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Mexico Welcome
Guide for living and working in Mexico
A guide, information, advice and useful addresses to be able to leave well-informed.
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Mexico (fr)
Mexique (fr)
Mexique (fr)

City Ville Guide

Security :

A up-surge of crime has been noted, particularly in Mexico City and some of the big towns like Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez. Foreigners are quite often attacked and kidnapped, whatever their status. Armed robberies are frequent and road pirates have been known to attack and rob buses and cars. To limit the risks, only travel by daylight and be careful in very crowded areas. Avoid deserted beaches.

French nationals should present themselves to the French consulate in Mexico City. Avoid the police as much as possible. If you have a problem, contact your embassy instead of going to the police. If you are stopped on the road, stay calm and polite and pay the fine, unofficially, if you negotiate it will always be less than an official fine.

Drug laws are extremely harsh in Mexico, so be very careful : never accept to take a packet or a suitcase for someone to be helpful.

Before you go to Mexico take a photocopy of all your official and important documents. Photocopy any papers you get if you rent a car in Mexico. This will help you a lot if ever your papers are lost or stolen.


Pre-Columbian archeological sites, districts or towns in baroque colonial style and an enormous variety of landscapes all have a rich potential, but cultural tourism is not very well developed. The seaside resorts, with 54.4% of the total visits, remain the principal attraction. Cancun in the state of Quintana Roo, is the most visited site, draining 25.6% of all tourists.

Mexico City :
- Notre-Dame-de-Guadalupe : built on the site where the Virgin appeared in the 16th century, the old basilica, threatening to collapse, has been extended by a modern church unmistakably 1970s. All of Mexico comes there to worship the Virgin of Guadalupe, who's image, miraculously copied on a piece of material can be seen from a moving belt, to make sure that the crowd does not congregate in front of it!
- Barragan House : for lovers of modern architecture
- Anthropological Museum : reconstitutes the history of Mexico and its mixed population thanks to very beautiful pieces of Pre-Columbian art, particularly Olmec, Toltec, Mayan and Aztec.
- Teotihuacan : just outside the capital, one of the major Pre-Columbian sites : two immense pyramids, built around the 5th century AD, and other vestiges.
- Queretaro: a magnificent colonial town, classified by UNESCO World Heritage, situated 200 kms north of Mexico City. Churches, monasteries, palaces, flower filled squares and peaceful streets : one of the most beautiful examples of these baroque towns which lie around the city.

Chiapas, Mayan territory :
Chiapa de Corzo : pretty little town designed in a square cut through by the roads bordered with coloured houses.
In the Jovel valley, surrounded by mountains lies
San Cristobal de las Casas. Isolated until the 1950s the town has remained very colonial : arcades, the governer's palace, baroque churches, the roads are rectilinear, the districts (barrios) are defined by ethnic groups, religious orders or artisanal specificities.
From San Cristobal a mountain road leads to Chamula, then to Zinacantan - a few houses cling to the side of the hill, sheep, black pigs ... In
Zinacantan there is a wooden cross standing in front of each house.
Palenca : in the centre the palace displays a labyrinth of galeries, of courtyards and patios dominated by a tower, observatory or watchtower. Opposite the palace stands the temple of Inscriptions, a graduated pyramid which contains the crypt where the sovereign lay dressed in jade and mother of pearl. On the hillside the Group of the Cross represents the different stages that lead from life to death, then to rebirth.
To the east the road crosses the forest, the territory of the Lacandon Indians. Five buildings crown the hilltop on the site of
Bonampak, above the river Lacanha. The temple of Paintings contains the only frescos, dating from the end of the 8th century, that have come down to us. The Great Square of Yaxchilan : temples, steles and altars to the glory of the Jaguar dynasty. On the top of a monumental staircase stands the acropole and its tiled crests decorated with a mosaic of stones and stucco. Still higher, through the maze of the forest, a path leads to the south acropole.

A peninsula where you can visit Mayan and Toltec sites. You must visit Merida (described in 'Main Towns') and Uxmal and Chichen Itza, two Mayan sites which are amongst the most spectacular in Mexico.

The Zapotec, Mixtec and Aztec civilizations have made Oaxaca one of the most important Pre-Columbian regions in Mexico. It is in this region that the Zapotec, Benito Juarez was born, the Father of modern Mexico.
The town of
Oaxaca is a mixture of pre-colonial, colonial and modern architecture : stroll around the zocalo, listen to the musicians playing under the big trees, the jacarandas, the bougainvilleas, the acacias where the squirrels are having fun, discuss with the Indians who come there to sell their crops. See the Tule tree which is about 2,000 years old with a circumference of 45 meters! Visit the Santa Domingo church, built by the Dominicans in baroque style. It is richly decorated with paintings and sculptures and a very beautiful gold statue of the Virgin.

The finesse of Mixtec art resides in its mosaics, made of tiny stones which form geometric designs, with alternating key patterns, losanges etc ... where the motives symbolize the stylized image of the Feathered Serpent.

Human sacrifice
Scenes of sacrifice are shown on Mayan frescos. The sacrifice was an essential ritual of the Mayan civilization and defined its concept of the world. As a warrior, the king spilled the blood of his prisonners. As a God, he spilled his own. It is through this double ritual that he completes the mission of man, which is to save life, created by the sacrifice of the gods, by feeding them in their turn. The rite therefore reproduces the creation of the Universe in order to ensure that it is everlasting. Thus politics and war take on a religious character. It supplies captives who belong to the military nobility, who will be sacrificed at the top of the pyramid or during the ball game. Auto-sacrifice is practised by the king, but also by his wife, the priests and the dignitaries, with the same aim. It is a sacrement, done using a sacred instrument, a lancet, which is often the sting of a stingray. All parts of the body can be cut or perforated but the ear lobe, the tongue for the woman and the penis for the man, are the priviliged places. Caught in sacred vases, the blood is poured over pieces of paper which are burnt during the ceremony.


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