|Preface Last Updated: 7/17/2003
Mexico offers a breathtaking juxtaposition of modern and
traditional, cosmopolitan and provincial, rich and poor. Remnants of
the ancient Olmec civilization are preserved and revered, pyramids
where Aztec priests performed human sacrifices still stand, and
palaces and monuments recall both the conquest of the Spaniards and
the victory of the independence revolution. Colonial towns retain
the flavor of the Spanish grandeur they once proclaimed; other towns
fiercely protect their native indigenous heritage. Mexico City, a
metropolis of delightful climate, modern buildings amid historic
charm, and withering poverty, lies ringed by snow-capped volcanoes
that slope down to pine forests, deserts, and balmy tropical
The first people to inhabit this land may have arrived 20,000
years before Columbus. Their descendants, including the Olmecs,
Toltecs, Mayans and Aztecs, built a succession of highly developed
civilizations that flourished from 1200 B.C.E. to C.E.1521. Hernán
Cortés landed near modern-day Veracruz in 1519. King Montezuma II
invited the Spaniards into his palace and they promptly took him
hostage. After the Spanish conquistadors destroyed the Aztec Empire,
the position of the conquered peoples deteriorated rapidly. The
Indian population fell from an estimated 25 million at the time of
conquest to one million by 1605. From the 16th to 19th centuries, a
new colonial society emerged, stratified by race and wealth. The
upper echelon was European, in the middle were people of mixed
European-indigenous heritage, and at the bottom were the descendants
of the native peoples, vestiges of this stratification endure today.
In the early 1800s, Mexico was convulsed with the yearning for
freedom; the country gave birth to many heroes, Miguel Hildago, Jose
Morelos and others. The struggle for independence, declared in 1810,
was long and fitful; Spain was not expelled until 1821.
Independence, however, was followed by almost one hundred years of
unrest and agitation by various factions, punctuated by the
US-Mexican War and several years of French subjugation when
Maximillian was installed by Napoleon III as the Mexican emperor.
The Revolution of 1910 was the defining event of the 20th
century; although Mexico had become relatively peaceful and
prosperous, the oppressed peasant population finally erupted,
bringing in a chaotic revolutionary period that lasted until 1917
when the current Constitution was drafted and adopted.
Culturally, politically, and economically, Mexico is experiencing
profound change. The country is in the throes of broad and rapid
urbanization with all the attendant benefits and problems. The
economy has dramatically about-faced, embracing open-market policies
and free-trade links with the U.S. and countries throughout the
Americas. With the dawning of the 21st century, Mexico City has
emerged as one of the world's largest cities. The political
landscape is marked by transformation as each election brings
exciting possibilities of change. Many seek to adapt to a new and
promising future, while others defend parochial ways. Mexico is a
country in transition and offers itself as a model to the developing
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 7/17/2003 4:31 PM
Mexico is located in North America. It borders the Caribbean Sea
and the Gulf of Mexico between Belize and the U.S. and borders the
North Pacific Ocean between Guatemala and the U.S. Its land mass
covers approximately 1.9 million sq. kms, or slightly less than
three times the size of Texas, and has approximately 9,330 sq. kms
of beachfront property. The 2000 census determined the population to
be approximately 97.5 million.
Within Mexico, there are 31 states and one Federal District-Distrito
Federal, the country's capital. Independence Day for Mexico was
September 16, 1810. It is celebrated widely throughout the country.
The flag has three equal vertical bands of green, white, and red
with a coat of arms-in the form of an eagle perched on a cactus with
a snake in its beak-centered on a white band.
With a climate that varies from tropical to desert, the terrain
ranges from high rugged mountains to low coastal plains and high
plateaus to desert. Its lowest elevation point is Laguna Salada at
10 meters. The highest point is the Volcano, Pico de Orizaba, at
Mexican natural hazards include tsunamis on the Pacific coast,
volcanoes and destructive earthquakes at the center and south, and
hurricanes on the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean coasts.
The main agricultural products are corn, wheat, soybeans, rice,
beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes, beef, poultry, diary and
The Mexican currency is the peso. The June 2003 exchange rate was
10.5 pesos=US$1; periodic fluctuations occur with the general rule
of thumb being a ratio of 10 pesos to one dollar.
Population Last Updated: 7/28/2003 12:48 AM
Mexico has an estimated population of 98 million. It is the
world's most populous Spanish-speaking country and the second most
populous Latin American country. Contemporary Mexico is an urban
society, with close to 75% of the total population living in cities
and 23%, or 22 million people, living in the Mexico City
metropolitan area. Mexico began an aggressive and far-reaching
national family planning effort in 1973 to reduce the population
growth rate from its then all-time high of 3.4%; population growth
was reduced to 1.9% in the decade 1990-2000.
Mexico is also a young nation. Almost 40% of Mexicans are less
than 15 years old. Nearly 40% of the population lives in the
high-plateau central region which comprises 14% of the land area.
Mexican customs and traditions are an intricate mixture of the
Spanish and the indigenous with about two-thirds of the population
being "mestizo" (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood). Mexico has
largely avoided racial divisions by proudly considering its
population a distinct Mexican race, celebrated as Dia de la Raza on
the October 12 annual holiday. Economic conditions determine social
Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion. Small groups of
Protestant Christians are often affiliated with and supported by
Spanish is the national language, spoken by 97% of the
population. In some remote areas, only Indian dialects are spoken.
The literacy rate is about 75%.
Public Institutions Last Updated: 7/11/2003 2:38 PM
The country's official name is the United Mexican States (Estados
Unidos Mexicanos). The 1917 constitution provided for a federal
republic, which is composed of 31 states and the Federal District
where the capital is located. The government is made up of
executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The military forces
are small and have stayed out of politics since 1946.
The President, elected for a single six-year term ("sexenio"),
proposes and executes laws that are passed by Mexico's Congress; the
President also has the power to govern by decree in some economic
and financial areas. No Vice President is elected; if an incumbent
dies or leaves office before a term has been completed, the Congress
elects a provisional President.
The Congress is composed of two houses: a 128-seat Senate, and a
500-seat Chamber of Deputies. Both houses are made up of a mix of
direct election and proportional representation legislators;
Congressional elections are held every three years with 2003 being
an election year. Mexico has a stringent term-limit law, allowing no
Senator or Deputy to seek re-election. The judicial system, which is
based on Roman civil law, consists of a Supreme Court and Federal
and local courts. The President appoints Supreme Court justices with
Senate approval. Governors serve for six-year terms and each state
has a unicameral legislature. There are local governments at the
municipal level (no counties). Mayors and city council members are
popularly elected for three-year terms.
Until the National Action Party's (PAN) victory in Mexico's 2000
presidential election, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)
had controlled both the Presidency and the Congress continuously
since its founding in 1929.
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 7/28/2003 1:01 PM
Mexico City is the cultural hub of the country. The arts play an
important role in national life and are heavily subsidized by the
government. Influences of indigenous cultures, the Spanish colonial
period, as well as North American contemporary culture, are evident
in architecture, literature, and art. The richness and diversity of
Mexico's cultural heritage is reflected in murals by Diego Rivera,
José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros; paintings by
Rufino Tamayo; and writings by Octavio Paz, Juan Rulfo, Carlos
Fuentes, and Carlos Monsiváis.
Major arts festivals include the Cervantino International
Festival in Guanajuato; the Festival of Mexico in the Historic
Center of Mexico City; the International Music Festival in Morelia,
Michoacán; the International Festival of Contemporary Art in León,
Guanajuato; the José Limón International Dance Festival in Mazatlán;
and the Festival of the Borders in Mexicali and Tijuana. Nine
U.S.-Mexico bi-national centers from Hermosillo to Merida promote
understanding etween "Estadounidenses" and Mexicans through the
teaching of English to more than 30,000 Mexicans annually; teaching
Spanish to foreigners; and sponsoring cultural and educational
activities. The Benjamin Franklin Library, part of the Public
Affairs Section of the Embassy, is located in Mexico City, but
serves audiences through the country.
Mexico's interest in science dates from the pre-Hispanic period
when pyramids were constructed that served in part to make
astronomical obervations. Today, Mexico, in cooperation with the
United States, is constructing a large radio telescope in the state
of Puebla, which will be among the most precise instruments of its
kind in the world. Mexico provides unique opportunities for study in
geology, marine biology and botany, among others; every year
hundreds of scientists from U.S. universities and government
agencies engage in joint scientific research with Mexican
Public Education is highly centralized under the federal
Secretariat of Public Education (SEP). Mexicans who can afford to
send their children to private schools almost always choose to do
so. Still, more than 90% of all students are educated under SEP
auspices. Teachers comprise half of the federal workforce. Some 70%
of Mexicans complete only primary school; about 10% finish some
higher education, including university, teaching training colleges,
or two-year technical institutes. The main teacher training
institutions are the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional and the Escuela
Traditionally, Mexican students have attended public universities
-- the most prestigious of which is the National Autonomous
University of Mexico (UNAM), one of the oldest institutions of
higher education in the Americas and for many years the only option.
Two-thirds of the older Mexican political leaders are UNAM alumni.
The political turnover in the Presidential election of 2000 also
brought the first Mexican President to have obtained an
undergraduate degree from a private school (Universidad
Other university options include: the Instituto Politécnico
Nacional, the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana with its three
campuses in the Mexico City metropolitan area, and 31 autonomous
universities, many of which have multiple campuses located in the
various states. Today, about 25% of university students are enrolled
in private universities. The Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios
Superiores de Monterrey (ITEMS or the Tec) has 33 campuses linked by
satellite across the country. Other highly recognized institutions
of higher learning are the five campuses of Iberoamericana
University; Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), and the
University of the Americas in Puebla. El Colegio de México in Mexico
City, home to top programs in international relations and public
administration, also has an excellent research reputation and one of
the best social science libraries in Latin America.
Given the interest among Mexicans in continuing their studies in
the United States, the U.S. Department of State facilitates 14 U.S.
educational advising centers across the country. The Institute of
International Education (IIE) reports in Open Doors that in 2002
there were 12,516 Mexicans studying in the U.S., making Mexico the
seventh (7th) largest source country for foreign students.
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 7/11/2003 12:20 AM
During the last 20 years, the Mexican economy has undergone a
dramatic reorientation away from protectionist policies. After
decades of import-substitution practices and extensive state
intervention, Mexico is now cited as a model for countries intent on
pursuing outward-looking and market-oriented economic policies.
In 1994, Mexico entered into a comprehensive free trade agreement
with the United States and Canada--the North American Free Trade
Agreement, or NAFTA; and in 1999, Mexico concluded a similar
agreement with the European Union. Tariff levels, as high as 100%
before Mexico's 1986 accession to GATT (now WTO), currently average
about 4% on a trade-weighted basis. The Mexican Government's
divestiture of airlines, banks, the telephone company, mines, and
steel plants were major elements of a successful privatization
program that has continued. Reduction and elimination of subsidies
made a major contribution toward transforming a fiscal deficit that
had reached a height of 16% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1987.
Mexico's deficit was a very manageable 1.2% of GDP in 1998, and in
2003 the deficit is expected to continue on its downward trend to
0.5% of GDP.
By turning increasingly to private capital for such basic
infrastructure investment as toll roads and ports, the government
has been able to expand budget outlays on education, health, and
agricultural development. GDP growth for 2002 was 0.9%. Inflation
closed 2002 at 5.7%, and the central bank targeted an inflation rate
of 3.0% for 2003.
NAFTA significantly expanded U.S.- Mexican economic ties. In
1999, Mexico overtook Japan as the second largest trading partner of
the United States, second only to Canada. NAFTA also raised Mexico's
attractiveness as a recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI).
During the first five years of NAFTA, the country cumulatively
received $36 billion in FDI, twice the amount received during the
five years prior to the signing of the accord. FDI reached $13.6
billion in 2002. About 73% of that investment comes from the U.S.,
which is further evidence of the two countries increasing commercial
integration. Awards of major projects to American firms are common
and American companies comment frequently on the greatly improved
business climate, though security concerns have become a mild
deterrent to investment and have affected the profit margins of
companies operating in Mexico.
Mexico has a number of strengths heralding a period of sustained
economic growth. Mexico is one of the world's major oil producers
and one of the top three suppliers of crude to the U.S. The country
is also well-endowed with mineral wealth including silver, copper,
and zinc. Its manufacturing sector continues to grow. Automotive
parts and textiles are its most significant products. Mexico is also
an important producer of steel, glass, cement, and petrochemicals.
Manufactured products account for about 89% of its exports compared
to 80% in 1993 and only 14% in 1982. In-bond assembly and
manufacturing are rapid growth sectors and key contributors to
Mexico's export growth, employing more than one million workers.
Despite all of Mexico's natural resources and economic advances,
the country is experiencing the consequences of a low level of
competitiveness. Potential foreign investors now weigh the costs of
extra security and the lack of law enforcement against the benefits
of a relatively skilled labor force and proximity to the United
States. The amount of paperwork and legal steps to open a business
is overwhelming, and the effects of corruption are a defacto extra
tax on profits. In addition, the cost of electricity is increasing
while its dependability declines: the government has been unable to
respond to demands to allow private investment in electrical
production but also cannot afford the infrastructure investments
necessary to keep the sector operating efficiently. Fiscal,
judicial, energy, and labor reform all remain pending and are
essential to make Mexico globally competitive.
Mexico exhibits extreme regional differences in development. The
richer, more vibrant and dynamic North contains the country's most
modern industrial plants and is tightly integrated with the U.S.
economy. The poorer, lagging South contains outdated plants and an
inadequate infrastructure. Central Mexico shows signs of both
regions. There are also extreme differences within some sectors,
particularly agriculture. Modern and efficient export-oriented
industrial estates coexist with poor and inefficient subsistence
farms. The banking sector, which had collapsed with the devaluation
of the peso several years ago, is experiencing a slow but steady
recovery, leaving businesses with limited access to credit. As a
result, the formal economy cannot generate sufficient jobs to absorb
all of the new entrants into the labor market, pushing many of them
(estimates range from 40% to 80%) into the informal sector.
Other challenges in social development include wide disparities
in income distribution, low nutrition, inadequate health care, low
secondary education levels, and inefficient public services. With a
total population of 98 million, forty million people live under the
poverty line; 26 million live in abject poverty. Of Mexico's
unionized workers, the Confederation of Mexican Workers claims to
have 6.5 million members; the Workers' Congress, which encompasses
all PRI-aligned unions and labor federations, claims to represent 11
million Mexican workers; and the independent UNT (National Union of
Workers) may have as many as 900,000 workers under its umbrella.
There are no public figures available to confirm these figures, they
are based on information from the unions themselves.
Automobiles Last Updated: 8/18/2003 9:46 AM
An automobile is desirable at all posts, both to get to work and
for recreation in or out of town. However, some employees use public
transportation to avoid contributing to traffic congestion and the
problem of air pollution. Buses, taxis, and rental cars are readily
available. Official transportation to and from work is not provided.
Types of Vehicles and Servicing. Traffic and parking make power
steering and automatic transmissions desirable. Mexico uses speed
bumps to control traffic speed; vehicles with high clearances
encounter less difficulty in crossing them than do vehicles with low
carriages. Use air-conditioning for lower altitude posts, where
year-round temperatures reach uncomfortable highs. In Mexico City,
drive with closed windows to keep out pollution. In the more
temperate climates, such as Guadalajara, air-conditioning is
optional but desirable.
General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Honda, Renault, Toyota,
Mitsubishi, Mercedes Benz, Maserati, Saab, Seat, Porche, Peugeot,
Ferrari, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Infiniti, and Volkswagen
cars are sold in Mexico. Adequate repair services are available for
those makes and for the American Motors Jeep, which was made in
Mexico until 1986. Basic model cars are the easiest to service. The
cost of parts is slightly higher than in the U.S., and parts for
late model American cars-even though a vehicle with the same model
name is manufactured in Mexico-may not be available in Mexico and
must be ordered from the U.S.
Some cars, especially large ones with optional equipment, can
lose up to 25% of their power in Mexico City's high altitude. Tune
vehicles for high altitude driving to ensure efficient operation.
Gasoline. Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the national petroleum
company, sells vehicle fuel. There are two grades (both unleaded):
Premium (93 octane) in a red pump and Magna (87 octane) in a green
pump. Therefore, retain catalytic converters on your vehicle. A few
stations in cities and along major highways sell diesel. Keep fuel
tanks at least half full, as stations are fewer and farther between
than in the U.S. and may occasionally run out of gas. Fuel is sold
by the liter (3.785 liters equal 1 gallon). Use a locking gas cap.
Gasoline prices in Mexico are established by governmental
authorities in Mexico City and not by individual franchises; in the
summer of 2003, one liter of gas costs about seven pesos or $.70,
with four liters to a galleon. Since 1991, all cars manufactured in
Mexico are equipped with catalytic converters to reduce vehicle
emissions that contribute to an acute air pollution problem in the
Valley of Mexico-which includes Mexico City and adjacent areas in
the State of Mexico.
Driving in Mexico. Driving is on the right. Traffic congestion is
common in cities, and extremely severe in Mexico City. Mexico honors
a valid driver's license, regardless of origin. Dependents who are
more than 16 years of age can obtain a driver's permit for a small
fee. Road courtesies in Mexico, particularly on the long stretches
of two-lane highway between Mexico City and the border, are
different than in the U.S. Two-way traffic will often move over to
the shoulders to allow vehicles to pass in the center of the road.
Unwary U.S. drivers risk head-on collisions if they do not pick up
on this quickly. Also, drivers wanting to pass will turn on their
left turn signal and leave it on until the pass is completed. Large
trucks, as well as cars, often use the same signal to inform a
vehicle behind them that it is safe to pass.
Toll roads ("cuota") are designated by the letter "D" after the
highway number and are faster and safer than free ("libre") routes.
The toll roads are more expensive than in the U.S.; in some cases,
the tolls are exorbitant. For example, the drive from Mexico City to
Acapulco costs nearly $50 in tolls, prompting some of the hotels to
refund their clients the toll costs. However, it is worth the extra
cost since the libre routes are very crowded and in very poor
condition. Additionally, the Mexican Department of Tourism provides
a highway emergency assistance patrol for the cuotas called "Angeles
Verdes" (the Green Angels), easily identifiable in a green truck.
Wandering livestock, unlighted vehicles, and unmarked road
hazards make nighttime driving dangerous on all highways. For this
reason, employees on official travel are prohibited from inter-city
driving after dark and personal travel by car at night is strongly
Vehicle Insurance and Registration Mexican law requires drivers
entering Mexico to have liability insurance issued by a Mexican
company. An employee may obtain coverage under the Embassy's group
policy. It becomes effective on entering Mexico, if you advise GSO
in advance to allow time to mail or FAX the policy. (Calling from
the United States, 011-52-55-5080-2780 is the direct GSO number;
also see the web site of post: http://mexicocity.state.gov/gso).
Then you must formally apply for the policy within 15 days of
entering Mexico. The following information is required to apply for
the Embassy policy: vehicle make, model, year, serial or vehicle
identification number (VIN), and anticipated date of entry in
Mexico. An employee who does not have coverage under this group
policy should purchase short-term liability coverage before crossing
the border. Several U.S. and Mexican insurance companies offer plans
that cover a driver for 30 days after crossing the border.
Comprehensive and collision insurance are available from both
U.S. and Mexican companies. The Employee Service Center (A/OPR/ FMSS/ESC),
Department of State, has brochures of the U.S. companies. Be sure
your insurance is valid in Mexico, as fender benders are common.
Employees and their families may buy one Mexican automobile tax
free in addition to having an imported car (see Notes for Travelers:
Customs, Duties, and Passage at the end of this Report). The
original title (or an original letter from the bank describing the
car and stating that the bank holds the title), bill of sale, and
certificate of origin are required to apply for Mexican license
plates-which can take up to 4 months to obtain. The Secretariat of
Foreign Relations (SRE) issues diplomatic, technical and
administrative staff, and consular plates upon receipt of the above
documentation. SRE will hold the original title or original bank
letter until the employee transfers from post; obtain for your
records a certified copy of the original title to your vehicle
before departing for Mexico. Cars purchased in Mexico come with
temporary registration. All imported cars should have foreign
registration and plates, preferably valid for at least four months
from date of arrival to avoid being stopped by the police until
Mexican plates are obtained.
Mexico has no restrictions on types of cars that may be imported.
The Chief of Mission and Consuls General can import personally owned
vehicles for the term of the assignment, but the value cannot exceed
$60,000. These employees also can buy two Mexican cars exempt from
value added taxes. All other accredited U.S. personnel are allowed
to import only one U.S. vehicle of any brand and its value cannot
exceed $40,000. These employees also can buy one Mexican car exempt
from value added taxes. If you plan to sell your car in Mexico at
the end of your tour, the buyers in all cases would have to pay
customs taxes if the free entry permit is less than three years old.
Mexican vehicles bought locally may be sold locally; in this case,
the buyer is not liable for the IVA tax as long as the vehicle has
been in the possession of an accredited individual.
Local Transportation Last Updated: 7/11/2003 12:36 AM
There are two types of taxis in Mexico City, "libre" taxis, and "sitio"
taxis. The libre taxis are the green taxis that can hailed from the
street corner. These are very inexpensive and plentiful, but can be
unsafe. Embassy security advises that Americans avoid the metered
libre taxis and instead opt for the more expensive "sitio" taxis,
which operate from a taxi stand with a dispatcher or from a stand in
front of an hotel. Radio taxis are also available. The Mexico City
airport offers a pre-pay sitio taxi service that is very reliable.
Many employees and family members use city buses and the metro
subway system, observing security precautions that are appropriate
for a large city. "Peseros," mini buses that carry passengers over
assigned routes, provide a convenient service for about 30 cents
one-way. Licensed, chauffeured rental cars are also available, at
prices comparable to taxi service in the U.S.
Mexico has extensive, inexpensive bus service throughout the
country. Quality of service ranges from air-conditioned, luxury
buses with reserved seats, that serve tourist destinations to often
overcrowded buses providing the basics.
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 7/11/2003 12:38 AM
Railroad passenger service within Mexico is inexpensive, but
covers only a few routes-including a very limited number of
connections with the U.S.-and is being improved with new equipment.
Air service is good between major Mexican and U.S. cities. Within
Mexico, air routes fan out from Mexico City. Domestic air travel,
however, is expensive. Air travel between Mexican cities along the
border is accomplished more easily by using U.S. airports.
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 7/11/2003 12:44
Local and international services are adequate, and both domestic
and international calls may be dialed directly. TelMex, the leading
private telephone company in Mexico, provides line installation for
a reasonable fee. Calls to the U.S. from Mexico are comparable in
cost to calls from the U.S. to Mexico. International calls outside
of North America are expensive; however, telephone service within
Mexico is inexpensive. Telegrams are accepted in English and may be
billed to home telephone numbers. Domestic and international FAX
service is available.
Long distance service is available by several carriers other than
TelMex: Alestra (AT&T-Bancomer), Avantel (MCIBanamex), and Miditel.
Most local service is provided by TelMex.
Intercentral office connectivity is by fiber-optics and
telephonic equipment is digital, offering such features as
three-party conferencing, two calls on one line, and caller
Telephone calls made with a credit card offer a wide variety of
applications. Unfortunately, security is not up to the same
standards as the U.S., and caution is recommended when using credit
cards to place calls.
Telephones and Telecommunications
Wireless Service Last Updated: 7/11/2003 12:43 AM Along with
standard landlines, Mexico has two major providers of cellular phone
services: TelCel and USACell. Both providers are affiliated with
major telecommunications companies: TelCel with TelMex (Telefonos de
Mexico) and USACell with Avantel, a division of MCI. Prices are very
competitive between the two providers and only slightly higher than
that which is available in the U.S. Both suppliers offer contracts
that provide the phone, "free minutes," and access to the cellular
network. At the end of the contract, the purchaser owns the cell
phone. Typical contracts run for 18 months. TelCel also offers an
alternative to a contract called the Amigo phone, where one buys the
phone and pays for the minutes separately to be used as needed. The
cell phone units offered for both contract and the Amigo plan are
the same phones available in the U.S. They include, but are not
limited to: Motorola, Nokia, Ericsson, and Philips with both digital
and analog features. GSM technology is not supported in Mexico.
Internet Last Updated: 8/11/2003 11:28 AM
Dial-up Internet access is now widely available in Mexico from
several large providers, and broadband in the form of DSL and cable
is growing more and more popular and affordable.
The dial-up providers include Telmex (which holds a virtual
monopoly), Alestra (a division of AT&T), Yahoo, and AOL. Most
providers charge monthly fees in the $20USD range, with no
installation charges. Telmex does charge roughly $0.15 per phone
call after 100 calls in a calendar month.
DSL access is offered through Telmex in cooperation with Prodigy.
Speeds range from 256kbps to 2Mbps, with monthly rates ranging from
$50 to $450 depending on speed. Cablevision provides 256kbps service
for $45 monthly in some areas of Mexico City. AT&T is offering
high-speed wireless connections with speeds from 128kbps to 512kbps
for prices ranging from $40 to $90 monthly.
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 1/24/2005 5:32 PM
Embassy personnel use the Brownsville, Texas, P.O. Box mailing
address as the primary means for sending and receiving mail to and
from the USA. Transit time for mail delivery between the Brownsville
Post Office and the U.S. Embassy/Consulates is one to two working
days for most types of mail. (Standard Department of State pouch
restrictions apply to use of the pouch.) Insured, certified, and
registered services on incoming mail are available only to the U.S.
Post Office in Brownsville. This mail is shipped between the U.S.
Embassy warehouse and the post by pouch, at the risk of the sender.
Insured and registered service is not available for outgoing mail
except for insured service from Mexico City. Outgoing parcels may
not exceed 108 inches in length plus girth, or 70 pounds in weight.
Employees may receive packages from the U.S. sent by a parcel
express company by using the Embassy warehouse street address in
Brownsville (as distinct from the post office box address).
Incoming parcels that exceed the pouch size or weight limits, or
contain delicate equipment subject to damage if shipped by pouch,
are shipped from Brownsville to post by truck at the employee's
expense; costs are reasonable. The mailing addresses are as follows:
Mexico City (Mexico, D.F.)
Mail direct via U.S. Post Office: Full Name U.S. Embassy (Office
or agency) Box 9000 Brownsville, Texas 78520-0900
Parcels via DHL/FEDEX Service: Full Name U.S. Logistics Center
225 S. Vermillion Avenue Brownsville, Texas 78521
International Mail: Full name U.S. Embassy Reforma 305 Colonia
Cuauhtemoc 06500 Mexico, D.F., Mexico
Letter mail via Department of State pouch: Full Name/Section 8700
Mexico Place Washington, D.C. 20521-8700
Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua
Mail direct via U.S. Post Office: Full Name U.S. Consulate
General Box 10545 El Paso, Texas 79995-0545
Letter mail via pouch: Full Name 3270 Ciudad Juarez Place
Washington, DC 20521-3270
Mail direct via U.S. Post Office: Full Name U.S. Consulate
General P.O. Box 9001 Brownsville, Texas 78520-0901
International Mail: Full Name U.S. Consulate General Apartado
Postal 39-1044171 Guadalajara, Jalisco
Letter mail via Department of State pouch: Full Name 3280
Guadalajara Place Washington, DC 20521-3280
Mail direct via U.S. Post Office: Full Name U.S. Consulate-Hermosillo
P.O. Box 1689 Nogales, AZ 85628
International Mail: Full Name U.S. Consulate Apartado Postal 972
83000 Hermosillo, Sonora
Letter mail via Department of State pouch: Full Name 3290
Hermosillo Place Washington, D.C. 20521-3290
Mail direct via U.S. Post Office: Full Name U.S. Consulate
Matamoros Box 9004 Brownsville, Texas 78520-0904
Letter Mail via Pouch: Full Name 3300 Matamoros Place Washington,
Mail direct via U.S. Post Office: Full Name U.S. Consulate - MER
P.O. Box 9003 Brownsville, Texas 78520-0903
International Mail: Full Name U.S. Consulate General Apartado
Postal 130 97000 Merida, Yucatan
Letter mail via Department of State pouch: Full Name 3320 Merida
Place Washington, D.C. 20521-3320
Mail Direct via U.S. Post Office: Full Name U.S. Consulate -
Nogales P.O. Box 1729 Nogales, AZ 85628-1729
Letter mail via Department of State pouch: Full Name 3380 Nogales
Place Washington, D.C. 20521-3380
International Mail: Full Name Consulado Americano de Nogales
Apartado Postal No. 267 Nogales, Sonora MEX C.P. 84000
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
Mail direct via U.S. Post Office: Full Name U.S. Consulate
General P.O. Box 9002 Brownsville, Texas 78520-0902
International Mail: Full Name U.S. Consulate General Apartado
Postal 152 64006 Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
Letter mail via Department of State pouch: Full Name 3330
Monterrey Place Washington, D.C. 20521-3330
Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
Mail direct via U.S. Post Office: Full Name U.S. Consulate Box
3089 Laredo, Texas 78044-3089
Parcels via Parcel Express Service: Full Name U.S. Embassy
Warehouse (Post and Office or agency) 620 Logan Street Laredo, Texas
Letter mail via Department of State pouch: Full Name 3340 Nuevo
Laredo Place Washington, D.C. 20521-3340
Tijuana, Baja California
Mail direct via U.S. Post Office: Full Name U. S. Consulate
General P.O. Box 439039 San Diego, California 92143-9039
Letter mail via Department of State pouch: Full Name 3350 Tijuana
Place Washington, D.C. 20521-3350
Unclassified Computer Operations Post's unclassified Local Area
Network (LAN) currently supports approximately 500 customers.
Embassy and Consulates are certified OpenNet Plus. Applications
include: PER, REMS/RPA, Consular NIV and ACS, CAJE, Exchange E-mail
and homegrown applications for the various sections: GSO, ESO, OBO,
Radio and TV Last Updated: 7/11/2003 2:32 PM
The radio spectrum in Mexico City is saturated by radio stations
operating mostly with state-of-the-art equipment. All companies,
some of which own as many as 12 stations, have at least one morning
news magazine program that runs three to four hours. The leading
stations include live reports from the U.S. and other world
capitals, though they emphasize local and national events. Many
Spanish-language AM and FM broadcasts feature music in English.
Along the border, U.S. broadcasts are also available.
Mexican television (TV) broadcasts on the same standard (NTSC) as
in the U.S., and Mexican TV companies generally operate with
state-of-the-art equipment. Two networks dominate Mexican
television. Televisa is the older and highest rated one, but TV
Azteca-privatized in 1994-has proven itself to be a worthy
adversary. Each network broadcasts on three or four channels,
featuring soap operas ("telenovelas"), series, variety shows,
children's programs, sports (including major U.S. broadcasts),
movies, and news coverage. Although most programs are produced or
dubbed in Spanish, some movies are shown in the original language
with subtitles. Border posts receive both Mexican and U.S.
broadcasts. The UHF spectrum is not as crowded as in the U.S. mainly
because pay television became available in most major market
neighborhoods and in hundreds of small towns, at reasonable prices,
before smaller companies resorted to UHF frequencies. Though "pay
TV" companies initially simply passed through U.S. network signals,
they now relay the "Latin" services that many U.S. companies have
set up. There are also cable-only programs (including an all news
service in Spanish) produced nationally. C-Band dishes enjoyed an
early heyday, but direct-to-home broadcasts on the Ku-Band are
taking a greater market share.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
7/11/2003 3:01 PM
Although sold at prices substantially higher than in the U.S., a
wide selection of U.S. magazines and newspapers and a limited
selection of books can be found in most Mexican cities. The
international editions of Time and Newsweek are sold locally, as are
the editions of such major magazines as U.S. News & World Report,
Popular Science, People, and The Economist. In a joint venture with
The Miami Herald, the newspaper El Universal launched an English
language daily - The Herald - in early 2003; the newspaper reprints
The Miami Herald's international section with two pages of local
content. The Guadalajara Colony Reporter is also an English language
newspaper published in Guadalajara with more emphasis on local
content. Delivery of local Mexican papers, as well as a selection of
U.S. papers (The New York Times, The Miami Herald, The Los Angeles
Times and The Wall Street Journal) is available in Mexico City and
at the nine consulates throughout the country. USA Today, the Miami
edition of the International Herald Tribune, and papers from
neighboring U.S. states are also available.
Mexico has specialized magazines in English on such subjects as
computers, cars, scientific innovations, medical journals, and women
that are sold in major cities at bookstores and popular restaurants.
However, most employees get U.S. magazines and books by subscription
or mail from the U.S. Employees should use the U.S. Embassy Post
Office Box address for all subscriptions.
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 7/30/2003 1:17 PM
The Embassy Health Unit is staffed by a regional medical officer,
a nurse practitioner, a contract nurse/CPR instructor, and a
laboratory technologist. The unit provides routine office care,
physical examinations, and emergency assistance. The regional
medical officer -- psychiatry (RMO-P) based in Mexico City -- is
also available for consultation and services. The Embassy Health
Unit gives all required immunizations, except yellow fever. The
Embassy laboratory can perform basic parasitology, blood, and urine
The regional medical officer, in collaboration with the medical
adviser of each post, maintains a list of English-speaking
physicians and dentists. During periodic visits to each post, the
regional medical officer monitors available medical services.
Pharmacies in the post cities carry most drugs at reasonable
prices, but occasional shortages occur. Although many prescription
and over-the-counter medications that are manufactured in Mexico are
manufactured by Mexican affiliates of U.S. firms, there may be some
minor differences in formulation; thus, consult with a health
practitioner before purchasing locally manufactured medications.
Bring prescriptions and an adequate supply of prescription
medications. If refills must be sent from the U.S., make
arrangements beforehand. A supply of basic medicine chest items
should also be brought.
The Department of State Medical Program covers an employee's
spouse and children who are unmarried and less than 21 years old.
U.S. Government contractors and contract employees, children 21
years of age and older, and other dependents are not eligible for
treatment or care under the medical program; nor are they eligible
for medical travel. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB)
covers the employee, the employee's spouse, and unmarried children
up to age 22. Employees should provide insurance for any children,
or other dependents, who, by reason of age or relationship, are not
eligible for the Department's medical program or FEHB.
The American-British Cowdray (ABC) Hospital in Mexico City,
staffed partially by English-speaking, U.S. trained physicians, is
recommended for emergencies and routine hospitalizations. There are
other well-equipped private hospitals available with similar staff.
Mexico City has many English-speaking, U.S. trained physicians,
including medical and dental specialists. For major medical and
surgical problems, patients may be evacuated to the U.S. The
designated evacuation point is Miami, Florida.
Ciudad Juarez. The full range of medical services is available in
El Paso, Texas.
Guadalajara. English-speaking, U.S.-trained physicians and
several well-equipped hospitals and clinics are available and
provide adequate medical care.
Hermosillo. Hospitals and clinics are adequate for routine and
emergency care. Many doctors are U.S. trained and certified. A full
range of medical services is available in Tucson, Arizona, a
four-hour drive or a one-hour flight away.
Matamoros. The full range of medical services is available across
the river in Brownsville, Texas, and other nearby cities in the Rio
Merida. Merida has been designated an unhealthful post. The
incidence of diarrheal diseases and hepatitis is high. Malaria is
rare; however, there are incidents of other diseases transmitted by
mosquitoes. Medical facilities are inadequate despite the presence
of competent doctors and dentists. In the event of serious illness,
the patient will be evacuated to Mexico City or Miami, Florida.
Monterrey. Medical facilities in Monterrey are modern and
adequate. Two large, well-equipped private hospitals have been
approved for routine and emergency care. U.S. trained and highly
specialized physicians and dentists are available. Difficult or
unusual cases may be evacuated to Texas.
Nogales. This consulate has the poorest medical resources of all
the consulates. Although it is a border town, most of the medical
problems are referred to either Tucson or Hermosillo. Tucson is
approximately an hour and a half by car.
Nuevo Laredo. Consulate employees use the medical and dental
facilities in Laredo, Texas, or the medical center in San Antonio,
Tijuana. Complete health care is available across the border in
the San Diego or the Chula Vista area.
Tuxtla Gutierrez. A USDA installation is in this southern Mexico
region. Private clinics and hospitals are minimally adequate,
despite many well-trained physicians. In the event of serious
medical problems, evacuation to Mexico City or to Miami, Florida,
will be authorized.
Health and Medicine
Community Health Last Updated: 7/11/2003 3:05 PM
Air pollution is widely recognized as a problem in Mexico City.
In a study published in the spring of 1999, the World Resources
Institute rated Mexico City as the number one city in the world for
health risks to children age 5 and under due to air pollution. This
pollution is caused in part by rapid urbanization and
industrialization, but mostly by the huge and ever-growing number of
vehicles. Nonetheless, the air quality has improved in some
categories since the early 1990's. According to the Mexican
Government, the lead and sulfur dioxide levels are consistently
within acceptable levels, as defined by the World Health
Organization; and the nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide levels
are rarely unacceptable. The levels for declaring environmental
emergencies were recently tightened in response to evidence of
negative health effects from ozone and particulate matter. Although
there were fewer ozone peaks above 330 parts per million annually in
the past few years, it is still above acceptable levels over 85% of
the year. Suspended particulate matter exceeds the standards 20% to
30% of the year. Because of the continuing concerns about pollution,
the standard length of tour remains two years.
Tap water is not safe to drink. Boiling, iodine, or chlorine
treatment is necessary. The Embassy Chancery treatment plant
provides the Embassy with chlorinated water, which employees can
pour into their own containers for home and family use.
Tuberculosis is still present in the general population; thus
domestic employees should be screened for it. Malaria and other
serious tropical diseases are present only in southern, rural areas
of Mexico. Consult the Embassy Health Unit before departure. Persons
who will reside or travel in southern Mexico should be vaccinated
for yellow fever before departing the U.S. because yellow fever is
endemic in parts of southern Mexico and Central America. The Health
Unit does not stock yellow fever vaccine.
Intestinal infections are prevalent in Mexico. Most infections
are due solely to the fact that Mexican bacteria are different from
U.S. bacteria. Nevertheless, parasitic infections (including ameba
and giardia) are common. Therefore, select food sources and
restaurants carefully. Clean and treat raw vegetables and fruits
with iodine. Non-pasteurized dairy products may carry brucellosis
and tuberculosis. Therefore, purchase only reliably pasteurized and
Marijuana and cocaine and other illegal, addictive drugs are
readily available, despite Mexican efforts to control drug
trafficking. Drug offenders, including teenagers, are often jailed
for lengthy periods.
Health and Medicine
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 7/11/2003 3:07 PM
All persons assigned to Mexico City or constituent posts should
be briefed by the Health Unit. All adults should receive pulmonary
function screening before assignment to Mexico City due to the high
altitude. Assignments may not be permitted for people with multiple
allergy problems, asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, poorly
controlled high blood pressure, coronary artery disease (angina),
cardiac arrhythmia, or cardiac valvular disease.
Individuals with sickle cell trait should carefully consider the
altitude of this post before applying for assignment. Short term (TDY)
assignments carry an added risk because of lack of time for
acclimatization. Dehydration and stress from exercise or illness
compound the basic risks of high altitude.
Cigarette smokers should be particularly aware that they risk
increased cardiopulmonary problems due to the altitude and
pollution. The combination of altitude in Mexico's high plateau and
pollution in the Valley of Mexico with smoking may be dangerous for
pregnant women and the fetus.
Persons assigned to Mexico should not abandon their exercise
routines. Numerous health clubs are available throughout the city,
as well as a facility in the Embassy. Those who wish to exercise
outdoors should do so in the morning, when the pollution levels are
Rabies is endemic in Mexico, thus keep pet immunizations current.
Rabies vaccine is available in the Health Unit for all who wish to
be vaccinated. It may be especially advisable for children, joggers,
and rural workers to be vaccinated.
Recommended immunizations for Mexico include diphtheria, tetanus,
polio, MMR, and yellow fever. Infectious (viral) hepatitis is
endemic in Mexico; therefore, Hepatitis A immunization is also
Newcomers to high altitude should allow time for acclimatization.
In the first several weeks at post, avoid overeating, alcoholic
beverages, and excessive physical exertion. Light headedness,
insomnia, slight headaches, and shortness of breath are common
initial reactions to the altitude. Adequate rest and fluids help
alleviate the discomfort.
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 7/14/2003
The Mission employs a Local Employment Advisor to assist spouses
in networking for jobs on the local economy. The program has placed
numerous spouses to date and is currently rated number one worldwide
in job placement among posts with this program. The Mission also
offers many Eligible Family Member (EFM) employment opportunities
within the embassy. The majority of positions are full-time in the
administrative, clerical, and consular fields. Spanish language
proficiency and computer skills are required for many of the
consular and other professional jobs.
Occasionally, the Department chooses to staff unfilled
Information Management Specialist vacancies with EFMs as Information
Management Associates (IMA) and Junior Officer consular slots with
EFMs as part of the Professional Associates (PA) program. The IMA
positions are advertised locally; PA vacancies for the consular
positions are announced worldwide and require training in
Washington, D.C. If you are interested in either type of position,
please let the Human Resources Office know. Post also has around six
consular associate positions. These are visa adjudicator slots that
require the consular course offered by FSI and Spanish. If
interested in these positions, please contact the Human Resources
Office in the Embassy.
Some of the Consulates have positions for family members. Many
EFMs assigned to the border posts of Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez,
Matamoros, Nogales and Nuevo Laredo choose to find work in the
United States. Interior posts such as Hermosillo, Monterrey and
Guadalajara have a few EFM opportunities in their consular sections,
or as office assistants.
For information on employment opportunities overseas, eligible
family members will find it useful to talk with the Family Liaison
Office and the Office of Overseas Employment in Washington, D.C.
Positions currently filled by Embassy dependents are listed on the
Family Member Employment Report (FAMER) at http:''hrweb.hr.state.gov/flo/employment/.
We now have in place a de facto work agreement with the Mexican
Government that allows spouses to work on the local economy. All
employment in the local economy must be approved by the Chief of
Mission (COM) beforehand. Spouses interested in working in the local
economy should check in with the Human Resources Office for the
procedures on requesting COM approval and Government of Mexico
approval. The cost of processing fees is approximately US$160.00 per
American Embassy - Mexico City
Post City Last Updated: 7/17/2003 10:30 AM
Mexico City, formally known as Mexico, Distrito Federal (D.F.),
is a cosmopolitan capital. The glass-walled sky-scrapers lining the
Paseo de la Reforma, the stunning architecture of the Museum of
Anthropology, the variety of international restaurants, deluxe
hotels, the Lomas residential area with its stylish homes, and
modern department stores and supermarkets are all signs of a world
metropolitan center. Yet surrounding this glittering center are mass
housing developments, barrios and degenerating neighborhoods typical
of a rapidly growing city of a developing country. Heavy industry
and millions of motor vehicles make the city one of most polluted in
Mexico City lies in a long, flat valley on the high plateau of
central Mexico. Many of the peaks encircling the city are
volcanic-including glacier-topped Popocatepetl, "The Warrior," and
Iztacchihautl, "The Sleeping Lady." Popo and Izta, the local,
affectionate names for these peaks, provide a spectacular setting
for the city on the days when a drop in air pollution makes them
Although Mexico City is only 19 degrees North of the Equator, the
high altitude (7,350 feet) creates a moderate climate all year.
Thus, despite its tropical latitude, the city normally has a
pleasant, annual temperature range of 42 to 79°F. The warmest month
is May when the temperature can spike into the upper eighties for a
period. The weather is coolest November through February when night
and early morning temperatures on occasion may drop to freezing. The
two seasons are dry and rainy. The latter lasts from June through
September when several hours of rain fall daily, usually in the
afternoon and evening; yet mornings are normally sunny. Nights and
evenings after the storms are cool and damp. March through May are
warm and dusty. These months are at the end of the dry season making
this time the most polluted of the year. Average humidity range is
44%-73% and annual rainfall averages 30 inches- 90% of which falls
between May and October.
As of July 2003, about 48,500 American residents living in the
Embassy's consular district were registered with the Embassy;
however, post estimates that 65,000 Americans reside in Mexico City.
Security Last Updated: 7/14/2003 11:50 AM
The Department of State rates Mexico City's crime situation as
CRITICAL (its highest designator). Mission personnel are troubled by
residential break-ins, armed robberies, and other violent crimes at
rates higher than in any large city in the U.S. Employees and their
family members should not leave valuables in hotel rooms, carry
large amounts of money, or wear expensive jewelry on the street.
Wearing a plastic watch and leaving expensive-looking jewelry at
home will significantly improve your security profile. Walking in an
isolated area anywhere in the city, especially after dark, raises a
real risk of armed robbery. The post discourages the use of roving
taxis, those with green and white license plates, because of the
threat of robbery by the drivers or their criminal accomplices.
Further security information is available on the Internet at the
State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs web site
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/17/2003 10:31 AM
The U.S. Mission to Mexico is the U.S. Government's largest
diplomatic mission. To support the enormous amount of official and
unofficial interchange between the U.S. and Mexico, the Mission
includes the Embassy, nine consulates, and 13 consular agencies. The
Mission countrywide employs more than 1,700 people -- more than 60%
of whom are Mexican. In addition to the diplomatic relations between
the two governments, the Mission fosters closer relations through
programs in the fields of agriculture, commerce, tourism, culture,
education, labor movement, journalism, economy, transportation,
education, law, science, and the environment.
Agencies within the Mission include State, Agriculture (Foreign
Agricultural Service-FAS, Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service-APHIS, Agriculture Research Service-ARS, and the
Agricultural Trade Office-ATO), Commerce (Foreign Commercial
Service-FCS), Defense, Justice (Legal attaché, Drug Enforcement
Administration-DEA, U.S. Marshals), Homeland Security (formerly
Immigration and Naturalization Service-INS and U.S. Customs
Service), Treasury (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms-ATF,
Internal Revenue Service-IRS/CID, U.S. Secret Service-USSS, Office
of Foreign Assets Control-OFAC), Agency for International
Development-AID, Environmental Protection Agency-EPA, and the
American Battle Monuments Commission-ABMC.
Most offices are in the Chancery -- an eight-story,
earthquake-proof building with a marble facade and inner courtyard
completed in 1964. It is located at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia
Cuauhtemoc. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Agencies located in Mexico City that have offices outside the
Chancery include Public Diplomacy (the Benjamin Franklin Library),
Commerce (the U.S. Trade Center), and Agriculture (APHIS, ATO). USDA
has program offices in many parts of the country. Several USDA
offices within the Embassy consular district are located outside
Mexico City. APHIS has personnel in Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of
the state of Chiapas, in southern Mexico near the Guatemala border.
APHIS also has personnel in Tapachula, Chiapas, the southernmost
city in Mexico, at the border with Guatemala.
To call the Embassy from the United States, dial
011-52-55-5080-2000 (24-hour service); 52 is the international
country code for Mexico; 55 is the city access code for
long-distance calls to Mexico City from international and domestic
Arrival at Post Newly assigned employees arriving by commercial
transport are met if they inform the Embassy in advance. If not met,
arriving air travelers should take a licensed airport taxi to the
Chancery or their hotels. Licensed airport taxis are yellow and
white and are assigned to the taxi stand ("Sitio") at the airport.
Payment is made in advance at a special teller window just outside
the customs inspection area. If arriving by car from the U.S.,
request instructions from the Embassy for the two-day drive from the
Texas border. Employees who arrive after office hours may contact
the Embassy general duty officer through the Embassy telephone
operator for assistance, if necessary.
Housing Last Updated: 7/28/2003 1:19 PM
To assist in housing and schooling, provide the General Services
Office (GSO), Human Resources (HR), and the Community Liaison
Officer (CLO) by letter, FAX, telegram, or E-mail with the following
(1) Employee's name, mailing address, and estimated arrival
date/time (if by airline, include flight number, arrival date/time,
(2) Official dependents who will be at post more than 50% of the
year and estimated arrival date/time: a. spouse; b. children, by
date of birth (DOB), entering school grade, sex; c. any other
(3) Type of accommodation desired and related concerns such as:
health concerns, handicaps, elderly family members, pets, and choice
of suburb or close-in location.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/15/2003 9:43 AM
Post strives to assign incoming personnel to their permanent
quarters for immediate occupancy upon arrival at post. Occasionally,
incoming personnel could be housed in hotels or leased furnished
temporary apartments until permanent living quarters are ready for
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/18/2003 5:08 PM
The post Interagency Housing Board (IAHB) assigns housing at post
according to the Interagency Housing Policy and Standards
established by Congress through Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO),
Department of State. The housing assignment is based on the rank of
the position to be occupied at post and official family members
permanently resident at post (more than 50% of the year). Employee
preferences will be considered and honored if possible when housing
assignments are made.
An official family member for housing allowance purposes is
defined as: (1) a spouse, (2) a child who is unmarried and under 21
years of age, and (3) relatives (including step and legally adoptive
parents) of the employee or spouse, when such relatives are at least
51% dependent on the employee for support.
The U.S. Government owns several residences designated for senior
officers of Counselor of Embassy rank and above, including the
Defense Attaché. Between 1996 and 1998, the U.S. Government
purchased approximately 100 residences. Leased quarters augment
those that are Government-owned to form a housing pool. The IAHB
assigns housing to employees of the civilian agencies, i.e.,
Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, State, Treasury, Agency for
International Development (AID), and the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA). The IAHB approves private leases under living quarters
allowance (LQA) for DOD uniformed personnel. All housing (both U.S.
Government-owned, U. S. Government-leased and private) must be
within space allowances established by OBO.
As the Mission does not have space to store household effects (HHE),
do not ship HHE that cannot be accommodated in your quarters, as
most quarters have little or no storage space. Employees have one
year from date of arrival to send a supplementary shipment of HHE
within the employee's overall shipping allowance (from storage or
newly purchased effects), should quarters permit.
Any special housing needs should be made known to the Real
Property/Housing officer as soon as possible. Apartments and
townhouses in a variety of styles are available. Due to rising
crime, apartments with 24-hour security are increasingly being used
for Embassy housing. Most Embassy personnel reside in the west and
southwest of the city. Commute time from residences to the Embassy
is between 10 to 30 minutes.
Polanco, located two to four miles from the Chancery, is a flat
area with both residential and commercial buildings. It has shopping
centers and restaurants, small parks, and is adjacent to the
original section of Chapultepec Park. Residential properties are a
mix of apartments, townhouses, and a few detached houses. Commuting
to the Chancery takes about 15 minutes.
Three to seven miles from the Chancery, Lomas de Chapultepec
(also known simply as Lomas) is a hilly area of older, detached
houses and a few shopping centers. It includes parks, has somewhat
less traffic, and the commute is about 20 minutes. It is adjacent to
the newer sections of Chapultepec Park.
Some Embassy families are housed in the farther out areas of
Techamachalco, six miles from the Chancery, and La Herradura, which
is beyond Techamachalco.
New apartment buildings and townhouses in two areas of the
southwest portion of the city have been added to the housing pool.
Bosques de Las Lomas and Santa Fe are approximately 20-35 minutes
from the Chancery. They consist of small canyons and ridges with
both residential and commercial areas. The air quality is better and
seismic danger less. Santa Fe has the largest mall in Central and
South America with many fine restaurants and private security
patrols. Many families with children are housed in these areas.
Apartments and townhouses are comparable to the U.S., except that
they usually have a servant's room and bath, and sometimes a
breakfast room in addition to the dining room or combined
dining/living room. Storage space may be limited as few quarters
have attics or basements; so one room is often used for storage.
Official residences frequently have a living room; dining room,
breakfast room, guest bathroom, entry hall, sometimes a family room,
one or more servants' rooms with a bathroom, garage, or carport.
Yards range in size from similar to the U.S. to almost nonexistent.
Furnishings Last Updated: 7/15/2003 9:53 AM
Furnished Department of State housing includes the following:
apartments designated for all first tour and some second-tour
employees (including first tour junior officers, secretaries, and
communications officers with no more than one dependent); and houses
designated for senior officers of Minister Counselor rank or above.
Furnishings usually consist of living, dining, and bedroom
furniture, kitchen appliances, bookcases, lamps, and window
coverings With the exception of official residences of the
Ambassador and DCM, furnished quarters will not include porch
furniture, ladders or stepstools, lawnmowers, fireplace sets,
portable appliances, or freezers.
Musset. One Government-owned property in Polanco has 40 furnished
units. These one and two bedroom apartments usually house first tour
junior officer staff, or singles and couples without children.
Department of State personnel who are assigned unfurnished
quarters will receive large appliances (stove, refrigerator, washer,
and dryer); dishwashers are also provided in most government-owned
properties. All quarters are provided with smoke detectors, carbon
monoxide detectors when necessary, and fire extinguishers; further,
post supplies air cleaners for each occupied bedroom and a limited
number of space heaters, depending on the occupant's requirements.
Employees of other agencies should check with their agencies
regarding what is provided in furnished and unfurnished quarters.
An employee assigned unfurnished quarters should ship household
furniture to post. Household furnishings used in the U.S. are
suitable in Mexico. An employee may purchase furniture locally both
in Mexican contemporary and Spanish colonial style, ready or custom
made. An employee who ships basic furniture to post may wish to wait
until after arrival to decide whether to buy additional items
locally or order more from the United States.. Upholstered pieces
(sofas, easy chairs, etc.) and wool rugs are also available. Quality
and selection are adequate. The same is true for upholstery fabrics;
upholstery work is reasonable and satisfactory. A variety of drapery
material is available, and curtains can be made locally. Window
sizes vary; so do not buy draperies in advance. Many new apartments
include carpeting and curtains.
Household linens, kitchenware and fine china are available
locally. Mexican pottery is attractive and inexpensive, but should
not be used for cooking or eating unless it has been made with
lead-free glazes, or fired or glazed at a high temperature. Bring
wool and/or electric blankets as housing does not contain heating
systems and the winter months may be very cool. Thick wool Indian
blankets in a variety of colors are available locally. Housing may
not necessarily include adequate light fixtures but they are
inexpensive on the local market.
In addition to a welcome kit of basic kitchen items, State
Department employees moving into unfurnished quarters may borrow (if
available) some basic furniture items from the Embassy until their
HHE arrives. Employees of other agencies should check with their
respective administrative offices for such loans. Basic furniture
will consist of one bed and one chair for each family member, a
small table, and additional items that may be available.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/18/2003 5:12 PM
Electricity is the same as in the U.S.: 110 volt, 60 hertz,
alternating current. Mexico uses the same two-prong outlets as in
the U.S., but most residences have been upgraded with standard
three-prong, polarized, and grounded outlets that are more common in
the U.S. Electrical blackouts of several hours are not unusual
during the rainy season. Voltage fluctuations are very common; so
surge suppressers, voltage regulators, and uninterruptible power
supplies for electronic equipment are useful to protect your
appliances. In local housing, kitchen and bathroom outlets are
rarely found with the ground fault circuit interrupters that are
required by most U.S. electrical codes. However, most of the housing
pool has been upgraded to include this feature.
Buildings use liquid propane (LP) gas for hot water and cooking.
LP gas is delivered by truck. For delivery to a home, it is
necessary for a representative of the employee to be at home to
admit gas delivery personnel. In most apartment buildings, apartment
building staff arrange to receive gas. Government quarters have gas
stoves, clothes dryers and water heaters. Few Mexican ovens have
thermostats; so take an oven thermometer. All gas appliances should
have automatic safety pilots.
Central heating is rare and the only provisions for heat in many
homes are a fireplace and one-room gas or electric heaters. Electric
heaters are useful for the morning or evening chill. Lower wattage
or oil-filled electric heaters are preferable. High wattage may
overload electric circuits. If you have space heaters, you may wish
to bring them. You can purchase portable gas or kerosene heaters
locally; however, they can be dangerous without proper ventilation.
Department of State personnel are provided a limited number of space
heaters, depending upon the occupant's needs and the availability of
Houses have showers and sometimes bathtubs, but apartments may
have only showers. Water pressure varies and is often low; so many
residences have reserve storage tanks to occasionally supply water
when the city water is off for several hours or days.
Mexico City's seasonal high temperatures are moderated by the
altitude. Nevertheless, electric fans are useful when the
temperature reaches into uncommon highs which has occurred in the
past few years. Few houses and apartments have air-conditioning or
even electrical service capable of supporting air conditioning.
Although the Mexican telephone company, TelMex, is engaged in a
major program to expand the number of telephone lines, obtaining a
telephone line is difficult and may involve a wait of many months.
Therefore, the Embassy does not lease a residence or apartment
unless it has an operating telephone line. TelMex supplies pulse
button or dial-telephone instruments; employees may use their own,
if equipped for pulse dialing. Wall outlets and wiring blocks
(modular jacks) for U.S.-type telephones are available in
supermarkets, department stores, or hardware and electronics stores.
Food Last Updated: 7/15/2003 10:02 AM
A variety of groceries, including fresh fruits and vegetables,
packaged foods (both domestic and imported), dairy products, and
meats is available. Supermarkets stock fresh and frozen meat and
fish, dairy products, fresh produce, and canned and packaged goods.
Major U.S. food packagers produce such goods in Mexico as cereals,
bakery products, and beverages -- but sometimes with a slightly
different taste than what you may be accustomed to. Widely available
fresh fruits include pineapple, papaya, watermelon, avocado and
cantaloupe year round. Several large markets have both typical and
unusual Mexican and tropical fruits and vegetables. Many specialty
shops sell ethnic foods -- including Middle-Eastern -- locally
produced fresh kosher meats, and imported frozen foods. Most food
items are available at reasonable prices, but imported items are
only available at prices higher than in the United States. Most of
the larger supermarkets feature sections devoted to imported goods.
Smaller shops specializing in U.S. products are located in Lomas,
Polanco, Bosques, and a few other areas. All necessities and many
other items are available. Superama, a large grocery chain owned by
Walmart, resembles an American grocery store both in appearance and
in items stocked.
Locally produced mixes and canned foods are of varying quality
and very limited variety. Prepared frozen and packaged meals are
imported and expensive. A large variety of Mexican cheeses are
available. Many of the available cheeses are similar to common
European and American types. Strained baby foods are expensive and
of low quality. Mexican beer is good and very reasonably priced.
Bottled soft drinks (including diet sodas or "lite" as they are
known locally) are available at modest prices.
The Embassy U.S. Employees Association (EUSEA) commissary
periodically stocks selected U.S. groceries (dry, canned, packaged
and frozen foods), baby foods, pet foods, soft drinks, alcoholic
beverages, tobacco products, health and beauty aids,
over-the-counter medications, and a limited supply of kitchen and
household cleaning supplies. All U.S. employees, including PCS and
temporary duty employees, may join EUSEA and obtain access to the
Commissary. Employees may special order items, by the case, not
regularly stocked through the commissary.
The Embassy cafeteria serves breakfast, snacks, and lunch on
workdays. In addition, numerous excellent restaurants are within
close walking distance of the Embassy. Many American favorites,
including Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Papa John's, KFC, Domino's, Subway,
Burger King, Tony Roma's, Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins, Outback
Steak House, Chili's, TGIF, and McDonald's, among others, all are
conveniently located around the city.
Clothing Last Updated: 7/17/2003 4:49 PM
Clothing needs in Mexico City do not vary a great deal throughout
the year. Warm clothing is useful for cold spells in the winter
(November to February) and rainy season (June to September).
Temperatures normally vary from 40 degrees F to 70 degrees F. It is
suggested that you bring a few sweaters, a raincoat, and an umbrella
and plan to dress in layers. Lightweight summer clothes are
essential for travel to low-altitude areas where the climate is hot
and humid, but are only needed in Mexico City from March through
June when temperatures may reach up to 90 degrees F. Shorts are
rarely worn. Remember that Mexico is approximately 7,300 feet above
sea level; so mornings and evenings can be cool and even though it
may reach into the 90's in the sun, it can still be on the cool side
in the shade.
Clothing of all kinds is available at prices comparable to the
U.S., but the quality varies. Mexico City has large shopping malls,
several different department store chains, and a large variety of
small boutiques. Sears, Liverpool, and Palacio de Hierro are among
the larger department stores. A wide variety of locally made and
imported clothing is available.
Bring U.S. swimsuits and underwear for children and adults. Some
Mexican made clothing, particularly stockings and pantyhose, often
do not fit tall women (approximately 5'6" and taller). Mexican shoes
are stylish and well made; however, shoes generally do not go beyond
American size eight for women and size ten for men. . Narrow shoe
sizes are very scarce. Children's shoes and name-brand tennis shoes
Men Last Updated: 7/17/2003 4:48 PM
In Mexico City, men wear light-to-medium weight business suits.
The darker colors (black, brown, charcoal gray) are the most
popular. Lightweight suits are comfortable in the spring and for
traveling to low altitudes. Mexican shoes are stylish and well made,
but do not go beyond American 10 for men. Narrow shoe sizes are very
scarce. Bring oorder from the U.S. any sportswear, shirts, shoes,
pajamas, underwear, and socks that you will need. These items are
sold locally; but the quality and variety may not appeal to American
tastes. It is suggested that you take along a supply of buttons (for
suits) and thread. Buttons very frequently 'pop-off ' at the most
inconvenient time and thread sold locally may not be of very good
Good tailors are available; their prices vary. Hats or shorts are
rarely worn in Mexico City, except for sports activities. Black tie
is never required for Mexican Government functions; a dark suit is
appropriate. However, Mexican and American business representatives
and diplomats sometimes specify "black tie" for dinner parties. Many
men in the community have elected to have a tuxedo tailor-made while
in Mexico; renting one costs about half as much as to have one made.
Women Last Updated: 7/17/2003 5:15 PM
Bring wool or cotton suits and dresses with jackets. Mexico City
temperatures can change rapidly during the day, particularly during
the rainy season. Long-sleeved blouses, sweaters, jackets, and
layered clothing are very useful; homes and offices are rarely
The dress for receptions, cocktail parties, dinners, and similar
events varies according to rank and representational activity. Most
Mexican women wear current U.S. fashions for both afternoon and
evening social events. Shorts are not worn except for recreation, or
at resorts. Locally made dresses are available in a variety of
styles, including both current fashions and Mexican ethnic. Imported
clothing from the U.S. and Europe is available. Good Mexican
textiles are available; but some are not pre-shrunk, colorfast, or
If you sew, it is suggested that you bring or mail order your
favorite materials for sewing and or tailoring. Patterns sold
locally cost twice as much as those in the U.S. The selection of
such sewing accessories as thread is limited and the quality is
Well-crafted silver, brass, and copper jewelry is less expensive
than in the U.S. Native semi-precious stones—such as turquoise,
opals, and topaz in silver or gold mountings—are also available.
Children Last Updated: 7/17/2003 4:51 PM
Children's clothes are available in great variety. Price and
quality vary, depending upon the store. Some parents bring
children's clothes from the U.S. or order online. Dress for all ages
is similar to that in the United States, teenagers in Mexico as in
the U.S. seem fashion conscious. Some schools require uniforms;
check the section on schools or ask the CLO. European-style baby
clothing is readily available, but American style clothing is not so
common. Disposable diapers like Pampers and Huggies are available on
the local economy. Children's shoes and sneakers are available, but
can be expensive and of varying quality.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 7/18/2003 5:27 PM
A variety of both domestic and imported supplies and services are
available on the local economy. Many U.S. brands of health or beauty
aids are manufactured and sold locally. Most medications can be
bought at local drugstores without a prescription and may cost less
than in the U.S. You should always check with the Health Unit before
purchasing medication; the dosage and strength may not be the same.
Several hard-to-find items are available at the Embassy commissary
or can be specially ordered.
Film and developing are readily available, including 45-minute
processing. Prices, quality, and service compare favorably with the
U.S. Quality engraving and printing can be done locally. The Embassy
commissary carries a limited selection of English-language greeting
cards that are otherwise almost impossible to find on the economy.
Gift wrapping is most often done at the place of purchase or at the
local paper store. Costco, Sears, Office Depot, Wal-Mart and Sam's
Club have large stores in almost every neighborhood.
Supplies and Services
Basic Services Last Updated: 7/18/2003 5:23 PM
Dry-cleaners and commercial laundries are competitive in price to
those in the U.S. Pick-up and delivery from your residence is also
available. Beauty shops and barbershops are numerous and compare
favorably with those in the U.S. in price and service. Reasonably
priced shoe repair is available. Audio, video, and personal computer
equipment repair services are satisfactory; however, some parts are
scarce and the work can be expensive. Service and repair on U.S.
cars are good. Dealer service is available for nearly every make and
model car. It is suggested that you contact your local dealer in the
U.S. to verify all warranty information. Should an auto part be
unavailable in Mexico, the quickest delivery is usually from dealers
in San Antonio, Brownsville, or Laredo, Texas, via the Embassy
warehouse address. Employees may use the Embassy warehouse street
address in Brownsville, Texas, to receive UPS shipments, which are
consolidated and forwarded to the Embassy. There may be a charge for
shipping fragile items. Many stores and markets are located close to
such tourist centers as the Zona Rosa (Pink Zone), Polanco (a very
popular neighborhood), and the Zocalo (Historic Center). The real
bargains are in handcrafted silver, gold, copper, tin, onyx,
leather, textiles, pottery, blown-glass, and paintings. Stores
usually open for business at 10 am or 11 am, and remain open until 7
pm or 8 pm; however, the times may vary according to the owner's
discretion. Many specialized stores open only half-days on Saturday
and most stores close on Sunday, except for those stores located in
the malls. Several stores around Mexico City offer discounts for
Supplies and Services
Domestic Help Last Updated: 7/18/2003 5:24 PM
Before hiring domestic staff, obtain a copy of the Mission's
administrative procedure on the subject. Consult the CLO or the
Human Resources Office regarding Mexican Federal Labor Law (FLL) and
the Law of the IMSS (Mexican Social Security) as applicable to
domestic help. Many U.S. employees have such domestic help as maids,
gardeners or chauffeurs; however, few speak English. Truly skilled
cooks are hard to find. Almost all domestic employees hired locally
are Mexican. An employee who wishes to bring domestic staff to
Mexico from another country should consult with the Embassy Human
Resources Office. The Government of Mexico is strict about visas and
work permits for foreign domestics because of the large number of
Mexicans available. Consequently, few employees bring servants from
Although many domestics live in, they can also be hired on a
part-time "live-out" basis for laundry and cleaning purposes.
Reliable live-in help has been increasingly hard to find in recent
years, but families with small children find it helpful to have a
live-in domestic to look after children, since good babysitters are
very scarce and full-time day care is also scarce. Most homes and
many apartments have separate servants quarters.
The cost of a domestic employee's salary, Christmas bonus, meals,
uniform, severance pay, and Social Security has increased in recent
years; however, it is still significantly less expensive than in the
United States. An employer is liable for three months of severance
pay once an employee has completed 30 days of employment. It
increases at the rate of 20 days a year. Live-in domestic employees
are entitled to one day off a week, Mexican holidays, and six to
twelve paid vacation days a year. Employers have the option of
enrolling servants in the IMSS health program or paying their
work-related medical expenses directly.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/15/2003 10:26 AM
Mexico City's large English-speaking community is served by
several English language religious institutions, including but not
limited to Catholic, Baptist, Christian Science, Church of Christ,
Greek Orthodox, Jewish (Conservative), Latter-day Saints, Lutheran,
Methodist, Quaker, Seventh-day Adventist, Union Evangelical,
Interdenominational, and Unitarian.. The CLO maintains a list of
religious services offered in English.
Dependent Education Last Updated: 8/18/2003 9:33 AM
Nearly all Embassy dependent children in Mexico attend private
schools, most of which have bilingual programs. The caliber of
education is generally good, but acceptance standards vary. Several
schools require admissions examinations. Special Spanish classes are
offered for non- Spanish speakers. A few schools have limited
programs for special needs and gifted and talented students. No
Embassy families currently home-school their children. A few Embassy
families choose to have their children attend school in the U.S.
Updated information regarding boarding schools is available from the
Office of Overseas Schools (A/OS) and the Family Liaison Office (M/FLO),
both of which are in the Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Employees may also direct questions to the CLO coordinator at post.
A large number of Embassy children attend the American School
Foundation (ASF), which is accredited by the U.S. Southern
Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), while a smaller number
attend Greengates (a British day school), Lomas Altas, and Westhill
Institute. ASF, Greengates, and Westhill Institute offer education
from pre-school through high school. The schools typically provide
bus service for regularly scheduled classes and a later run for
after-school activities. Lomas Altas, Sierra Nevada, and Eaton offer
programs from pre-school through sixth grade; these schools are
located in the Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood, where many Embassy
The American School Foundation (ASF). (Address: Bondojito 215,
Colonia Las Americas, Delegacion Alvaro Obregon, 01120 Mexico,
Distrito Federal, Mexico. The. international mail address is the
same as the Embassy. Telephone: 52-55-5227-4915). As a bicultural
and bilingual school, its program is necessarily different from U.S.
schools. It offers accredited co-educational programs in
pre-primary, primary (first to fifth), middle school (sixth to
eighth), and high school (ninth to twelfth) levels. The SACS in the
U.S. accredits the ASF. The school also has Mexican accreditation by
the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) for all grade levels and
the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Mexico City,
for the high school program.
ASF receives some grant aid from the Office of Overseas Schools
(A/OS); but it is not affiliated with the U.S. Embassy and Embassy
children are not guaranteed acceptance. Under the terms of the U. S.
Government's grant to the school, AFS must accept all dependent
children who meet admission standards. Children coming from schools
with other than an American curriculum and children with poor
academic records may be required to take an admission exam.
AFS has about 2,500 students-approximately 67% of whom are
Mexican, 22% American, and 11% other nationalities. Classes in
primary school are conducted half-day in Spanish and half-day in
English. However, children with little to no Spanish attend "Special
Spanish" classes. In middle school and high school, all classes are
taught in English with Spanish being taught as a second language.
The ASF campus includes indoor and outdoor play areas, tennis
courts, and an indoor swimming pool. An intramural sports program
includes American football, soccer, and basketball. The school year
starts in mid-August and ends in late June. Two-week vacations occur
both at Christmas and Easter. Uniforms are not required.
Summer activities include remedial and enrichment programs, in
addition to a half-day Summer Camp Program. Extracurricular
activities include drama, Model United Nations, a variety of sports,
National Honor Society (NHS), and various clubs.
Greengates. (Address: Avenida Circunvalacion Poniente 102,
Balcones de San Mateo, 53200 Naucalpan, Estado de Mexico, Mexico.
Telephone: 52-55-5373-0088). A private, coeducational school based
on the British system that offers kindergarten through high school.
Applicants are tested for acceptance and placement. The school year
is from mid-August through late June. Classes are taught in English.
Spanish is required as a second language and French is offered
beginning in grade six. The school requires elementary and middle
school students to wear uniforms. An after-school activity program
includes art, drama, music, chess, and photography. About 30
nationalities are represented. Summer programs include, arts,
crafts, sports and remedial education. Expenses are within the
Lomas Altas. (Address: Montanas Calizas 305, Lomas de Chapultepec,
Mexico 11000 Districto Federal. Telephone: 52-55-5520-5375.) Lomas
Altas is growing in popularity for younger children (up to the sixth
grade). The school is a private, coeducational school for children
from pre-school through sixth grade. There are regularly long
waiting lists for spaces. Early registration is recommended. No
uniform is required. The school year is from mid-August through to
the end of June. The majority of children attending the school are
Mexican. Beginning in the first grade, half the day's curriculum is
conducted in Spanish and half in English. For younger children, the
classes are all in English.
Westhill Institute. (Address: Montes Carpatos, No. 940, 11000
Mexico, Districto Federal. Telephone: 52-55-5292-4222.) Westhill is
a private, coeducational school, founded in 1992. The school has
three campuses: pre-school in Lomas de Chapultepec; K-6 also in
Lomas de Chapultepec, and a new, state-of-the-art campus in Santa Fe
for K-12 and University. The Santa Fe campus is very convenient to
most of the Embassy's family housing units. Uniforms are required.
The standard curriculum includes some class work in Spanish and
French. Generally,Westhill is not considered as academically
challenging as the other schools referenced.
In addition, numerous other schools-such as Montessori, French,
German, and religious-are available. Most schools offer summer
programs and bus service. With the exception of Greengates School,
most schools must conform to the Government of Mexico requirements
to teach Spanish at least half of every school day in elementary
grades and follow the approved curriculum.
Nursery school. Many nursery schools and kindergartens are
available for half-day programs. EUSEA (Embassy of the US Employee
Association) offers a pre-school and day care program for ages 2-10
on the Embassy campus, Little Amigos. Hours are convenient for
embassy employees and the price is very competitive.
Special Needs Education Last Updated: 7/17/2003 5:02 PM
The American School Foundation and Westhill Institute offer
excellent special education services. Applicants must submit an
Individual Education Plan as part of the admissions process. Both
schools reserve the right to deny admission to special needs
children whom they feel the school can not adequately serve. Lomas
Altas and the British American School each maintain an education
psychologist on staff, but neither offers a specific special needs
program. Greengates has been responsive to special needs, but does
not advertise an official special needs program. Gifted and talented
programs are not commonly available.
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 7/15/2003 6:33 PM
UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) has a school for
foreign students that offers programs in Latin American Studies and
intensive Spanish. Most courses are in English, including those in
Mexican history and culture. The university offers many
degrees-including economics, dentistry, engineering, and the
humanities. A wide range of courses and programs is offered at The
Ibero-American University (Universidad IberoAmericana) and the
University of the Americas, Mexico City (Universidad de Las
Alliant University, located near the Embassy, is part of the U.S.
International University of San Diego, California. The Mexico City
campus is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and
Colleges. It offers undergraduate degrees in business
administration, general studies, and psychology as well as graduate
programs in management and organizational development, psychology,
international business administration, and business administration.
All course work is in English. Endicott College/Mexico offers a US
education of general core course work for one or two years at its
Mexico City campus, located in Polanco. The BA/BS is completed at
the Beverly, MA campus. Internships are a pre-requisite for
graduation, so that students have practice in their chosen field of
study. Endicott is accredited by the New England Association of
Schools and Colleges.
Information regarding correspondence study is available in a
leaflet, "The External Degree," available through The Family Liaison
Office (M/FLO)., Department of State, Room 1216A, Washington, D.C.
20520-7310. The leaflet includes a list of external degree programs
offering associate, bachelor, and masters degrees. It also includes
an explanation of different ways of earning credit. Embassy
employees and family members may use services of the educational
counselor at the PD Benjamin Franklin Library in Mexico City,
located near the Embassy.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 7/18/2003 5:36 PM
EUSEA (Embassy of the US Employees Association) has a relatively
small, but well-equipped exercise facility on the Embassy grounds
(available for a fee). The American School Foundation (ASF) campus
includes lighted tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool, a baseball
field and an excellent gym for a nominal membership fee. A swimming
pool at the YMCA is available for a small charge. Sport City, which
has several sites in Mexico City, offers an Embassy membership rate
which waives the initiation fee. Gold's Gym, located in Mexico City,
offers various types of equipment and personal trainers for variable
membership dues. The Maria Isabel Sheraton Hotel (located across the
street from the Embassy) has several athletic club facilities,
including exercise classes. Aerobic and yoga classes are offered at
the Embassy. The Camino Real Hotel rents tennis courts by the hour.
Tai-Chi, karate, tai-kwon-do, yoga, pilates, hockey, and aerobics
are offered in all of the embassy neighborhoods. Aquatica Nelson
Vargas offers swim classes and swim teams in Interlomas.
Runners must take time to adapt to Mexico City's higher altitude.
Heavy traffic and air pollution dampen some runners' enthusiasm, but
Chapultepec Park and other locations provide pleasant surroundings
for running. Runners must remember that crime is relatively high in
Mexico City; so you must be cautious of where and when you choose to
As in most Latin countries, soccer is a favorite spectator sport.
Other sports include horse racing, jai alai, American football,
baseball, softball, basketball, and polo. Bullfights are held almost
every Sunday. Horseback riding is popular among Mexicans, yet, few
riding clubs are available in Mexico City and its environs. You may
rent horses to ride "Mexican saddle" in the countryside around
The Government of Mexico requires special permits to possess
firearms or to use them for hunting. Any questions on firearms
should be addressed to the Regional Security Office.
Freshwater fishing for trout and bass is good. Some of the
world's best deep-sea fishing and beaches are at such Pacific coast
resorts, as Acapulco and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo (Guerrero), Puerto
Vallarta (Jalisco), Puerto Escondido and Huatulco (Oaxaca) near the
Gulf of Tehuantepec, Mazatlan (Sinaloa), and Los Cabos (at the
southern tip of the 1,000-mile-long Baja California Peninsula).
The Gulf of California (also known as the Sea of Cortes) resorts
include Guaymas (Sonora). The Gulf of Mexico resorts include
Veracruz and Tampico (Veracruz). Caribbean resorts include Cancun
and Cozumel (Quintana Roo).
Mountain climbing is popular at the nearby volcanoes of
Popocatepetl ("Popo" is the second-highest mountain in Mexico) and
Iztacchihautl; and the Pico de Orizaba (the highest mountain in
Mexico and the third highest in North America, on the Puebla/Veracruz
border) is popular with the hardy who are also accustomed to high
altitudes (17,000 feet above sea level). The lower slopes provide
extraordinary beauty and offer an attractive alternative to hiking
Recreation and Social Life
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 7/15/2003 10:53 AM
Touring and sightseeing possibilities are excellent. Mexico
abounds in archeological sites from the indigenous, meso-American
civilizations of the pre-Hispanic era. The Great Temple, the seat of
the Aztec civilization, is in the Zocalo (or central plaza) in
downtown Mexico City. Founded in 1325 as Tenochtitlan, Hernando
Cortes in 1521 proclaimed Spanish sovereignty over the site.. An
adjacent museum displays artifacts found nearby. The pyramids of the
Sun and the Moon, dating from C.E. 500, are found at Teotihuacan
(also known as the City of the Gods), about a 45 minute ride
northeast of Mexico City. Tula (Hidalgo), the capital of the Toltec
civilization, is a one-hour drive northwest of Mexico City, off the
toll road to Queretaro. Mayan sites are everywhere when you visit
the Yucatan Peninsula.
The downtown Mexico City area includes excellent museums, the
Cathedral, the National Palace with murals by Diego Rivera, glass
factories, old churches, convents, and colorful markets. Chapultepec
Park is a popular, lake-centered woodland. It is several miles
square and located near the Polanco and Lomas areas of Mexico City.
It has a zoo, bridle paths, picnic areas, playgrounds, miniature
trains, botanical gardens, bicycle paths, row boats, a colorful
amusement park, fine restaurants, and Atlantis-an aquatic animal
Mexico City's central location makes weekend trips easy to low
altitudes, scenic resorts, and towns by car, train, bus, or plane.
Many old haciendas have been converted into beautiful hotels and
resorts. Located within a day's excursion, south of Mexico City, is
Cuernavaca, Morelos (altitude 5,060 feet), known as the City of
Perpetual Spring-time; and Taxco, Guerrero (altitude 5,760 feet), a
colonial town noted for silver manufacturing. The Spanish colonial
town of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato (altitude 6,140 feet) is
two hours to the north. The city of Puebla (altitude 7,030 feet)
located to the south of Mexico City was one of the first Hispanic
cities; it has museums and buildings reflecting the Spanish colonial
era. The Battle of Puebla which marked the Mexican victory over
French forces on May 5, 1862, is celebrated during the Cinco de Mayo
festivities. Toll roads fan out from Mexico City to these and other
areas of interest.
Summer programs for children are offered at all of the schools
and recreation clubs and in many malls. The Mission sponsors the
Summer Hire Program for high school and college-age dependents, but
summer job opportunities are scarce on the local market. Summers
tend to be cool and cloudy, so many families spend a few weeks
traveling during summer.
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 7/15/2003 10:56 AM
Mexico City's performing and visual arts programs are
international in scope. The National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA)
offers a broad range of cultural activities at its numerous concert
halls, theaters, museums, and other facilities. The Palacio de
Bellas Artes and the National Auditorium are the traditional venues
for performing arts programs. World-class symphony orchestras,
chamber orchestras, chamber ensembles, opera companies, jazz groups,
modern dance companies and ballet companies perform periodically at
Bellas Artes. Superb art exhibits are held frequently.
The National Museum of Anthropology hosts programs of dance and
music from Mexico's indigenous cultures. Mexico's famed Ballet
Folklorico performs each Wednesday and Sunday at Bellas Artes. UNAM
(Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) administers an extensive
cultural program, which often includes American activities held at
their Centro Cultural, in the southern part of the city. Tickets for
INBA and UNAM programs are moderately priced.
There are several amateur theater groups in addition to
commercial theater groups. Movie theaters show first-run American
movies about three months after their release in the U.S. at
inexpensive prices. Blockbuster Video has numerous locations in
Mexico City, featuring the same selection of VHS, DVD and video game
rental as you find in the United States. Mexico City is Region 4 for
DVDs, so it is advisable to purchase a multi-region DVD player. The
Embassy EUSEA Video Club also rents movies in VHS format, DVDs and
Dining out is reasonably priced and varied. The cosmopolitan
nature of the city is nowhere more evident than in the variety of
restaurants, with specialties ranging from the many regions of
Mexico (Yucatan, Veracruz, etc.) to countries and cultures around
the world. Mexican food in Mexico is very different from the
Mexican-style food that has become so popular in the U.S.
International restaurant offerings include anything from the
Argentine-style 'parrilla' to Middle Eastern cuisine. Good caterers
are available throughout Mexico. Mexicans normally eat their main
meal as early as 2:00 pm and then have a light dinner after about
9:00 pm. It is always better to make a restaurant reservation for
parties larger than six. Nightclubs are everywhere you look in
Chapultepec Park boasts the National Museum of Anthropology, a
handsome building housing one of the world's most extensive
collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts from cultures indigenous to
Mexico. Lecture tours in English are available. The Museum of Modern
Art, also in the park, provides an overview of 80 years of Mexican
art, as well as numerous excellent foreign and Mexican exhibits.
Chapultepec Castle and museum, the residence of the Austrian
Archduke Maximilian (1864-67), overlooks the eastern end of the park
and Paseo de la Reforma.
Close by the Embassy is the Rufino Tamayo Museum, which includes
collections of paintings and sculptures by 20th-century artists from
Mexico, the U.S., and Europe. Other fine museums include the Dolores
Olmedo Museum, the Frida Kalo, the National Museum of the
Viceroyalty (the Spanish Colonial Period), and the Anahuacali
Museum, which features Diego Rivera's pre-Hispanic collection.
For those interested in Mexico City's active art scene, the city
offers more than a dozen fine commercial art galleries, which
periodically show the best of Mexican and-to a lesser extent-foreign
artists. Artists also regularly exhibit in several out-door parks.
The CLO offers day as well as overnight excursions to a variety
of sites and cultural events throughout Mexico. Maritz travel,
located inside the Embassy, has negotiated Embassy rates with many
hotels at the most popular destinations.
Recreation and Social Life
Social Activities Last Updated: 7/15/2003 10:58 AM
Among Americans. The U.S. Marine Security Guard (MSG) Detachment
periodically holds "happy hours" either at the count yard at the
Embassy or at the Marine House, located six miles from the Embassy
in Lomas de Chapultepec. The American Embassy Association (AEA)
raises money to provide donations for various schools or orphanages
and periodically provides scholarships for Mexican students. It also
maintains a list of charitable organizations requesting volunteers.
Well-known organizations with branches in Mexico City include: the
American Benevolence Society, the American Legion, Boy Scouts, Girl
Guides, Daughters of the American Revolution, Junior League, Lions,
Navy League, Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus, Shriners, Hash House
Harriers, St. Andrews, and various U.S. college alumni clubs. The
American Society offers a wide variety of social activities.
International Contacts. A good knowledge of Spanish and a real
effort to make friends help to develop friendships. Business
contacts and official social occasions offer chances to meet the
local people. Many clubs within Mexico, such as Damas Diplomaticas
and The Newcomers' Club, offer monthly meetings, speakers, tours to
various sites in Mexico, dinners, and dances.
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 7/15/2003 11:00 AM
Official functions in Mexico City follow the pattern of many
large embassies. Much entertaining is conducted at home with
receptions, cocktail-buffets, or dinner parties. Restaurant
entertaining is normally used for working breakfasts or luncheons.
Due to the size of the Embassy, the diplomatic list is limited to
the Ambassador, the DCM, Counselors of Embassy, military attaches,
and heads of agencies with diplomatic titles. Officers with consular
titles are included in the consular list.
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 7/15/2003 11:01 AM
Protocol follows the rules in Social Usage Abroad, published by
the Department of State. Employees invited to representational
functions of the Ambassador are expected to arrive early and assist
in making the gathering a success. Officers may take an initial
supply of calling cards with them. However, cards can easily be
engraved or printed in Mexico City, including at the Embassy
Commissary (operated by Embassy of the US Employees Association/EUSEA).
Special Information Last Updated: 7/17/2003 5:24 PM
Defense Attaché Office. The DAO is located in the Embassy and may
be called via the Embassy telephone number 52-55-5080-2000 ext. 4572
or ext. 4558. New personnel are encouraged to cable, write, or call
DAO and the Embassy Human Resources Office as soon as they learn of
an assignment to Mexico. Each newcomer is assigned a sponsor to help
make the move to Mexico as smooth as possible.
Attachés wear uniforms for appointments or calls on the Defense
or Navy Secretariats, when visiting military installations, and when
prescribed by the Defense Attaché. Dress uniforms are required for
some social events. When not in uniform, all Attachés wear coat and
tie. The dress code is conservative; the weather in Mexico City is
cool due to the high altitude of 7500 feet. Authorized ribbons,
medals, and aiguillettes are worn, and a set of miniature medals is
required as directed by service regulations. The military support
staff has only an occasional need of uniforms. Requirements are
Army: The Defense and Army Attachés and Assistant Army attachés
need at least two Army Class A uniforms, one Army blue service
uniform, and two sets of BDUs (Battle Dress Utilities). Bring long
and short sleeve green uniform shirts. The U.S. Army blue mess
uniform is optional; but on occasions, it is more appropriate than
the Army blue service uniform. Army support staff members should
have one Army green uniform and, if already owned, a dress blue
uniform. Enlisted support staff may use a white shirt and black bow
tie with the green uniform in lieu of blues.
Air Force: The Air Attaché needs two service dress uniforms and a
mess dress. Bring short and long-sleeve light blue shirts. U.S. Air
Force enlisted members also require one service dress uniform, and a
white shirt and black bow tie, or mess dress.
Navy: The Navy Attaché needs the full sea bag required by U.S.
Navy uniform regulations. Formal dress uniform is not mandatory
since it is worn only about four times a year, but this uniform is
more appropriate than others for these events. The tropical dinner
dress B uniform is not worn. Navy enlisted members require one
service dress blue uniform and one summer blue uniform. Bring a full
dress blue uniform if you own one.
Marine Corps: The Marine Attaché (USMC) needs the full bag as
required by U.S. Marine Corps uniform regulations, including evening
Coast Guard: The Coast Guard and Assistant Coast Guard Attachés
need the full sea bag required by U.S. Coast Guard uniform
regulations, including the service dress white uniform ("choker
whites") and mess dress (blue and white).
Constituent Posts: Whenever a subject covered in this section on
Mexico City is not discussed in the sections on constituent posts in
Mexico, the information given above may also apply.
Defense Attaché Office Housing and Personal Property Shipments:
The Defense Attaché is assigned a furnished, four-bedroom, U.S.
Government owned house, and has a limited HHE shipment. Consult the
DAO before sorting items for shipment and storage. All other DAO
officer personnel are required to find privately leased quarters and
receive the full JFTR weight allowance. The DAO Operations
Coordinator and all enlisted DAO personnel are assigned
government-leased quarters and receive the full JFTR (Joint Federal
Travel Regulation) weight allowance. All DAO personnel, except the
Defense Attaché, should bring a complete assortment of furniture.
The following appliances are provided to all DAO personnel: stove,
refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, and air purifiers. Housing
adequacy and size allowances for all DAO personnel, except the
Defense Attaché, are based on State Department regulations
concerning grade and number of dependents.
U.S. Military Liaison Office (MLO). The MLO is located in the
Embassy and may be called via the Embassy telephone number
52-55-5080-2000 ext. 4201 or ext. 4736, or via the direct line,
52-55 5207-6976. The MLO fax number is 52-55-5080-2730. (The country
code is 52 and the code for Mexico City is 55.) New personnel are
encouraged to cable, write, or call MLO in addition to the Embassy
Human Resources Office as soon as they learn of an assignment to
Mexico. Each newcomer is assigned a sponsor to help make the move to
Mexico as smooth as possible.
MLO personnel wear uniforms for appointments or calls on the
Defense or Navy Secretariats, when visiting military installations,
and when prescribed by the Chief, USMLO. Dress uniforms are required
for some social events. When not in uniform, all MLO personnel wear
tasteful, civilian business attire-usually a suit or coat and tie
for men and suits, dresses, skirts and/or dressy pants outfits for
women. The dress code is conservative. A civilian clothing allowance
should be authorized in the orders of military personnel reporting
to this post. Authorized ribbons/medals are worn and a set of
miniature medals is required as directed by service regulations.
Minimum military uniform requirements are indicated below:
Army: All U.S. Army personnel assigned to USMLO need at least two
Army green uniforms, an Army blue service uniform, and one set of
BDUs (Battle Dress Utilities). The U.S. Army blue mess uniform is
optional, but on occasions this uniform is more appropriate than the
Army blue service uniform. Army support staff members should have
one Army green uniform and, if already owned, a dress blue uniform.
Enlisted staff may use a white shirt and black bow tie with the
green uniform in lieu of blues.
Air Force: All U.S. Air Force personnel need two service dress
uniforms and a mess dress. Bring short and long sleeve light blue
shirts. U.S. Air Force enlisted members require one combination, one
uniform, a white shirt, and a black bow tie.
Navy: All U.S. Navy personnel need the full bag required by U.S.
Navy uniform regulations. Formal dress uniform is not mandatory, but
there are occasions when this uniform is more appropriate than
others. The tropical dinner dress B uniform is not worn; in Mexico
City, Service Dress Blue is worn year-round. The new Navy "working"
jacket has proven to be very useful. In the coastal port cities
where the Mexican Navy Bases are located, Summer White is nearly
used exclusively. Khaki uniforms are seldom used. At least one set
of BDUs is recommended for work and visits in the field. Ceremonial
swords are permitted to pass through customs, but must be clearly
manifested in your shipment as a ceremonial sword. Navy enlisted
members require one service dress blue uniform and one summer blue
uniform. Bring a full dress blue uniform if you own one.
Marine Corps: U.S. Marine Corps personnel should have the full
bag required by U.S. Marine Corps uniform regulations, including
dinner/mess dress uniforms.
Coast Guard: The Coast Guard officer needs the full bag required
by U.S. Coast Guard uniform regulations. This includes the service
dress white uniform.
Constituent Posts: Whenever a subject covered in this section on
Mexico City is not discussed in the sections on constituent posts in
Mexico, the information given above may also apply.
Military Liaison Office Housing and Personal Property Shipments:
All personnel assigned to USMLO will locate privately leased
quarters on the economy, but will be constrained by State Department
regulations governing the living area of the house approved for use.
Nearly all houses are unfurnished. Consult MLO before sorting items
for shipment and storage. Incoming personnel should plan on taking
their full JFTR weight allowance, and should ship a complete
assortment of furniture. The following appliances are available to
MLO personnel: refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, humidifiers,
portable electric heaters, and air purifiers.
Post Orientation Program
On arrival, the Embassy's Human Resources Office (HR) and CLO
welcome employees assigned to Mexico City and present them with an
informative briefing kit. The check-in procedure provides for
interviews and orientation in various Embassy offices as the Health
Unit (HU), the Regional Security Office (RSO), the General Services
Office (GSO) and the Financial Management Center (FMC). Both HR and
the Local Employment Advisor (LEA) can advise family members
regarding employment opportunities both within the Mission and on
the local economy. Career planning counseling is also available from
the LEA. Human Resources and LEA assist family members, who have
received offers of employment outside the Mission, with obtaining
work permits from the Government of Mexico. Also HR assists
employees in completing forms for accreditation by the Government of
Mexico, necessary for obtaining identification and for import of
personal property. Employees complete a locator card upon arrival
and are responsible for updating any subsequent changes of
residence, office address, or telephone number.
CLO advises families regarding dependent education as well as a
providing a general orientation to the Embassy and to Mexico. The
GSO housing unit identifies appropriate housing, in accordance with
post interagency housing policy and within space limitations
established by OBO, Department of State. The GSO shipping unit
assists employees in receiving airfreight, arranging vehicle
liability insurance (when accredited), importing HHE, and requesting
a free-entry permit for cars (necessary for obtaining Mexican
license plates). The Information Management Office (IMO) assigns a
very high frequency (VHF) radio to each employee's residence for use
by employee and family members to communicate with the Embassy
Marine Security Guard (MSG) in urgent situations. The IMO also
provides communications equipment for the Embassy's general duty
officer and duty secretary and assists employees in reporting
residential telephone problems.
"The Aztec Calendar," the Embassy's weekly news bulletin,
contains articles of general interest, vacancy announcements for
employment, information on Embassy and community activities, general
announcements and classified ads.
The Embassy and consular posts offer Spanish language classes to
official personnel and adult family members. The classes follow the
instructional books published by the Foreign Service Institute (M/FSI),
Department of State. The classes are for employees with a
job-related need for Spanish and subject to availability of each
agency's funds. Other employees and family members may be charged a
The RSO issues photo identification cards to all U.S. employees
and spouses, after attendance at a mandatory briefing on personal
and residential security. ID cards must be worn in the Embassy.
A 15% value-added (IVA) sales tax is applied to most goods and
services; it is usually included in the retail price of goods.
Always ask if the price includes IVA (taxes); Embassy personnel will
be refunded the IVA (ask the IVA Section of the Financial Management
Center regarding the procedures for the IVA refund).
Hotels charge an additional 2% lodging tax that is not required
to be itemized separately on your bill. It is customary to leave a
tip for baggage handlers, porters, chambermaids, tour guides, and
drivers. Avoid leaving U.S. coins as tips. Taxi drivers expect a tip
only when an extra service is provided.
Mexico City telephone numbers recently went from seven to eight
digits. Most public phones require pre-paid phone cards, which can
be purchased at newsstands or convenience stores. It is suggested
that all dependent children carry a phone card for emergency
situations. Cellular telephones and pagers are seen on almost
everyone in Mexico City. They are very reasonably priced. Cellular
telephone companies have been known to ask for an imprint of your
credit card before service can begin. Internet service is reliable
and readily available, as is cable television.
The metric system is used in Mexico, so it is a good idea to buy
a Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion thermometer for your oven.
Consulate General - Ciudad Juarez
Post City Last Updated: 7/28/2003 3:28 PM
Ciudad de Juarez (commonly called Juarez) is Mexico's fourth
largest city with a population of more than 1.5 million. It is the
largest of all cities along the United States - Mexico border.
Juarez is a blend of old and new. Because of its proximity to El
Paso, it has strong cultural and economic ties to the United States.
Many families in Juarez have U.S. citizen relatives on the other
side of the border. Still, Juarez is proud of its heritage and its
history as the chief city of the state of Chihuahua, "Cradle of the
Mexican Revolution." Although Juarez Mexicans are very friendly in a
social or business setting, they rarely welcome new friends into the
close family circle. Invitations to dine at someone's home are rare.
Many industrial plants have been established in Ciudad Juarez to
take advantage of low labor costs. The "twin plant" or "maquiladora"
concept, with labor-intensive plants in Juarez and El Paso, creates
an appearance of one city separated only by long lines at the
immigration checkpoints over the Rio Grande. It is responsible for
the rapid growth of the city. As some of the original maquiladoras
have closed, and more jobs seekers have come to Juarez from the
interior, the unemployment rate has risen. El Paso, on the other
hand, has not coped well with the changes brought by NAFTA.
Unemployment is high. Good jobs are scarce. The Ciudad Juarez - El
Paso sector is the site of frequent narcotics interdictions and drug
related criminal activity, as well as a center of trafficking in
Ciudad Juarez is located 3,700 feet above sea level in an arid
desert region surrounded by treeless mountains. The region enjoys
cloudless days, low humidity, and an average rainfall of less than
10 inches a year. Rainfall is less than an inch per month, except
for July through September, when Juarez receives one to two inches a
month. The average temperature range varies from 30 to 67ºF in
January to 67 to 100ºF in July. Both temperatures and humidity have
been rising in the last several years. Juarez enjoys a change of
seasons similar to that of Washington, D.C. Dust storms, Juarez's
most unpleasant climatic feature, can occur at any time of the year
and can cause difficulties for persons suffering from allergies.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/28/2003 3:33 PM
The Consulate General has four main buildings spread over several
city blocks located just off the PRONAF Circle, a large commercial
center with cultural attractions and several souvenir shops. The
address is Avenida Lopez Mateos Norte 924. The telephone number is
011-52-656- 611-3000. After hours, you can contact the Consulate
General duty officer from the United States by dialing
The workload is primarily consular in nature. The immigrant visa
section was expanded in 1991 and now ranks as the largest in the
world. Many officers in the Consular sections are Civil Servants who
live in El Paso. The Consulate General employs 16 Foreign Service
employees and 51Civil Service employees from State, five DEA, and
two INS Foreign Service Americans. The four Junior Officers rotate
through the Visa and Citizen's Consular Services Units. When not
working on consular services, officers are encouraged to do
political and economic reporting. Work hours are from 8 am to 4:45
pm, with 45 minutes for lunch. Ciudad Juarez operates on Mountain
Time in winter and observes daylight savings in summer, the same as
The employment situation for U.S. citizen dependents is
reasonably good. Several FMA and PSA jobs become available as
families transfer. Some spouses have been successful in getting
teaching jobs in El Paso. Spouses with Spanish language skills can
also apply for any vacant FSN position.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/28/2003 3:34 PM
It is Consulate General policy to place employees in their
permanent residences as soon as possible. Welcome Kits are available
and temporary loans of furniture are made until the arrival of the
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/28/2003 3:36 PM
The Principal Officer is provided with furnished,
Government-owned housing. In general, Junior Officers with two or
fewer dependents occupy furnished government townhouses. Furniture
includes living room, a dining room set seating eight, master
bedroom with a queen-size bed, and two guest bedrooms with single
beds. Junior Officers with more than two dependents should consult
the Admin Officer as soon as possible after assignment to discuss
housing arrangements and shipment of effects. All other employees
are provided with Government-leased housing. Post now has almost all
Housing quality is good. Most houses have fireplaces, spacious
master bedrooms, and gardens or patios of varying sizes. Some have
servants' quarters. Post housing normally offers central-heat in
winter and summer cooling with desert style "swamp coolers." These
coolers are adequate on the whole, but do not cope well on humid
Furnishings Last Updated: 7/28/2003 3:39 PM
A principal officer-designate should contact the post
administrative officer in advance for a complete inventory of
furnishings and equipment provided. All other personnel are issued a
stove, refrigerator, washer, and dryer. Officers with unfurnished
housing must ship all furniture or buy it at post. Furniture can be
purchased at the many retail and discount stores in El Paso. These
items can easily be brought in through Mexican customs with the
assistance of the Administrative Section. Quality, selection, and
prices of furniture in Ciudad Juarez can be disappointing. However,
excellent upholsterers and carpenters can refinish, repair, or
reupholster old furniture. Local handicraft stores and markets carry
a wide variety of typical accent pieces. Local picture framing is of
good quality and reasonably priced. Ceramics, brass, and other metal
goods are available at good prices.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/28/2003 3:40 PM
Electrical current is the same as in the U.S.: 110 volt, 60
hertz, AC. Public utilities are adequate, but gas and water pressure
may drop during peak hours. Telephone service is adequate, but
billing is unpredictable. Calls to the U.S. are expensive. Both
satellite and cable TV are available, but relatively expensive. In
most areas, a TV with a rabbit-ear antenna can pick up major U.S.
network programming. Reliable internet service is also available.
Food Last Updated: 7/28/2003 3:42 PM
Modern supermarkets can be found in both Ciudad Juarez and El
Paso. Many food items and other daily necessities are available;
most items that cannot be obtained in Juarez are available in El
Paso. Fresh produce needs to be cleaned carefully; unwashed produce
can contain parasites that cause gastrointestinal problems. Food
costs are lower than in Washington, D.C., especially for fresh
fruits and vegetables. Locally produced alcoholic beverages are
inexpensive and of good quality.
Clothing Last Updated: 7/28/2003 3:43 PM
A seasonal wardrobe is necessary in Juarez, with emphasis on
lightweight clothing in view of the long summer. In winter, medium
weight suits for men and women are appropriate. Although subfreezing
temperatures are rare, penetrating winds make hats, gloves, and
lined coats useful. Rain is infrequent; so little rainwear is
needed; but umbrellas are very useful. Snow and ice are rare and
tend to melt promptly.
Fashion trends in Juarez follow those in the southwestern U.S.,
except that shorts are seldom worn in public. Suits and dresses or
pants suits are appropriate for work but after hours dress is
casual. Formal dress is rarely required. Representational functions
normally require only informal dress (suit and tie). Women in Juarez
dress more formally than American women for luncheons and similar
El Paso is one of the best places in the U.S. to buy boots. Many
manufacturers are headquartered in El Paso and factory outlets are
numerous. Western wear is popular on both sides of the border.
Supplies and Services Last Updated: 7/28/2003 3:45 PM
Domestic servants speak only Spanish. Full time, live-in maids
are nearly impossible to find. Part-time maids are available and
charge $20 to $30 per day. If you need a full-time maid or nanny,
the wisest course would be to bring one with you.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/28/2003 3:45 PM
Protestant and Roman Catholic churches are located in Ciudad
Juarez and in El Paso. All services in Juarez are held in Spanish.
El Paso also offers a Synagogue and temple. Evangelical groups are
well represented on both sides of the border.
Education Last Updated: 9/19/2003 11:52 AM
Americans with school-age children may use any of El Paso's
public or private schools. The public schools are overcrowded. All
Consulate General children are currently in private schools. Some
private schools in Juarez offer dual language (English/Spanish)
instruction although children entering school above the kindergarten
level should have a basic knowledge of Spanish.
Currently the Consulate General provides drivers to take the
children to school and back (to schools within a ten mile radius of
the Free Bridge) but does not provide transportation for
after-school activities. If your child is active in after-school
activities, this extra transportation can prove extremely
The post's education allowance is based on the cost of
out-of-state tuition at public schools in El Paso, plus daily
transportation costs to and from El Paso. Schools in Juarez offer
instruction in Spanish, with English as a second language.
Juarez has at least four Montessori preschools.
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), with an enrollment of
13,000, grants bachelor and masters degrees. Night and summer
courses are available. The Consulate General has generally been
successful in obtaining in-state tuition for employees and
Voice and music lessons are available at El Paso Community
College. The Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua maintains a branch in
Juarez, where evening courses are offered. Ice skating classes are
available in Juarez only a few blocks from the Consulate. Juarez
offers several options for piano and guitar lessons for children.
The French Alliance has a large facility in Juarez offering French
classes at all levels with all instructors being French expatriates.
The French Alliance also sponsors an international film everyday at
Cinemark in Juarez.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 7/28/2003 3:50 PM
Such sports as golf, tennis, and horseback riding represent
popular forms of entertainment at post. Other enjoyable activities
available on the border are hiking and camping. Many excellent
campsites are within driving distance. Whitewater rafting is also
available. Snow skiing is available in the Ruidoso-Cloudcroft
highlands. Spectator sports events include UTEP basketball and
football. UTEP hosts the NCAA John Hancock Sun Bowl in winter. El
Paso has a good minor league baseball team, the Diablos.
Personnel are invited to join the Fort Bliss Officers Club in El
Paso (tennis, pool and restaurant) and are eligible to join the Ft.
Bliss Golf Club (two courses). Workout facilities include gyms such
as World Gym or Olympus, which offer aerobics and other classes
along with weight training equipment.
Recreation and Social Life
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 7/28/2003 5:04 PM
Touring attractions include day trips to White Sands National
Monument, the Carlsbad Caverns, Hueco Tanks State Park, and Elephant
Butte Lake. Manageable in a day is Silver City, New Mexico, with its
nearby ghost town and the Gila Cliff Dwellings. Some of the more
interesting weekend trips include the city of Chihuahua, capital of
the state of Chihuahua, about four hours south by train or car. The
Mennonite Community in Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua, about 220 miles south
of Juarez, is fascinating. Train trips through the Copper Canyon
begin in Chihuahua City.
Big Bend National Park, Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque, Houston,
Dallas, Phoenix, and Las Vegas are frequent U.S. destinations made
even more appealing by fares to Los Angeles and San Diego that can
be found as low as $99 on discount airlines.
In October, Fort Bliss holds an annual air show. Various hot air
balloon festivals are held in the El Paso-New Mexico region.
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 7/28/2003 5:05 PM
Juarez boasts many good restaurants in all price ranges,
including Chinese, Mexican and seafood. Tacos, burritos, and
hamburgers are local favorites. Brown bag lunches are also popular.
El Paso and nearby Las Cruces, New Mexico, also have good
restaurants. Gourmet restaurants are rare. Juarez also has
discotheques and nightclubs that are open until dawn. Care must be
exercised in visiting certain downtown areas, which are more prone
to crime, including pick pocketing, assaults or stealing vehicles.
Mariachi clubs abound and bands can be hired for private
functions. The downtown area has many bars and clubs with live
entertainment. El Paso has country/western clubs in abundance, as
well as top forties nightclubs as well as classes in folklorico and
ballroom dancing. A comedy club occasionally attracts nationally
The El Paso YMCA, YWCA, El Paso Community College, and UTEP offer
various art classes for both adults and children.
The El Paso Symphony and El Paso Opera Company offer a full
season of performances. The municipal auditorium "Benito Juarez"
regularly hosts concerts and cultural events. The unusual scenery of
the area inspires painters and photographers.
There are two water parks in Juarez as well as several quality
movie theaters. A small carnival park is located beside the
auditorium with rides and food stands that are quite economical and
popular with local children.
Consulate General - Guadalajara
Post City Last Updated: 7/17/2003 11:12 AM
Metropolitan Guadalajara, with a population of more than five
million inhabitants, including approximately 50,000 resident U.S
citizens, sits 5,092 feet above sea level on a broad plateau. A
dramatic canyon, "La Barranca," forms the city's natural northern
boundary; picturesque mountains rise to the east and west and Lake
Chapala lies to the south. Guadalajara enjoys a temperate climate
year round. Dry, sunny days are interrupted by brief thundershowers
during the summer rainy season (June through October). Ninety
percent of the average annual rainfall of 35 inches falls during
these five months. Because of its altitude, Guadalajara escapes
coastal heat and humidity. The average temperature range varies from
45 to 75°F in January and 55 to 90°F in May. The climate, which is
comparable to that of San Diego except for the greater rainfall, has
been instrumental in attracting thousands of tourists as well as
A city of brightly colored tropical flowers, Guadalajara proudly
blends its historic past with modern development. The Cathedral,
government buildings, and expansive plazas of the city center stand
as impressive remnants of Mexico's colonial heritage. Plaza Tapatia,
a downtown pedestrian mall, offers hours of pleasant strolling
amidst greenery, fountains, shops, and restaurants in the city's
historic center. It is also the location of the Cultural Cabanas
Institute, which houses the world-famous Orozco ceiling murals.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/17/2003 10:39 AM
The Consulate General is a two-story, air-conditioned building at
Progreso 175 in the Juarez section of the city. Office hours are
from 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Telephone numbers are
3825-2998 and 3825-2700; the country code for Mexico is 52, and the
city code for Guadalajara is 33. (From the U.S.: 011-52-33-3825-2998
In addition to State Department personnel, the staff includes
members of the Department of Commerce (Foreign Commercial Service),
the Department of Justice (Drug Enforcement Administration and Legal
Attache), Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service,
International Services, Region I, Area 1 (APHIS/IS). All offices
except USDA and FCS are in the Consulate General building. Arriving
staff and families should communicate with Guadalajara's
Administrative Section for more information about the post.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/17/2003 10:41 AM
Guadalajara uses several excellent hotels as temporary lodging
for temporary duty personnel. Most offer swimming pools and
playgrounds for children. None allow pets, except the Holiday Inn
Crowne Plaza, which offers two kennels located behind the hotel.
Notify the post immediately of your arrival date, as accommodations
may be scarce during winter season. Post housing goals are to place
new arrivals directly into their quarters. Temporary lodging is
available on a case by case basis.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/17/2003 10:43 AM
The principal officer's residence traditionally has three to four
bedrooms, a swimming pool, a rear patio, and grounds for
entertaining. Most families live in a mixture of single family homes
and apartments. A housing questionnaire is distributed to all
incoming personnel for their submission prior their arrival. A wait
for housing of four to eight weeks occasionally occurs.
Furnishings Last Updated: 7/17/2003 10:48 AM
For all State personnel, furniture is supplied for the master
bedroom, a second bedroom, living rooms, and dining room.
Guadalajara is a full shipment post for all other personnel. The
Department of State provides refrigerators, washers, and dryers to
all State personnel. Please contact the Administrative Section or
GSO if more information is required. Houses and apartments are
furnished with stoves. Small appliances and electrical items are
available locally, but are somewhat more expensive than those in the
U.S. Modern as well as typical traditional furniture is available at
reasonable prices. Most houses in Guadalajara are not equipped with
air-conditioning or heating. While the lack of air-conditioning is
rarely a problem, a space heater may be desired in the winter months
when nightly temperatures drop to the 40 degree range. Space heaters
and fans are available locally; however, available stocks are
sporadic at best.
Welcome Kit A small set of items including kitchenware, linens
and towels is provided. A list of items can be obtained upon
request. Receipt of HHE can take as long as three months; therefore,
incoming employees should consider packing such things as TV, VCR,
microwave, fan, heater, humidifier or dehumidifier in the air
freight, since these items are not provided in the Welcome Kit.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/17/2003 10:49 AM
Electric service is the same as in the U.S.:110 volt, 60 hertz,
AC. Voltage regulators or surge suppressers can protect televisions,
stereos, and computers from electrical surges. Both are available
locally, but are less expensive in the United States. However, some
of the older, rental houses are not grounded for electrical purposes
like they are in the U.S.; thus, surge suppressers may not always
offer adequate protection. In order to better protect expensive
electrical equipment, especially during the rainy season, it is
advisable to unplug the equipment when not in use and to not use the
equipment in the middle of thunder and lightning storms.
Food Last Updated: 7/17/2003 10:50 AM
Guadalajara is home to such American chains as Wal-Mart
SuperCenter, Sam's Club, and Costco in addition to Mexican chain
super center-type stores. Many American products can be found in
these stores and in other smaller shops that import goods from the
United States. Additionally, there are innumerable specialty food
stores, bakeries, and outdoor markets that offer a wide variety of
products. Frozen foods are readily available, and low-calorie,
low-fat products are becoming more widely available. Pasteurized
milk (whole and skim), cheeses, and heavy cream may be safely
purchased in supermarkets.
City tap water is safe for bathing and cleaning, but not for
drinking. Bottled drinking water is sold in virtually all stores and
delivery service may be established so that the water is delivered
to homes on a set schedule. Because city tap water has been deemed
unsafe for consumption, the Consulate General reimburses U.S.
employees the cost of bottled water consumed by them and their
families. The Consulate provides safe drinking water for the
employees. It is necessary to disinfect fruits and vegetables before
eating them. Disinfectant drops and powder are readily available in
all local grocery stores.
Clothing Last Updated: 7/17/2003 10:52 AM
Guadalajara boasts an enviable spring and summer climate year
round. Light and medium weight clothing is comfortable in all
seasons. Heavy winter clothing is not needed. Bring a raincoat and
umbrella for the mid-June to October rainy season. Summer clothes
are perfect for travel to low-altitude, warmer areas. Bring a
bathing suit for use at local pools and for the enjoyment of nearby
beaches. Black tie social occasions are rare; most functions are
informal. A dark suit for men or cocktail dresses for women is
Guadalajara has several large, American-style shopping malls, and
a variety of clothing styles is available in the many boutiques and
department stores; however, they tend to be a bit pricey. Leather
jackets, shoes and boots are available at reasonable prices as there
are many manufacturers of leather goods in the area. Large sized
shoes and clothing are scarce.
Supplies and Services Last Updated: 7/17/2003 10:53 AM
Day maids or part-time housekeepers are available. Live-in maids
are very hard to find. Often references and tips on acquiring
household help come by word of mouth from other Consulate General
families. Wages are very reasonable in comparison to U.S. rates.
Gardeners are also available at a reasonable fee. Their services are
generally needed every two weeks during the rainy season and less
frequently for the remainder of the year. Medical care, furniture
design and construction, automobile and appliance repair, and other
services can be found at a lower cost than in the U.S.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/17/2003 10:54 AM
Several churches, including Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, and
Presbyterian churches, offer English services. A Jewish community
offers services in Spanish and Hebrew.
Education Last Updated: 7/17/2003 10:55 AM
Guadalajara is home to five private and two public universities
as well as several smaller institutions of higher learning. Also, a
good number of excellent high schools and grammar schools exist
where the language of instruction is Spanish.
Dependent Education Last Updated: 7/18/2003 11:23 AM
The American School. Most Consulate General children attend the
American School, located about ten minutes from the Consulate
General. The school offers a coeducational, bilingual program from
pre-kindergarten through high school. The student body consists of
nearly 1,400 students, more than 80% of whom are Mexican. The
American School has just started a program for Children with special
educational needs. Children with such special needs may not find
adequate programs or support at other schools here. The American
School teaching staff is multinational, but predominantly Mexican.
Most of the remainder is from the U.S. or Canada. It is accredited
by the Southern Association of Colleges of Schools. The school year
runs from late August to late June with two-week vacations at Easter
and Christmas. Pre-kindergarten, elementary, and high school level
courses have summer sessions. Uniforms are not required. Many
Consulate General families use a shared driver to take their
children to and from school and after-school activities each day.
The John F. Kennedy School offers instruction from kindergarten
through grade six. Kindergarten is taught completely in English;
pre-first grade for six year-olds offers two subjects in Spanish and
the rest in English; and primary school beginning at age seven is
taught in Spanish and English on alternating days. Bus service is
The Lincoln School, which offers pre-kindergarten through grade
12, has two different teaching programs: the bilingual program is
taught half in Spanish and half in English; the traditional,
bicultural program offers 90% of material in English, with the
remaining 10% in Spanish. The school is built on Christian
principles, with mandatory 20-minute devotions each morning. Bus
service is not offered.
Special Needs Education Last Updated: 7/17/2003 12:56 AM
The American School has just started a program for children with
special educational needs. Children with such special needs may not
find adequate programs or support at other schools here.
Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 7/18/2003 5:03 PM
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 7/17/2003 11:02 AM
Guadalajara's climate encourages a wide variety of outdoor
sports. Swimming, tennis, hiking, biking and horseback riding are
popular. Several golf courses (including both 18 and 9 hole courses)
are available in Guadalajara for approximately $400 per month. Both
private gyms and city recreation facilities offer swimming, tennis,
racquetball, basketball, spinning, weightlifting, Pilate, yoga and
Recreation and Social Life
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 7/17/2003 11:06 AM
Guadalajara is situated in close proximity to many areas worth
visiting. The neighboring towns of Tonala and Tlaquepaque offer an
enormous selection of artisan crafts at very affordable prices.
Tonala hosts exciting market days every Thursday and Sunday for
additional shopping pleasure. Lake Chapala and the lakeside village
of Ajijic are only an hour away. Beyond the lake are the picturesque
towns of Mazamitla and Tapalpa.
For beach lovers, there are many options within about four hours'
driving from Guadalajara. Puerto Vallarta, the principal beach
resort in the consular district, is 25 minutes away by plane or
approximately four hours by car. Manzanillo, another important beach
town, is three hours away by car and home to great fishing as well
as the largest seaport on Mexico's Pacific coast. Additional beaches
include Barra de Navidad, Nueva Vallarta, and Tenacatita.
The neighboring states of Michoacan, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas
are also easy-to-reach destinations for vacations or long weekends.
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 7/17/2003 11:08 AM
Touring musical and dance companies from Mexico and other
countries are often featured in the stately Degollado Theater or
Cultural Cabanas Institute. Additionally, the University of
Guadalajara presents an exceptional Ballet Folklorico every Sunday
morning at the Degollado Theater.
A large and active American Society welcomes Consulate General
staff as members. The Mexican American Cultural Institute also
sponsors programs of interest.
Depending on the neighborhoods in which they live, Consulate
General families either have cable television or a satellite
television service on which various American television shows are
shown, and popular cable channels, such as ESPN and CNN, are widely
Special Information Last Updated: 7/17/2003 5:27 PM
The Consulate General maintains an official Internet web site at
http://www.usembassy-mexico.gov/Guadalajara.htm that you may wish to
Consulate General - Monterrey
Post City Last Updated: 8/5/2003 11:50 AM
Monterrey’s consular district covers the states of Nuevo Leon,
San Luis Potosi, Durango, Zacatecas, and most of Coahuila. It
stretches from the arid plains near the U.S. border south to the
northern tier of traditional, colonial Mexico. The most distant
major city in the district, Durango, is a six-hour drive from
Monterrey. The post’s official responsibilities cover nearly 170,000
square miles, an area larger than the state of California. The total
population of the district is estimated at nearly 12 million, of
which an estimated 3.8 million live in the Monterrey metropolitan
area. About 57,000 U.S. citizens live within the district, with
28,000 residing in greater Monterrey.
Monterrey is Mexico’s third largest city and second to Mexico
City the most important industrial and financial metropolis. The
capital of the state of Nuevo León. It is located in the
northeastern part of México, about 150 miles from the Texas border.
Monterrey is the hub of the most prosperous urban area in all of
The area’s geography and history have given the people of
Monterrey, otherwise known as “Regiomontanos,” an
individualistic-reserved character. The trend setting business
community is conservative in its politics, religion, and social
structure. However, Monterrey is advanced in its approach to
technical innovation and economic opportunities; closer to American
than traditional Latin concepts in business practices; and devoted
to the family, hard work and the expansion of the family enterprise.
The “Group of Ten” is 10 large industrial conglomerates that play a
crucial role in Mexico’s economy.
Monterrey is situated in a semi-arid valley at an altitude of
1,766 feet and is bounded on three sides by rugged mountains. About
two hours to the southeast of the city is one of Mexico’s most
important citrus-producing areas. Most of the surrounding
countryside, however, is semi-arid and covered with brush. While
only minimal rainfall occurs during the November to April dry
season, the average rainfall is 20 inches a year. Half the rain
falls during August, September, and October. Summer temperatures
usually begin in mid-March and last though October. Spring-like
weather with warm days and cool nights occurs from November to
March, but the cooler weather worsens the seemingly omnipresent
smog. The average monthly temperatures vary from 50-74°F in January
to 74-98°F in June and July. Summer highs regularly top 100°F for
several weeks at a time; from mid-November through January, the
mercury can sporadically plunge into the 30’s overnight.
Dust can be an irritant year round,especially during the dry
season, and chronic respiratory problems are aggravated by frequent
thermal inversions. The phenomenal growth Monterrey experienced
during the last decade has threatened the fragile ecology of the
semi-arid region. Government efforts to reduce pollution have thus
far had little effect.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/5/2003 11:53 AM
The Consulate General is located in a two-story building near the
city center at Constitución 411 Poniente. In addition to the offices
of the Consul General, the building houses the Consular, Public
Diplomacy, Economic/Political, and Administrative Sections;
further,agenices accommodated include FCS, the Immigration and
Naturalization Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the
U.S. Customs Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. The telephone
number for the Consulate General (from the U.S.) is
The Consular Section is the eighth busiest non-immigrant
visa-issuing post in the world. This unit includes two managers and
a dozen line officers who adjudicate an average of 1,200
applications per day. This number is expected to rise as Monterrey
replaces expiring border-crossing cards. Monterrey also processes
more agricultural visas (H2A’s) than any other post.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/5/2003 11:54 AM
Monterrey has an abundance of first class hotels, but the rooms
lack kitchen facilities. Furnished apartments with kitchen
facilities, supplemented by Consulate General provided Welcome Kits,
are sometimes available. Few hotels will accept pets, but some local
veterinarians may board them. Inform the administrative officer if
you plan to bring a pet.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/5/2003 11:57 AM
The principal officer is provided Government-leased housing,
which is furnished and includes such appliances as stove,
refrigerator, upright freezer, washer,and dryer. Junior Officers are
also provided furnished housing. Most other employees live in
detached homes, although some have opted for high-rise apartments.
The Department of State and most agencies provide refrigerators,
freezers, washers, and dryers to American staff. The landlord
provides a range and oven, and a telephone. Officers of all agencies
live in Government-leased quarters. Although appropriate housing is
expensive and sometimes hard to locate, most newly arriving
personnel can expect to move directly into their assigned housing
upon arrival at post.
Currently, all Americans assigned to the Consulate General live
in San Pedro Garza García, a suburb near the Sierra Madre mountains
that is convenient to the American schools, grocery stores, cinemas,
and shopping malls. It is only a 10–20- minute drive from the
Furnishings Last Updated: 8/5/2003 12:01 AM
Unfortunately, Mexican Customs procedures delay the delivery of
household effects HHE for 2–3 months after the employee’s arrival,
but post provides temporary furniture and furnishings during the
Although all household items can be bought locally, a complete
range of furniture and appliances can also be purchased in Texas
border towns. Reupholstering or refinishing furniture is inexpensive
if done locally and the quality of work is good. American-style
furniture, which is sold locally at prices much higher than in the
U.S., varies in quality. Spanish colonial furniture, metallic patio
furniture, and durable wicker and reed furniture is made locally and
reasonably priced. Better furniture is more expensive.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 8/5/2003 12:04 AM
Piped natural gas is commonly used for stoves and water heaters.
Electric current is the same as in the U.S.: 110 volt, 60 hertz, AC.
Power outages are rare but fluctuations are common, making voltage
regulators or surge protectors for PC’s essential.
Due to scarce rainfall, many houses are equipped with water tanks
and some with cistern systems, which ensure water 24 hours
daily.Post personnel use bottled water for drinking, although a few
homes have water purification systems of varying reliability.
Food Last Updated: 8/5/2003 12:07 AM
Fish, seafood, and poultry are regularly available. All cuts of
good quality meat are available, but at prices higher than those in
the U.S. Most fresh fruits and vegetables familiar to Americans,
plus a wide variety of tropical fruits, are sold here. Baby food,
low fat, sugar-free and numerous ethnic foods are available year
round. The arrival of the South Texas grocery chain H.E.B. in
Monterrey in 1997 elevated the food shopping experience to U.S.
Most American personnel make occasional trips to the Texas border
towns to purchase hard-to-find specialty items or to take advantage
of the lower prices. However, shopping trips to Texas are
time-consuming given the distance and the long lines at the border.
Moreover, they are expensive due to the higher cost of gas, the cost
of hotels and food in the border towns, and the high fees of the new
Clothing Last Updated: 8/5/2003 12:10 AM
Clothing worn in Washington, D.C. is suitable for Monterrey. A
wide range of clothing can be purchased in the U.S. border towns or
through catalogs. Although clothes are often more expensive in
Monterrey than in the U.S., tailors are a bargain.
Male officers may occasionally need a black or white dinner
jacket. Hats are seldom worn by men, except with sport clothes or
for protection from the sun and rain. In summer, men often
wearcotton suits; men’s fashions are conservative, with business
suits universal among government and private sector contacts.
A variety of women’s clothing is worn. Slacks are often seen, but
shorts are appropriate only for sporting activities.Women should
bring what they would wear for the office, parties, or at home in
the United States.
Although Mexican shoes are stylish and reasonably priced, many
Americans have difficulty finding their shoe sizes. Attractive
sandals for summer are available.
Men Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM
In summer, men often wear cotton suits; men’s fashions are
conservative, with business suits universal among government and
Women Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM
A variety of women’s clothing is worn. Slacks are often seen, but
shorts are appropriate only for sporting activities. Women should
bring what they would wear for the office, parties, or at home in
the U.S. Although Mexican shoes are stylish and reasonably priced,
many Americans have difficulty finding their shoe sizes. Attractive
sandals for summer are available.
Supplies and Services Last Updated: 8/5/2003 12:13 AM
Public bus transportation within the suburbs and public bus and
metro in Monterrey is adequate;nevertheless, nearly all employees
bring at least one personally owned vehicle to post. Driving in this
area is not for the faint-hearted. Regulations concerning driver’s
licenses are loosely enforced and locals are known for their
aggressive driving habits.
As the wages for maids are reasonable, most Americans employ at
least one person to help at home; however, gardeners can be
Religious Activities Last Updated: 8/5/2003 12:14 AM
English-speaking services are held at the Fatima (Roman
Catholic), All Souls (Anglican) and Union Churches, the latter
serving a broad based Protestant congregation. There are also
services for Jewish (Orthodox), Mormons, Baptist, Presbyterian,
Methodist, Pentecostal, and independent congregations, some of which
may translate their services into English upon request. The
independent Castillo del Rey offers English language Bible study.
At Post Last Updated: 8/5/2003 12:17 AM Most Consulate General
children attend the American School Foundation of Monterrey, a
private, coeducational school offering classes from nursery through
grade 12. Instruction is in English with Spanish courses for
American children. The school is accredited by the Amrican SACS. The
school year runs from mid-August to mid-June. Current enrollment
exceeds 2,000 students—of whom more than 10% are American. The
preschool and elementary school operate at the Rio Missouri Campus
and serve more than 1,000 children. A beautiful state-of-the art
middle school and high school opened on a separate campus in August
1996. Students in high school have the opportunity to earn both a
U.S. high school diploma and its Mexican equivalent. The school
offers a rigorous college preparatory program and includes support
services for children with mild learning difficulties.
Several children attend the American Institute of Monterrey, a
smaller bilingual school that is not accredited in the U.S.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 8/5/2003 12:22 AM
Unfortunately, the heat and pollution limit the number of outdoor
activities that can be enjoyed safely and comfortably. Nonetheless,
there is a good range of activities from which to choose. Public
soccer fields and a jogging course are located in a long section of
a dry riverbed near the Consulate General; few public tennis courts
are in the city. Employees can join a number of reasonably priced
gyms with weight rooms, aerobics, tennis courts, and small pools.
The better equipped sports clubs in Monterrey are more costly. Two
expensive equestrian clubs in the area offer riding and jumping. The
city has a few bowling alleys, roller skating rinks, and a small ice
skating rink. There are three private golf courses, but only one
club offers membership—which is costly.
Hiking and rock climbing are popular diversions in the nearby
Chipinque and La Huasteca Parks, and in other nearby mountainous
areas as well. The State of Nuevo Leon is actively encouraging
adventure and eco-tourism. Fishing is possible in several lakes in
the region, although a boat is essential in most and rentals are
unavailable. Lake Guerrero, a five-hour drive away in the
neighboring state of Tamaulipas, allows bass fishing, although
guides and lodging are expensive. Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon allow
dove, quail, duck, and/or goose hunting. Finally, the northern
border region allows whitetail deer hunting, although most of this
takes place on private ranches and can cost hundreds of dollars per
day. Hunting weapons are subject to strict control and to
cumbersome, expensive licensing requirements.
Recreation and Social Life
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 8/5/2003 12:24 AM
Nearby attractions and their facilities include: Chipinque
(picnic area, a restaurant, beautiful hiking trails, and a scenic
view); Horsetail Falls (picnic area, waterfall,and burro riding);
Presa de la Boca (picnic area, boating, and water skiing); the
Grutas de Garcia (caverns); Huasteca Canyon (picnics and hiking);
and Plaza Sésamo (an amusement and water park for children).
Dog and horse shows (including “charreadas”) are announced in
advance in the newspaper. Bullfighting is a popular spectator sport
in Monterrey. During the October – May season, bullfights are held
on Sunday afternoons and holidays. Monterrey boasts two professional
soccer teams and two Mexican baseball teams similar to the AAA class
in the United States. The baseball season lasts from March through
The city of Saltillo, Coahuila, is about an hour and forty
minutes drive from Monterrey. Situated at a higher elevation than
Monterrey, Saltillo offers a slightly cooler climate, a smattering
of Spanish colonial architecture, and shopping for serapes. Most
other handicrafts come from central or southern México.
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 8/5/2003 12:26 AM
Monterrey has many good, moderately priced to expensive
restaurants offering Mexican, German, French, Italian, Greek, Arab,
and Asian cuisine. A full range of fast food shops is available,
including many U.S. chain restaurants. Several modern movie theaters
show current U.S. films at reasonable prices. Younger adults
frequent a few nightclubs.
Although known more as an industrial center than a cultural
center, Monterrey offers a growing and varied bill of fare for the
performing arts—including sporadic performances by the symphony,
ballet, opera, and theater companies. The city boasts such art
galleries and museums as El Museo de Monterrey, the Glass Museum,
and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Museum of Mexican History
with its permanent and visiting collections is also worth a visit.
Recreation and Social Life
Social Activities Last Updated: 8/5/2003 12:36 AM
The Monterrey Consular Corps was organized in 1946. Professional
diplomats represent the United States, Canada, Great Britain,
France, El Salvador, and Cuba; other member countries are
represented by honorary consuls, usually Mexicans. Its social
program includes monthly luncheons and annual conventions. The
Consul General usually attends these functions or sends a
Many Americans participate in the American Society of Monterrey [ASOMO],
which sponsors a Fourth of July party, Christmas dance, Halloween
party, Easter egg hunt for children, and other social events.
Americans also join the Newcomers’ Group that helps people adjust to
life in Monterrey, does charity work, and sponsors children play
groups, a book club, and a quilters group. One can also do charity
work by joining the Cosmopolitan Club which organizes events,
including a Mardi Gras and Walkathons, to raise funds for charity.
Much of the social life at post revolves around informal buffet
dinners and barbecues. Opportunities for socializing with the local
people are limited,particularly for single adults, since social
events usually are for families and often take place at expensive
Official Functions Last Updated: 8/5/2003 12:38 AM
Official entertaining frequently is done over breakfast and
lunch. Monterrey is a post with much contact work. Higher-ranking
officers should take along a supply of 1,000 business cards.
Special Information Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM
Public transportation within the suburbs and in Monterrey is
adequate; nevertheless, nearly all employees take at least one
personally owned vehicle to post.
Driving in this area is not for the faint-hearted. Regulations
concerning driver’s licenses are loosely enforced and locals are
known for their aggressive driving habits.
Monterrey is known as the Houston of Mexico, boasting the best
medical care facilities in all of Mexico. Post personnel have made
use of outpatient and in-patient facilities at the Muguerza and San
Jose Hospitals, with satisfactory results. Moreover, a full range of
U.S. trained, English-speaking specialists is readily available to
assist with virtually any medical problem. Nevertheless, some
patients, in consultation with MED, would be advised to seek
treatment in the U.S.—particularly expectant mothers. For dental and
orthodontic needs, local professionals offer competent service at
only a fraction of the stateside cost.
Consulate General - Tijuana
Post City Last Updated: 7/18/2003 10:19 AM
Tijuana, a city of approximately 2 million, is Mexico's most
important border city. Due to its proximity to San Diego and its
many commercial and social links to San Diego, the two cities are in
fact one large metropolitan area. Post estimates as many as 60,000
American citizens live in the consular district (which encompasses
the entire Baja California Peninsula) permanently and as many as
200,000 are present at any given time.
Tijuana is built on and around a group of large hills, which are
part of the Pacific coast range of mountains. The major part of the
city is roughly 75 feet above sea level and is about five miles away
from the ocean, while Playas de Tijuana is right on the waterfront.
The climate is similar to that of San Diego. Temperature ranges
from 42 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in January and 63 to 82 degrees in
August. Sunny days, breezes from the ocean, and low humidity, help
maintain comfortable conditions year round. Rainfall averages only
eight inches per year and more than 80% of rainfall occurs from
November to March. There is sparse vegetation on the hills
surrounding the city that leads to dusty conditions year round. This
can cause difficulties for people with allergies or asthma. During
periods of heavy rains, mudslides and clogged gutters occur causing
loss of houses and lives.
Tijuana's economy is one of the most dynamic in Mexico and has
the lowest unemployment rate in the country. A major engine of this
economic growth is the maquiladora/industrial sector. By one
estimate, there are over 600 of these plants in Tijuana, which
employ over 150,000 workers. Another engine is tourism. Millions
visit Tijuana yearly. One study by San Diego State University found
that visitors, primarily from the U.S., pump almost three-quarters
of a billion dollars into Tijuana's economy.
The city has a small diplomatic community. In addition to the
U.S., only China and Guatemala maintain official diplomatic
missions. Additionally, 16 other countries including Great Britain,
France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, and Spain maintain a
diplomatic presence through honorary consuls. Contact within the
diplomatic community is limited.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/18/2003 10:22 AM
The Consulate General is located in a three-story building at
Tapachula 96, near the historic Caliente Racetrack, off Agua
Caliente Blvd, a major thoroughfare. Office hours are from 8:00 am
to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. The main telephone number is
622-7400; the country code for Mexico is 52 and the city code for
Tijuana is 664. (From the U.S.:011-52-664-622-7400.)
In addition to this location, the Consulate General maintains a
Temporary Processing Facility (TPF) that processes Border Crossing
Cards, located at the Diego Rivera 2, off the Via Rapida in the Zona
Rio commercial and shopping district. It is about two miles from the
Consulate General in a three-floor facility. Its telephone is
52-664-634-3045 or from the U.S.:011-52-664-634-3045. There is a
second TPF in Mexicali; however, that facility is currently
mothballed pending further review by the Embassy and Consular
The consular district covers the entire Baja California
Peninsula. It is over 900 miles long and includes the capitals of
the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur, Mexicali and
La Paz, respectively, and the port city of Ensenada. There is also a
Consular Agency in Cabo San Lucas. It is staffed by an American
Consular Agent and two LES employees.
Consulate General Tijuana has consistently been among the top ten
largest NIV units in the world in terms of applications received.
Moreover, by virtue of its location next to one of the busiest land
border crossings, the Consulate General has the largest American
Citizen Services workload in the world. In a typical year, Post will
handle roughly one quarter of all the overseas arrest cases of
American Citizens reported to the Department by cable. On an average
daily basis, the section handles one death case and one welfare and
whereabouts case, numerous passport and nationality cases, reports
of birth, property claims and as many as 1,500 cases involving the
recovery of stolen vehicles.
The public diplomacy section, made up of one officer and three
locally employed staff, operates cultural, exchange and media
programs that reinforce U.S. priorities in all sectors of society.
Among recent programs sponsored or initiated by the section was the
first ever exhibition of photography in Tijuana by the Oakland
Museum of California.
Post is also home to an expanding law enforcement community,
including personnel from the Justice Department (DEA and Legal
Attaché) and the Department of Homeland Security (INS and Customs).
Personnel from the Foreign Commercial Service, and the USDA are also
present at Post. With the exception of the USDA staff, which
operates an Animal Plant Health Inspection Services facility, all
these agencies are located in the main Consulate General building.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/18/2003 10:23 AM
The Consulate General generally places employees in permanent
housing upon arrival. When required, temporary quarters are
available in modern hotels near the Consulate General.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/18/2003 10:24 AM
The principal officer is provided with a furnished,
government-leased residence. Housing quality in Tijuana is generally
good. The housing pool has an even mix of apartments and
single-family houses. Most housing is located within a two-mile
radius of the Consulate General.
Furnishings Last Updated: 7/18/2003 10:25 AM
With one exception, Tijuana is a furnished post for State
personnel, and continues unfurnished for the other agencies. Post
provides officers with a complete set of furniture and all major
appliances (refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers). However,
microwaves are not provided.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/18/2003 10:27 AM
Public utilities, including water, gas, electric, and telephone
service, are adequate. Nevertheless, water and gas pressure can drop
during peak hours. Electric service is good, though short outages of
5-30 minutes are experienced once in a while. Voltage regulators or
surge suppressors are recommended to protect electronic equipment
from surges. It is advisable to unplug computers when not in use.
Telephone service is very reliable, but calls to the U.S. can be
expensive (40-70 cents per minute). TV Cable service is excellent
and provides up to 50-60 channels with basic service; some employees
subscribe to DirectTV. A regular antenna can get reception for
several American and Mexican channels. Internet service is reliable
and is provided by the telephone company (up to 56K) or the cable
company (at higher bandwidths).
Food Last Updated: 7/18/2003 10:28 AM
There are a number of modern, large, supermarkets in Tijuana,
which sell all the food and other daily necessities that are
available in the United States. While the selections of products are
not as extensive, costs are generally lower than San Diego. This is
especially true for the plentiful supply of fresh fruits and
vegetables. American warehouse chains such as Costco and Sam's
Wholesale Club provide bulk sizes of products at low prices.
Membership costs for these chains are lower than the United States.
Clothing Last Updated: 7/18/2003 10:29 AM
Although Tijuana has a relatively comfortable climate, seasonable
clothing is necessary. Lightweight clothing will suffice for the
spring, summer, and fall months. However, sweaters, woolen clothing
and raincoats are needed for the winter months, which are Tijuana's
rainy season. Hats are especially useful because of the amount of
sunshine the city gets.
Tijuana is a fairly informal city; therefore, suits and dresses
are seldom worn outside of work hours. Time Magazine recently
recognized Tijuana as a global mecca of popular culture.
World-renowned talents such as Carlos Santana trace their roots to
the city. Tijuanenses are extremely fashion conscious and Tijuana's
clothing stores have the latest in world fashions. Many residents
also shop in the boutique stores and/or shopping malls of San Diego
and Los Angeles.
Supplies and Services Last Updated: 7/18/2003 11:06 AM
Domestic help (maids, gardeners, etc) is available and generally
found by word of mouth at the Consulate. Wages are very reasonable
in comparison with the U.S. There also exist a number of cleaning
and gardening companies that provide services at reasonable but
Competent medical and dental care can be found in Tijuana at a
lower cost than in the United States. The price of prescription
drugs is also much lower. However, great care should be taken in
choosing doctors in Tijuana, as many doctors provide services for
which they are not fully trained.
Finally, Tijuana provides relatively inexpensive furniture
design, construction and repair, automobile repair, and appliance
repair services. Prices for these goods and services are a fraction
of what they are in the U.S. and but the quality of the work varies.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/18/2003 11:07 AM
Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion among the general
population of Tijuana. There is a cathedral and a number of Roman
Catholic churches in the city. However, there are also Protestant
churches from a wide range of denominations such as the Jehovah's
Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Baptists, Methodists,
Pentecostals, and Presbyterians. There is also a Mormon Temple and a
Jewish Synagogue. It should be noted that services at these
institutions are generally conducted in Spanish.
Education Last Updated: 7/18/2003 11:09 AM
There are several bilingual schools in Tijuana such as the
British-American School. However, most American employees send their
children to schools in the San Diego area. Generally, schools in the
San Diego area are overcrowded, and parents should contact the
schools immediately upon assignment to Post. The HR Office can
provide school information.
The Consulate General provides a school shuttle to take children
to schools within a fifteen-mile radius of the San Ysidro Port of
Entry. The school shuttle is not available for after-school
activities and parents will need to provide this transportation.
Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 7/18/2003 11:21 AM
Due to Tijuana’s proximity to the U.S., personnel can take
advantage of the many recreational activities offered on both sides
of the border. Although downtown San Diego is only a 25-minute drive
from Tijuana, unpredictable waits at the border, varying from five
minutes to one hour, make planning activities in the U.S. somewhat
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 7/18/2003 11:10 AM
Tijuana and San Diego provide ample opportunities for watching
and participating in sports. The Tijuana Country Club has an 18-hole
golf course that non-members can use for a nominal fee. Tijuana also
has public track and field areas, tennis, volleyball, and baseball
and soccer fields. There are numerous fitness clubs in Tijuana;
however, membership is generally more expensive than in San Diego.
San Diego offers all the sporting opportunities of a large American
city, including award wining golf courses.
For spectator sports, Tijuana/San Diego provides unparalleled
opportunities. Tijuana is home to two bullrings and a Mexican
professional soccer team. Professional wrestling, known as Lucha
Libre, and boxing are also very popular diversions among Tijuanenses.
The historic Caliente Racetrack is home to dog racing and has
facilities for wagering on all manner sporting events.
Likewise, San Diego provides opportunities to watch American
professional football (Chargers), professional baseball (Padres),
professional indoor soccer (Sockers), professional women's soccer
(Spirit), and a minor league hockey team (Gulls), and all the
college sports at the major universities.
Recreation and Social Life
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 7/18/2003 11:11 AM
Baja California provides ample opportunities for outdoor
activities, including camping, fishing, hunting, sailing, swimming,
and surfing. From November to March, whales return to the warmer
water offshore, which provides a wonderful opportunity to observe
them in nature. The Guadalupe Valley in northern Baja is home to a
number of vineyards, whose wineries provide tours. Approximately one
day from Tijuana are the caves of Cataviña, which provides excellent
examples of cave paintings thought to be between 600 and 1,000 years
old. Outside of Ensenada is the famous "bufadora", a naturally
occurring phenomenon caused by tidal currents and an underground
cave system, which erupts daily, spewing ocean water high into the
California also affords opportunities for touring, including
tours of the California wine country, Death Valley National Park,
Joshua Tree National Park, and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Outdoor activities include camping, hunting, fishing, sailing,
swimming, and surfing.
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 7/18/2003 11:12 AM
Tijuana's nightlife is known around the world. It is home to
innumerable discotheques, bars, and nightclubs with live
entertainment, all who cater to tourists and locals. The city boasts
many great restaurants in all price ranges offering various regional
Mexican cuisines, as well as Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Italian,
French, Spanish, Brazilian, and Argentinean. Additionally, most
American fast food chains have franchises in Tijuana.
Tijuana also offers a number of cultural attractions for all
ages. The Tijuana Cultural Center offers a range of theater arts,
music, including operas, art galleries, exhibits, musical events and
an Omnimax theatre. The Casa de Cultura offers courses in art,
dancing, and singing, as well as cultural events such as Polynesian
dancing, poetry reading, or folkloric ballet. Tijuana boasts a new
wax museum, a small amusement park (Mundo Divertido), and a park
complete with a small zoo and open theatre (Parque Morelos). It
hosts concerts from a wide range of music stars from around the
world. There are several modern movie theatres in Tijuana, one
replete with leather seats, a sushi bar, and a full service bar. All
show the latest American, Mexican and international releases.
Finally, Tijuana provides an amazing array of shopping
opportunities. The Plaza Rio Mall is the fourth largest mall in
Mexico, with over one hundred and fifty shops and restaurants,
offering goods comparable to those found in the U.S.. There are also
a number of stores in the Zona Rio shopping area and Avenida
Revolucion that specialize in selling arts and crafts from
throughout Mexico. Finally, there is duty-free shopping on both
sides of the border.
Neighboring San Diego has the world famous San Diego Zoo, Wild
Animal Park, Sea World, and Balboa Park. Approximately three hours
away in Los Angeles is Disneyland and the Los Angeles County Museum
of Art, among other attractions. For those not interested in the six
hour drive to Las Vegas, there are several casinos on Native
American reservations, such as Barona, Sycuan and Viejas casinos,
located approximately 30 minutes from San Diego.
Consulate - Hermosillo
Post City Last Updated: 7/18/2003 2:43 PM
Hermosillo, though named for one of the generals of the
Revolution, is in fact the "pretty little place" its name implies in
Spanish. It is a city of modern houses, broad, tree-lined streets,
pleasant parks, and several universities, with a population of
nearly 700,000. The town is located near a river in the middle of
the Sonoran desert, close to sea level, 180 miles south of Nogales,
Arizona, and 60 miles inland from the Gulf of California.
Hermosillo is the hub of a small transportation network that
provides the city with adequate bus service and air transportation
north to the U.S. and south to central Mexico. Both Aeromexico and
Mexicana offer daily flights to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Tijuana,
Mexicali, and other destinations in Mexico. Tucson, Phoenix, Los
Angeles, and Las Vegas are also served by non-stop flights from
Hermosillo's international airport 7 miles west of town. Thousands
of Americans pass through the city en route to the seaside resorts
of Bahia Kino and Guaymas/San Carlos on the shore of the Sea of
Cortez, as well as to points farther south.
Hermosillo is the capital city of Sonora, the second-largest
state of Mexico, which is part of the great southwest desert of the
North American Continent. Geographically, the state has the same
soil and climate as southern Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas, and
the desert regions of California. The relative prosperity of Sonora
acts as a magnet to draw people here from other parts of Mexico (two
of the state's largest cities-San Luis and Nogales-are situated on
the border and in the new Nogales consular district). The railroad
passes through Hermosillo, providing freight service from Mexico
City and Guadalajara to the U.S. Sonora's growing prosperity fosters
a substantial middle class. Visitors are often astonished by the
number of new cars and pickups on the roads, by the well-dressed
matrons and teenagers thronging the sidewalks in town, and by the
often elegant houses in the better residential neighborhoods.
The climate is hot and dry, yet healthful. Summer, from May to
October, brings daily temperatures of more than 100°F; rainfall
averages less than 8 inches a year concentrated in two rainy
seasons, one in July and August, the other in December and January.
Winter months, from November to April, are cool and Sring-like.
Sinaloa, which includes the world famous beach resort of Mazatlan,
has a more moderate climate, with considerably more rainfall. The
consular district, which covers the southern two-thirds of Sonora
and all of the State of Sinaloa, has increased rapidly with respect
to both population and output. The economy is an agricultural one,
based in the large, irrigated lowlands of western and southern
Sonora, and the rain-fed farmlands in Sinaloa. Cotton and wheat are
the most important crops. The region is also a major producer of
cattle, shrimp, poultry, oranges, grapes, and winter vegetables.
Industrial output is increasing, and copper mining has always been
important. The district has traditionally had close economic ties
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/18/2003 2:45 PM
The Consulate building is located on western Calle Monterrey, 141
in the center of the city. Office hours are from 8 am to 4:30 pm,
Monday through Friday. Telephone numbers are 217-2375, 217-2282, or
217-2389. The country code for Mexico is 52 and the city code for
Hermosillo is 622. (From the U.S.: 011-52-622-217-2375,
011-52-622-217-2282, and 011-52-622-217-2389.)
State Department staffing consists of the Principal officer, the
consular chief, and five junior officers, with an FSN staff of 25.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a regional office located in
Hermosillo. Representatives of the Drug Enforcement Administration,
U.S. Customs Service, and the FBI also have offices in the
Consulate. Arriving staff and families should communicate with
Hermosillo's Administrative Section for more information about the
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/18/2003 2:48 PM
Every effort is made to assign housing before arrival. However,
in the eventuality that permanent housing is not ready, the northern
approaches to Hermosillo have several hotels and motels suitable for
temporary quarters. Among these are the Fiesta Americana, Holiday
Inn, Araiza, Bugambilia, and Gandara-about three miles from the
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/18/2003 2:49 PM
Most rental houses are single-family type dwellings with three
bedrooms. All employees are currently in government-leased housing.
The Consulate GSO provides housing details upon request. Employees
are notified of housing availability through Human Resources
(State), or parent agency channels when the post receives assignment
Furnishings Last Updated: 7/18/2003 2:49 PM
Hermosillo is a furnished post for State personnel, and a full
shipment post for all other agency personnel. The Department of
State provides refrigerators, washers, and dryers and space heaters
to all State personnel. All houses come equipped with water heaters
and stoves, and central air-conditioning. Bathtubs are rarely
available in houses.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/18/2003 2:50 PM
Electric service is the same as in the United States: 110 volt,
60 hertz, AC. Voltage regulators or surge suppressers to protect
televisions, stereos, and computers from electrical surges are
recommended and available locally.
Food Last Updated: 7/18/2003 2:52 PM
Hermosillo is home to American chains like Wal-Mart SuperCenter,
Sam's Club, and Costco, as well as Mexican chain super center-type
stores. Many American products and brand names can be found in these
stores, whether they are manufactured in the U.S. or in Mexico.
However, those products made in the U.S. may not be routinely
stocked by the store, so it is best to purchase desired goods in
quantity when you find them in local stores.
Frozen foods are readily available, and low-calorie, low-fat
products are becoming more widely available. Pasteurized milk (whole
and skim), cheeses, and heavy cream may be safely purchased in
City tap water is safe for bathing and cleaning, and is potable
but heavily treated. Consulate homes are provided with
reverse-osmosis filters. It is advisable to disinfect fruits and
vegetables before eating them. Disinfectant drops and powder are
readily available in all local grocery stores.
Clothing Last Updated: 7/18/2003 2:53 PM
During the summer months, day-time temperatures can reach 120
degrees F, and summer weight clothing is a must.
Light-to-medium-weight clothing is comfortable the rest of the year,
with a sweater sometimes necessary on winter evenings. Heavy winter
clothing is not needed. Formal social occasions are rare; most
functions are informal. Dark suits for men or cocktail dresses for
women are appropriate attire.
Hermosillo currently has no large, American-style shopping malls.
Although the city center has many shops with all varieties of shoes
and clothing, many residents (Mexican and American alike) go to
Tucson for major shopping.
Supplies and Services Last Updated: 7/18/2003 2:55 PM
Housekeepers are available on a part-time or live-in basis. They
are generally found by word of mouth from other Consulate families.
Wages are very reasonable in comparison to U.S. rates. Gardeners are
also available at a reasonable fee. Their services are generally
needed every two weeks during the rainy season and less frequently
for the remainder of the year.
Generally all services, including competent medical care,
furniture design and construction, automobile and appliance repair,
etc., can be found at lower than U.S. prices.
Supplies and Services
Domestic Help Last Updated: 7/18/2003 3:47 PM
Maids, both live-in and daily, are available but the cost has
risen due to competition in the labor market surrounded by the
rapidly expanding maquiladora sector. Day maids earn $15 to $25 per
day. Live-in maids are available but tend to be younger, less
experienced, and require more supervision.
Education Last Updated: 7/18/2003 3:02 PM
The language of instruction in the public schools of Hermosillo
is Spanish, with English instruction introduced at the secondary
Instituto Irlandes. Many Consulate children attend the Instituto
Irlandes, located about 20 minutes from the Consulate. The school
offers a bilingual program from pre-kindergarten through high
school, with boys and girls in separate classes.
The Instituto Mexicano Americano de Relationes Culturales IMARC).
This school offers bilingual instruction, on the American model,
from pre-kindergarten through grade 6. However, since the
overwhelming majority of the students are native speakers of
Spanish, the bilingual schools are not geared to students who enter
with no knowledge of that language.
LIDEEL, pre-kindergarten -- 6th grade, offers the most
instruction in English.
The Instituto Technologico y des Estudios Superiores de Monterrey
(perhaps Mexico's best private university, with campuses across the
country) has a college preparatory school (grades 10 and up) and
offers the international baccalaureate program.
Early consultation with the management section concerning
children's backgrounds and parents' preferences is highly
Hermosillo is home to three large universities (one private and
two public) as well as several smaller institutions of higher
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 7/18/2003 3:03 PM
Although summer can be too hot, Hermosillo's climate during the
rest of the year encourages a wide variety of outdoor sports.
Swimming, tennis, hiking, and horseback riding are popular. There is
a country club with an 18-hole golf course, various hunting clubs, a
shooting and archery range, horse and auto racing facilities, and a
Mexican winter-league baseball team.
Recreation and Social Life
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 7/18/2003 3:06 PM
The immediate vicinity of Hermosillo offers ample opportunity to
explore the Arizona-Sonora Desert, including several petroglyph
sites. To the east are the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental,
which can offer some respite from the heat of the lower elevations.
In the south of Sonora is the colonial town of Alamos.
For beach lovers, there are two options within about an hour and
a half drive from Hermosillo. San Carlos (about 80 miles to the
south), with a growing American community, has several resort
hotels, two marinas, fine beaches, and a Club Med, as well as shops
that carry articles from all over Mexico. Bahia Kino (about 70 miles
to the west) is more of a traditional beach town, with a large
fishing fleet and fewer tourist services. Mazatlan, in Sinaloa, is
about eight hours away by car, but can also be reached by direct
flights from Hermosillo, as can the resort areas of lower Baja
California. Los Mochis, in northern Sinaloa, is the western terminus
of the Copper Canyon Railroad, which connects with the neighboring
state of Chihuahua.
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 7/18/2003 3:07 PM
The entertainment scene, apart from the many movie theaters
showing both English and Spanish language films, consists of small
clubs with a variety of musical formats. Touring theater and dance
companies from around the country are often featured in the Casa de
Cultura, the Municipal Auditorium, or at the University of Sonora.
English Speakers in Action is a women's group that helps
Consulate families meet other English speakers (both foreign and
Although there are four local channels, Consulate families
usually either have cable TV or use a satellite TV service. All of
the American networks are available through cable or satellite,
depending on the level of service contracted.
Special Information Last Updated: 7/18/2003 3:11 PM
The Consulate maintains an official Internet web site http://www.usembassymexico.gov/Hermosillo.htm.
Consulate - Matamoros
Post City Last Updated: 11/7/2003 9:42 AM
Matamoros is located on the south bank of the Rio Grande across
from its Texas sister city Brownsville, about 20 miles inland from
the Gulf of Mexico. With Brownsville, Matamoros forms a metropolitan
area of around 600,000 inhabitants. Matamoros, the larger of the two
cities, has some 400,000 residents, only about ten percent of which
The lower Rio Grande Valley, or the Valle as it is called
locally, has a population of about 1.5 million and includes the city
of Reynosa in Mexico (65 miles upriver from Matamoros), and the
cities of Brownsville, Harlingen, and McAllen in Texas. Gulf sea
breezes temper the tropical climate. The average daily temperature
range in Matamoros varies from 78 to 98°F in July and 50 to 60°F in
January. Rainfall averages vary from one half inch in March to five
inches in September, however occasional tropical storms can deposit
higher amounts. Temperatures at mid-day in summer can rise to the
low 100s with high humidity. Spring and autumn days are typically
mild and brilliant. Winter is sunny and warm, except for an
occasional "norther" when temperatures can drop suddenly to near
The Matamoros and Reynosa areas are home to more than 250 border
industries, or "maquiladoras." These factories import parts duty
free into Mexico, assemble them, and send them back to the U.S. or
other countries, again duty free. The area also has a large
"agribusiness" center. Matamoros has a thriving tourist industry,
providing facilities to American winter visitors and retirees.
Thousands of college students spending spring break at the beach
resort on nearby South Padre Island, Texas visit Matamoros during
March of each year. Shopping, restaurants, and nightclubs are the
chief attractions of Matamoros.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 11/7/2003 9:43 AM
The Consulate, first established in 1836, is the oldest
continuously active post in the Foreign Service. It is the only
consular mission in Matamoros and occupies three modern buildings at
Avenida Primera 2002, Colonia Jardin, a residential/commercial area
near Gateway Bridge, one of three international bridges between
Brownsville and Matamoros. The post's consular district is the state
of Tamaulipas, excluding the area around Nuevo Laredo approximately
200 miles up the Rio Grande River and the city of Tampico
approximately 400 miles south along the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S.
Embassy in Mexico City provides consular services for U.S. citizens
A small but busy post with significant homeland security
responsibilities, the consulate is currently staffed by a principal
officer, consular section chief, management officer, one Junior
Officer, five Civil Service visa adjudicators, and 40 FSN and
contract employees. A great deal of flexibility is demanded from
both the American and FSN staff. The American officers handle the
full range of Foreign Service activities: administrative,
commercial, consular, economic, political, and public affairs. This
gives junior officers at the post ample reporting and management
opportunities. The Consulate telephone number is (52) 868-812-4402
and the fax number is (52) 868-812-2171.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/18/2003 3:29 PM
Hotels are numerous in both Matamoros and Brownsville and
availability is good. Most familiar American chains are represented
in Brownsville. Post will assist in making reservations.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/18/2003 3:38 PM
American officers are provided furnished, air-conditioned,
Government-leased housing with major appliances. The principal
officer's home is located about one-half mile from the Consulate. It
is a three-bedroom, three bath, large house with ample entertaining
space. Appliances include stove, microwave, two refrigerators,
freezer, washer, and dryer. The consular chief's residence is a
three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with adequate entertaining space
and an enclosed yard. It is located five minutes from the Consulate
in an exclusive neighborhood. The vice consul occupies a large
three-bedroom home in the same general location as the consular
chief. A second vice consul (arriving in 2004) will be housed nearby
as well. All residences under lease with the Consulate have
accommodations for a live-in maid.
Furnishings Last Updated: 7/18/2003 3:31 PM
Matamoros is a furnished post.
Food Last Updated: 11/7/2003 9:45 AM
All food needs can be met at modern supermarkets in Brownsville
and Matamoros. Local produce is of excellent quality, but needs to
be cleaned to remove parasites that can cause gastrointestinal
problems. U.S. produce is abundant in Brownsville, and most
vegetables are available fresh, year round. Seafood, especially gulf
shrimp, is also of high quality.
Matamoros city water is not potable, but inexpensive, sterilized
drinking water is readily available. The Consulate provides water
distillers in the residences.
Clothing Last Updated: 7/18/2003 3:33 PM
Business dress is informal and sports wear is acceptable year
round. During the summer, an open-necked shirt and slacks are
popular. Light spring and fall weight clothing is worn during the
short winter season, although occasional cold spells make heavier
clothing practical for a few weeks each year. Few social events will
require black tie or formal attire; black tie dress can be rented in
Supplies and Services
Domestic Help Last Updated: 11/7/2003 9:59 AM
Maids, both live-in and daily, are available but the cost has
risen due to competition in the maquiladora sector. Day maids earn
$20 to $25 per day. Live-in maids are available but tend to be
younger, less experienced, and requiring of more supervision.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/18/2003 3:35 PM
Most faiths are represented in Brownsville, which has many
Catholic and Protestant churches and a Synagogue. Although Roman
Catholic churches predominate in Matamoros, congregations of
evangelical and Protestant denominations also exist.
Education Last Updated: 11/7/2003 9:48 AM
There are no English-language schools in Matamoros. Public
schools in Brownsville do not accept non-residents; so all consulate
children attend private schools in Brownsville. The cost of
schooling for consulate children is paid by the Department. A
consulate driver currently shuttles the children to school in the
mornings, but afternoon pickups are the responsibility of the
parents. Due to border crossing delays going into the U.S., children
must depart home at least 45 minutes before school starts.
The University of Texas at Brownsville/Southmost College in
Brownsville offers a variety of classes for post-high school
students, although consulate employees and their family members are
subject to high “out of state” tuition rates.
Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 11/7/2003 9:49 AM
Social life at post includes events on both sides of the border.
Official functions are fairly frequent and most ceremonies are brief
and pleasant. Most other social activities revolve around civic
organizations, business luncheons, Rotary, Lions, etc. The State of
Tamaulipas organizes a cultural festival in the fall and the
University of Texas at Brownsville offers cultural programs
throughout the academic year.
The Texas Rio Grande Valley is famous as a recreational area for
winter and summer tourists. South Padre Island, about 25 miles from
Brownsville, is a well-known resort destination that attracts many
vacationers and Spring-break college students from the Midwest and
southern states. It offers excellent swimming and deep-sea fishing.
Golf is popular and can be played year round at the numerous public
and private courses. Bird watching is popular during the winter
There are large shopping malls in Brownsville, nearby Harlingen,
and McAllen, an hour west of Brownsville. Chain stores, restaurants
and theatre-style multiplex cinemas can be found in the lower Rio
Grande Valley, one of the fastest growing areas of the U.S. However,
all trips to Texas start with sometimes-lengthy border crossing
delays and entail a $2 bridge toll each way.
Special Information Last Updated: 11/7/2003 9:50 AM
Public transportation is inadequate and all Consulate American
employees bring a personally owned vehicle to post. Driving in
Matamoros can be stressful. Many streets in poor repair and lane
markings are non-existent. Locals seldom obey stop signs and
routinely block intersections. Localized street flooding is common
during occasional tropical downpours, so employees planning to drive
frequently in Matamoros should consider bringing a high-clearance
Tuberculosis, conjunctivitis, and parasitic infections are
prevalent in the local population. Dengue fever and West Nile Virus
are present but are less common. Except in winter months, insect
repellant is recommended when venturing out of doors.
Consulate - Merida
Post City Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:08 AM
The Yucatan is noted for the friendliness of its inhabitants and
its impressive archeological remains. Home of the Maya, it is strewn
with ruins and relics of their culture. Merida itself is built on
the site of the old Mayan ceremonial center of T'Ho. The area has a
long history of separatism from the rest of Mexico. The Yucatecan
habits, culture, and outlook differ from those of the rest of the
country. It is home to three million people, the majority of whom
live in the state of Yucatan, with smaller populations in the States
of Campeche and Quintana Roo. Merida's population exceeds 800,000
and is mostly of mixed Maya or Spanish descent. English is widely
understood in the metropolitan areas. Thousands of American tourists
visit the district annually. New resorts on the Caribbean coast have
become increasingly popular with U.S. tourists.
Merida is about 19 miles from the sea and 25 feet above sea
level. The climate is tropical, with average humidity of 72% year
round. There are three seasons: the rainy season, May through
October with more than 80% of the 38 inches of annual rainfall; the
cool, winter season, November through February; and the dry season,
March and April. The average temperature in Merida ranges from 73 to
93°F in June and 64 to 83°F in January.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:10 AM
The Consulate is currently located at the northern limit of
Merida's historical district at the corner of Paseo de Montejo (No.
453) and Colon. The Consulate is projected to move to a new location
three blocks from the current location, however, in June 2004.
Office hours are 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, with a one-hour lunch break,
Monday through Friday. The phone number is currently 925-5011; the
country code for Mexico is 52 and the city code for Merida is 999.
(From the U.S.: 011-52-999-925-5011.)
As of July 2002, 3648 registered American citizens live in the
consular district. Also, up to 150 citizens register for stays of
less than six months. The total American presence, registered and
unregistered, is estimated at about 6,500 U.S. citizens.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:17 AM
Merida has several modern hotels suitable for temporary stay.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:19 AM
All full time American officers are provided with housing.
Housing in Merida is typically of concrete and cinderblock
construction. Post housing generally are single family dwellings
with two or more bedrooms, modern, of cinderblock construction with
moderately sized yards.
Furnishings Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:19 AM
Houses are equipped with basic furniture and appliances.
Food Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:42 AM
Food is readily available in the several large supermarket chains
that operate in Merida. The central market downtown is also
available for those who love chaos and olfactory challenges. Most
U.S. goods are available, though not consistently. Many meats and
fresh fruit and vegetables can be found at reasonable prices.
Clothing Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:43 AM
American style clothing is available in Merida. There are a
variety of local department store chains and small shops. These all
carry some U.S. brands. Also a few upscale department stores have
recently been constructed. American made products can be more
expensive than in the United States. Local market brands can be of
poorer quality than in the U.S., as well.
Coat and tie is rarely worn at work. Men wear slacks and a shirt.
Business dress, in place of the coat and tie, is the guayabera
shirt, a loose fitting, short-sleeved (long-sleeved for formal
occasions), lightweight shirt of traditional style. Women wear
cotton or lightweight dresses. The high levels of humidity year
round require extra care to be taken with clothes. To avoid the
ravages of humidity and mildew, especially regarding leather goods
and clothing, storage should be considered.
Supplies and Services Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:27 AM
Electric voltage is the same as in the U.S; however, electrical
service is subject to frequent fluctuations, spikes and sporadic
outages. Surge protectors are strongly recommended as are
uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) for computers. Satellite and
cable TV as well as Internet services (dial-up and ISDN/Cable) are
available in most areas.
Domestic help is reasonably priced. Live-in as well as daytime or
hourly help is available.
Local authorities are concerned with increasing water and
automobile pollution and are beginning to monitor growth and
Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:27 AM
Both Catholic and Protestant services are found within the
consular district. Small, English-speaking Episcopal and
inter-denominational groups meet for fellowship.
Education Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:29 AM
There are no English language schools operating in Merida;
however, two bilingual schools (with approximately half the
coursework taught in English) are attended by the children of
Consulate families. One is a Catholic institution, which is open to
all; the other is secular. Both are considered adequate up to the
fourth grade level, although athletic and extracurricular activities
may fall short of those in U. S. schools. All other schools are
conducted in Spanish. Most other private schools are run by Catholic
religious orders. Limited special education is available.
Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:34 AM
Tennis, fishing, boating and golf are common in the area. The
Club Campestre has tennis courts and a swimming pool, as do the Club
Libanes and Club Bancarious. Reasonably priced riding classes are
also available at stables just north of town. Cancun and Merida both
have 18-hole golf courses. All sports equipment, including tennis
balls, is expensive, thus many people bring their own. The beach at
Progreso, where cottages may be rented, is about a 20-minute drive
by car and ocean fishing is a common pastime. Scuba diving and
snorkeling are popular at Isla Mujeres, Cancun and Cozumel, all of
which are accessible for weekend trips.
Merida has a few air-conditioned movie theaters, a large baseball
stadium, a bullring and a few small museums. There is a remarkable
volunteer-run English language library. Social life is informal.
Membership to athletic clubs, the Golf Club, the Rotary Club and the
Lions Club is open. Members of the international community organize
events from time to time, and the International Women's Club
sponsors several charitable events.
Nearby attractions include the archeological sites at Uxmal,
Chichen Itza, and Palenque (among hundreds of others) and
eco-tourism sites including Yucatan's characteristic cenotes (fresh
water pools/sink holes), caves and several bio-reserves with
flamingoes, crocodiles and other wild life.
Little League baseball (for boys), soccer, basketball, gym and
dance classes are available for children or youngsters of any age.
Activities are often organized by schools or church communities.
Merida has several parks, a zoo, and various programs for children
Official Functions Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:37 AM
Three hundred business cards are enough for a tour. They can be
Consulate - Nogales
Post City Last Updated: 7/28/2003 11:41 AM
Nogales is located 60 miles south of Tucson, Arizona, and 140
miles to the north of Hermosillo, Sonora, on the
U.S./Arizona-Sonora, Mexico border. The town has been a border pass
through the mountains since the middle 1800s, with a U.S. Consulate
first established in 1886. The Consulate was closed in 1970 but
reopened in 1998. Visitors, expecting sand hills, are often
surprised upon finding a mountainous and pleasant countryside. The
name refers to a now disappeared stand of black walnut trees,
although the hills are still covered with a native scrub oak. The
river valleys glisten with the leaves of huge cottonwoods, green in
the summer and golden in the fall. The riverbeds are usually dry;
but torrential summer rains often fill them to overflowing, closing
roads and washing out bridges. The weather in the western deserts
can be dramatic; with extreme heat in the summer and snow in the
Long a vital entry point into the United States from western and
northern Mexico, Nogales has grown in the past 20 years from a
pleasant, small town to a booming factory town with growth fueled by
maquiladora factories, encouraged by NAFTA, that assemble primarily
U.S. made parts into goods exported around the world. There are
approximately 90 factories in Nogales and another 50 to 100 in other
border communities along the Arizona/Sonora border. These factories
have caused tremendous growth, with many residents of central and
southern Mexico moving north to seek employment. These factories
account for 50,000 jobs in Nogales and another 35,000 jobs elsewhere
in the consular district. The produce industry has also grown
tremendously with 60% of all winter produce consumed in the U.S. and
Canada passing through Nogales, Sonora, and processed in Nogales,
Arizona. Nogales is one of the major port of entries (POE) for the
export of winter produce to the U.S. Most of the produce comes from
areas in Sonora and Sinaloa. Cattle ranching, mining, and small
farms still comprise an important part of the economy of the region.
Nogales is also a major border crossing for Americans going south
for the winter into Mexico and to the Pacific beaches year round.
Sonora has traditionally been a relatively prosperous state with
a well-developed middle class. The capital of Sonora, Hermosillo, is
a bustling and growing commercial and industrial center of almost a
million. Unofficial estimates put the population of Nogales at
250,000. Agua Prieta and San Luis Rio Colorado, two other important
border cities in this consular district, are also large and growing.
Puerto Penasco, a shrimp fishing port and vacation destination for
Arizonans located at the top of the Gulf of California, has become a
major resort and residence for Americans.
The history of northern Sonora is inextricably linked to that of
Southern Arizona. It begins with Father Eusebio Kino, a Jesuit
priest-who first brought European farming ideas and Christianity to
the region. The churches he established are still functioning and
form a tour route for those interested in Spanish colonial churches.
The pleasant towns that have grown up around these churches (two of
which are in Southern Arizona) form the heart of the region.
Commercial and family ties between Northern Sonora and Southern
Arizona are very strong and make this a unique region united
culturally and historically.
The climate has dramatic temperature changes but can usually be
described in two phrases: warm and sunny in the day, cool at night.
The summers are hot but the nights cool off. Winter nighttime
temperatures dip into the 20s and 30s but the days usually warm up
to the 60s and 70s. Occasionally, there is snow during the winter.
It is very dry except during the summer rainy season in July and
August. Shorts and tee shirts are the summer dress. Sweaters and
jackets are appropriate for the winter.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/28/2003 11:21 AM
The Consulate began operations July 1, 1998 in temporary
facilities in Nogales, Arizona, officially opening its present site
in Nogales, Sonora, November 23, 1998. The Consulate building, a
large, modern structure, is located in a commercial area on Calle
San Jose. Consulate office hours are 8:00 am to 4:45 pm Monday
through Friday. The telephone number is 313-4820; the country code
for Mexico is 52 and the city code for Nogales is 631. (From the
The post's consular district is the northern part of the state of
Sonora, extending 600 miles from Aqua Prieta in eastern Sonora, to
San Luis Rio Colorado in western Sonora along the border with Baja
California. The consular district includes approximately one million
people. Approximately 100 registered American citizens live in the
consular district. The total U.S. presence, both registered and
unregistered, is approximately 6000 U.S. citizens.
Although small in size, the Consulate's workload has been heavy
from the outset of the post's establishment in 1998 and continues to
expand. The American officers handle the full range of non-immigrant
visas and American citizen services and administrative duties along
with modest political, economic, and commercial reporting.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/28/2003 11:42 AM
Hotels and motels are located in Nogales, Arizona, within easy
driving distance from the Consulate. Newcomers would be located at
the Rio Rico Resort in Rio Rico, Arizona, or at the Holiday Inn in
Nogales, Arizona, about 15-20 minutes drive from the Consulate,
until permanent quarters are ready.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/28/2003 11:23 AM
The three American Foreign Service officers are provided with
Government-leased, furnished housing located in a residential area
within close proximity to the Consulate building.
The principal officer's residence is air-conditioned and supplied
with all major appliances, furniture, furnishings and tableware. It
is a four-bedroom, three and half-bath home with maid's quarters,
and ample entertainment space indoors. The colonial style house is
structured with viga beams; has a fireplace, stained glass windows,
carved wood wall, floor mixed with wood, carpet, and tiles, fruit
trees, basket ball court, and desert rock and cactus landscaping.
The consular and administrative officers' houses share a walled
compound that includes a tennis court and changing rooms. One of the
houses has two bedrooms and two baths, the other three bedrooms and
three baths; both homes include maid's quarters.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/28/2003 11:24 AM
Electricity is the same as in the U.S. (110v, 60 hertz, AC).
Voltage regulators or surge protectors are recommended for
sensitive, electronic equipment. Satellite and cable are both
options for television.
Food Last Updated: 7/28/2003 11:25 AM
All food needs can be met at modern supermarkets on either side
of the border. The water in Nogales, Sonora, is not potable; but
drinking water is provided by the Consulate.
Supplies and Services
Domestic Help Last Updated: 7/28/2003 11:27 AM
Domestic help is available at a reasonable cost. Live-in maids,
as well as daytime or hourly help, are available.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/28/2003 11:27 AM
Roman Catholic churches predominate in Nogales, Sonora. However,
there are small Protestant congregations and both Catholic and
Protestant denominations may be found in Nogales, Arizona. Jewish
and other religious communities are very limited in "ambos Nogales."
However, Tucson has a large and active Jewish community, as well as
other religious groups.
Education Last Updated: 7/28/2003 11:28 AM
Although there are a few, self-described bilingual schools in
Nogales, Sonora, instruction in these and all schools is
predominantly in Spanish. Children of the Consulate's officers may
attend public or private schools in Nogales, Arizona, including a
primary and a secondary school operated by a Catholic religious
Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 7/28/2003 11:44 AM
Tennis courts and bowling alleys are available in Nogales,
Sonora. Golf is popular and can be played throughout the year at
several public and private courses in Nogales, Arizona.
Entertainment in Nogales, Sonora and Arizona, is limited mainly
to dining; although there is also a movie theater in Nogales,
Sonora. Southern Arizona, especially Tucson, offers a variety of
city and country cultural and shopping opportunities. Tucson has an
opera, active theatre, a ballet, and a variety of sports events.
Phoenix, Arizona, about 180 miles north of Nogales, is the sixth
largest city in the U.S. Phoenix offers limitless entertaining
activities. Northern and central Sonora offer beaches, beautiful
countryside, and Kino mission churches.
Official Functions Last Updated: 7/28/2003 11:32 AM
Official functions, attended mainly by the principal officer, are
not frequent and are hosted by authorities from both Sonora and
Consulate - Nuevo Laredo
Post City Last Updated: 7/28/2003 12:00 AM
Due to its border location, Nuevo Laredo offers a challenge not
normally found in the Foreign Service. The five American Foreign
Service officers and three Civil Service officers at this post are
in the unusual position of living and serving abroad, yet being part
of the official and social community of a U.S. city. Nuevo Laredo
combines the convenience of shopping in the U.S. with the
attractions of living abroad. Nuevo Laredo is the most important
port of entry on the U.S.-Mexican border for shipping and for
travelers to the interior of Mexico. Of its estimated 300,000
inhabitants, only about ten percent speak English.
Nuevo Laredo is located on a gently rolling plain, with mountains
skirting the southwestern boundary of the consular district. Brush,
cactus and scrub vegetation abound, as do more tropical plants. The
city itself is 542 feet above sea level and the climate is sunny and
hotter than Washington, D.C., but much less humid. The daily
temperature range averages 78 to 96°F in August and occasional,
higher temperatures in winter are not uncommon. The average daily
temperature range in January is 44 to 64°F. Annual rainfall is 18
inches. May, June, and September usually have the greatest rainfall.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 7/28/2003 12:02 AM
The principal officer is responsible for overseeing two distinct
operations. The Consular Section provides both a full range of
services to U.S. citizens and Non-Immigrant Visa services. Consular
operations are managed by the deputy principal officer and an FP-4.
The consular staff includes two Junior Officers, one Civil Service
officer, seven direct-hire FSNs, and three local contractors. The
Administrative Section includes two Civil Service officers (an Admin
officer and an IMS officer) and 14 direct-hire FSNs in the
The Consulate is currently located in its own compound at Allende
3330, Colonia Jardin, near the southern end of the city-one block
west of the main highway (Avenida Reforma) into Nuevo Laredo from
the south. The Non-Immigrant Visa Unit is located in a separate
building on the same compound, but facing Obregon Street. The
compound is provided with 24-hour contract guard services. Official
Consulate hours are Monday through Friday: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, with
lunch from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. Visa services are provided by
appointments only. The office telephone number is 714-0512; the
country code for Mexico is 52 and the city code for Nuevo Laredo is
867. (From the U.S.: 011-52-867-714-0512 ). The Fax number is
714-7984; (from the U.S.: 011-52-867-714-7984).
Both Laredos have small airports. Laredo Airport offers service
to Dallas and Houston. Nuevo Laredo Airport offers service to Mexico
City and Guadalajara.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 7/28/2003 12:02 AM
Nuevo Laredo has two modern, air-conditioned hotels (La Fiesta
and the Hilton) and two more are under construction that would be
comfortable for a temporary stay. Laredo, Texas, also has numerous
motels and hotels that newcomers may use.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 7/28/2003 12:06 AM
The principal officer's residence, located above the Consulate,
is supplied with all major appliances, furniture, furnishings, and
tableware. The Consular Section CA officer and NIV chief are
presently residing in houses on short-term lease; one house is
furnished and the other is unfurnished, one is about 3 blocks away
from the Consulate and the other is about 10 blocks out. All types
of furnishings are available in Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo is
home to several colonial furniture shops and workshops.
Furnishings Last Updated: 7/28/2003 12:05 AM
Nuevo Laredo is a furnished post.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 7/28/2003 12:06 AM
Electrical current is the same as the U.S.: 110v, 60 hertz,
single-phase, AC. Natural gas is used for cooking and central
Food Last Updated: 7/28/2003 12:07 AM
Adequate food supplies are available locally and at supermarkets
in Laredo, Texas. Gourmet food items are not readily available.
Clothing Last Updated: 7/28/2003 12:09 AM
During the hot season, lightweight clothing is a must. Office
attire for men is usually the traditional Mexican guayabera or sport
shirts with slacks. Suits are worn occasionally. The guayabera is
also appropriate for informal evening wear. Women wear cotton or
linen dresses, blouses, skirts, and slacks. Men often wear sport
shirts and slacks at social gatherings while women favor airy
cottons. For more formal occasions, men wear black or white dinner
jackets; women may wear either long or short cocktail dresses in a
wide array of fabrics and styles. During winter, custom occasionally
requires formal attire (dinner jackets for men, gowns for women).
Fall and Spring weight suits, dresses, overcoats, and rain boots are
used during winter when temperatures can drop into the 30s. All
wearing apparel needed for this climate is available in Laredo,
Supplies and Services Last Updated: 7/28/2003 12:11 AM
Necessary supplies and services are available in both Laredos. In
Laredo, Texas, there are two large shopping centers featuring
nationally known department stores and boutiques.
Religious Activities Last Updated: 7/28/2003 12:12 AM
Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in both Laredos.
Most Christian denominations are represented in Laredo, Texas, and
services in English are available.
Education Last Updated: 7/28/2003 12:12 AM
Schools in Nuevo Laredo are overcrowded and instruction is in
Spanish. Children are usually enrolled in public or private schools
in Laredo, Texas.
Full curriculums for undergraduate and some graduate level
degrees are offered at Texas A&M International University and Laredo
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 7/30/2003 11:55 AM
List of addresses for HHE and airfreight
HHE for Mexico City should be consigned to: Full Name U.S.
Embassy Mexico C/O U.S. Logistics Center Brownsville, TX 78521
HHE for Ciudad Juarez should be consigned to: Full name U.S.
Consulate General, Ciudad Juarez, Inland Sea 9601 Carnegie El Paso,
HHE for Guadalajara should be consigned to: Full Name US
Consulate General Guadalajara C/O U.S. Logistics Center 225
Vermillion Road Brownsville, TX 78521
HHE for Hermosillo should be consigned to: Employee's full name
American Consulate-Hermosillo c/o Arizona Inter. Forwarding Inc. 161
E. Myra Dr. Nogales, AZ. 85628
HHE for Matamoros should be consigned to: Full Name U.S.
Consulate, Matamoros, Tamaulipas C/O U.S. Logistics Center 225
Vermillion Road Brownsville, TX 78521
HHE for Merida should be consigned to: Full Name U.S. Consulate -
Merida C/O U.S. Logistics Center 225 Vermillion Road Brownsville, TX
HHE for Monterrey should be consigned to: Full Name U.S.
Consulate General, Monterrey, N.L. C/O U.S. Logistics Center 225
Vermillion Road Brownsville, TX 78521
HHE for Nogales should be consigned to: Employee's full name
American Consulate-Nogales c/o Arizona Inter. Forwarding Inc. 161 E.
Myra Dr. Nogales, AZ. 85628
HHE for Nuevo Laredo should be consigned to U.S. Consulate Nuevo
Laredo C/O U.S. Consulate Storage 4305 North Maher Ave. Laredo, TX
HHE for Tijuana should be consigned to: Full Name U.S. Consulate
General, Tijuana, B.C. Sullivan Van & Transfer Co. 5704 Copley Dr.
San Diego, CA 92111
Airfreight for Mexico City should be marked to: Full name U.S.
Embassy Paseo de la Reforma No 305 Col. Cuauhtemoc Mexico, D.F.
Airfreight for Guadalajara should be marked to: Full name U.S.
Consulate General Guadalajara, Jalisco
Airfreight for Merida should be marked to: Full name U.S.
Consulate Merida, Yucatan
Addresses for airfreight to border posts (Ciudad Juarez,
Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Nogales and Tijuana) and to Hermosillo and
Monterrey, are the same as those for shipment of HHE. Send one set
of copies of all shipping documents, including bills of lading, to
the mailing address (listed under Communications in the first part
of this report) for the Embassy, or consular post, according to
where the shipment is consigned, for preparation of a free-entry
permit. Carry another set to post in accompanied baggage. Do not
mail these documents to the shipping addresses.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 7/30/2003 1:04 PM
All categories of U.S. Government employees assigned to Mexico,
excluding locally hired staff and contractor employees, are entitled
to duty-free entry of personal effects and HHE, and of one
automobile per family every three years, measured from the date of
issuance of the free-entry permit. (See "Transportation:
Automobiles" for resale restrictions).
Employees at posts in the interior may import only one vehicle
into Mexico. Restrictions on imported vehicles do not apply within
the duty-free zone along the Mexican side of the U.S. border.
Consequently, employees at border posts may import a reasonable
number of vehicles; but they may be required to export them upon
departure from Mexico.
Unaccompanied baggage (UAB-airfreight) may be cleared through
Customs with the employee's diplomatic or official passport.
Airfreight should include basic, essential personal effects. Mexican
Customs will also permit employees to import via airfreight, with a
diplomatic or official passport, small items such as video cameras,
audio recorders, portable televisions, typewriters, musical
instruments, sports equipment, etc. Employees should not include in
airfreight larger items such as computers, stereos, videocassette
recorders, VCRs, microwave ovens, etc., since these items may
require a free-entry permit that will delay customs clearance as
much as 30 days.
Customs clearance of HHE requires an inventory identifying each
item or box. Such valuable items, as furniture, large appliances,
audiovisual equipment, and computers should be listed individually.
Clothing, books, kitchen utensils, etc., may be listed as two boxes
of clothing, three boxes of books, etc. Employees should bring the
inventory with them to post and provide it to GSO as soon as they
arrive to request a free-entry permit for their HHE. A free-entry
permit takes about a month to obtain and cannot be requested until
the employee has arrived at post with a diplomatic or official visa
and has been accredited by the Government of Mexico. Thus, employees
should not expect to receive their HHE for at least a month after
arrival, except at border posts in the duty-free zone.
Automobiles driven into Mexico are noted on the employee's
immigration document (FME) at the Mexican border station by
Immigration or Customs officials. The driver should ensure that the
notation is made and should present to border officials valid
documentation of vehicle ownership (title, registration, certificate
of origin), Mexican-liability (third-party) insurance policy,
driver's license, a U.S. official or diplomatic passport containing
a Mexican official or diplomatic visa, and a U.S. Government travel
authorization or permanent change of station (PCS) orders. An
employee may obtain liability coverage under the Embassy's group
policy, effective on entering Mexico, provided that the employee
advises the GSO in advance (allowing GSO to mail or FAX the policy
to the employee) and formally applies for the policy within 15 days
of entering Mexico. An employee who does not have a copy of the
liability policy should purchase short-term Mexican liability
coverage before crossing the border.
Upon arrival in Mexico when driving your vehicle to post, make a
copy of the FME immigration form and give the original to GSO to
request the free-entry permit for the vehicle. Keep the copy of the
immigration form with the passport. The GSO cannot request the
free-entry permit until the employee has been accredited by the
Secretariat of Foreign Relations (SRE) through the Human Resources
Office; this process generally takes one month. It also takes at
least one month to obtain a free-entry permit when a vehicle is to
be shipped from the border, after an employee has been accredited.
During that time, however, the employee does not have use of the
vehicle which must wait at the border until the duty-free permit is
issued. For vehicles being shipped, GSO requires originals of the
title (or bank letter), certificate of origin, and bill of sale or
origin to obtain the free entry permit. Many employees prefer to
drive their car in, at least from the border, to avoid the delay in
obtaining a free-entry permit.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Passage Last Updated: 7/30/2003 11:58 AM
Employees and family members permanently assigned to Mexico must
obtain Mexican official or diplomatic visas in their passports prior
to traveling to Mexico. These visas may be renewed, extended, or
replaced after arrival through the Human Resources Office; however,
the Mexican Government will not accredit or issue identification
cards or carnets to official or diplomatic staff without an initial
visa issued outside Mexico.
Each traveler (employee and family member) should retain the
bottom portion of the entry immigration form (FME) to turn in upon
departure from Mexico. An employee who drives to post must be sure
that Mexican border officials enter vehicle data onto the
immigration form, which will be used to request a free entry permit
from the Secretariat of Foreign Relations (SRE) after being
Any children under the age of 18 traveling separately, or with
only one parent, must carry with them a notarized letter signed by
both parents permitting such travel to comply with a Mexican
Government regulation. Recently, this regulation is being
Any employees on TDY must travel on official or diplomatic
passports. A visa is not necessary for TDY stays up to six months,
although it is preferable that official visas are obtained in order
to confirm official status in Mexico in dealings with Mexican police
Tourists, including family members not resident in Mexico, may
enter Mexico on tourist passports; for stays of less than six
months, visas are not required. Any family members intending to
reside in Mexico should arrive with either an official or diplomatic
passport and visa. Please contact Human Resources in Mexico City
with any questions.
When driving into Mexico, there is a police checkpoint 25
kilometers south of the border where documents are checked to ensure
that each traveler has a passport and visa and that the vehicle has
been noted on the immigration form. No immunization documents are
required for travelers arriving from the U.S.
Baggage of travelers with official or diplomatic passports is not
subject to inspection, but should be opened on request. Official
travelers carrying equipment other than personal effects should
arrange in advance with the post for customs clearance of the
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Pets Last Updated: 7/30/2003 11:59 AM
There are no quarantine requirements for pets, but they require
specific documents issued by an officially recognized veterinarian,
and an authenticated "visado" by the Mexican consul with
jurisdiction over the place of issue.
All pets entering Mexico require a certificate that they were
examined and found free of evidence of infectious or parasitic
disease; this should be done within 10 days of arrival in Mexico.
Dogs require proof of vaccination against rabies, viral
hepatitis, leptospirosis, and distemper not less than 15 days or
more than one year before arrival, and of parvo-virus vaccination
not less than 15 days or more than 150 days before arrival.
Cats require proof of vaccination against rabies and feline
panleucopenia not less than 15 days or more than 1 year before
Prior to travel, the Mexican consul in the U.S. requires
certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal
and Plant Health Inspection Service-Veterinary Services (APHISVS),
that the veterinarian issuing the documents is officially
recognized. For veterinarians in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan
area, this is usually obtained from the Veterinary Service regional
office in Annapolis, MD, and for those in Virginia, the regional
office in Richmond, VA.
Pets traveling with an employee are cleared into Mexico only with
these documents. Those pets who are shipped to Mexico require a
free-entry permit, which takes a month or more to obtain after the
employee has arrived in Mexico; or the pet must be personally
cleared at the airport by the employee with diplomatic passport and
visa. Pets shipped to Mexico must arrive in the morning to allow
time for same-day customs clearance, as there are no pet storage
facilities at airports.
There are kennels near Washington Dulles Airport, which will
board and ship pets, and may assist in obtaining proper documents.
Please check with the airlines on when pets can travel by air. Many
airlines now refuse to allow dogs or cats to fly during the summer
months. Few apartments or hotels allow pets, and there are few
recommended kennels in Mexico. An employee should write to the post
for more information before shipping or taking a pet.
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 7/30/2003 12:00 AM
The Mexican Government has significant restrictions on the types
of firearms and ammunition that may be imported into the country.
Generally, the Mexican government prohibits the importation of .357
and .45 caliber handguns, rifles with a caliber of .30 and larger,
and shotguns with barrels shorter than 25 inches. The importation of
any firearm by any mission member requires Chief of Mission approval
prior to shipment. All employees who intend to import any firearm
must contact the Regional Security Office prior to pack out in order
to process the documents necessary for such approval.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated:
7/30/2003 1:06 PM
The monetary unit in Mexico is the peso. The symbol used to
designate pesos is the same as the dollar symbol, except that it has
only one vertical line. The peso-dollar exchange rate is subject to
change. Current currency notes include the following denominations:
500, 200, 100, 50, and 20. Coins in circulation include: 20, 10, 5,
2, 1 peso, and .50, .20, and .10 centavos. The exchange rate as of
July 2003 is approximately 10.5 Pesos = US$1.
Mexican banking facilities are similar to those in the United
States. A branch of a Mexican commercial bank located in the Embassy
accepts an employee's personal U.S. dollar checks and travelers
checks for Mexican pesos. Other posts arrange for cashing employees'
checks with a local bank or foreign exchange office ("cambio")
provided the employee obtains a bank or cambio check-cashing card.
When traveling carry an ATM card or U.S. dollar travelers checks.
ATM machines are ubiquitous especially in the larger cities; fees
are similar to those in the United States. Travelers may obtain
travelers checks from the travel agency at the embassy. U.S. dollars
in cash or travelers checks are accepted widely, and can be
exchanged at most banks or cambios (foreign exchange dealer),
including those at border crossing points and international
airports. Dollars and travelers checks also are accepted at most
hotels and many stores and restaurants, but at a less favorable rate
of exchange. Major U.S. credit cards, e.g., American Express,
MasterCard, and VISA, are widely accepted in Mexico.. Credit cards
can also be obtained locally with a peso account. The majority of
gasoline stations in Mexico do not accept credit cards.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 7/30/2003
There is a value-added tax (IVA- impuesto al valor agregado)
averaging 15% in the interior of Mexico (10% along the U. S. border)
on most goods and services except on food, medicines, newspapers,
residential rents, and physicians' fees. U.S. personnel may obtain
IVA tax reimbursement for purchases exceeding $50, including excise
taxes on the purchase of new car. The system for refund of IVA, in
effect since 1985, is improving; however, refunds can take up to
See the section on Transportation for information on automobile
licenses, insurance, and resale restrictions. Other than on
automobiles, there are no restrictions on sales of reasonable
amounts of used personal property when departing post-provided the
property was brought in for personal use and not for sale, and is
not sold at a profit.
Hunting licenses are required and may be obtained through the
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 7/30/2003 1:02 PM
These titles are provided as a general indication of the material
published about Mexico. The U. S. Department of State does not
endorse unofficial publications.
Benson, Elizabeth P. and Fuente, Beatriz de la, eds. Art of
Ancient Mexico. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1996.
Goldman, Shifra M. Contemporary Mexican Painting in a Time of
Change. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981.
Harvey, Marian. Mexican Crafts and Craftspeople. Philadelphia,
PA: The Art Alliance Press; London: Cornwall Books, 1987.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Sculpture of Ancient West
Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: Los Angeles County Museum of Art in
association with University of New Mexico Press, 1989.
Oettinger, Marion. Folk Treasures of Mexico: The Nelson A.
Rockefeller Collection. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1990.
Oles, James. Frida Kalo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism.
From the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection. San Francisco, CA:
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1996.
Paz, Octavio. Essays on Mexican Art. New York: Harcourt Brace
Paz, Octavio, introduction. Mexico: Splendors of Thirty
Centuries. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.; New York: Metropolitan
Museum of Art, 1990.
Portillo, Jose Lopez. Quetzalcoatl, in Myth, Archeology, and Art.
New York: Continuum Pub. Co., 1982.
Rivera, Diego. Diego Rivera, a Retrospective. New York: Founders
Society Detroit Institute, 1986.
Rochfort, Desmond. Mexican Muralists: Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros.
San Francisco: Chronicle, 1993.
Sayer, Chloe. Costumes of Mexico. Austin: University of Texas
Schele, Linda. The Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya
Art. Fort Worth, TX: Kimball Art Museum, 1986.
Smith, Bradley. Mexico: A History in Art. New York: Doubleday &
Stierlin, Henri. Art of the Aztecs and Its Origins. New York:
Yampolsky, Mariana. The Edge of Time: Photographs of Mexico.
Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998.
Armstrong, George M. Law and Market Society in Mexico. New York:
Praeger Publishers, 1989
Orme, William A. Understanding NAFTA: Mexico, Free, Trade and The
New North America. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.
Riner, D.L. Mexico: Meeting the Challenge. London; Mexico:
Euromoney Publications in association with Auritec Asesores, Banco
Roett, Riordan, ed. Mexico’s External Relations in the 1990’s.
Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1991.
Roett, Riordan, ed. The Mexican Peso Crisis: International
Perspectives. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1996.
Schulz, Donald E.and Williams, Edward J. Williams, eds. Mexico
Faces the 21st Century. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995.
Wilkie, James W. ed. Society and Economy in Mexico. Los Angeles:
University of California, 1990.
Aguilar-Camin, Hector, and Meyer, Lorenzo. In the Shadow of the
Mexican Revolution: Contemporary Mexican History, 1910-1989.
Translated by Luis Alberto Fierro. Austin: University of Texas
Bean, Frank D. et al, ed. At the Crossroads: Mexico and U.S.
Immigration Policy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.
Camp, Roderic Ai. Crossing Swords: Politics and Religion in
Mexico. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Camp, Roderic Ai. ed. Polling for Democracy: Public Opinion and
Political Liberalization in Mexico. . Wilmington, DE: SR Books,
Camp, Roderic Ai. Politics in Mexico: The Decline of
Authoritarianism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Third
Centeno, Miguel Angel. Democracy Within Reason: Technocratic
Revolution in Mexico. University Park: Pennsylvania State University
Cornelius, Wayne A. Mexican Politics in Transition: The Breakdown
of a One-Party-Dominant Regime. San Diego: Center for U.S.-Mexican
Studies, University of California, San Diego, 1996.
Cornelius, Wayne A. et al, eds. .Subnational Politics and
Democratization in Mexico. San Diego, CA: Center for U.S.-Mexican
Studies, University of California, 1999.
Dunn, Timothy J. The Militarization of the U.S.-Mexico Border,
1978-1992: Low-Intensity Conflict Doctrine Comes Home. Austin:
Center for Mexican American Studies, University of Texas at Austin,
Erfani, Julie A. The Paradox of the Mexican State: Rereading
Sovereignty From Independence to NAFTA. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner
Farriss, Nancy M. Maya Society Under Colonial Rule: The
Collective Enterprise of Survival. Princeton: Princeton University
Foster, David William, ed. Mexican Literature: A History. Austin:
University of Texas Press, 1994.
Gibbons, Reginal, ed. From Mexico. Evanston, IL: TriQuarterly,
Northwestern University 1992.
Gibbons, Reginal, ed. New Writings From Mexico. Evanston, IL:
TriQuarterly, Northwestern University 1992.
Grayson, George W., ed. Prospects for Mexico. Foreign Service
Institute, U.S. Dept. of State, 1988.
Griswold del Castillo, Richard. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo:
A Legacy of Conflict. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990
Guti’rrez, David G. Walls and Mirrors: Mexican Americans, Mexican
Immigrants, and the Politics of Ethnicity. Berkeley: University of
California Press, c1995.
Guti'rrez, David G., ed. Between Two Worlds: Mexican Immigrants
in the United States. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1996.
Herrera, Celia. Pancho Villa Facing History. New York: Vantage
Johns, Michael. The City of Mexico in the Age of Diaz. Austin:
University of Texas Press, 1997.
Katz, Friedrich. The Life and Times of Pancho Villa. Stanford:
Stanford University Press, 1998.
Mazarr, Michael J. Mexico 2000: The Challenges of the New
Millennium. Washington, DC: CSIS Press, 1999.
McGregor, Peter. Essential Mexico. United Kingdom: AA Publishing,
Mendoza, Arturo Alvarado, ed. Electoral Patterns and Perspectives
in Mexico. San Diego: Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of
Morales-Gomez, Daniel A. The State, Corporatist Politics, and
Educational Policy Making in Mexico. Westport, CT: Praeger
Morris, Stephen D. Political Reformism in Mexico: An Overview of
Contemporary Mexican Politics. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Pub.,
Nugent, Daniel, ed. Rural Revolt in Mexico: U.S. Intervention and
the Domain of Subaltern Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press,
1998. Second edition.
Purcell, Susan Kaufman and Rubio, Luis, eds. Mexico Under
Zedillo. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998.
Raat, W. Dirk, ed. Mexico, From Independence to Revolution,
1810-1910. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982.
Reed, Glenn. How To Do Business in Mexico: Your Essential and
Up-to-Date Guide for Success. Austin: University of Texas Press,
Reed, John. Mexico Insurgente. Mexico: Editores Mexicanos Unidos,
Rodriguez, Jaime E., ed. The Evolution of the Mexican Political
System. Wilmington, DE: SR Books, 1993.
Rodriguez, Victoria E. and Ward, Peter M., eds. Opposition
Government in Mexico.. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press,
Sayer, Chloe. Costumes of Mexico. Austin: University of Texas
Smith, Michael Ernest. The Aztecs. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell
Taylor, Lawrence J. with photographs by Maeve Hickey. The Road to
Mexico. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, c1997.
Van Delden, Maarten, 1958. Carlos Fuentes, Mexico, and Modernity.
Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1998.
Werner; Michael D. ed. Encyclopedia of Mexico: History, Society &
Culture. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.
Wilkie, James W. ed. Revolution in Mexico: Years of Upheaval,
1910-1940. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1984.
Womack, John, Jr., ed. Rebellion in Chiapas: An Historical
Reader. New York: New Press, 1999.
Local Holidays Last Updated: 7/30/2003 1:03 PM
New Year's Day -- January 1 Anniversary of Mexican Constitution
-- February 5 Benito Juarez's Birthday -- March 21 Holy Thursday
(Thursday before Easter) Holy Friday (Friday before Easter) Mexican
Labor Day -- May 1 Anniversary of Battle of Puebla -- May 5 Mother's
Day -- May 10 Independence Day -- September 16 All Soul's Day --
November 2 Anniversary of The Mexican Revolution -- November 20
Christmas Day -- December 25