i Gringo Si!: Mexico’s New Good Neighbor Policy

Because of the political unrest and uncertainty in Mexico, vacations to Acapulco, the Yucatan or Puerto Vallarta have not been so popular lately. But that situation seems to be changing, largely because of a commitment on the part of the new Mexican government to a real “good neighbor policy” with the United States.



The most encouraging incentive to travel there is that it’s cheaper to vacation in Mexico than it has been in years. The current rate of exchange is 23 to 24 pesos for each American dollar. That translates into twice as much for the money to an American tourist as last year.



Terry Weber, regional director for the Mexican National Tourist Council, lists other incentives designed to inspire Americans to head south of the border. Baggage is no longer checked by customs officials when coming into the country, and the process of obtaining a visa has been greatly simplified. A visa can now be had by filling out a form at the airport- the only identification document necessary is a voter registration card. It’s no longer necessary to find the nearest Mexican consulate for this service. Weber thinks that the time is not far off (possibly little more than a year) when visas won’t be necessary for Americans to travel in Mexico at all.



Texans frequently travel in Mexico by car-a practice which seemed to be getting particularly hazardous after several incidents involving highway ambush late last year. The government hopes to change this negative attitude, too. Six hundred “green angels” have been added to patrol on international highways. These green jeeps driven by trained personnel assist motorists with car repairs, emergency medical aid and gasoline fill-ups. Most drivers are bilingual. CBs are now allowed in the country, so you needn’t dismantle your set before crossing the border. And finally, a toll-free tourist assistance number will soon be installed in Mexico (the number will be ivailable with material given each traveler with his visa). All the telephone opera-ors speak English and can help tourists with travel plans or problems during heir stay in the country.

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