZE FREE ZONE is for Méxicanos and is a source of income for Corozal´s Belizeans it is a source for US toys, clothes, linens,... which may be hard to come by in Belize and México. It also has 3 Gambling Casinos/Hotels (kind of Vegas Style- No Shows)

Calderitas:

A major village in the north. Today, the village lives with the constant growth from Chetumal, the beach (playa) front on a beautiful bay (Bahia) with a Blvd., numerous seafood restaurants and a growing foreign population. The village is still run by the Mayan Elders Counsel (check Pics) and the elide (Indian) land can be leased with their approval- beach front and ranches mostly. Other land is available for sale with your corporation or a bank holding the property for you. Please check that the Mexican selling the property actually owns it and has the taxes paid to date (the bank can check this for you), there should be a legal size folder that a Notaria has prepared with all the papers included in that persons name (minors can't sell land till they are 18!)

Bacalar:

 

Mexican National Holidays in 2009:
There are also more religious (Catholic, Jewish,...), locally native (Mayan,...), and expat (American, Canadian,...) celebrated holidays.

January/Enero
1st- New Years Day/Año Nuevo
6th- Three Kings Day/Los Santos Reyes
 
February/Febrero
2nd- La Candelaria Prom. de la Constitucion
24th- Dia de la Bandera Martes de Carnaval
 
March/Marzo
16th- Nat, de Benito Juarez
 
April/Abril
5th- Domingo de Ramos/Cambio de Horario (Palm Sunday).
9th thru 12th- Jueves Santo, Viernes Santo, Sabado Santo, Domingo de Pascua (Good Friday and Easter Sunday).
 
May/Mayo
1st- Dia del Trabajo (Labour Day)
5th- Aniversario de la Bat. de Puebla
10th- Dia de las Madres (Mother's Day).
 
June/Junio
21st- Dia del Padre (Father's Day).
 
July/Julio
 
August/Agosto
 
September/Septiembre
16th- Dia de Independencia (Independence Day)
Mexico, Belize and Guatemala also celebrate a international Independence week in September.
 
October/Octubre
12th- Dia de la Raza
 
November/Noviembre
1st- Todos los Santos (All Saints Day)
2nd- Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead)
16th- Revolucion Mexicana
 
December/Deciembre
12th- Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
25th- Navidad (Christmas)

 

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