Mexico Travel and Tourism

Mexican bridges accepting U.S. currency again

Posted in Mexico Travel and Tourism on August 25th, 2010 by Dan1948 – 1 Comment

Early this week, toll booths on Mexico’s side of international bridges stopped accepting U.S. currency,  after Mexican banks would not accept cash deposits greater than $7,000 per month.

The issue between the banks and Mexico’s federal roads and bridges authority, also known as CAPUFE, has been resolved today. Overland travelers are now able to use U.S. currency to pay entry into the U.S. at Mexico toll booths.

To combat money laundering, Mexico’s Finance Ministry, set a limit to cash deposits for individuals and companies. That limit applied to CAPUFE, as well, but the federal agency received an exemption.

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Pesos only when crossing from Mexico into Texas

Posted in Mexico Travel and Tourism on August 24th, 2010 by Dan1948 – 1 Comment

Anyone crossing back into Texas from Mexico, on foot or by car, should be aware that the toll booths on the Mexico side are no longer accepting U.S. currency. Please make sure you have pesos to pay the tolls when coming back; otherwise, after waiting in line, you will have to go back to exchange your dollars for pesos. The recent change is due to a new banking regulation in Mexico which does not allow anyone to deposit more than $7,000 U.S. per month. Caminos y Puentes, the agency responsible for collecting the tolls, deposits about $20,000 per day. The Mexico government has implemented this new law in order to help combat money laundering. They are working on resolving this issue, but in the meantime, please make sure you have pesos on hand before getting to the bridge to come back into the U.S.

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New Consular Fees in Effect on July 13, 2010

Posted in Mexico Travel and Tourism on July 8th, 2010 by Dan1948 – 7 Comments

The Department of State published its Schedule of Fees for Consular Services in the Federal Register.  The schedule includes fees for passports, immigrant visas and other consular services. The changes will take effect on July 13, 15 days after publication in the Federal Register. The revised fees will cover actual operating expenses for the 301 overseas consular posts, 23 domestic passport agencies and other centers that provide these consular services to U.S. and foreign citizens.

For more info. on the new fee schedule, passport and other Consular fees please visit: http://travel.state.gov/news/news_5078.html

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IMPORTANT MESSAGE – Highway 8 Census Poll

Posted in Mexico Travel and Tourism on May 27th, 2010 by Dan1948 – Comments Off

The Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT in Spanish) will conduct a census poll on Highway 8 between Sonoyta and Puerto Peñasco where motorist will be asked Origin-Destination information on their trip and commercial vehicles will be weighed. The company doing this work is conducting this poll on ALL Highways in the States of Sonora and Chihuahua under contract from the Secretary.

They had planned to conduct this census from the 24th until 28th of May but because of the latest incidents in the news, they have agreed to postpone it starting next Monday the 31st in the afternoon to set up equipment and the actual polling at 11:59 PM until Friday June 4th at midnight. This is a 24 hour operation.

Signs will be placed one mile before the polling station and the personnel will be wearing the proper highway vests and identification.

Please find the following attachments: Sample road sign
The official letter and translation from the SCT: http://www.scribd.com/doc/32068520/SCT

I urge you to post this information on you social networks and publications ASAP to prevent any misunderstandings.

Respectfully,
Arq. Fausto Soto
International Relations and Tourism
City of Puerto Peñasco

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Consulate’s warning for Rocky Point unsubstantiated

Posted in Mexico Travel and Tourism on May 25th, 2010 by Dan1948 – 13 Comments

Business leaders in Puerto Penasco, commonly known as Rocky Point, met on Monday to discuss the backlash of calls and emails received as a result of the warning that specifically mentioned dangers (such as “Fake” checkpoint) on Highway 8, the road to this popular beach resort town. According to the director of Mexico’s Federal Highway Patrol, no incidents like those discussed in the warning have occurred.

The AFI, which is like the Federal Investigative Agency, has also denied any knowledge of problems along Highway 8. Local police chief Erick Landagaray expressed surprise that the Consulate would issue a warning without so much as a thread of truth to it, without first consulting with his office. The Attorneys General at the State as well as Federal level have also said there is no basis for the claims of violence on the road to Puerto Penasco.

According to the American business community, it seems that warning posted by the U.S. Consulate has violated their own policy of not relying solely on unsubstantiated rumors, which in the process has harmed an entire community, many of whom are Americans.

Read the entire article here.

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Mexico: A decade later, a decade safer

Posted in Mexico Travel and Tourism on March 29th, 2010 by Dan1948 – 7 Comments

Due to the overwhelming amount of negative publicity the country of Mexico has to endure because of the drug violence, it has become easy to overlook that there has been a decline in violent homicides over the past decade. This means that tourists in Mexico, as well as locals, may actually be safer than many believe. How can this be? The difference is the media. Today the U.S. media battles for ratings so newsworthy events filled with sex, drugs and violence take center stage.

With a population that exceeds 8.84 million people, it is interesting to know that Mexico City’s homicide rate today is about even with Los Angeles and is less than a third of that for Washington, D.C., yet many vacationing Americans have decided to steer clear of Mexico. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, drug violence and the swine flu outbreak contributed to a 12.5% decline in air travel to Mexico by U.S. citizens in 2009.

Another fact that has become easy to overlook about the drug cartels is that they originated in Central and South America but have worked their base camps as far north to the U.S. as possible. Mexico, Colombia and Haiti are the only countries in the hemisphere subject to a U.S. government advisory warning travelers about violence, even though homicide rates in many Latin American countries are far higher.

As stated by the Public Safety Secretary, Genaro Garcia Luna, Mexico’s homicide rate has fallen steadily from of 17 per 100,000 people in 1997 to 14 per 100,000 in 2009, a year marked by an unprecedented spate of drug slayings concentrated in a few states and cities. In 2007 the national rate hit its lowest number of 10 per 100,000 people, according to government figures compiled by the Independent Citizens’ Institute for Crime Studies.

By comparison, Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala have homicide rates of between 40 and 60 per 100,000 people, according to recent government statistics. Colombia was close behind with a rate of 33 in 2008. Brazil’s was 24 in 2006, the last year when national figures were available.

A very interesting number to look at is Mexico City’s rate, which was about 9 per 100,000 in 2008, while Washington, D.C. was more than 30 that year.

The violence, homicides and cruel assassinations, which fill the pages of our media, make us feel that there has been much more violence in Mexico since this war against drug trafficking began in 2006. Mexico’s reported violence is often more shocking than elsewhere in Latin America because powerful cartels go to extremes to intimidate their rivals and the government. Although bystanders sometimes get caught in the crossfire, the vast majority of victims are drug suspects. Mexico has the same problems with corrupt police, gang violence and poverty as other Latin American countries with higher homicide rates.

However, some believe the downward trend is attributed to a general improvement in Mexico’s quality of life. More Mexican nationals have joined the ranks of the middle class in the past two decades, while education levels and life expectancy have also risen.

Before traveling in any foreign land, tourists should always plan their trip and do plenty of research. Once abroad, stay away from seedy areas and places you normally wouldn’t visit back home.

The country of Mexico has so much to offer, be it ancient pyramids, exotic foods and culture, or it’s over 500 beautiful beaches.

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Daylight Savings Time

Posted in Mexico Travel and Tourism on March 18th, 2010 by Dan1948 – 12 Comments

Daylight Savings Time is upon us and had also taken effect in certain Mexico areas. When purchasing your Sanborn’s Mexico Insurance, be aware that the hour indicated that your policy becomes active/inactive will be compliant with U.S. Daylight Saving Time at the border where you cross.

For most of Mexico, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in April. On the last Sunday in October areas on Daylight Saving Time fall back to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m., with the exception of the state of Sonora which does not observe daylight saving time.

New for this year, ten cities in Mexico which share the border with the United States have received approval from the Congress in Mexico who passed legislation to change their daylight saving time pattern to that of the U.S.

Below are the northern border towns in Mexico that have already begun to experience the Daylight Savings Program:

City, State
Acuña, Coahuila
Anahuac, Nuevo Leon
Juarez, Chihuahua
Matamoros, Tamaulipas
Mexicali, Baja California
Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
Ojinaga, Chihuahua
Piedras Negras, Coahuila
Reynosa, Tamaulipas
Tijuana, Baja California

All the counties located within a 20 kilometers radius of the International line, as well as Ensenada in Baja California the Daylight Savings Program will apply at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March, and will end at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November.

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The Riviera Maya

Posted in Mexico Travel and Tourism on March 15th, 2010 by Dan1948 – 13 Comments

The Riviera Maya is a tourism district following Highway 400 along the coastline of Quintana Roo, Mexico. This district historically started at the city of Playa del Carmen and ended at the village of Tulum. Although the towns of Puerto Morelos, situated further north, and the town of Felipe Carrillo, located further south, are both currently being promoted as part of the Riviera Maya.

This entire district is famous for its large-scale, all-inclusive resorts and smaller boutique hotel. Luxury travel entities have been instrumental in increasing luxury villa rentals and yacht charters in the area; however, these only represent a small fraction of the total tourism accommodations available. Tourists of all budgets will be able to find clean and updated accommodations in the Riviera Maya.

The major attractions throughout the Riviera Maya are the beautiful coastal water and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (aka Belize Barrier Reef), which begins near Cancun and continues along the whole length of the Riviera Maya continuing southward to Guatemala. This barrier reef system is the second longest in the world. Activities at the most visited locations include jet skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming with dolphins, zip-lining, horseback riding, and guided jungle tours. Archeology is also a big tourist draw in the area, including the popular Tulum, Xcaret and Xel-Ha sites.

Another very popular activity is swimming in cenotes. Cenotes are large sinkholes that occur in these limestone regions exposing a network of underground rivers. The cenote water temperature stays at 76 °F year round while coastal waters range from 78 °F in January to 84 °F in August. In 2008, the Quintana Roo Speleological Society reported more than 700 km of flooded cave passages within the limits of the Riviera Maya. The groundwater resources are accessed via the thousands of cenotes throughout the Riviera Maya.

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Spring Break is here. Let’s go to Rocky Point!

Posted in Mexico Travel and Tourism on March 9th, 2010 by Dan1948 – 6 Comments

Puerto Peñasco a.k.a. Rocky Point, Mexico is a popular destination for many students during Spring Break. It is located in northern Sonora 60 miles from the US border and it is accessible by car. It is cheaper than any other US location and less crowded.

The Rocky Point Tourism office assures it is a safe place to visit and the local government is working 24 hours a day to back up this statement. They have arranged for more roadside assistance, and for all visitors of Rocky Point, there will now be 24-hour assistance in the event of an emergency. Within half an hour of receiving a call, a bilingual volunteer will come out to assist to make any process less confusing and hopefully less frustrating for visitors. You just need to call this local number: (638) 388-8207 or if you are calling from an American cell phone dial (602) 512-1601.

During Spring Break, city and state police will have more bilingual officers on the streets and patrols are being stepped up along the highways and in Rocky Point. The majority of accidents that occur at this Spring Break destination are caused by individuals driving under the influence of alcohol. Travelers should exercise particular caution on unpaved roads, especially beach areas.

Rocky Point lies within the Mexican free-trade zone, so no special car permits are required. However, drivers are required to carry Mexico auto insurance since U.S. auto insurance is not valid in Mexico. If you have an accident and do not have your Mexico auto insurance, you could be detained and your car impounded. So contact us to be protected by the best: www.sanbornsinsurance.com or call 1-800-222-0158.

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal safety while traveling.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html

So come and enjoy this beautiful city where the desert meets the sea!

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U.S. Tour of Ballet Folklórico de México

Posted in Mexico Travel and Tourism on March 2nd, 2010 by Dan1948 – 10 Comments

The Mexico Tourism Board is a sponsor of the Ballet Folklórico de México’s 2010 U.S. tour. The internationally acclaimed dance troop, originally called Ballet Moderno de Mexico, began in 1952 by Amalia Hernandez with only eight dancers. The troupe now includes more than 75 of the Mexico’s most talented folk dancers, and has garnered more than 200 international awards.

“We are proud to once again be promoting Mexico’s legendary Ballet Folklórico and their visionary interpretations of some of Mexico’s destinations and heritage,” said Mariana Pedrero, Director of the Mexico Tourism Board’s New York Office. “This year’s program is a clear example of how dance can embody the richness of a culture and provide powerful imagery worthy of Amalia Hernandez’s work and Mexico’s revolutionary spirit.”

Highlights of the new program will be Dioses Aztecas (Aztec Gods), a piece that has not been performed outside Mexico in many years due to the complexity of its staging. Other new additions to the program include The Feather Dance and The Jarabes, two dances from the southern state of Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s most culturally rich states. Other dances include an homage to the central-western state of Jalisco, where most tequila is produced and where both the cowboy tradition of charrería and mariachi music were born; and El Gusto, a Mexican tap dance from the Pacific coastal state of Guerrero. And the Revolution of 1910-1917 will be celebrated through its female fighters, the soldaderas, who joined the war for democracy along with the men, in a piece called Revolución. Audiences can see Ballet Folklórico de México’s magic in the U.S. in 55 shows in 42 cities all in just 10 weeks. Supporting the dancers will be 15 musicians performing onstage, including a mariachi band playing a selection of Mexico’s best-known sones, or songs.

Mexico Tourism Board, www.magicofmexico.com

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