How do I stay healthy while traveling?

Most people who are afraid they will get sick in Mexico usually do. This doesn’t mean you’ll get sick…plenty of people visit Mexico every yearand stay perfectly healthy! However, there are ways to help prevent getting “Montezuma’s Revenge.” First and foremost, do not drink the tap water. Purified water is sold throughout Mexico and is available in all restaurants and hotels. Some of the more exclusive hotels in resort areas have purified tap water, but bottled water is always recommended. Food in Mexico is extremely tasty and also very fresh. Due to the freshness, as well as the variety, visitors often get sick as their stomachs are not accustomed to the new dishes. Be careful with what you eat but also be open to trying flavorful new dishes (perhaps not on your first day). If you do get sick while in Mexico, be sure to continue drinking lots of water and stay away from natural diuretics such as pineapple, papaya, as well as citrus fruits. Apples and guayabas, as well as plain rice and bread, are good to eat. If you continue to be sick after about two or three days, or if you have a temperature, see if you can visit a doctor. If you need to buy prescription medicine while in Mexico, be sure to know what the active ingredient is as the medical brand names vary. Interestingly, many prescription medicines in the US do not require a prescription in Mexico and are less expensive. However, it is not recommended to purchase unfamiliar medicine without a prescription.

Are there any shots that I need to get to travel in Mexico?
There are no particular shots that are required for travel in Mexico. You do not need any shots to travel to Rocky Point, Mata Ortiz, or Cuernavaca. In the more tropical regions of Mexico (Chiapas, Quintana Roo) visitors may want to have Malaria pills, as well as shots against Hepatitis B and Typhoid. Check with your doctor to see what he/she recommends.

What type of clothing should I take?
Appropriate packing will of course vary on your destination and time of the year. Though people tend to think of Mexico as a warm country, it is not warm all the time nor in every region! In Rocky Point the winters can be quite chilly so bring sweaters or light jackets. Likewise, since Mata Ortiz is located on the high plains of northern Chihuahua it can be very cold there in the winter – you may even see snow. In the summer, however, Northern Mexico tends to have very hot summers (May-September). In Rocky Point the high temperatures throughout from summer are accompanied by high humidity. Always remember to drink a lot of water!! If you travel further into Mexico keep in mind that central Mexico tends to be warmer year-round though the winters can be chilly especially in high-altitude areas. Southern Mexico is warm year-round with what can be extreme rainy seasons throughout the summer and into early fall. Comfortable clothing and walking shoes are recommended for all of Mexico. In the fall and winter months a good jacket or sweater is a must in most regions (and sometimes even gloves, scarves, etc.). In the summer it is recommended to pack a small umbrella. In addition, if you plan on going out dancing or to enjoy the night life be sure to bring some nice casual clothes with you. People tend to dress up for going out in the majority of cities in Mexico.

What is the best way to carry or access money?
In many resort beach towns or border towns, (such as Puerto Peñasco) they will often accept US dollars in addition to Mexican pesos. In Mata Ortiz you may also pay in both dollars and pesos. In most major cities you may exchange dollars or traveler’s checks at banks or casas de cambio. Keep in mind, however, that a passport is required in order to change traveler’s checks in most banks. ATMs (cajeros) are readily available in most major cities throughout Mexico. Interestingly, the exchange rate is pretty good and most banks have either no or a low service charge. If you fly to Mexico, it is recommended not to exchange your money in the US but rather wait until you arrive in Mexico for a better rate. Many banks in the US will charge you a high commission fee and not give you a very good exchange rate. Wire services, such as Western Union, are also readily available throughout the country though they tend to charge high commission fees and do not always respect the official exchange rate.

How about coming back into the US?
If you have driven further into Mexico – past the free zone – be sure to stop in at the office where you purchased the driving permit so it can be removed. If you are driving from Rocky Point you do not need to do this as a permit is not required for that distance. Declare all agriculture items or anything else you may have purchased in Mexico. The following items are prohibited to bring back into the US: sugarcane, potatoes, yams, avocados with seeds, plants and seeds, pork, cold cuts, any raw meats, eggs, and wild and domesticated birds. You are also allowed to bring back 100 cigars, 200 cigarettes, 1 liter of alcohol per person (over 21), and medicine with a prescription only. In addition, some artwork purchased in Mexico must have a stamp declaring “made in Mexico” for which stickers may be bought in some paper supply stores in Mexico.

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