you see yourself, I once saw myself; as you see me now, you will be
MOST POPULOUS SPANISH COUNTRY
is the most populous Spanish-
speaking country in the world. According to the latest statistics, México's total population
is over 99 million. Mestizos, of Indian and Spanish blood),
make up 60%
of the population, followed by indigenous peoples
(9%), and other ethnic minorities
Carnaval in Mazatlan
and locals scream, sing, shout and dance amid confetti and ribbons.
Bands of all kinds play the infectious rhythms of the State of Sinaloa.
And the food–oh, the food–camarones (shrimp) prepared in
every way possible, washed down with ice cold Pacifico beer, for it’s
Carnaval Time, Mazatlán’s biggest pachanga (fiesta).
by Bob Brooke
ENTERING AND LEAVING:
Everyone who visits
Mexico must have a tourist card (actually a small paper form), available
free from travel agents, airlines, and Mexican Government Tourist
Offices and valid for six months. The card must be accompanied by proof
of citizenship–either a valid passport, birth certificate,
naturalization certificate, or voter registration card. Keep the copy of
the tourist card with you throughout your trip. Both the tourist card
and proof of citizenship must be shown when leaving the country.
The currency of Mexico is
the peso. The best exchange rate is always at the airport in Mexico
City, however, exchange booths and hotels have similar rates. There’s
no need to go to a bank to exchange money, the difference is not worth
the time. Though traveler's checks and major credit cards are widely
accepted in major resorts, they aren’t in small towns. Gasoline cannot
be purchased with a credit card. You must pay in pesos.
Mexico has a Value Added Tax (VAT), which adds 15 percent to all goods and services except surface
transportation. A fluctuating domestic airport tax is also charged on
separate flights within Mexico, but not on those connected to
international flights. Be advised that long-distance phone calls are
subject to a 39 percent federal tax. Use a phone card or call collect.
Everyone who goes to
Mexico thinks they'll get sick. Many do. While it used to be blamed on
the water, in most cases today visitors get sick because of
overindulgence in the rich food. For the first 24 hours of your trip,
eat as you would at home, avoiding hot and spicy foods and all tropical
fruits, especially papaya. As for beverages, drink beer or sodas (they
are always served cold), coffee or tea. Avoid unpeeled fruits and food
sold by street vendors. All major hotels have water purification
systems. Before departure, you may want to purchase acidophilus tablets
(yogurt cultures) at a health food store and take two a day to
build up the bacteria in your digestive tract. All hotels have doctors
on call should you get sick.