VISA & Entry
Residents of the US, Canada, UK, Japan, or any country of the Schengen Area do NOT need visas. For the full list of visa requirements, click here.
However, tourist cards are required for ALL tourists. Most airlines will hand out the card during your flight, or you can fill it out in the airport when you land. If you want to learn more about the tourist card, or you want to fill out your card online in advance, click here.
Hold on to this tourist card, you’ll need it to enter and exit the country. If you lose your card, you’ll need to pay a small fee for a replacement when leaving the country.
The official currency is the Mexican Peso. Exchange rates vary, so check online for the most recent rates, but expect around 16-19 Mexican pesos for 1 USD depending on where you are. US dollars are also widely accepted in the tourist areas.
You can exchange your money at some hotels or at exchange booths (known as a “cambio”) located all around the tourist areas. Make sure you understand the quoted exchange rate, and count your cash afterwards to ensure you received the correct amount. Exchange rate scams are not common, but being careful won’t hurt.
When paying for goods & services, the US Dollar will be accepted in most tourist areas but exchange rates are usually bad, so it’s best to pay directly in pesos. Bring enough cash, and if possible, one of those credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.
Whenever possible, try to book your tickets online in advance. You won’t have to carry as much cash, and you’re more likely to get a fair price & exchange rate. Some vendors also offer discounts for online bookings.
Tipping is customary for most services in Mexico; everyone from taxi drivers to restaurant wait staff can be tipped.
Tip like you normally would in the USA or Canada. For example, if the service in a restaurant was good, a standard tip of 15% is acceptable. Just check your bill first to see if a tip has already been included.
The people who work in the tourist industry generally face long hours, and their wages are average at best. Despite this, the majority of workers who will serve you are very friendly, energetic, and helpful. As a result, good service should be rewarded with a tip, as it goes a long way in helping these people work hard to give you a great vacation.
The main airport for Riviera Maya is Cancun International Airport (CUN) which serves the entire Yucatan Peninsula, so regardless of where you’re staying, you’ll be landing here first.
From the airport, you can arrange an airport transfer over to your destination.
Language & People
Spanish is the dominant language. English is commonly spoken in certain parts, especially in tourist areas.
In the tourist areas, a large portion of the Mexican people speak very good English, so you don’t need to know Spanish to get around. However, just like anywhere else in the world, learning a few key phrases will definitely help and be appreciated by the locals.
The people of Mexico are by and large very kind, helpful and hard working. They are incredibly hospitable, and are happy to share their rich culture and beautiful country with tourists. The population of the Yucatan peninsula features people from many parts of Mexico, but the local population consists of Maya and Spanish mestizos.
Fun facts: Spanish is not the official language of Mexico. Mexico has a rich multicultural identity, so indigenous languages like Nahuatl, Yucatec Maya and Mixtec are also spoken by some segments of the population.
Cancun, Playa Del Carman, Tulum, and ALL other tourist areas along the Riviera Maya are in the Eastern Standard Time (EST), or UTC/GMT-5 hours. Daylight savings is NOT observed in this region, so keep that in mind if you’re traveling there between March and November.
The electrical outlets in Mexico are 110 volts. The same as the USA & Canada.