Mexico travel advice
Latest updates: Safety and security - update on disputes between taxi and ridesharing application drivers
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MEXICO - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Mexico due to high levels of criminal activity and kidnapping.
Regional Advisory - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to the following areas due to high levels of violence and organized crime:
- all Chihuahua
- all Colima, except the city of Manzanillo
- all Coahuila, except the southern part of the state at and below the Saltillo-Torreón highway corridor
- all Durango, except Durango City
- all Guerrero, except the cities of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo and Taxco
- in Guanajuato
- Highway 45 between León and Irapuato
- the area south of and including Highway 45D between Irapuato and Celaya
- all Michoacán, except the city of Morelia
- in Morelos
- the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas
- the municipality of Xoxocotla
- in Nayarit
- the area within 20 km of the border with Sinaloa and Durango
- the city of Tepic
- all Nuevo León, except the city of Monterrey
- all Sinaloa, except the city of Mazatlán
- all Sonora, except the cities of Hermosillo and Guaymas/San Carlos and Puerto Peñasco
- all Tamaulipas
- all Zacatecas
Safety and security
Levels of crime, particularly violent crime, are high throughout Mexico. Arrest and detention rates are low and don’t deter criminal activity.
Criminal groups, including drug cartels, are very active. Clashes between cartels or gangs over territory, drugs and smuggling routes are common.
In some parts of the country, military, navy and federal police forces have been deployed to combat organized crime and improve security conditions. They maintain a visible presence by:
- patrolling the streets
- setting up roadblocks
- conducting random vehicle checks
If you plan on travelling to Mexico:
- remain vigilant at all times
- stay in tourist areas
- be very cautious on major highways
- avoid travelling at night
- monitor local media closely
If you’re the victim of a crime, you must report it immediately to local authorities. No criminal investigation is possible without a formal complaint. Complaints must be made in person before leaving Mexico. You should hire a local lawyer to represent your interests and follow up on your case after you return to Canada. Failure to do may result in incomplete investigations or long delays in bringing cases to trial.
There are high rates of violent crime, such as homicides, kidnappings, carjacking and assaults, including in popular tourist destinations such as the Mayan Riviera (Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Tulum), and Acapulco.
Criminal groups and drug cartels are present in tourist areas. Inter-gang and cartel fighting has taken place in restaurants, hotels and nightclubs frequented by tourists.
Innocent bystanders have been injured or killed. You may be in the wrong place at the wrong time and become a victim of violent crime.
Border areas often see higher criminal activity and violence, including in rural areas. Confrontations between organized criminal groups and Mexican authorities continue to pose a risk. Shootouts, attacks and illegal roadblocks may occur without warning.
You should travel to Mexico by air to avoid international land border crossings, particularly along the border with the United States, in the following cities:
- Ciudad Juárez
- Nuevo Laredo
If crossing an international land border:
- remain extremely vigilant
- use only official border crossings
- avoid travelling at night
Armed robbery occurs. Foreigners have been targets of robberies that sometimes involve assault.
Robbers will follow a victim after they exchange or withdraw money at airports, currency exchange bureaus (casas de cambio) or ATMs.
- Stay in hotels and resorts with good security
- If you are threatened by robbers, stay calm and don’t resist
- Avoid withdrawing or exchanging money in public areas of the airport
Canadian travellers have been physically and sexually assaulted. In some cases, hotel employees, taxi drivers and security personnel at popular tourist destinations were involved. In some cases, hotel staff are not helpful and try to dissuade victims from pursuing the incident with police.
- Avoid walking after dark, especially alone
- Avoid isolated or deserted areas
- Stay in hotels and resorts with good security
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
Are you a victim of sexual violence? – Government of Canada and British Embassy Mexico City
Mexico has one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world. Kidnapping, including virtual and express kidnapping, is a serious security risk throughout Mexico.
Kidnappers target all classes. Canadian citizens and contractors working for Canadian businesses have been kidnapped, mostly in areas that are not under the control of police and security forces.
If you're kidnapped:
- comply with the kidnappers’ requests
- don’t attempt to resist
Express kidnappings occur in large urban areas. This is a method of abduction where criminals ask for a small and immediate ransom.
Thieves most commonly work in cooperation with, or pose as, taxi drivers. They force victims to use their debit or credit card to withdraw money from ATMs in exchange for their release.
- Use only a reputable taxi company or a trusted ride-sharing app
- Book taxis through your hotel or an authorized taxi stand (sitio)
Virtual kidnappings also occur in Mexico. This is a form of extortion where criminals steal a cell phone and then contact the victim’s family claiming that their loved one has been kidnapped. They then demand an immediate ransom for the release. Unable to reach their loved one, the family members assume that the person has been kidnapped.
Criminals use various means of gathering information about potential victims, including using social media sites or eavesdropping on conversations.
- Don't discuss travel plans, your room number or any other personal information within earshot of strangers
- Don't divulge personal business details to strangers in person or over the phone, especially when using hotel phones
- If you're threatened on the phone, hang up immediately
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, is common in Mexico.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times, even in areas normally considered safe
- Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Avoid showing signs of affluence, such as flashy jewellery, cell phones, headphones and designer bags
- Carry only small amounts of money
- Be cautious when withdrawing cash from ATMs
Tourists staying in rental homes have been the victims of break-ins and burglaries. Whether you're staying in private or commercial accommodations, make sure you lock windows and doors securely.
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
Some incidents of assault, rape and sexual assault against Canadian women have occurred, including at beach resorts and on public buses.
- Exercise caution when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances
- Be wary of rides or other invitations
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Some bars, restaurants and resorts have served counterfeit alcohol. Some travellers have reported getting sick or blacking out after drinking alcohol.
- Be cautious if you choose to drink alcohol
- Seek medical assistance if you begin to feel sick
Height standards for balcony railings in Mexico can be considerably lower than those in Canada. Falls have resulted in deaths and injuries.
- Exercise caution when standing close to balcony railings
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
Credit card and ATM fraud
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs in Mexico. When using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when others are handling your cards
- use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Some bars and nightclubs may try to charge exorbitant prices. Discussions about overcharging may lead to threats of violence and security guards may force you to pay. Avoid running a tab or leaving your credit card with bar or restaurant staff.
Legitimate police officers have extorted money from tourists or arrested tourists for minor offences or traffic violations, and then requested immediate cash payment for their release. Travellers driving rental cars have been targeted.
If this occurs:
- don’t hand over your money or your passport
- ask for the officer’s name, badge and patrol car number
- depending on the situation, ask for a copy of the written fine, which is payable at a later date, or insist on going to the nearest police station
Demonstrations take place regularly throughout the country. Protests and roadblocks are common in:
- Mexico City, including to and from the airport
- the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán and Oaxaca
Such incidents may last a long time, leading to shortages of fresh food, medicine and gasoline.
Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common. Several drownings occur each year.
Many beaches don’t offer warnings of dangerous conditions and they don’t always have lifeguards on duty.
Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards.
- Consult local residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
- Always obey warning flags at beaches
- Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities
Tour operators may not adhere to international standards. Many operators don’t conduct regular safety checks on their sporting and aquatic equipment.
Also, Canadians have been involved in accidents where operators of recreational vehicles, such as watercraft, have demanded compensation exceeding the value of the damage caused to the vehicle or equipment.
If you undertake water sports, such as diving:
- choose a well-established and reputable company that has insurance
- ensure that your travel insurance covers the recreational activities you choose
- wear the appropriate safety equipment, such as helmets and life jackets
- ensure that equipment is available and in good condition
- don’t consume alcohol before the activity
If in doubt concerning the safety of the facilities or equipment, don’t use them.
Road conditions and road safety
Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country.
Road conditions can be dangerous due to:
- sharp curves
- poorly marked or hidden road signs
- construction sites
- roaming livestock
- slow-moving or abandoned vehicles
Toll highways are typically safer and better maintained than secondary highways.
Mexican driving styles are very different from those in Canada. Many drivers don’t respect traffic laws, and police don’t strictly enforce these laws. Drivers often drive at excessive speeds and may be aggressive or reckless. Drinking and driving laws are not strictly enforced. Accidents causing fatalities are common. Police don’t regularly patrol the highways.
Roadblocks and checkpoints
Illegal roadblocks and demonstrations are common. Heavily armed gangs have attacked travellers on intercity highways. Criminals especially target sport utility vehicles and full-size pickup trucks for theft and carjacking.
The military searches for drugs and firearms at military checkpoints throughout the country.
- Avoid road travel at night between cities throughout the country
- Ensure that you only stop in major centres, at reputable hotels or at secure campsites
- Keep your car doors locked and the windows closed, especially at traffic lights
- Avoid hitchhiking which is not a common practice in Mexico
- Don’t leave valuables in the vehicle
- Rent cars that don’t have stickers or other advertisements for the rental company on them, as rental cars have been targets for robbery, sometimes using force
- Ensure operators provide insurance and helmets if renting scooters
- Travel on toll roads to lower the risk of targeted roadblocks and robberies
- Never attempt to cross roadblocks, even if they appear unattended
Remain vigilant in airports, at bus stations, on buses and on the metro.
The Mexico City metro is often very crowded and a popular place for pickpocketing. There are metro cars dedicated to women and children during rush hours. They are located at the front of the trains.
The Metrobus in Mexico City, which has dedicated lanes and stops, is relatively safe. There are sections dedicated to women and children at the front of the buses.
The “colectivos” and “pesero” mini-buses that stop when hailed are frequently targeted for robbery.
When travelling to other cities, use bus companies that offer VIP or executive class transportation. These buses only travel on toll roads, which lower the risks of targeted roadblocks and robberies, and follow a speed limit.
Taxis and ridesharing services
Disputes between taxi and ridesharing application drivers may occur, especially in Quintana Roo. They may result in:
Although tourists have not been targeted, you may be caught up in these incidents and harassed or injured.
In Mexico City, all government-authorized taxis have licence plates starting with “A” or “B.” Taxis from designated stands have both the logo of their company and the plate number stamped on the side of the car. Official taxis in Mexico City are pink and white. Users can validate the pink and white taxis on the CDMX app.
- Avoid hailing taxis on the street
- Don't share taxis with strangers
When arriving at an airport in Mexico, pre-pay the taxi fare at the airport (inside or outside the terminal) and ask to see the driver’s official identification. You can also use a ridesharing app to arrange for a pickup at certain airports. Not all airports in Mexico allow ridesharing service pickups.
If you use a trusted ridesharing app, confirm the driver’s identity and the licence plate before getting in the car.
Mi Taxi – CDMX app (in Spanish)
Cruise ship travel
Plan carefully if you plan to take a cruise departing from or stopping in Mexico.
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters of the Bay of Campeche. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Mexican authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Mexico.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required
Business visa: required
Work visa: required
Student visa: required
To enter Mexico, you must present a valid passport and a duly completed tourist card (Multiple Immigration Form). Carry documents to prove the purpose of trip, such as hotel or tour booking confirmations, as immigration officers may request them.
The government of Mexico is currently running a pilot project at some of the country’s major airports.
As a result, immigration officers may stamp your passport upon entry and note the number of days you are allowed to spend in Mexico instead of giving you a tourist card.
You must obtain a tourist card (Multiple Immigration Form) to enter Mexico. If you don’t obtain a tourist card upon arrival, your entry will be considered illegal and you may be fined, detained or expelled from the country.
Your airline will provide it if you're travelling by air. If entering Mexico by land, you're responsible for stopping at the immigration facility located at the border. You can also request a tourist card online prior to travel to Mexico. You must complete the form, print it and present it at the intended port of entry in Mexico.
Ensure that immigration authorities stamp your tourist card upon arrival, regardless of your mode of transportation.
You must keep your tourist card with you at all times as proof of your legal stay in Mexico.
You must surrender your tourist card when leaving Mexico. If you lose your tourist card before your departure, you will have to get it replaced. This can be done for a fee at the immigration office of any international airport in Mexico. Make sure to plan sufficient time at the airport to obtain a new one in time for your flight.
You don’t require a tourist card for stays of 72 hours or less within the northern border zone.
Multiple Immigration Form – Government of Mexico
Length of stay
An immigration official will determine the number of days you can remain in Mexico and note it on your tourist card. The maximum length granted for a tourism-related trip is 180 days; the maximum number of days is not granted by default.
If you're seeking the maximum number of days, you may be required to:
- explain the purpose of your trip to the immigration official
- provide details about your trip (accommodations, funds, return flight, etc.)
You won’t be able to request an extension or change the condition of your stay from inside the country.
Canadians travelling to the northern border zone (within 21 kilometres of the U.S. border) for work don’t require a visa for stays of 72 hours or less.
If you require a business or work visa, you should take care of the process yourself. If a prospective employer is processing your visa for you:
- obtain copies of all correspondence between the employer and Mexican immigration authorities
- verify that these copies are stamped by the immigration authorities as proof that your papers are being processed
- request a receipt from your employer for any document that you provide for purposes of obtaining the visa
- avoid surrendering your passport to your employer
Volunteer, religious, research and eco-tourism activities
You may not be able to undertake volunteer, religious/missionary, research or certain forms of eco-tourism activities while visiting as a tourist. Contact the Mexican Embassy or closest Mexican consulate for information the type of visa required for these activities.
Most visitors to Mexico must pay a tourism tax.
This fee is normally included in airline ticket prices. Visitors arriving by road or sea will have to pay this fee at any bank in Mexico. There is a bank representative at every port of entry. The bank receipt must be attached to the tourist card for submission at departure.
You don't have to pay this tax if:
- you're entering by land for tourism purposes, and your stay will not exceed 7 days
- you're travelling to the northern border zone for less than 72 hours
- you're travelling to Mexico on a cruise ship
If entering and leaving Mexico as a dual citizen, you must identify yourself as a Mexican citizen. You must carry valid passports for both countries.
Canadians with a criminal record or a warrant for arrest may be refused entry and returned to Canada or to a third country on the next available flight.
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Salmonellosis is a common illness among travellers to this country. It can be spread through contaminated food or beverages, such as raw or undercooked poultry and eggs, as well as fruits or vegetables.
Practice safe food and water precautions. This includes only eating food that is properly cooked and still hot when served.
Pregnant women, children under 5 years of age, those over 60 years of age, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill.
Cases of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella have been reported among Canadian travellers returning from Mexico. These strains of Salmonella do not respond to some of the recommended antibiotics if treatment is needed.
Most people recover on their own without medical treatment and from proper rehydration (drinking lots of fluids).
- Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Travellers with severe symptoms should consult a health care professional as soon as possible.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) is a risk in this country. It is caused by a parasite spread by infected triatomine bugs. The infection can be inactive for decades, but humans can eventually develop complications causing disability and even death.
Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from triatomine bugs, which are active at night, by using mosquito nets if staying in poorly-constructed housing. There is no vaccine available for Chagas disease.
- In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Zika virus is a risk in this country.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may put you at higher risk of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they’re more likely to come in contact with animals.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Medical services and facilities
The quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.
Good health care is available in private hospitals and clinics, but it’s generally expensive. Most private facilities won’t agree to deal directly with medical insurance companies and will require payment with a credit card in advance or a bank transfer/direct deposit.
Mental health services are extremely limited in Mexico, particularly outside of Mexico City. Services and treatment standards may differ substantially from those in Canada.
Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Medical tourism is common, particularly in Tijuana and towns bordering the U.S. Canadian travellers have had serious health complications following cosmetic or other elective surgeries abroad.
Before leaving for medical travel:
- make sure you have done your research
- use reputable health-care providers only
If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in Mexico.
- Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
- Always keep your medication in the original container
- Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage
- Carry a copy of your prescriptions
Medication cannot be sent to Mexico from Canada via courier services.
Many types of medication—both over-the-counter and prescription—are readily available with little oversight. Counterfeit medication is common in certain parts of Mexico. If you need to purchase medication while in Mexico, make sure to get it from a reputable location.
Air quality in Mexico City
In Mexico City, you may experience health problems caused by high altitude or by air pollution, which is at its peak during the winter months.
Consult your doctor before booking your trip if you have lung, heart or respiratory problems.
Death in Mexico
If you plan to retire or spend long periods of time in Mexico, or travel there for medical procedures, you should:
- share your plans or wishes with relatives
- make sure important documents can easily be located
- make arrangements in case of your death while in the country
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Penalties for breaking the law in Mexico can be more severe than in Canada, even for similar offences.
Foreign nationals are often held in pre-trial detention and there can be lengthy delays before a trial.
Many petty crimes (such as public urination, failure to pay a bill or disorderly behaviour) can result in a 72-hour detention by police. Paying a fine can secure an early release from detention.
Detention conditions are below the standards of Canadian prisons.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy prison sentences.
Smoking is prohibited in all public places since January 2023. This includes:
You may be fined if you’re caught smoking in public.
It’s illegal to bring electronic cigarettes/vaping devices and solutions into Mexico.
You could have these items confiscated by customs officials if you have them in your possession. You could also be fined or detained.
It is strictly prohibited to sell or distribute these devices and solutions in Mexico.
Imports and exports
The Mexican government strictly enforces its laws concerning possession, importation and trafficking of firearms.
Anyone entering Mexico with a firearm or ammunition without prior written authorization from Mexican authorities is subject to imprisonment.
It is also illegal to enter the country with certain types of knives.
Importing vehicles and boats
Mexico has very strict rules regarding the importation of foreign vehicles and boats.
Don’t enter Mexico without obtaining the proper import permit and insurance. Without a permit, you may be fined and have your vehicle seized.
- Vehicle importation – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
- Temporary vehicle import application system – Banjército
- Travelling to Mexico by land – Mexican Embassy in Canada
It’s illegal to possess archaeological artefacts or to export such items from Mexico.
- Goods you cannot bring into Mexico – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
- Agricultural product restrictions – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
It’s illegal for foreigners to conduct political activity in Mexico, including participating in demonstrations.
Mexican law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Mexican society, particularly in rural areas.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics. Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are disproportionately targeted for violence and can face discrimination.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Mexico.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Mexico, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Mexico.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Mexico, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Mexican court.
If you are in this situation:
- act as quickly as you can
- contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Mexico to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
There are no clear procedures or regulations about surrogacy in Mexico.
If you're considering surrogacy, seek advice from legal professionals knowledgeable in Canadian and Mexican laws and citizenship procedures.
The names on your identity documents must be identical to those on your birth certificate to obtain official Mexican documents, such as marriage certificates, immigration documents or passports.
Middle names are often left off Canadian identity documents. This has caused significant difficulties for many Canadians. If you plan on residing in Mexico or dealing with the Mexican Civil Registry, obtain a Canadian passport that will meet Mexican requirements.
You should carry photo identification.
Authorities can ask you to show identification and a proof of your legal status in Mexico. They can demand to see your tourist card at any time. You must carry the original at all times. You must carry the original at all times, and should also carry a photocopy of the identification page of your passport.
If you plan on buying property, or making other investments in Mexico, seek legal advice in Canada and in Mexico. Do so before making commitments. Related disputes could take time and be costly to resolve.
Mexican real estate agents are not licensed or regulated.
- Choose your own lawyer
- Avoid hiring a lawyer recommended by a seller
Problems with timeshare arrangements occur.
Timeshare representatives may be very persistent. They use pressure tactics and offer free tours, meals, gifts or alcoholic beverages.
It's illegal for timeshare companies to ask you to sign a waiver that prevents you from cancelling a contract. You're legally entitled to cancel a timeshare contract without penalty within 5 working days. Contracts must be cancelled in writing directly with the timeshare company.
Before purchasing a timeshare:
- gather as much information as possible
- review carefully the contract; anything not included in the contract will not be honoured
- provide your credit card only if you are sure you want to make the purchase
- keep copies of all correspondence
If you suspect a fraud in the real estate procedures, contact the Federal Attorney’s Office of Consumer immediately.
- Federal Attorney’s Office of Consumer (PROFECO) – Mexican Government (in Spanish)
- Should I buy a timeshare in Mexico? - Embassy of Mexico in Canada
- Should I sell my timeshare in Mexico? - Embassy of Mexico in Canada
Rental agreements between two individuals in Mexico are considered a private matter and are not regulated by the government.
If you encounter difficulties with a rental agreement, you must obtain the services of a Mexican lawyer.
You should carry an international driving permit.
Mexican liability insurance is mandatory. Canadian automobile insurance is not valid in Mexico.
You can obtain insurance at the Mexican border. You should obtain full coverage, including coverage for legal assistance.
Automobile insurance is much more expensive in Mexico than in Canada. Many local drivers don’t have any form of car insurance.
If you’re involved in an accident, and you don’t have Mexican liability insurance, you could be prevented from leaving the country until all parties agree that adequate financial satisfaction has been received. If you’re found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of an accident, or if you don’t have a valid driver’s licence, your insurance will be considered invalid.
If you’re involved in a traffic accident, you may face serious legal problems, including imprisonment. You could be taken into custody until responsibility for the accident is determined and all fines are paid. You must report any accident you’re involved in to the police.
Driving restrictions in Mexico City
There are driving restrictions in Mexico City.
Only selected vehicles bearing plates from the State of México (Estado de México) or the Federal District (Distrito Federal) are allowed to circulate, depending on the last number of their plate, from Monday to Saturday, from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
These regulations are strictly enforced. You may face heavy fines and temporary confiscation of your vehicle if you don’t comply.
An exemption may be obtained for cars with foreign plates by requesting a tourist pass. It is granted either for two periods of seven days or one period of 14 days within a six-month period.
- Do not circulate calendar – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
- Tourist pass - Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
- Secretaría del Medio Ambiente – Mexico City’s environment ministry (in Spanish)
Buying/selling a vehicle
You must be either a temporary or a permanent resident if you wish to buy a car in Mexico.
It’s illegal to sell your imported vehicle in Mexico. If you do, your vehicle may be seized and you may be subject to a fine and deportation.
The currency of Mexico is the Mexican peso.
In some parts of Mexico, particularly tourist destinations, hotels and other service providers may advertise prices in USD.
There is a limit to the amount of U.S. dollars that residents and foreigners can exchange in Mexico, depending on your immigration status. The rule doesn’t apply to Canadian dollars but some financial institutions, hotels and currency exchange bureaus don’t make the distinction.
When carrying more than US$10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies, cash, cheques, money orders or any other monetary instrument, you must declare the amount exceeding US$10,000. Failure to make this declaration is against Mexican law and often results in detention.
Natural disasters and climate
Mexico is subject to various natural disasters, such as:
- volcanic eruptions
- torrential rains, floods and mudslides
- forest fires
In the event of a natural disaster:
- monitor local news to stay informed on the evolving situation
- follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
- Secretary of Integrated Risk Management and Civil Protection – Government of Mexico City (in Spanish)
- National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
- Get prepared
Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.
These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.
If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
- Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
- Large-scale emergencies abroad
- Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings - United States’ National Hurricane Center
Flooding and landslides
Heavy rains can cause flooding and landslides. Roads may become impassable and infrastructure damaged.
Earthquakes an tsunamis
Mexico is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions can occur.
A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor. If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.
- National Seismological Institute – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
- Latest earthquakes - U.S. Geological Survey
- Tsunami alerts - U.S. Tsunami Warning System
- Centre for Studies and Research of Volcanology - University of Colima (in Spanish)
Forest fires may occur. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.
In case of a significant fire, stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments.
In case of an emergency, dial 911.
The Green Angels (Angeles Verdes), a highway patrol service, provides free assistance on all major toll highways from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In case of an emergency, dial 078 or 800 006 8839 (toll free in Mexico).
Mexico City - Embassy of Canada
Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Estado de Mexico, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Michoacán, Morelos, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luís Potosí, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, ZacatecasAppointment Book your appointment online
Acapulco - Consular Agency of Canada
Cabo San Lucas - Consular Agency of Canada
Cancún - Consular Agency of Canada
Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo north of the municipality of Solidaridad, including Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres and HolboxAppointment Book your appointment online
Guadalajara - Consulate of Canada
Mazatlán - Consular Agency of Canada
Monterrey - Consulate General of Canada
Playa Del Carmen - Consular Agency of Canada
Puerto Vallarta - Consular Agency of Canada
Tijuana - Consulate of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Mexico, in Mexico City, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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