Mexico Logistics

MY Other page than this talks about dental treatment
This is about the logistics of travel to Mexico, mostly Yucatan, IE
Cancun, a major destination there
“Plan At leisure- Jump at good fares”

Also see this page for generic travel tech info

For better or worse, a reliable Smartphone is indispensable
Secure it with any or all of PIN, Touch-ID or Face ID
Check its battery life. If capacity (not Charge- Capacity!) is below 80% it will let you down. I Prefer iPhone.  Be sure it can go at least 4-5 hrs and that you know how to get it into low power mode and turn off unneeded things like Bluetooth, Push Notifications, etc.
 you can get a battery boost pack for about $15 from Amazon
sort by price. Expect tech to misbehave especially smart devices in any extreme heat

Use these Sites

Get their Apps and LOG IN to them; PRACTICE using them AT HOME

  • App: Google Maps
    Sign in with a Google account and pin and annotate places
  •  App: XE
    Foreign  Exchange & load your currencies in it for easy conversions
  • and App: Same
    for accommodation, Create accounts and try them out.
  •  App: ADO
    Mexican federal (inter city) bus lines- Only in Spanish! Practice!
    Quite luxurious apart from always having ‘soaps’ (TV-Novellas in Spanish) running.
    Aircon, tinted windows, booked seats and sometimes wifi & USB charge sockets, Comfortable!


  • Frontier and Spirit from San Francisco have good fares 
    due to volume and being “No Frills”- other airports like Sacramento, Reno etc are Okay but between major points involves least changes and lowest fares I use
    and “Set Alerts” to your Email address for Price Deals
    ONE carry on bag allowed free for under seat 18″ x 14″ x 8″ but check. “Extra” bags like $60.00
    Mexico is so hot I only wear thin pants, shorts T shirts and sandals.
    So I Go Cheap.
  • Even once tiny Tulum now has an airport & some Deals (!)
  • I usually go DIRECTLY to the Airline site mentioned to book unless it costs more- which it can- and buy one way. Theoretically you may be denied Boarding without a return ticket but I have never seen that,
  • Book your Return no less than a week from its date as they seem to go up within 7 days of departure.
  • No savings for round trips, I find. But Do Not Trust Me On That
  • Passport and anything else like residence permits to get onto Mexico and back home required with expiration well in the future sometimes up to a year!
  • 30 days entry without Visa- but CHECK!

 Act at Own Risk here : ) but I have learned a lot from watching fare drifts over weeks and travel requirement “blogs”



& keeping a low profile help; always compare the safety of where you are going to where you are.- violent crime hits the headlines from Mexico because, well, Mexico.. 🇲🇽 though in my opinion it’s less extreme or common in tourist resorts than in many reguLAR US cities.

 Try all these things well before leaving

  • Always have more than one way of paying and take some dollars cash say about $100 in $10-$20 bills. Easier to change but at a crappier rate. Often accepted ‘as is’ at a -~5% printed rate
  • Take several debit/credit cards, and get used to a money belt or sling; use their App to block mislaid or stolen cards til you know which is which.
  • Try REVOLUT.COM‘s Debit card for minimal transaction fees
  • Tell your bank or whoever where you are going or they may Block the card for ‘suspicious’ activity- sometimes their App permits this
  • Credit cards in general may give a better rate FOR PURCHASES than ATM debit withdrawals do FOR CASH-
    Do NOT use Credit cards for cash withdrawal! It’s called a Cash Advance and attracts just silly fees
    Either card though may involve :
    – A commission like 1% or more from your home bank
    – a Convenience Fee at your bank end
    – Big Fat Cash Advance Fee for Credit Card Use at ATM (Don’t)
    – an ATM fee at the Mexican end. Trial and Error!
    Should not need to pay more than $2 US (In MX currency!) 
    to use an ATM.
    You can Try your card- It will tell you BEFORE dispensing what to expect in local currency.
  • Always choose Local Currency, DO NOT let the machine offer you a dollar amount to withdraw in local currency- you will get a rotten rate! (this ‘feature’ seems to be less common than it was)
  • Know how many dollars’ worth ahead of time you want in local currency and ask for THAT- 2024: MX$:1000 pesos =$60.00 US
  • Confusingly- the Mexican Peso symbol like the US dollar is:$
    Sometimes marked MX$, sometimes not : )
  • I try to use ATMs WITHIN banks while they’re open as a security measure. I don’t much trust standalone ATM machines  as they can be interfered with more.
  • DO NOT leave the card in the ATM slot any longer than you have to;  If you spend more than about 10 seconds when it wants to give it back whether it beeps or not the atm will EAT IT and you will NOT get it back – a security Measure, Okay.
  • IMPORTANT set a FOUR digit PIN code as Most of Mexico does not yet accept longer PINs!
  • I  tend to ‘scribe’ the 3 digit CVV number onto the back of the cards with a pin as you can then read it when held up to the light in reflection- then scrub the actual one- this way a thief will not readily have that vital info. and SIGN it.
  • I use Apple’s WALLET “Tap & Pay” app which is common in MX as well as the App for the card or bank you are carrying.
    This works for vendors but not at ATMs. they must have a Card,
    Card itself usually can be tapped to Pay too though.
  • ALWAYS check the amount shown on the device- Vendor typically hand you  the (portable, calculator-like) machine for the PIN AND make a printed receipt –
    I keep this to check exchange rates, bank charges, etc|
  • Spanish: “Effectivo” means Cash. Remoter Places want to surcharge 5% if you use a card, and small street vendors and very remote places only want cash anyway.
    Have small change and low value notes & coins  for LOCAL bus rides.

Cell Service
You can pay in your own county to Roam- a Pretty Penny.
 Go Local Like the Locals.

Be comfortable with being able to remove your phone’s SIM card
(a tiny chip that authenticates your subscription to Verizon, etc), back Home.  Pop it out with a pin- dont force it.
TAPE the ORIGINAL inside your protective case (you have one right?)

In Mexico the major carrier is TELCEL
Look for their stores in larger cities:
“TELCEL Service” and not “TELCEL Venda”
Google It on maps. The second are franchises, cost more and are less likely to understand what you want and may not be able to issue a fresh Simm. Recharging is easy at little stores. You will see OXXO everywhere,

You will need a passport or ID as you do for stays to buy a SIMM;
Pay MX:75 Pesos – about  $5 for a SIM with 500mb of data on it and woohoo a Mexican phone  number for unlimited texting and calls!
 Data Expires after 30 days, eSIMs are NOT avialable for Pay as you Go and only Mexican Residents and nations can get a prepaid plan with eSim. Be sure your phone even accepts a physical SIM- Modern ones DO NOT. Perhaps ideally bring one of your OLD phones? : )
You can top up 4GB of Data for 300 pesos- about $18 at present rates

Cancun Airport has horrible wifi and for some reason they don’t seem to sell SIM cards there!! Most accommodation DOES have WiFi though and sometimes the Airport Bus but it’s sketchy.

So! Down Load Google Maps AHEAD of time
It shows less detail and current info but at least it’s a Map of sorts.
Info is for Android but similar for iPhone:

Important- Outside Cancun Airport are swarms of taxi drivers to take you into Cancun Centro or the Hotels . If you have your Stay address they with take you there which may save headaches.
Rates are SUPPOSED to be fixed but make it 100% CLEAR ahead of time. About $35.00 US

But for Me:

The ADO Bus Ticket Window is a red logo same as your App
at your left in a SMALL office and NOT obvious, perhaps as a concession to the taxi drivers.  Cost: About $7 US.
Also- It’s tricky to find the right departure bay and it may even show up at a different one than you are told.
This is Mexico! Relax. Busses about every 30 mins to “El Centro”
You need to then get your ass from there to wherever you are staying, There ar no drop-offs but local taxis and a dizzying and confusing  array of local transport. R1 goes from Downtown to the Hotels, 20 mins, 0.75c.

This is no time to find out your credit or debit card won’t work and is often, like childbirth, the most traumatic part of the New Arrival (!)
for any Country Switch-
“Tired, Hot and Alienated culture shocked and maybe jet lagged”
is when one is most vulnerable and no way to start a great time!

There are couple convenience stores in the airport exit way- try your Card there for a break and refreshments at leisure

  • to be continued