There are definitely 5 things you MUST know about Mexico if you live in Canada or the United States. You probably know that Mexico is our closest cousin and destination.
It makes sense then that most of Mexico’s tourists are from these countries. As a Canadian myself, I know that Mexico is a very popular destination for Canadians.
The warm, sunny beaches of Mexico call out to us in the winter when we’re in minus temperatures and snow is up around our navel. If you are a seasoned Mexico traveler you are probably pretty used to the quirkiness of Mexico. But if you’re just deciding whether or not to go, there are 5 things you MUST know about Mexico before packing that suitcase.
You Must Know There Really Are Different Prices in Mexico
Well not really…But still, yes…Let me explain. If you are going to a store and picking up some milk, the price will be the same in Mexico for a local Mexican and also for you as a Canadian or American. So in that sense, prices are the same.
But what about if you decide to rent an appartment or a villa for a few months to get out of the cold in your home country? By going on vacation rental websites chances are you will be paying a lot more. You will most likely be dealing with other expats who own homes in Mexico and rent them out.
They know what Canadians and Americans choose to pay and although you won’t pay top dollar you will definitely pay more than most Mexicans can afford to pay.
If you really want to find a super cheap deal, you have to shop where the locals do. Check out local websites for the area on social media. Visit mercado libre (kind of like the Craigslist of Mexico) and ask on different forums. The deals are out there and you definitely can pay less.
But please don’t think you will be getting a prime beachfront appartment for just a couple hundred dollars per month.
We’ve had many foreigners asking to book our vacation villa which is walking distance to the beach and wanting to pay $300 dollars per month in a prime tourist hotspot. That being said, our villa is one of the most economical in Santa Cruz Huatulco and local Mexicans can afford it.
And asking for a better rate might just get you one, depending on the time of year and availability. But let’s be reasonable when it comes to renting. You do get what you pay for.
Most Mexicans Are Pretty Laid Back
I am married to a Mexican and tend to worry a lot about well, almost everything. Mexicans, on the other hand, have a lot of issues to face in their country. However, if you’ve been there long enough you will notice a real “manana” mentality. What is that? Well there might be anxiety-ridden Mexicans but I didn’t find a lot of them…
The general attitude seems to be a “take one day at a time” kind of feeling. It makes you realize after a while that worrying really doesn’t get you anywhere. The problems will still be there so why not just go to the beach? I find this attitude pretty refreshing personally.
The Locals Have a Lot to Offer
There are a lot of expats in Mexico from Canada, the US, and other countries and many have set up businesses or services in Mexico including vacation rentals, restaurants, etc.
This is great and everyone should have an opportunity to build a business whereever they live but don’t forget the Mexicans who live in their own country. In tourist areas many of them rely on visitors to feed their own families.
Although it might be tempting to deal with those that speak your own language, why not give the locals a try? There are many local people that can provide you with a unique experience whether by taking you on tours, fishing or just by visiting their businesses.
I know a lot of foreigners can feel uncomfortable because they aren’t familiar with the language and the trustworthiness. But many locals have established excellent reputations in the destination of your choice. Ask on social media and you’ll soon get lots of suggestions. You might also get to have a very unique experience with someone who knows their home and area extremely well!
Mexico Can Really Be Frustrating
Another must thing to know about Mexico is frustration! If you stay in Mexico any length of time, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get frustrated! I know as a Canadian, we’re pretty much used to instant gratification!
Instant payment, instant shopping, instant services…we barely have to wait for a lot and we certainly don’t like it if we have to!
But Mexico can be a little different and you’ll have to learn to go with the flow or yes, you will go crazy. You must know that Mexico is a cash society mainly, so not a lot of debit machines or online payments.
Sometimes you can find visa but if you have your cash ready that is the easiest way to pay for just about everything.
I remember always running around Huatulco when I lived there trying to cash a 500 peso bill (around $30) because no stores ever had change.
It used to frustrate me like crazy until I decided just to expect it. Once I accepted that this would always happen, I managed to just relax and go with the flow.
If you want to stay in Mexico for a while and order services such as cable or anything requiring a serviceman, definitely don’t hold them to it.
The service guy may or may not come that day and you may just get a general idea of arrival when asking for a timeline. Which leads me to the next thing….
Don’t be an Ugly American (or Canadian)!
Mexicans are unfailingly polite. Mexicans rarely start a conversation without asking how the other is doing and inquiring about their life.
Tourists that are demanding and rude are cringe-worthy. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen tourists complaining or berating a taxi driver or Mexican providing a service. I have never seen a Mexican shouting back but always being polite and solicitous.
Being rude and impatient only makes everything harder. It is much nicer to be polite. Yes it takes a few minutes longer and perhaps a bit more effort but remember, we are not in our country, we are a guest in the Mexicans country and he/she has been gracious enough to allow us to be there.
For me, Mexico is a country of extremes. Extreme beauty, extreme poverty, extreme everything. It’s not a country for you if you are tightly controlled and need everything to run perfectly. It’s also not for you if you want exactly what you have in your home country but just with some beach and high temperatures.
Mexico IS for you, however, if you want to feel extreme joy and go with the flow. If you’re open-minded and don’t mind a few inconveniences, this country and its beauty, culture and experiences will show you the best vacation ever! Once you’ve tried Mexico you’ll fall in love, again and again as I have for 30 years!
Hasta Luego and start planning that trip!