Mexico Travel Alerts
U.S. driver's licenses are valid in Mexico. The Government of Mexico strictly regulates the entry of vehicles into Mexico . Mexican law requires that vehicles be driven by their owners, or that the owner be inside the vehicle. If not, the vehicle may be seized by Mexican customs and will not be returned under any circumstances.
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I highly recommended that you AVOID all car rentals in Mexico. You can usually retain a very friendly, bilingual taxi driver for less money per day than a car (10 bucks an hour is high end earnings for most taxi drivers - try 5 buck an hour offer). Ask your hotel for a taxi driver reference and you'll see more, learn more and maybe make a friend - sometimes better and less expensive than a tour. Read below and understand that life stops if you have an unfortunate accident. Insurance or not - You are guilty until somehow proven inncocent - usually at great expense.
If you are involved in an automobile accident, you will be taken into police custody until it can be determined who is liable and whether you have the ability to pay any penalty. If you do not have Mexican liability insurance, you may be prevented from departing the country even if you require life-saving medical care, and you are almost certain to spend some time in jail until all parties are satisfied that responsibility has been assigned and adequate financial satisfaction received. Drivers may also face criminal charges if the injuries or damages are serious.
The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States . However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
All foreigners should be very cautious in general when using ATMs in Mexico . If an ATM must be used, it should be accessed only during the business day at large protected facilities (preferably inside commercial establishments, rather than at glass-enclosed, highly visible ATMs.
Diving equipment provided by dive shops may not meet U.S. safety standards and due to frequent use, may be substandard or defective. Unless you are certain that scuba diving equipment is up to standard, you should not use it. Safe diving requires lengthy training, and Òpool certification coursesÓ lasting a few hours are not considered adequate by U.S. dive certification entities. Inexperienced scuba divers in particular should beware of dive shops that promise to "certify" you after a few hours' instruction.
Warning flags on the beach should be taken seriously. If black flags are up, do not enter the water. In Cancun there is often a very strong undertow along the beach from the Hyatt Regency all the way south to the Sol y Mar. Several drownings and near-drownings have been reported on the east coast of Cozumel, particularly in the Playa San Martin-Chen Rio area. There is minimal lifeguard supervision in most areas. In Acapulco, avoid swimming outside the bay area. Several American citizens have died while swimming in rough surf at the Revolcadero Beach near Acapulco and at the Mexican Pipeline on Zicatela Beach in Puerto Escondido. Recreational facilities such as pools may not meet U.S. safety or sanitation standards. Do not swim in pools or at beaches without lifeguards. If you do, exercise extreme caution. Do not dive into unknown bodies of water, because hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death. Visitors should not leave belongings on the beach while swimming, as there is a possibility of their being stolen.
The Bureau of Consular Affairs offers very good and current country information for Americans traveling abroad - well worth a few minutes to learn a little about the country and any travel alerts.
Find current global health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. Toll Free Hotline for U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia: 877-394-8747.
Foreign visitors with long term travel plans are urged to register their travel plans with your country Embassy or Consulate in Washington DC. find a Foreign Consulate in California or Review USA Immigration Guidelines.