Mexico Travel Tips: Hana’s Take on Health, Safety and Romance

September 6, 2015
mexico, mexico travel tips
Mexico Travel Tips: Hana’s Take on Health, Safety and Romance

Traveling to Mexico? Hana LaRock presents her Mexico travel tips about health, romance, women’s rights and safety:

Mexico Travel Tips: Health Information

Feminine Hygienic Products in Mexico: What’s available/what’s legal/where to buy them?

In Mexico, it is easy to find tampons or pads in any store, including convenience stores. Any medications, creams, or medicines can also easily be found in larger stores and if you can’t find them, they will almost definitely be sold at a 24-hour pharmacy.

Birth Control in Mexico: What’s available/what’s legal/where to buy them?

Birth control can be purchased over the counter in Mexico for less than ten bucks (the generic brand). They have many types of birth control that is sold OTC, but if you need different contraceptives, such as the NuvaRing, you will need to see a gynecologist. It’s approximately 500 pesos for a visit with a gynocologist, which is about $30 (without insurance). Once there, you can ask the doctor to prescribe what you need.

Gynecologists in Mexico: Are there any that you recommend? How, if at all, is a visit different from at home?

My gynecology visit was very pleasant. The doctor was extremely professional and took the time to answer my questions and made sure I felt comfortable, especially as a foreigner. I haven’t really heard any stories of people having a negative experience with a gynecologist in Mexico. However, if possible, bring someone who you are comfortable with and who can translate for you if you don’t know Spanish too well.

Breastfeeding in Mexico: What are accepted places for women to breastfeed? Is it accepted to do so in public?

Breastfeeding is seen the same way it is in the U.S–not really acceptable to do it in public, but people do it anyway. Depending on what part of Mexico you are in, it may be way less acceptable–as it is in a rich town. In a less well-off town, it might be overlooked.

Mexico Travel Tips: Romance

Dating Locals in Mexico: What are the norms and traditions? What should women look out for?

The dating culture in Mexico is similar to that of the U.S, however people don’t tend to get more serious until marriage is the picture. Also, people tend to just ‘hook up’ until their late 20s and don’t get into serious relationships until later on. Of course, that all depends on who you are with. Women should look out for guys who are just looking for something ‘temporary’, and if you decide to get intimate with someone, always use protection unless you are absolutely sure that they are healthy (just as women should do in the US).

Mexican Men: Describe a few “typical” types of men.

Mexican men are very flirty and ‘friendly.’ Sometimes this can be seen as nice and sweet, and other times it can be taken too far. Almost all men will give you a kiss on the cheek or a hug whenever they see you. You might see men who are married and have very close female friends that they can touch without it being seen as inappropriate.

Is Mexico LGBTQ-friendly?

Mexico is a little less LGBTQ-friendly than the United States. If people have gay friends or acquaintances, everyone is for the most part cordial, regardless of personal opinions. However, whereas in the U.S the whole gay conversation is sensitive nowadays, in Mexico people still joke about ‘being gay’ or calling others ‘gay’-which can be offensive to some foreigners who have LGBTQ friends.

Mexico Travel Tips: Women’s Place in Society

Women’s Rights in Mexico: Do Mexican women have the same position in society as Mexican men? How can you tell?

No, women do not have the same position in society as men. Their opinions are not respected as much as a man’s, and if something happens between a man and a woman in the workplace, its usually kept a secret and the man’s word is taken over the woman’s. I know this because I experienced it first-hand.

Local Mexican Women: What are some clear cultural differences between you and them?

Local Mexican women, in the community I lived in, were very into their fashion. Women would teach at school wearing heels and fancy jewelry, whereas female American teachers would just wear basic clothes, shoes, and maybe throw their hair up in a bun. Mexican women generally are non-confrontational, and when they have an issue, usually talk about it with others instead of approaching the person it has to do with–which obviously happens in the U.S as well.

Women-Specific Environments in Mexico: Are there places where only women are or are not allowed?

Women are welcome everywhere that men are in Mexico. However, it is important to keep in mind, just like anywhere you may travel, not to go into a bar or place that has mostly men in it as it could put you in a potentially bad situation.

Perception of Foreign Women in Mexico: How do local men/women react to you when you say where you’re from?

Since Mexico is so close to the U.S, Mexicans are not really surprised to meet Americans as we are not typically surprised to meet Mexicans in our country. However, American women can sometimes be perceived as ‘easy’.

Mexico Travel Tips: Safety

Transportation in Mexico: Any that are safer/less safe for women to take?

Almost every form of transportation in Mexico is generally safe-especially if there are other people there. The only thing that might be unsafe is a taxi. Drivers can try to rip you off, especially if you are a foreigner and can’t communicate your way out of it. Don’t take a taxi alone if you can avoid it, and if you can’t, make sure someone knows where you are and what time you should be home. Take a phone with you.

Dangerous area/s in Mexico: Any specifically for women?

Just like in any country, there are certain parts of Mexico that are not safe. Mexico City has areas which are unsafe, and you can usually tell by the condition of the neighborhood. If it looks sketchy, it is sketchy. There are also some beach towns that are not necessarily safe, but if you go with a group, you should be okay.

Clothing in Mexico: What to wear/what not to wear?

Mexico has nice weather all year around. That being said, don’t wear shorts or showy tops unless you are clearly going somewhere that requires that kind of dress, like a club. Mexican women are very modest for the most part, so don’t show too much skin unless you are at the beach, because you will get stared at both by men and women.

Mexico Travel Tips: If You’re Traveling to Mexico, Do Not Make These Mistakes by Alejandra Cid

Mexicans in general are very happy-go-lucky. We’re friendly, polite, welcoming and fun to be around. However, we can be extremely prideful and stubborn, and if you make us mad we can hold on grudges. So if you’re traveling to Mexico, please don’t make these mistakes.

1. Reminding us how unsafe and violent Mexico is and then make a sick joke about it.

Starting off a conversation with the “narco war” as a topic is a big no, no, no–especially if you’re being a jerk about it. It is an extremely delicate subject that brings us all down and makes us feel powerless. It hurts us and crushes our souls like you have no idea. So please, don’t make jokes about how bad it is. This isn’t entirely true; safe cities vary by region and there are incredible places you should totally visit and you’ll be just fine.

Violence does NOT represent Mexico.

2. Assume our main way of transportation is donkeys and we wear giant sombreros and ponchos as a fashion statement.

Thanks again, Hollywood for stereotyping prehistoric customs and representing Mexico as an undeveloped country with no fashion sense.

3. Tell us that we drink too much tequila and only eat tacos.

Ok, that one you can have. And you know what’s even better? Eating late night street tacos after too many tequila shots.

4. Act surprised that not all Mexicans are short and dark-skinned.

There are numerous times when people from abroad have told me that I don’t look Mexican. So since I’m white as snow, apparently I’m not Mexican enough. Well let me break it down for you: Mexico was colonized by the Spanish and Portuguese, so aside from ethnic groups, we are a population of European descendants.

That’s the beauty of our country: no matter the color of our skin, we are all proud to be Mexicans.

5. You love Cancun and Baja.

Cancun and Baja are beautiful beaches to unwind and have a good time. However, they are  overpriced and Americanized, meaning tourists will only stay at all inclusive resorts and eat at well-known international chain restaurants.

It also annoys us that spring breakers trash hotels and make fools of themselves since they can’t behave in such way in their own country. So please don’t ever start a conversation telling us how much you love Baja and/or Cancun for these reasons.

Be ballsy and travel to another beach for a change, and for once leave the resort; you’re missing the real thing.

6. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Seriously, why do people keep celebrating this date? It is just another example of a very well done marketing ploy to encourage consumerism. Do you even know what happened during Cinco de Mayo? Yeah I thought so. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the battle between Mexicans and the French Army in the city of Puebla.

This date may be marked on our historic calendar but we just don’t celebrate it. It really grinds our loins when our Facebook homepage is bursting with foreigners wearing giant sombreros with the “Feliz Cinco de Mayo” caption.

If you really want to experience and commemorate a national holiday, come down for September 16th, our Independence Day. We’ll show you how Mexicans really celebrate.

Mexico Travel Tips: Hana’s Take on Health, Safety and Romance

Related Reading

Have you traveled to Mexico? What were your impressions? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Mexico Travel Tips: Hana’s Take on Health, Safety and Romance photo credit: unsplash.com

About Hana LaRock

Hana LaRockHana LaRock’s three passions in life are traveling, writing, and food–especially pizza, which despite traveling to over 10 countries, she still believes is best in her home state, New York. She currently lives in Pachuca, Mexico teaching 6th grade with the best traveling companions she could ever ask for–her boyfriend and her puppy, Enano. Learn more about Hana on her website.

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