Getting to Mexico

All visitors to Mexico are officially required to have an onward or return ticket. Although rarely enforced, this regulation can create problems. An onward ticket out of any Latin American country may suffice, or proof that you have sufficient funds to buy a ticket (eg a credit card) will often be accepted. International air tickets are expensive if purchased in Latin America.

Air

The most expensive fares from Europe and North America correspond to the northern hemisphere holiday season. Peak seasons are 7 December to 15 January and July to mid-September. If you intend travelling during those times, book as far ahead as possible. Check with an agency for the best deal.

The market is highly competitive, with a wide range of offers. Check with discount flight agents and ticket agents listed on page , as well as checking the airline websites. Many airlines share passengers across different routes, so you may find that you fly the transatlantic leg with one airline before changing to a different airline for the final leg.

Given the choice, those travelling for several months prefer to leave the return leg of a ticket open in terms of date and departing airport, because they do not know where they will end up. In reality this is not a good idea. Two one-way tickets are more expensive than a return and purchasing a ticket within Mexico is almost always more expensive than it would be from your home country. If you have a return ticket you can normally change the date and often the airport at local travel agents (at a charge).


Road


From the USA


There are a multitude of entry points from the USA, the main ones being
Tijuana
,
Nogales
,
Ciudad Juárez
,
Piedras Negras
,
Nuevo Laredo
and
Matamoros
. Details are provided in the relevant chapters. Where you cross may depend on where you wish to end up, as each entry point offers highway access to different parts of the country.

Crossing the border is simple and hassle-free for foot passengers and reasonably straightforward for people travelling with their own vehicle. All border towns have bus terminals with long-distance services.
Greyhound
runs services from border towns or from towns within the USA, such as Los Angeles or even Chicago.

If you are thinking of travelling from your own country via the USA, or of visiting the USA after Latin America, you are strongly advised to find out about any requirements from a US consulate
in your own country before travelling. Although visa requirements for air travellers with round-trip tickets to the USA have been relaxed, it is advisable to have a visa to allow entry
by land, or on airlines from South and Central America which are not participating carriers on the 'visa waiver' scheme. Since January 2009, new regulations also require you to register for your visa waiver in advance of travel. Consult the US Department of Homeland Security's online
Electronic System for Travel Authorization
(
ESTA
)
.


From
Guatemala

The main border town is
Tapachula
, with a crossing over the Talismán Bridge or at Ciudad Hidalgo. A more interesting route is via
Ciudad Cuauhtémoc
or heading northwest from Santa Elena/Flores towards
Tenosique
. There are also options for road and river travel.
Belize
The border crossing at Santa Elena is near
Chetumal
, where public transport can be arranged. A very quiet and more challenging crossing is at
Blue Creek
. Be aware that Central American border towns can be considerably more feisty than their North American counterparts - take care, especially with money changers, who tend to inundate anyone who crosses their path. In addition to exit fees, unofficial 'taxes' may also be levied against you by border officials, but are rarely very high.


This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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