Nobody likes to put their foot in it – especially in a foreign country. But sometimes this is not so easy if you are not familiar with the culture and habits. We have put together some hints for newbies in Mexico to avoid awkward situations.
Mexico Code of Conduct
For employees in mexican hotels and restaurants, tipping is an essential income. For carrying a suitcase, for example, a dollar or two is appropriate. Please also leave a few dollars for the chambermaid before checking out of your hotel room – for many of them, it’s the only source of income.
In restaurants, ten to fifteen percent of the invoice amount is common as a tip. In some restaurants the tip is already included in the price, the menu provides information about this. But again, also in this case the staff would be happy about a little recognition.
If you are shopping in a supermarket and after you pay someone helps you to store your stuff in a bag, please give them some pesos. This job is usually done by either very young or older persons. They do not earn any salary and have to make their living with the tips.
It should be a matter of course – but we would still like to mention it again: If you want to take pictures of Mexican people or other strangers, you should definitely ask for permission in advance. No matter how beautiful traditional clothes they wear – a photo invades people’s privacy and must by no means be taken without their consent.
In museums, archaeological and historical sites, flash and tripod are generally prohibited. Compliance with this type of ban is very closely controlled in Mexico.
For Mexicans, courtesy and respect are very important – much more important as they are in Europe or other industrialized countries for example. You should never use a discriminatory term for the inhabitants. Also the magic words “Please” and “Thank you” are very helpful, especially when accompanied by a binding smile.
Mexicans are very family-oriented people who, out of politeness, address their own parents formally (“Usted“) in most families. The family is sacred, and one should not even complain about noisy children, as they represent something very important to Mexicans.
Due to the mild to tropical climate, light clothing is recommended for a holiday in Mexico. During the winter months you might need a light jacket in the evening or at night.
When visiting a restaurant you should wear appropriate clothing. More elegant restaurants and nightclubs have a dress code and in the wrong clothes (for example beachwear or shorts) one is simply refused admittance.
When visiting cathedrals or museums you should also pay attention to adequate clothing. Shorts and uncovered shoulders are not welcome in religious places at all, Mexicans are very conservative in this respect.
For trips, comfortable footwear and a sun hat are advisable.
It is completely unthinkable in Mexico, as in most countries on this planet, that ladies take their sunbath “topless”. It might be tolerated in some tourist places. However, the lady in question will be seen by all locals as a fancy lady and the beach section will unceremoniously fill up with all Mexican men who have nothing else to do and will enjoy the spectacle with a bottle of beer in their hand. Our recommendation to female tourists is therefore: Please wear both parts of your bikini!
This, too, should be self-evident: Waste must be disposed of in appropriate containers at the designated locations. In nature, on the beach or in the ruin cities of ancient cultures, tourist waste has no place.
Plastic waste is by no means left wherever-it will still be there in thousands of years. In the meantime, it will kill animals and enrich our food chain as microplastics. Please always dispose of your plastic waste in a suitable way, never in the great outdoors or even in the sea!
You already packed and are ready to head to Mexico? Probably the list of places you want to see is very long. Maybe this article about Domestic travelling and transportation in Mexico might be helpful.
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