Mexico Don’ts

  • Do not use words “No”, or “I don’t know”, as saying “no” is a no-no in Mexico, they feel betrayed, unsupportive and rude. So use the hedge words, or find excuses and say “thank you” over and over again.
  • Do not bring drugs to Mexico. The repercussions of getting caught with drugs in Mexico can stuck you in a Mexican jail.
  • Do not drive without liability insurance. The law requires you to have minimum liability insurance for driving in Mexico.
  • Do not be on time for home visit. Showing up early or on time is considered rude. Arriving about 30 minutes late is appropriate. However, in business, it’s smart to be on time, even if you are kept waiting by your Mexican business associates.
  • Do not wear shorts if you wish to blend in. Aside from beaches and northern areas, shorts are seldom worn by Mexicans.
  • Do not drink water from the tap. The drinking water in Mexico is not drinkable. Buy bottled purified water to drink.
  • Do not wear expensive, extravagant clothing, jewelry and take large sums of money.
  • Do not go to a timeshare presentation unless you are really interested in. Be aware of Mexican Timeshare Fraud.
  • Do not wear t-shirts or flip-flops in business. Dress smart for business. A suit and tie for men, and conservative dresses for women.

Mexico Do’s

  • Do learn a few Spanish phrases before you go. Do say “salud!” when someone sneezes. To not do so is considered rude.
  • Do lock your passport, cash, and credit cards in a hotel safe. Do practice general safety precautions from being targeted by thieves and pickpockets.
  • Do photocopy your passport and leave one copy with family or friends at home and pack a second copy to take with you, making sure it is in a separate suitcase from your original passport.
  • Do shake hands upon meeting someone. Hugs are often shared among friends, as well as a light kiss on the cheek for women.
  • Do bring small denomination currency. U.S. dollars are accepted throughout the country, having plenty of $1’s, $5’s and $10’s is the perfect way to pay for goods and services in Mexico.
  • Do be patient and moderate your expectations, the mañana attitude still prevail to some degree in Mexico.
  • Do put sun cream before going out. The sun is very strong in Mexico, so use sunscreen on any exposed skin, even if you’re not on the beach. Use waterproof sun creams in pool or beach.
  • Do take off sunglasses and hats if entering a church.
  • Do rest your wrists on the edge of the table while dining. Do understand that only men give toasts in Mexican culture.
  • Do leave a little bit of food on your plate when you are done, and indicate that you are finished eating by putting your knife and fork across your plate with the prongs going downwards and the handles facing right.
  • Do tip with 10% – 20% of service charge.
  • Do open a gift upon receipt. Do bring flowers or sweets for your host, but do not give red flowers or marigolds. White flowers make a nice gift.
  • Do be fashionably late! Thirty minutes late is appropriate. Arriving early or even on time is considered rude.