The Essen­tials

Timeless Travels Magazine - - MEXICO -

Time Dif­fer­ence: Mexico has three time zones, with most of Mexico in­clud­ing Mexico City and Merida, six hours be­hind GMT.

The sec­ond time zone starts just north of Puerto Val­larta (but does not in­clude it), and af­fects all ar­eas on the coast north of the city, and all of Baja Cal­i­for­nia Sur. Chichuahua City is not af­fected by this time zone change as it is too far east. This time zone is one hour be­hind Mexico City.

The third time zone be­gins in the north­ern reaches of Baja Cal­i­for­nia, ie the north­ern area of the penin­sula. This area is two hours be­hind Mexico City.

Lan­guage: Span­ish is the first lan­guage of Mexico, and the coun­try has the largest Span­ish-speak­ing pop­u­la­tion in the world, with al­most a third of all Span­ish na­tive speak­ers. There are 68 lin­guis­tic groups recog­nised in Mexico with 364 dif­fer­ent spe­cific va­ri­eties of in­dige­nous lan­guages.

Tip­ping: Tip­ping is im­por­tant in Mexico as most peo­ple work­ing in the tourism and ser­vice sec­tors rely on tips to sup­ple­ment their ba­sic pay.

Elec­tri­cal Cur­rent/ Plugs: The volt­age is the same as the USA: 120V, 60 Hz. The plugs are two flat prongs.

Cul­ture: Mex­i­can cul­ture is a mix of its in­dige­nous cul­tures and that of Spain, who colonised Mexico for 300 years.

Re­li­gion: Mexico is a Chris­tian coun­try with over 80% of the pop­u­la­tion des­ig­nated as Ro­man Catholic.

Weather: The north of the coun­try has the coolest tem­per­a­tures, while tem­per­a­tures on the west coast are lower than the east coast, which has a trop­i­cal cli­mate re­sem­bling the Caribbean. The Baja Cal­i­for­nia penin­sula has a more Mediter­ranean cli­mate. The east and west coasts are af­fected by trop­i­cal storms which oc­cur from Au­gust to Oc­to­ber, and the east coast is more prone to hur­ri­canes than the west. On the whole, the weather is very sunny for most of the year, with in­land ar­eas hav­ing a much drier cli­mate.

Wa­ter: The wa­ter is not safe to drink in Mexico, and it is also ad­vis­able to check whether ice is made from bot­tled wa­ter and that sal­ads have not been washed in tap wa­ter. All main ho­tels and good restau­rants should use pu­ri­fied wa­ter.

Pol­i­tics: The United Mex­i­can States has a demo­crat­i­cally elected gov­ern­ment and has a pres­i­den­tial sys­tem ac­cord­ing to the 1917 Con­sti­tu­tion.

Hol­i­days: Mexico has a num­ber of public hol­i­days, and the most im­por­tant fes­tiv­i­ties are Holy Week (Easter) at the end of March or be­gin­ning of April, the ‘Grito de In­de­pen­den­cia’ (on Septem­ber 15th), and the Day of the Dead (on Novem­ber 1st and 2nd), the day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (on De­cem­ber 12th), Christ­mas and New Year.

Car­ni­vals take place in Fe­bru­ary and be­gin with the sym­bolic burn­ing of evil spir­its. The most pop­u­lar are those held in Ver­acruz, Mazat­lan and Merida.

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