Passport: You now need a passport for all travel into Mexico from the United States and Canada. You must make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your travel date.
Tourist Visa: YOU MUST KEEP THIS! On arrival by plane or car into Mexico you will complete a Tourist Visa. Keep the stamp visa because you’ll need it when you leave. If you lose it, you’ll have to pay a fee to get a new one before you can get on the plane.
ATM Card: La Manzanilla now has ATM machines! Using an ATM machine is an easy way to get pesos, and you will get the best exchange rate. Be advised that if you wait until a Saturday night to get pesos you might be out of luck, with only a couple of machines in town you might not always get the pesos you need the minute you need them.
Credit Card: You should bring a credit card but don’t expect you can use it everywhere. A few restaurants, the Galeria La Manzanilla and a couple of grocery stores take credit cards. Most business are pesos only.
What to Pack: La Manzanilla is very casual, pack light and leave room for all the treasures you are going to buy a the Tianguis- Friday market. If you forget something- swimsuit, shoes, shorts, dress, sandals- you name it…you’ll be able to pick it up in town. There is a gym in town so if working out is your thing bring your tennis shoes, or if you like hiking the hills, same thing bring comfortable shoes. Winter months can be “chilly” in the evening and mornings a light fleece or sweater is nice to have.
Health: La Manzanilla has very basic medical facilities. We do have a working ambulance service and the members of the team have some basic training. Just off the main road into town is a Central De Salud and its USUALLY staffed with a doctor. Other medical services can be found here.
Travel Insurance: It’s recommended to purchase travel insurance. You’ve paid for a flight, vacation rental, maybe a rental car and now something has happened, and you can’t make it. Travel insurance to the rescue.
Seasons: La Manzanilla is tropical and has two basic seasons, wet and dry. Dry is the winter months December-May weather is perfect, warm and sunny. Wet season are the summer and fall months June-October. This time of they year is hot, wet and steamy. This is also hurricane season.
Tipping: Tipping by tourists is expected and appreciated especially in La Manzanilla restaurants and to housekeeping staff.
Language: As of late more and more La Manzanilla full time residents speak English. Certainly, in most restaurants and stores you’ll find someone who can speak enough English to help you, and many are fluent. However, you should come equipped with a few words and if you want to practice locals are happy to oblige! You can also find many people offering Spanish classes. People are friendly; don’t be embarrassed to give your Spanish a try.
Drinking Water: Drink only bottled water. Local La Manzanilla restaurants and bars use purified water, but feel free to ask to be sure. When cooking or preparing vegetables for salads, use products such as “Microdyn” to purify the water you use to clean them. You can purchase Mircodyn at all the La Manzanilla grocery stores.When staying in a La Manzanilla vacation rental the proprietor will usually have one or two five-gallon bottles of water for you to use. If you run out just listen for the horn of the water delivery truck, flag him down and for a few pesos you can purchase a five-gallon bottle of water. Do not drink the tap water, unless the home owner has a purification system.
Water and Sewage: Water is always in shortage in La Manzanilla, think about it when you are showering, flushing toilets, doing laundry. Reduce your use whenever possible. The sewage systems are not the systems you might be used to in the US or Canada. In general, throughout Mexico, DON’T FLUSH TOILET PAPER. Here goes, sorry, but if it doesn’t come out of you, don’t put in the toilet.
Electricity: Mexico uses standard 120-volt/60-cycle current, the same as the US and Canada, so adapters are not needed.
Dialing within Mexico:
Land line to local land line phone – dial the seven digit number (i.e. 143-1234)
Land line to long distance land line phone – dial 01 then the ten digit number (i.e. 01-612-123-1234)
Land line to local cell phone – dial 044 then the ten digit number (i.e. 044-624-122-1234)
Land line to long distance cell phone – dial 045 then the ten digit number (i.e. 045-612-123-1234)
Cell phone to local or long distance land line – dial the ten digit number (i.e. 624-143-1234)
Cell phone to local or long distance cell phone – dial the ten digit number (i.e. 612-122-1234)
Dialing into Mexico:
To dial a land line phone – Dial 011-52 then the ten digit number (i.e. 011-52-624-143-1234)
To dial a cell phone – Dial 011-52-1 then the ten digit number (i.e. 011-52-1-624-122-1234)
Dialing from Mexico to the US/Canada
Dial 001 then the ten digit number (i.e. 001-303-333-3333)
Dialing from Mexico to the rest of the world
Dial 00 then the Country Code and phone number
Dialing US Toll Free Numbers
For 800 numbers – dial 001-880 then the seven digit number
For 866 numbers – dial 001-883 then the seven digit number
For 877 numbers – dial 001-882 then the seven digit number
For 888 numbers – dial 001-881 then the seven digit number. There is a Tel-Mex office as well as a payphone located in the main part of town. Cell phone use is on the rise, so call your provider before you visit and you may find you have service with roaming. Long-term visitors often purchase a local cell phone along with a prepaid card.