What you need to know when traveling to Mexico from the United States is that you are entering another country with different laws, and a different justice system. In addition, there are cultural differences which should also be respected. Even though Mexico welcomes tourism dollars, and the people are friendly, there are areas that warrant caution.
Most Mexican jobs are low paying, and unemployment is high. Both elements contribute to the need to exercise caution while visiting the country. Purse snatching, and pick pocketing are problems on the streets that can be avoided. Tourists are often the targets of beggars as well, which can be frustrating if not expected. Fortunately, these problems can be handled without too much trouble.
Travelers advisories were recently issued by the U. S. State Department warning of the kidnapping for ransom of foreigners, and Mexicans seen as wealthy. Staying in group situations is a good idea for the visitors to Mexico. Another bit of wisdom to keep in mind is the degree of corruption within the police departments in Mexico. To many officers, bribes are a normal part of how they make a living. Being aware of the pitfalls in any country is vital for any foreigners.
Within cultural areas, it is good to remember that some of the smaller villages may view morality from a different perspective. There are still areas where women are expected to dress drably, and shorts displaying women’s bare legs are considered to be in bad tastes. Obviously, in most tourist areas these views do not exist. There is still the potential for a disapproving look on occasion from some of the old-fashioned indigenous people.
The afternoon siesta is another cultural oddity by American standards. Many Mexican businesses, and offices still observe the traditional morning hours of work, followed by a three or four hour break during the heat of the day. Re-opening around 4 in the afternoon, and then closing at 8 or 9 in the evening is not unusual. The result of this tradition, which is changing in recent times, is that dinner is often an affair that occurs around 10 P.M.. Mexican clubs, and night life really begin after 11 in the evening.
Many guides, books, and articles are available on the Internet, as well as in book stores. Anyone wanting to maximize all aspects of traveling to Mexico should study available materials, and thereby not miss enjoying every possible aspect of Mexico. It is truly a beautiful country, blessed with a rich cultural history. No matter what your interest area is, Mexico has much to offer, especially when you know what you need to know.