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Mexico Health & Safety Advice

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Health

Medical facilities and services are generally of a good standard, particularly in larger cities. Excellent health facilities are available in Mexico City. Services in more remote areas are limited. Many Mexican hospitals and doctors require payment prior to delivering service. Note: there have been many cases of complaints that tourists had been overcharged by some private hospitals as well as practitioners in various beach resorts.

Comprehensive travel medical insurance is recommended for all travelers.

Travelers to areas situated at a high altitudes (such as Mexico City - 2,231m / 7,320ft above sea level) should be aware of possible altitude sickness. Symptoms of reaction to high altitude include a lack of energy, shortness of breath, occasional dizziness, headache, and insomnia. Most people need a short adjustment period and those with heart problems should consult their doctor before traveling. Visitors to Mexico City should also be aware of high level air pollution that rises especially between December and May.

Food and Water

Water should be boiled or sterilized before drinking it or using it for making ice or brushing teeth. Bottled water is recommended. Visitors should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Ice may also come from tap water and should be used with caution.

Meat, fish and vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled before consumption. Milk should be boiled unless marked as pasteurized. Visitors should exercise caution when buying food or beverages from street vendors.

Water along some beaches (especially in or near Acapulco) may be unsafe for swimming because of contamination and cause diarrhea or other illnesses. Although water quality in public beach areas is monitored by Mexican authorities, their sampling and testing techniques sometimes don't meet high standards.

Safety

Mexico has a pretty high crime rate. Violent crime occurs often, especially in the border areas, and the states of Nuevo Leon, Guerrero, Sinaloa, Michoacan, and Durango. A lot of the criminal activity is drug - related and occurs in areas along major drug trafficking routes. Travelers should be particularly cautious when traveling to or through the border cities such as Tijuana, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, Chihuahua, Culiacán, Durango, and Juárez. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico have much lower levels of crime.

It is recommended that visitors to Mexico always leave their valuables in a safe place, like hotel safes, and avoid wearing expensive jewelry or carrying large amounts of cash. Credit cards should be used discreetly so they don't attract attention of potential pick pocketers. Documents, like passports, should also be carried in safe way to avoid them being stolen (in pockets with zipper, inside pockets etc.); this especially applies to airports. Pickpocketing is particularly popular on public transportation. There have also been significant numbers of purse snatching and hotel room theft incidents. It is highly recommended to use a money belt.

Tourist should exercise caution when using Mexico's public transportation. This especially applies to taxis, and particularly in Mexico City. Incidents of violent assaults and robberies on passengers in taxis are frequent and best avoided by ordering taxi by phone (or having hotel or restaurant arrange it) or using only taxis from established stands - the "sito" taxis.

There have also been reports of bus hijackings and robberies on buses. Travelers should avoid leaving their bags in the luggage compartment and avoid taking bus at night.


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