Citizens from America and Canada can enter Mexico with a valid passport. Other nationalities may need a visa. Tourists have to have a tourist permit, which can be obtained on arrival and is free of charge. These permits last for 30 days.
The official currency is the peso, which can be divided into 100 centavos. Notes come in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. Coins come in 1 and 5 pesos, as well as 5, 10 and 20 centavos. US dollars are also widely accepted here.
Spanish is the official language here, although a large number of locals still speak Mayan. English, German, Italian and French are also quite widely spoken.
Cancun has a warm, tropical climate. Temperatures can reach around 32ºC in July and August, and remain warm for the rest of the year. For example, January temperatures hover around 26ºC. Humidity is quite high throughout the year. Rain is frequent here too, but showers rarely last long.
Most visitors to Cancun aren’t covered medically so you will have to pay for any medical treatment received. Make sure to get travel insurance including health insurance before you go.
Cancun is in the Central Standard Time Zone, which is 6 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.
In the Hotel Zone, shops generally open between 10am-10pm. On the mainland in downtown Cancun, places may close between 2pm and 4pm for a siesta. On Sundays downtown stores are usually closed.
There are two main tourist offices in Cancun. The Cancun Municipal Tourism Office is located on Avenida Coba. It is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 7pm. In the Cancun centre on Bulevar Kukulkan you’ll find the State Tourism Office. It opens from 9am to 8pm on Monday to Friday.
VAT of 10% is added to most things sold here.
You can exchange your currency at any number of banks along Avenida Tulum downtown. Alternatively, there are the ‘Casas de Cambio’ or exchange houses throughout the city.
The electricity used in Cancun is 110 volts AC, 60 cycles. European or Australian appliances will need a 110-volt transformer and a plug adapter with two flat parallel pins before they can be used here.
The international code for Mexico is +52. The area code for Cancun is 0998. Don’t forget to drop the 0 on the area code when dialling from abroad.
Cancun’s main post office can be found where Avenida Sunyaxchen and Avenida Xel-Ha intersect. It’s open on Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm, and you can also buy stamps there on Saturday from 9am to 12pm.
Service charges are often included in the price of your bill; however, when they aren’t 15% is the accepted tipping amount.
It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel to a country as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day. In Mexico they take place on January 1st, March 21st, May 1st, May 16th, November 20th, December 1st and December 25th. It is a good idea to check the particular area too, as certain towns and cities also shut down during special events.