Mexico

Currency

Mexican Peso

Language(s)

Spanish

Independence

1821

capital

Mexico City

Driving

Right

Calling Code

+52

Visa Requirements

For US Citizens, a tourist visa is not required for entry into Mexico.  The only requirements include a passport with six months validity remaining and two empty passport pages for stamps.  If you plan to remain in Mexico for longer than 180 days, you must obtain a tourist visa.

Entry and departure taxes

Based on my experience, there is no entry tax upon arrival into Mexico.  I arrived via airplane.  I departed the country via a land border in a bus.  At the land border, the customs agent charged me $25 USD cash.  Based off my research, this is not normal, so be aware of unexpected taxes at land borders, since there is less supervision.

transportation

I flew American Airlines into Cancun, Mexico from Tampa, Florida.  They had different mobile device rules than I am familiar with.  Normally your phone must be in airplane mode, but on this flight the flight attendant required me to completely shut off my phone.

I traveled by ADO Bus from Cancun to Belize City.  The cost for this bus is 840 pesos, which is approximately $46 USD.  The bus ride takes about 7 hours.  There are two departure options, one in the morning and one overnight bus.  I took the overnight bus and found that it was pretty easy to sleep with the reclining chairs and air conditioning.  Make sure to dress warm as the air conditioning can get very chilly.

I did not use the public buses while in Cancun, instead I used Uber and the Cancun Shuttle.  Uber is inexpensive.  I took an Uber around 5:00pm rush hour for approx. $1 USD per mile.  As a solo traveller, it can be nerve-racking to take a taxi by yourself.  To avoid this, I often arrange transportation in advance.  Such was the case in Cancun.  I hired the Cancun Shuttle to take me from the airport to my hostel.  The service was good, although I had a few minor complaints.  When I stepped out of immigration, the shuttle driver was easy to find with his bright orange vest and sign.  He told me I had to wait until three more passengers arrived.  This took about 30 minutes and was slightly inconvenient considering it was 85°F with humidity of about 85%, as well.  My only other complaint was that the driver did not know where my hostel was even though I showed him the location on a map about five times.  Also only a slight inconvenience, but I assumed the driver would know where he was going.  The shuttle cost $7 USD, which is more than a taxi but gives you the comfort of having other people on the shuttle with you.

Volunteering

 Johana and I with part of the food collection.  

Johana and I with part of the food collection.  

In Mexico, I volunteered with the Huellas de Pan.  Huellas de Pan is a non-profit Civil Association that works to provide food security, providing nutritious food to vulnerable people in the urban area of ancun, generating opportunities that contribute to people sustaining themselves.

As a volunteer, we traveled to four different resort locations, all owned by Oasis, and collected their leftover buffet offerings.  We then returned back to Huellas de Pan and served the food to the elderly and 50+ students.  

Huellas de Pan believes that children cannot perform well in school on an empty stomach.  The organization does not want to be viewed as a venue for "freebies," so they require the students to maintain their grades above a 7 out of 10.

number one must see

In my opinion, if you are trying to have a more authentic Mexican experience, you should travel to Mexico City.  This recommendation is based on several discussions with other travelers.  They found Mexico City's history, architecture, and culture to be more authentic, as opposed to the touristy area of Cancun.