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25 Most Common Tourist Scams in Mexico

Safety at Mexico City, Acapulco, Cancún, Guadalajara, Mazatlan, Monterrey, San Luis Potosi, Taxco, Tijuana
Note: If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. World Nomads Travel Insurance, backed by Lonely Planet & National Geographic, is one we recommend. Check it out before your adventure.

 

Cancun beach

Cancun beach

 

Did you know that Mexico is home to the most number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Americas?

Similarly impressive, is that over 60 indigenous languages still survive till this age in Mexico, ex-home of the Olmecs, the Atecs, the Maya and many other important civilizations.

Besides the impressive culture, Mexico has tons to offer in terms of nature, beaches and resorts, world class adventure, ancient ruins, delicious cuisines and many others.

However, what spoils the picture is the presence of both violent and petty crime. Fortunately, violent crimes are not targeted at tourists.

Still, the purveyors of scams and petty crime against tourists are extremely cunning, so read on to learn how to protect yourself here!

 

 

A. TOURIST ACTIVITIES

1. Mayan dollar

Mexico ruin Mayan culture

Mexico ruin Mayan culture

 

How it works:

This is basically a bullsh*t currency shady vendors use. For instance, a vendor might offer you a gemstone or carving for only 3 Mayan dollars.

It sounds good, you agreed, and he then tells you that 3 Mayan dollars = 30 USD. Reject the offer, and you might find yourself hounded thereafter.

 

What to do:

Decline and walk off if someone uses Mayan dollars on you.

 

2. Fraudulent tour agencies

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

 

How it works:

Although not a big issue in Mexico, there are still rogue agencies you need to be wary of.

One recent scam was that of scammers in Cancun pretending to be associated with established names like Marriott, United Airlines, Walt Disney, etc.

They use the names – Holiday Sands International / Tropical Beachfronts and target American and Canadian tourists through cold calls.

Congrats! When you pick up their call, they will claim that you have won a special discounted holiday package due to being a member of the company they claim to associate with.

Besides call scams, there have also been the traditional scam agencies who sell non-existent tours.

One such accused is the Andales Mexico Tour Company.

 

What to do:

Engage a licensed, reputable tour operator online which you can find via:

For offline operators, to determine if one is legitimate, ask these questions:

  • Is the operator licensed and is there a professional website, physical office, business email and working telephone number?
  • Are there online reviews? Do they sound legitimate?
  • Is the price too low to be true? What does it cover (vehicles, guides, safety, insurance, hidden fees, etc)?

When paying:

  • Avoid paying in full upfront unless through a reputable platform / operator.
  • If using an online platform, do not make payment off the platform.

If you find yourself in trouble:

  • Contact Profeco – government agency that handles consumer complaints.

 

3. Pickpockets

Pickpocket in action in Mexico

Pickpocket in action in Mexico. Source: englishrussia.com

 

How it works:

Crowded streets, train stations, public transportation, markets, shopping malls, restaurants, tourist attractions, hotels, nightspots or anywhere tourists hang out at are pickpockets’ favourite spots.

For instance, It pays to be especially careful around places like the Ruins of Teotihuacan, Mexico’s subway and bus terminals and even at the airport.

These thieves work in gangs, and will hang around to spot anyone carrying an expensive or neglected phone / jewelry / valuable / bag and where it is stored.

Once they mark a target, they will surround you and work like this:

  • One keeps a lookout and blocks passer-bys from seeing the scene.
  • Another blocks, pushes or distracts you (e.g. ask you an innocent question / survey / drop something and ask you about it).
  • A third steals your valuable / slashes your bag and then passes it on.
  • The last hides the loot under a jacket / coat / newspaper and then escapes.

 

What to do:

Stay alert and watch out for suspicious characters, though that is easier said than done.

The best solution is still, to not make yourself look like a target. 

Make it impossible for thieves to steal from you with these methods:

  • Carry a photocopy of your passport instead of the actual one.
  • Keep your wallet in the front pocket.
  • Conceal small valuables in a money belt / hidden pouch.
  • Store large valuables in a slash-resistant and lockable anti-theft bag.
  • Leave most valuables in your hotel / hostel / apartment safe, secured with hotel safety tools.
  • Get a good travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – our review) which covers loss of valuables.

 

4. Timeshare scams

 

How it works:

This is another scam common all over the world (e.g. Hong Kong, Indonesia), and comes in many different variations.

The crux is that you will be given an offer that is too good to turn down. However you must first attend a timeshare sales pitch.

First variation – scratch ticket / free tickets:

  • You will find well-dressed salespeople approach you and offer free / discounted tickets to tourist attractions.
  • Or they tell you that you have just won some scratch ticket, and you can redeem the prize if you go for the pitch!
  • Some even claim that you can get a USD 300 gift if you were to go.

Second variation – survey:

  • A scammer approaches you on the street, asking you to fill up a form about your holiday experience.
  • If you leave your contact details, you will be informed through a call later in the day that you have just won a prize, but it can only be redeemed if you go for a timeshare pitch.

At the pitch:

  • Will be subject to high pressure sales techniques over the next two hours.
  • Then, you find out that the prize you have won is a stay at one the timeshare apartments, which comes with many restrictive terms and conditions!

 

What to do:

Don’t waste your time. The timeshare apartments are likely to be of poor quality or are situated at lousy locations.

 

5. Rogue equipment operators

Jet skis in Cancun

Jet skis in Cancun. Source: kevinandamanda.com

 

How it works:

This is another common scam globally (e.g. Thailand, Greece).

Be especially wary when renting water sports equipment such as for parasailing, jet ski and even diving.

This is because there have been quite a number of accidents and even scams where they accuse you of damaging their equipment.

If you do not pay for the “damages”, you will be threatened with jail.

 

What to do:

Engage a licensed, reputable tours and activities operator which you can find via:

Also, take a photo of the equipment and inspect it thoroughly before using.

 

6. Fake sob stories

 

How it works:

There have been quite a number of reported cases, whereby a fellow tourist comes up to you, claims he is American / German / Swiss / etc, has just been robbed, lost his passport and has no money and no idea where to go.

He then asks you for just $10 for a cab.

Interestingly, there has been this “American pastor from Chicago” who calls himself Floyd King (in the video above) who has been at it for over 10 years!

He tells tourists that he has lost his luggage, his wife has diabetes and the insulin is in the bag and now the family is stranded.

The race card is also played as he makes you think others have been racist to him.

Then, he asks you for money

 

What to do:

Ignore.

 

7. Restaurant scams

Mexican tacos

Mexican tacos

 

How it works:

Like with many other touristy areas in the world (e.g. even in world’s safest Singapore), there are rogue restaurants out to suck unknowing tourists dry.

In Mexico, you may encounter some of these in the Zona Rosa area.

Some of the common tricks include:

  • Adding on items which you did not order
  • Rigged calculator
  • Additional inflated surcharges and paying double the tip
  • Terrible food at inflated prices

 

What to do:

Avoid restaurants promoted by aggressive touts.

Do some online research or check with your hotel / hostel staff on recommended places locals go to eat at.

Also, always check the menu carefully (prices, fine print), do not eat what was not ordered, and check your bill carefully.

Otherwise, you can also consider joining a food tour for an authentic, local food experience!

 

8. The place is closed

Mexico historic city

Mexico history city. Source: saveur.com

 

How it works:

This is an extremely easy scam to pull off and one common globally (e.g. Brazil, India), yet many travellers still fall for it.

It goes like this. A local with perfect English will approach you in the vicinity of a tourist attraction and tell you that the place is closed due to some holiday.

He then recommends / offers to bring you around, obviously, to places where he gets a commission.

 

What to do:

Never trust a stranger, especially someone with perfect English.

If you need help, check with the shop owners along the streets instead.

 

9. Fake goods

Street sellers in Mexico

Street sellers in Mexico. Source: mexicocitydf.blogspot.com

 

How it works:

At tourist attractions, many vendors peddle their ware such as fake jewelry and artefacts.

Silver is especially common, as it is mined in Mexico.

However, you can be sure that most of these are fakes, even if the sellers show you licenses as authentic silver sellers.

 

What to do:

Learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff, or only visit licensed, experienced dealers with a good reputation.

You can find these by doing some online research or by asking your hotel / hostel staff.

An alternative is to get a local expert to bring you around via a private / shopping tour from Viator (largest day tour platform globally) – some tours include:

 

10. Missing goods

 

How it works:

There have been reports of dishonest vendors removing one or two items through sleight of hand when packing your items into a bag.

 

What to do:

Always check even after purchase.

 

11. Spiked food / drinks

Club in Mexico

Club in Mexico. Source: timeout.com

 

How it works:

As one of the drug capitals of the world, never accept food or drinks from a stranger.

You never know what they might have put in it.

 

What to do:

Always have a close eye on your drink, from how how it is made to until it is fully consumed.

You may consider getting a bottle / can which is more difficult to tamper with.

 

12. Switching drinks

Tequila

Tequila

 

How it works:

To cut costs, some bars switch to another (cheaper) liquor, or they simply use less of it.

 

What to do:

A good practice is to ask for the glass of alcohol to be separated from the mixers.

Or only head to the reputable places – you can find them via online research or by asking your hotel / hostel staff.

Alternatively, there are food, wine and nightlife tours from Viator (largest day tour platform in Mexico) that you may want to check out:

 

B. TRANSPORT

1. “Pirate” taxis

Taxi in Mexico

Taxi in Mexico

 

How it works:

Something to watch out for, as it can be a real harrowing experience.

At Mexico City and at the airport, there are cab drivers who rent out their cabs to gang members / criminals to earn a quick, easy buck.

Should these fake drivers in legitimate cabs pick you up, you will be at their mercy.

They can threaten you with a knife / gun and bring you to an ATM, or stop on the expressway / in a secluded spot and demand money.

 

What to do:

Before a trip, it is a good idea to set up a separate bank account just for traveling:

  • Do not keep too much cash in there.
  • Only carry a bank card of that account so that even if kidnapped or if the card is stolen, you would not have much to lose.

Safe transportation options you can use:

  • Official airport taxis / radio taxis (sitos). Avoid the green Volkswagen Beetle, libre taxis and taxi touts.
  • Private vehicles arranged through your hotel / hostel or day tour platforms like Viator (largest globally and in Mexico) – 350+ transport options.

To further protect yourself:

  • Take a photo of the driver’s license and car plate number before boarding.
  • Use a spare wallet with little cash in it. Should the driver try to rob you, you can simply hand the wallet or cash over.
  • As for your valuables, hide them in a money belt or hidden pouch.
  • Get travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – our review).

 

2. Pemex / the gas station scam

Pemex gas station

Pemex gas station. Source: baja.com

 

How it works:

You will be surprised at the number of times you can get scammed over here, though these tend to happen more at touristy areas (Playa del Carmen, Tulum) and near airports (Los Cabos) where tourists are usually under time pressure.

Some scenarios to watch out for:

  • Firstly, make sure that the pump is zeroed, i.e. starts at zero, or you will be getting less petrol than desired.
  • Next, watch out if they start pumping from the other side of the pump. This is because you will not be able to tell if it truly started at zero and if it is really providing you the desired amount of petrol.
  • Also, watch out if an attendant brings a container while filling your car with gas, as the container will be where they let out some gas to.

Besides the technical aspects, you can get scammed when paying too.

  • One scenario is after an attendant collects money from you, he disappears and another attendants comes over to collect from you.
  • Another possibility is as described earlier, note swapping / switcheroo.
  • Finally, they claim that your credit card does not work, swipes it twice, and then ask you to pay in cash. Should you do so, you would have paid triple the price.

Here’s an interesting real life encounter: http://old.seattletimes.com/html/travel/2025678329_mexicoscamtravelwisexml.html

 

What to do:

To not fall for such scams, watch out for those situations, avoid the use of credit cards and try to keep small change instead.

Alternatively, go to the gas stations where the locals / taxi drivers go.

 

3. Car rental damage scam

Traffic in Mexico

Traffic in Mexico

 

How it works:

There are all sorts of ways you can get scammed using a rental car in Mexico.

  • Damages: like the jet ski scam, the company notice certain light scratches / damages and demand that you pay a fee for it.
  • Chipped windshield: again, similar to the one on damages.
  • Spare tire / other item swap: while returning the car, an employee might come out when you are distracted and swap the spare tire for a spoilt one. Other items in your car can be swapped as well. You will then be asked to pay to repair the items.
  • Missing license plate: if you were to park illegally in Mexico and are spotted by the police, they will take your front license plate away. You are then supposed to head to the police station to pay a fine, but not many tourists know that. As such, when returning the vehicle, a heavy fee will be demanded from you.

 

What to do:

To find legitimate operators to rent from, check with:

  • Your hotel / hostel staff.
  • Online travel forums / a local.
  • Or online platforms like AutoEurope – over 60 years of industry experience, super reliable with best price guarantee.

Also, take photos of the vehicle and inspect it thoroughly before using.

 

4. Car rental insurance / arbitrary charges

 

How it works:

Even if you have car insurance coverage through your credit card, you will be forced to buy the full range of insurance here.

The scam is that discount sites / car rental agents (e.g. Hotwire, Europcar) do not tell you about this.

Instead, they will advertise low rental prices to pull you in. The real total cost after insurance costs are added will be double of what you had assumed to be initially.

There are also rogue operators who throw in additional arbitrary charges at the end of your rental, such as SIXT as shown in the video above.

 

What to do:

Rent only from reputable operators, which you can find via:

  • Your hotel / hostel staff.
  • Online travel forums / a local.
  • Or online platforms like AutoEurope – over 60 years of industry experience, super reliable with best price guarantee.

If you find yourself hit with extra insurance charges, follow up with your rental agent to get them to credit you back.

Or you could check with your embassy to see if there is anything that they could do.

Alternatively, you could contest the bill with your credit card company if you had paid with a credit card.

 

5. Paying for a van taxi at the airport

Van taxi

Van taxi. Source: Wikimedia – Bull-Doser

 

How it works:

You will definitely be approached by a throng of taxi drivers upon arrival at the airport.

Should you take a van taxi or something similar that can hold more people than what a taxi usually holds, the driver will not bother filling the van up, and charge you for the whole van.

 

What to do:

Do not take a van taxi unless you have enough passengers or do not mind paying for the whole van.

Else, consider these other options:

  • Get a cab from the official queue.
  • Pre-arrange vehicle pick up through your hotel / hostel or through day tour platforms like Viator (largest globally and in Mexico) – 350+ transport options.
  • Use a taxi booking app like Uber or Cabify.

 

6. Use toll roads instead of free roads

En Campeche

En Campeche

 

How it works:

Based on the number of robberies and bus / car hijackings, free or libre roads have been found to be less secure than toll roads.

 

What to do:

Use toll roads and keep your doors locked and windows up.

Also, always make sure not to leave any valuables exposed in the car:

 

C. MISCELLANEOUS

1. Property rental scam

Mexico buildings

Mexico buildings

 

How it works:

There are a number of apartment rental platforms and classified ads platform in Mexico.

Unfortunately, it is almost definite that you will be able to find fraudulent listings on these platforms and be asked to make payment via wire transfer off the platform.

The sure signs of a scam listing include:

  • Prices that are too good to be true.
  • Illogical descriptions because they copy and paste without any edits.
  • Dodgy sounding reviews.
  • Difference in photos provided and pictures seen with Google Street View.
  • Payment only by bank transfer off the booking platform (note: they will use names that include the original booking platform to make it seem like you are still dealing with the platform).
  • Or payment to a foreign bank account or via Western Union / MoneyGram (sure sign of scam as transfers are irreversible).
  • Owner is overseas, insists on only using English in emails and emails are worded in poor English.
  • If the “owner” refuses to provide more details or to allow for a tour of the place.

 

What to do:

Only book via legitimate accommodation platforms such as:

  • Booking.com: Frommer’s tests have found the site to offer the best selection and rates amongst competing sites most of the time.
  • Homestay: if you are up for gaining genuine insights of Mexico by staying with a local host!

Next, some due diligence to be done on individual listings:

  • Search online reviews and Google the names of the owner.
  • Call the phone number provided on the listing.
  • Grill the “landlord” by asking specific questions, such as room dimensions or something unique as seen in the photos.
  • You can even pretend something exists in the online photos and test if the “landlord” can call your bluff.
  • Search if the property has another online presence or contact number and engage that to see if they are consistent.
  • Test the owner by requesting for a visit from a local friend before booking – it doesn’t have to happen, you just want to test the owner’s receptiveness.

Finally, avoid paying in full upfront or making payment off the platform.

 

2. Corrupt policemen

 

How it works:

It is obvious when it happens. These policemen will claim that you have broken some law, and will then hint for a bribe.

 

What to do:

If you drive, follow all laws and make sure to bring your driving license along.

Hide your cash and valuables in a money belt or hidden pouch and use a cheap spare wallet with not much cash inside.

This will allow you to negotiate the bribe down when you show that you have not much cash on you.

 

3. Fake immigration officers

 

How it works:

If you have lost any important travel documents, head straight to the official immigration office to replace them.

There are fake immigration officers who will stand ready to steal your personal information should you turn to them.

 

What to do:

Look for the official immigration office.

 

4. Counterfeit money

 

How it works:

There are both counterfeit Mexican bills and USD notes circulating in Mexico. In fact, there is 99 million worth of fake Pesos in circulation!

Do note that it is possible for you to get fake notes even from ATMs, so always check.

 

What to do:

Learn how to spot the fakes from the real ones:

  • Material: the two lowest denominated notes ($20, $50) are printed on polymer, while the rest are on banknote paper.
  • Watermark / embossed features: on polymer notes, you should see an embossed feature visible through transparent parts of the note. On banknotes, there is a watermark. Shine a light from below and you should see a silhouette image in a clear area of the note.
  • Holographic threads: on the front side, you should see a distinctive holographic optical thread woven. As you tilt the note, the image on this thread changes.
  • Printing: due to how the printing process works, by pressing the imagery on a note, you should feel a “raised” feel to the note. The imagery should also be clear and not blurred.

Should you receive a counterfeit note, take these steps:

  • From ATM / bank teller: within 5 working days of withdrawal, head to the bank which owns the ATM you withdrew from. Bring your identification and receipt along and fill up a form there. You will know the results in 5 working days.
  • From shops / others: check immediately once you receive a note. If you have left the shop without checking, then it is too late. In that case you would have to take it to a bank to test, and they will issue a receipt for it. If it’s real, they will return it back. If it’s a fake, it will be destroyed.

 

5. Currency switcheroo

Mexican Pesos

Mexican Pesos. Source: treasuryvault.com

 

How it works:

One of the most common scams is sleight of hand note switching.

For instance, you pass a rogue shopkeeper / driver a 500 peso note, he turns around and suddenly it becomes a 50 peso note! He then of course, asks for more.

This is extremely common as both notes look similar (same digits, similar colours).

Another variation is for the merchant to turn around and come back with a torn or even a counterfeit note!

 

What to do:

Always be very careful when handing notes over. You can choose to count out each note to be extra safe before handing over.

Also, use small notes if possible.

 

6. Rigged ATM / ATM thefts

Signs of a rigged ATM

Signs of a rigged ATM

 

How it works:

If anyone wants to help you with the ATM because it is not in English, there are a few possible reasons.

First, there is a card skimmer attached (to read your card details) or the card slot has been rigged to keep your card in. He is helping just to be able to see what your PIN is.

Second, he may try to distract you, and let his accomplice snatch your cash while you are distracted.

 

What to do:

Avoid using ATMs at dark, secluded areas. Use only at controlled environments such as in banks.

Scan the area for suspicious looking characters and cover your PIN when typing it in.

Also, although not directly relevant, consider using a RFID blocking wallet.

That will prevent your cards’ details from being skimmed by thieves with a mobile RFID reader / scanner.

 

7. Snatch theft

 

How it works:

Generally, there are two versions of snatch thefts – strike and run, or distract and grab, in many possible contexts:

  • Bikes / mopeds riding past, with a pillion rider doing the snatch.
  • Snatching from behind you, then running into a getaway car to escape.
  • At restaurants, stealing unattended bags / valuables on the chair or table.
  • Hotels airports, where distracted / tired tourists carry all their valuables out.
  • The beach where tourists are relaxed, or when they head to the water.
  • Nightclubs, where “prostitutes” pretend to proposition tourists by grabbing them but are really trying to steal your valuables.
  • Seats beside a train’s doors where a thief gets out just before the doors close.
  • Stealing of bags on overnight trains / buses.
  • Valuables snatched through a car / bus window.
  • Thefts around ATMs.

Two hotspots to watch out for are the Merced market and the Eje Central street.

 

What to do:

When seated / not moving:

While out walking / on transport:

  • Use a cross body anti-theft bag facing away from the road / windows of your vehicle.
  • Avoid carrying valuables in your hands when walking by the road or when beside a vehicle window / train door.

Other measures:

  • Leave valuables in your hotel / hostel / apartment safe secured with hotel safety tools.
  • Get a good travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and National Geographic – our review) which covers loss of valuables.

 

8. Virtual kidnaps

 

How it works:

There have cases reported whereby when tourists revealed their personal information in surveys done on the street, it comes back to bite them when fake kidnapping calls are made to them.

For instance, the scammer first calls your next of kin (assuming he gets the contact through the survey), poses as a staff from the telecoms company and asks him / her to shut off her phone as the network is undergoing maintenance.

Next, he calls you, and claims to have kidnapped your next of kin.

Obviously, you won’t be able to contact your next-of-kin as his / her phone is shut off. It can also work in the reverse whereby they call up your next-of-kin and claim that you have been kidnapped.

 

What to do:

Never ever reveal your personal information, especially on the streets or through unsolicited surveys.

 

D. KEY SAFETY ISSUES

This is not a fear mongering exercise, as most visits are trouble free as long as you exercise some common sense.

However, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Information below has been compiled from:

 

1. Violent crime, hazards, hotspots, terrorism, civil unrest

Map of safe and unsafe regions in Mexico

Map of safe and unsafe regions in Mexico. Source: smartraveller.gov.au

 

How it works:

A brief summary:

  • Violent crime: widespread, but not targeted at tourists generally.
  • Hazards: many roadblocks, by federal police, military police and drug cartels.
  • Hotspots: drug related violence:
    • North: Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas.
    • Pacific coast: Colima, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, Sinaloa.
    • Central: Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.
    • Gulf Coast: State of Mexico, State of Veracruz.
    • Mexico-US border: Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Nogales, Piedras Negras, Reynosa.
  • Terrorism: no recent history, but should not be taken for granted.
  • Civil unrest: demonstrations are common. Political violence exists in Guerrero and Mexico City.

 

What to do:

Stay alert, avoid secluded areas, travelling alone at night, and don’t look like an easy victim (e.g. looking like a tourist / flaunting valuables).

Monitor local media in case of any terrorist threats, avoid the hotspots, and avoid participating in demonstrations.

 

2. Medical care

Star Medica Merida

Star Medica Merida. Source: mapio.net

 

How it works:

Medical care is good in Mexico City and major cities, but limited elsewhere.

Diseases to vaccinate against / watch out for include:

  • Insect borne diseases: zika, chikungunya, dengue, Chagas’ disease, leishmaniasis.
  • Food and water borne diseases: travellers’ diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera.
  • Animal borne diseases: rabies.
  • Human borne diseases: HIV.
  • Others: altitude sickness.

 

What to do:

If you can’t afford travel insurance (e.g. World Nomads – our review), you can’t afford to travel, as:

  • Emergency health services can cost a bomb.
  • Insurance providers can make complex logistical arrangements to get you the best medical treatment fast.

Vaccinations to consider:

  • All travellers: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, flu shot..
  • Most travellers: Hepatitis A, typhoid.
  • Some travellers: Hepatitis B, malaria, rabies (outdoor activities, activities involving animals).

Prevent insect bites:

  • Protective clothing.
  • Insect repellents.
  • Insecticide treated bed / cot nets.
  • Plug-in insecticides.
  • Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass.

Food safety:

  • Practise safe hygiene such as washing hands with soap.
  • Only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled.
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products, ice cubes, uncooked and undercooked food.

 

3. Natural disasters

 

How it works:

A brief summary:

  • Earthquakes: may occur occasionally, especially in Oaxaca and Guerrero.
  • Volcanoes: active volcanoes (Popocatepetl, Colima Volcanoes).
  • Hurricanes: June to November.
  • Rainy season: June to November, may trigger flooding and landslides.

 

What to do:

Effective preparation and prevention involves staying at the “right” place, travelling at the “right” time and getting travel insurance (e.g. World Nomadsour review) that covers natural disasters.

Check the latest media reportsweather forecasts and sources such as:

Reacting to one:

  • Earthquakes: drop (to hands and knees), cover (head and neck with arms), hold on (to sturdy furniture); expect aftershocks.
  • Volcanic eruption: avoid areas downwind and river valleys downstream of the volcano, do not drive in heavy ash fall, seek shelter (if no need to evacuate) or high ground if no shelter (crouch down away from volcano, cover head with arms).
  • Hurricanes: stay indoors away from windows, do not use electrical appliances / equipment, do not head out and touch debris (more injuries / deaths happen after than during).

 

4. Transport safety

 

How it works:

Road conditions can vary, several factors to watch out for:

  • Use toll roads (cuota) over free roads (libre) as you may face unofficial roadblocks.
  • Aggressive driving, speeding, going through red lights, lane changing without indicating.
  • Poor road conditions in rural areas, potholes, dangerous curves, unmarked roads.

As for public transportation, it is relatively safe, though look out for petty crime.

 

What to do:

Before going out, check the latest media reports and weather forecast.

When on the road, stay alert, wear seatbelts, keep doors locked and windows up.

 

E. GETTING HELP

1. Emergency numbers to call

Police in Mexico

Police in Mexico. Source: news.vice.com

 

  • Emergencies (police, fire, ambulance, etc): 911

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2 Comments

  1. M

    UPDATE: 911 now works on México, 060 and 080 are soon to be deprecated.

    Reply
    • Admin

      Thanks M for the update! Have changed it in the article 🙂

      Reply

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