Thanks to Camila, co-founder of Stamp Dreams, and to the despair over several lockdowns due to the pandemic that will be remembered by all generations for centuries, we decided to go to Mexico on vacation to remember a little of normality before COVID.
After many setbacks in planning, such as the torture that was traveling with Copa Airlines (never ever travel through this airline company and if you do, be prepared for the worst customer service) and last minute changes due to the sudden lockdown of Mexico City during the dates we would be there, the day finally arrived!
I consider myself a "smart traveler" and in general my experiences in migration and when arriving a country are happy and relaxed ... Well! that did NOT happen here. That is why I created this post, where you will find a couple of things to take into account to make your arrival in Mexico a little easier and more pleasant, and if you are not lucky like me, this post will prepared you on what to expect at your arrival.
It is true that all the main cities on the planet have pollution problems, but I never imagined that I would see the smog from the plane, half an hour before landing in Mexico City, much less while still flying upon a rural area.
This is because Mexico is in the top 3 of the most polluted countries in Latin America, after Chile and Peru, that is why you may feel a strange smell in the city, especially if you are in areas with not that much green, as it is the airport exit.
As strange as it may seem, Mexico still does not have a computerized system to control its travelers in migration. On the plane they will give you a form, which you must fill out and present upon arrival. If you are fortunate, they will not delay you, if not ... just let it be!
TRAVEL TIP: Remember to keep the paper from the format that they gave you back, because when you leave the country, you must present it and if you do not have it, they will charge you a sum of money for its replacement.
If you think migration in the United States is a nightmare, well… you haven't been to Mexico. If you are a fan of National Geographic's “Airport Alert”, you are going to feel like the protagonist of a chapter in this famous program.
If your suitcase is made of cloth, or is a backpack like mine, as soon as you receive it in the luggage band, you will notice that something is not right ... and indeed. All your suitcase will be upside down. One of the security controls at Mexico City’s airport is the EXAHUSTIVE check in suitcases before delivering them. They literally take everything out and put it back as they please, without even having the decency to notify you as it happens in the US.
Likewise, before leaving, you must pass all your luggage through an X-ray and if they see something suspicious ... like my granola bars, they will turn your suitcase over… again. So my advice, don't waste time organizing your clothes so they don't wrinkle because they're will happen anyway.
Mexico City airport is relatively large and on your departure, when you finally say "I made it, I got to Mexico", you will find a couple of restaurants, bakeries, and other little shops. If you are going to buy a SimCard, the best place to do it is at OXXO at the airport. It will cost you about 200 Mexican pesos (9 USD approx.) and it will last you 30 days, with unlimited minutes to Mexico as well as unlimited social networks and 5GB of browsing (important for google and not get lost during your stay).
5. Bus terminal:
Although there is a bus terminal at the airport, there you will not find buses for all destinations. We were going to Veracruz and as you can deduce, the buses did not leave from there. However, we were able to buy the tickets.
If you are traveling on a budget, the best option to get to the other bus terminal (Terminal Tapo) is by taking the red "truck" (aka. Bus). For this, you only have to ask on which door is the stop of the red truck, which is literally crossing the exit door and wait for the bus to pass. For the ticket, you must buy a card in the little orange machine that is there and charge the corresponding to the ticket.
For us, this bus was amazing. Not only is almost door to door. In addition, it is super cheap and there is no risk that you will get lost. We were lucky and we were practically the only ones in it, so we had no problem accommodating our suitcases or anything while the ride.
I hope these tips have served you well, and bienvenido a México, cuates!