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Map of Zacatecas, Mexico, Vintage restoration hardware home Deco Style old wall reproduction map print. Tourists are often warned about travelling on roads at night. Although bandidos are rare in more metropolitan areas, err on the side of caution in more rural areas. The best bet is to drive during only daylight hours. Cattle, dogs, and other animals also can appear on the roadway unexpectedly, so if you do have to drive at night, be very cautious.
If possible, follow a bus or truck that seems to be driving safely. Foreign drivers' licenses are recognized and recommended. Speeding tickets are common, and to ensure your presence at the hearing, the officer may choose to keep your license. He is within his rights to do so.
Beware though, police officers are known to keep driver's licenses until they are given a bribe. At petrol gas stations, make sure the pump is zeroed out before the attendant begins pumping your gas so that you don't end up paying more than you should. There is only one brand of gas station Pemex and prices are generally the same regardless of location, so don't bother shopping around. Good maps are invaluable and the Mexico maps included in "North American Road Atlas" books are worse than useless.
The Guia Roji maps are particularly good. Mexico is a large country, and with the low-cost revolution that started in following the break up of the CINTRA monopoly, new budget airlines had came in and expanded, offering competitive fares that rival bus travel over long distances. With increased fuel costs, the bargain days may be gone, but the prices are still more reasonable than when CINTRA operated Mexicana and Aeromexico, as a monopoly, before Major airlines hubs for all or several of the airlines are in Mexico City , Toluca , Guadalajara , Cancun and Monterrey.
There are additional point to point services from several other cities. If traveling by bus, be sure to take the express first class buses directo, sin escalas, primera clase , if available. First class directo, sin escalas, primera clase buses are usually direct routes and are the best option for most.
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Others may even offer a drink and a little snack. First class buses travel over longer distances between cities use toll freeways where available.
They may make scheduled stops semi-directo at specific bus stations en route otherwise they make no stops en-route sin escalas. Other buses such as the second class economico, ordinario, local buses may be very similar to first class only they travel along secondary highways through cities, towns and villages and stop anywhere along the road on request.
Second class bus routes are typically shorter and will take considerably longer to travel over longer distances such as from Cancun to Mexico City with multiple stops and multiple transfers, it is not worth the few pesos saved over first class buses. They are fine for more local travel, such as between Cancun and Playa del Carmen or to somewhere along the highway in between.
In other places they may be more frequent and more available than first class such as going to Zempoala town from Veracruz city. Some of the second class buses may even be chicken buses polleros in rural, off the beaten track, places. When acquiring tickets for the bus, the local custom is that the passenger comes to the terminal and buys the ticket for next available bus going to the desired destination with first and deluxe class buses unless it is during busy travel times such as Easter and Christmas. During busy travel times tickets can be booked one or two days in advance online or at the station.
With second class buses, tickets can be purchased at the station within 2 hours of a departure, no advance reservations prior, at the beginning of a route or the fare paid to the driver if picked up from along side of the road. The major bus companies offering these kind of services are:. The above are major bus lines traversing much of the country with some crossing the border into the U. No bus company holds a large market share nationwide like Greyhound in the U. There are over other companies and drivers' unions operating buses not listed in the above which you will find once there or see or add to the specific articles of a region, city or town.
On the other hand if traveling within a city, you won't find a pleasant surprise. You will find one of the most chaotic public transport systems full of the popular "peseros". Usually the route taken is written on cardboard attached to the windshield or with wet and than dried soap or chalk on the windshield listing the local colonias neighborhoods and points of interest Wal Mart, Costco, malls, hospitals, universities, etc. Unlike in many countries, bus stops are uncommon and you are expect to signal the bus to pick you up and drop you off wherever you want.
You will rarely find a stop button in a pesero; just shout the word "baja! In the state of Jalisco there are a couple of lines which travel from the state capital city of Guadalajara to the nearby tequila distilleries in the small town of Amatitlan on the Tequila Express [dead link] and to the Jose Cuervo distilleries in the town of Tequila on the Jose Cuervo Express.
The latter two from Guadalajara are tourist trains offering tours of the tequila distilleries, and not a form of transportation to get to those towns. It may be possible to hop aboard or on top of freight cars in some parts of the country if you happen to be an adventurer as many migrants traveling from Central America to the USA are doing this.
The prospect of hopping the freight is dangerous due to the lack of restraints which results in falling off, getting run over by the wheels, getting hit by an oncoming train if fallen into the wrong spot , or being robbed by bandits along the way. That being said, there have been talks of expanding suburban rail services in several cities and high-speed passenger services, but no plans have materialized as of May One upside of the high petroleum prices is that hitching is beginning to be more common in Mexico again, particularly the rural areas.
In areas near big cities, hitching should be more difficult, and is not really advisable for security reasons. However, in village areas, this will be really possible and most likely a nice experience. Since villagers have always had a hard time affording gas, and nowadays many are turning to picking up paying hitchhikers as a way to afford the next trip into town. Baja California, the Sierra Tarahumara and Oaxaca and Chiapas all have good possibilities for the hitchhiker.
Hitchhiking possibilities vary according to region. Mexican culture is often accepting of hitchhiking and it's a common practice among Mexican youngsters going to the beach in Easter vacations, though in some cases a money contribution is expected for gas because of its relatively high prices.
You should make it clear that you have no money to offer before accepting the ride, if this is the case. If you're willing to pay, trucks will often provide lifts for about half the price of a bus ticket. Of course you may be able to negotiate a better deal. Spanish is the de facto national language. Spanish is used by virtually the whole population and all public communications signs, documents, media, etc. Mexico has one of the richest diversity of more than 60 indigenous languages spoken with official recognition.
These languages are spoken within the communities that are largely segregated from mainstream mestizo society. Most of these communities are fluent in Spanish as well.
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English is understood by many in Mexico City as well as by some tourist workers in popular tourist places, but nevertheless, many Mexicans do not speak English. German, French, and Russian may be known by some in the tourism industry, but among clerks, policemen, and drivers most particularly the last there is basically no such thing as knowledge of foreign languages. Bilingual signs in Spanish and English might be available in popular tourist destinations. Most of them are in the cultural category and relate to either the pre-Columbian civilizations in the area or to early cities established by the Spanish conquistadores and missionaries.
Much of Mexico is mountainous with some mountains rising higher than 5, m over the sea level. Mexico is on the border of two bioregions; both North American wildlife and Central and South American wildlife can be seen in the country. Exchange rates fluctuate. Current rates for these and other currencies are available from XE. It is divided into centavos.
How to call Mexico from the USA or from Canada:
Coins are issued in 5, 10 steel , 20, 50 centavo brass; new centavo coins issued from on are steel and smaller in size and 1, 2, 5 steel ring, brass center , 10, 20, 50, and peso brass ring, steel or silver center denominations, but it's extremely rare to find coins valued at more than 10 pesos. Banknotes are produced in 20 pesos blue , 50 pink-red , red , green , brown , and 1, purple and pink for the latest issue, purple for older issues denominations. The current issue of 20, 50 and peso bills are made from polymer plastic, and there are several different series of all banknotes.
Ten-peso notes exist, but are very rare and no longer issued and accepted. Merchants may accept US dollars at a lower exchange rate. US dollars are widely accepted in the far north and in tourist locales elsewhere.