Travel Tips to Visit The Riviera Maya, Mexico

Stores: Shopping hours begin around 10 or 11 a.m. and continues between 8 and 10 p.m. Large stores are open 7 days a week; Sundays may close smaller places, except tourist places in high season. The festive days of Christmas and Easter are observed; On other holidays, you’ll find most things open in bigger cities and towns and tourist spots. Smaller towns will have more limited opening hours, and in warmer, non-tourist regions may close between 2 and 4 p.m. check locally.

Banks: Banks in Mexico are beginning to act together from a commercial point of view. Branches are now open from 9 am to 4 pm in many large cities and towns, and some even open on Saturday mornings. HSBC is now open from 8 am to 8 pm six days a week.

10 reasons why to live in Mexico this 2020

Business Hours: Business hours tend to coincide with that of the US. USA And the UK: 8:00 a.m. at 6:00 p.m.

Churches: some churches are permanently open; Others are locked up if there is no service, especially those that house valuable art or artifacts. If you visit a church, be aware of those inside who may be participating in a church service.

Archaeological Parks: Archaeological parks are open to the public from 8 a.m. at 5 p.m., and all except those in the most frequented tourist areas (for example, Chichén Itzá in Yucatán) are closed on Mondays. Did you know that most Archaeological sites in Mexico have a “Spacial VIP sunrise tickets”? Yes, if you buy your ticket the day before and ask for the sunrise ticket you can have the whole site by yourself! Get the best pictures without the crowds!

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Holidays in Mexico

Mexico celebrates several holidays throughout the year. You can get more information about the dates, holidays and events around them.

Video and photography in Mexico

If you want to print your digital photos while in Mexico, you can visit the photography department inside the main supermarkets (for example, Commercial Mexicana, Wal-Mart). There are also independent photography stores, especially common in small cities where there are no major stores, where you can edit / print your digital photos, buy additional memory chips for your digital camera, buy batteries and accessories, and buy a new camera or equipment from video (note that photographic equipment is more expensive in Mexico than in the US). Films and video tapes for non-digital cameras are becoming obsolete, but may still be available at some specialty photography stores in larger towns and cities.

Video and photography label in Mexico

Museums: Some museums and all major archaeological parks will charge a small fee if you want to take a portable video recorder to the museum or site with you; some charge for cameras, although this is rare. Some will not allow flash photography, especially on old stone and murals, as it affects the longevity of the job. You will see written notices in Spanish and English that will advise you at each location.

Tripods: Use of tripods at all archaeological sites and in some museums requires a permit. If you want to use a tripod, you will need to apply for a special permit from INAH (the government department that manages archaeological sites and some museums) and there will be a significant fee and much paperwork involved. If you are outside of Mexico, contact your local Mexican Consulate for information and details. Sites and museums that do not allow tripods offer a “package hold” facility for people who carry tripods, where they can be left until you leave the site or museum. The use of tripods is allowed in other places (public spaces, beaches, towns, etc.).

Military and Naval Installations – It is best not to photograph the military or any military installation to avoid misunderstanding.

Churches: Taking pictures inside a church when there is an ongoing service is considered disrespectful, so you should refrain from doing so. Taking photos inside a church at other times is acceptable in Mexico.

Drinking alcohol in Mexico / Legal drinking age in Mexico

The legal minimum drinking age in Mexico is 18 years; three years before the legal drinking age of the USA. The US, which is why many older American teens ‘fly south’ to Mexico for a weekend or more.

Although it has been rare in the past, requests for proof of age or identification when requesting an alcoholic beverage in Mexico are on the rise. However, it is not yet as strict as the US. USA, where anyone who appears to be a minor is asked for identification immediately.

Drinking on the street in Mexico: Technically, it is illegal to drink on the street in Mexico, but some people do it, especially in tourist areas.

Drinking and driving in Mexico: Drinking and driving is a serious crime in Mexico. If you drink, take a taxi: taxis are very affordable in Mexico, there is absolutely no need to take your car if you are drinking.

Drinking and driving is even more common in Mexico than in places like the US. USA And Canada, therefore, if you drive at night or if you are a pedestrian near a tourist area with many bars, be very attentive to cars and traffic, especially in the early morning hours, when drunk drivers may be near.
Mexico’s police are stepping up their campaign against drunk drivers with severe penalties (including the possibility of prison terms) for criminals.

Traveling to Mexico with children

Take your family to Mexico with confidence. Read the complete guide on Traveling to Mexico with Children for detailed information on how to make the most of your family visit to Mexico.

Tips and negotiations in Mexico

Tipping is common in the United States: it is almost second nature and is practiced frequently in most service establishments. In many European countries, it is not so common or customary to tip people for services. In Mexico, it is not only usual, it is expected and appreciated in exchange for good service.

Most people working in Mexico’s tourism and service sectors trust their advice to supplement their base salary and provide good service to demonstrate that it makes a significant difference to them.

When you travel to Mexico, always keep some loose change in your pocket because you never know when you will need a tip. Although tips are frequent in Mexico, the amounts are relatively small and can really make a difference for the person you reward.

If you didn’t receive poor service, you should consider tipping in these situations:
Restaurants: 10% – 15% is normal, depending on the type of establishment and the level of service you received. In diners and similar places 10% is enough; In high-end restaurants and bars, 15% is expected for good service.

Why Americans are retiring in Mexico

Hotel employees: many people tip the domestic employee, approximately US $ 5 equivalent per night of stay, depending on the type of establishment.

Valet Parking: If you drive to a bar or restaurant and park your car at the on-site valet, you must leave the attendant around US $ 1 equivalent in pesos when you leave, unless the valet has a previously advertised rate (probably higher than this) in which case, pay that fee and no more.

Porters: When you arrive at a bus station, airport, or hotel, there will usually be a group of porters nearby waiting to carry your bags. US $ 1 per bag in equivalent pesos is sufficient; maybe a little more if the bags are too big, particularly heavy or if the assistant offers some additional value, for example some local tips or instructions.

Taxis: if you take a taxi from the street, it is appreciated that you round the cost of the meter to the nearest 5 or 10 pesos, depending on the comfort and speed of your trip; however, taxis hired at taxi ranks at hotels or official taxi ranks must be paid the advertised fare (or fare agreed in advance) and no more. Also read the guide on Traveling by taxi in Mexico, which includes a link to the current prices of taxis in Mexico.

Bars and Canteens: Tables are often served at these (you don’t need to go to the bar to order food or drinks), and a tip of 10% of your spending that night is normal.

Spas: For personal services at Resort Spas, 10-15% of the value of the service (for example, a massage) is normal.

Negotiation and barter in Mexico

People who visit Mexico rate shopping in local markets as one of the most rewarding travel experiences they find.

Mexican merchants love a good barter, but be careful: if they feel that they are trying to devalue their products too much, they will get upset and may even refuse to trade with you. Trading and bartering are common activities in Mexico, especially in markets and artifact shops and craft workshops.

Department stores, shopping malls: department stores and large (chain) hotels will not negotiate with you; You’ll be luckier negotiating with the checkout assistant at your local supermarket!

Drinking water

When traveling to Mexico, you must be especially careful when drinking fresh water or drinks that may have added tap water. Also check the ice – ask if it was made from tap water, especially in more rustic establishments and rural areas. All major hotels and good restaurants use purified water everywhere. All commercially produced beverages, including bottled and canned water, carbonated beverages, wine, beer, spirits, etc., will be perfectly safe for consumption.


Mexico’s electrical system is the same as that of the United States: 120 V; 60 Hz. Any electrical equipment that you carry and that operates at a higher speed (240v) must be dual voltage (eg hair dryers). A large number of electrical equipment (such as video cameras, digital cameras, laptops) running 12 volts through a product specific adapter will be able to cope with double voltage; check the adapter and device instructions to be sure. However, electricity in Mexico could be even more expensive than in the US, avoid leaving your room with the AC and TV on.

You may need a plug adapter. Most plugs in Mexico are the same as in the United States; Two flat tips. Some have a third circular grounding prong, and you can also look for adapters for these if the plug you want to connect to does not have the third ground (ground).

Time zones in Mexico

Mexico has three time zones.

Most of Mexico, including Mexico City and Merida, adheres to central time in the US. USA (Same as Dallas, TX) and is always six hours less than GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

The second time zone begins just north of Puerto Vallarta and affects all areas on the coast north of here and ALL of Baja California Sur. This time zone adheres to Mountain Time (same as Denver, CO); an hour behind Mexico city.

The third domestic time zone begins in the extreme north of Baja California (the northern area of ​​the peninsula). This area adheres to Pacific Time (same as Los Angeles, CA) and is therefore one hour behind mountain time and two hours behind Mexico City. See an updated map for the precise location of the timelines.

*Info thanks to Happy Address

If you are thinking to move to Mexico and looking for your new Home or next investment opportunity in the Riviera Maya, we are here to help! Click here to get your FREE “Ultimate guide to How to Invest in The Riviera Maya for the first time”.

Published by livethetulumdream

Professional Real Estate advisor en the Mexican Riviera Maya.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: