Travel Ettiquette Series: Mexico

by Adam Barralet


With a Native American heritage and a distinct Spanish flavour, Mexico is vibrant, colorful and unique. Our Flightie Adam Barralet has been all over the world and has learned a lot of valuable tips along the way. Each week he takes us to a different country and offers his tips on what to expect and what manners are acceptable. After taking us to France, China, Germany, Spain, and Egypt, today he takes us Mexico:

Mexico is a popular destination for many North American’s. There is a great range of all-inclusive resorts which offer a variety of dining and entertainment options to keep you pampered for a week without leaving the resort. However if you do plan to leave your resort, remember when in Mexico, do as Mexicans do, and respect their ways.

Mexicans are friendly people. They value their friends and family and judge a person more on their ability to interact rather than achievements or credentials.  A greeting between new acquaintances is generally a handshake but it can evolve to a kiss on both cheeks, elbow touching and back-slapping bear hugs as soon as the second meeting. Socially, women pat each other on the right forearm or shoulder, rather than shake hands. Don’t get too comfortable with names to early. Always use Senor (Mr), Senora (Mrs) or Senorita (Miss) plus the paternal surname until otherwise invite.

The main language in Mexico is Spanish and any attempt to speak it will be greatly appreciated.  In conversation avoiding holding eye contact too long as it is considered confrontational, as is standing with your hands on your hips. Don’t be offended if you hear a “psst psst”. It will simply be someone trying to get your attention and this is not considered rude.

When it comes to dining in Mexico, always place your cash or card in the hand of your server. Placing it on the table is seen as rude. If you are dining at a home arrive 30 minutes late in most situations (check with colleagues to see if you should arrive later than that).You may eat once the host has begun and always leave a little on your plate and place your knife and fork across your plate with the tines facing down and the handles facing to the right once finished.

Feel free to bring a gift although it is not expected. Avoid red flowers (used for spell casting), yellow flowers (symbolising death) and since Mexican silver wear is considered superior, steer away from silver wear from other countries. If a man is gifting a woman, it is advised to say it is from his wife or sister. If you receive a gift, open it and react enthusiastically.

Want more tips? Adam Barralet is Assistant Manager at our Flight Centre- Sheppard Centre in Toronto and can be reached by E-mail or by calling 1-866-828-1390.

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