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Preface Last Updated: 7/17/2003 4:27 PM

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 beaches.

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 world.

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 5,700 meters.

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 wood products.

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 class.

Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion. Small groups of Protestant Christians are often affiliated with and supported by U.S. churches.

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 collaboration.

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 Normal Superior.

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 Iberoamericana).

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 discouraged.

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: 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 AM

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 identification.

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

Guadalajara, Jalisco

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

Hermosillo, Sonora

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

Matamoros, Tamaulipas

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, D.C. 20521-3300


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

Nogales, Sonora

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 78041-6246

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, etc.


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 exams.

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 Grande Valley.

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, Texas.

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 refrigerated products.

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 lowest.

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 recommended.

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 11:27 AM

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:''

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 year.

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 the world.

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 visible.

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 locations.

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 information :

(1) Employee's name, mailing address, and estimated arrival date/time (if by airline, include flight number, arrival date/time, if available).

(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 official dependents.

(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 occupancy.


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 heaters.

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 are expensive.


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 quality.

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 heated.

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 drip-dry.

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 often poor.

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 Embassy employees.

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 another country.

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 families live.

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 education allowance.

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 Americas).

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 run.

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 Mexico City.

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 and scenery.

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 park.

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 video games.

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 Mexico City.

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.

Official Functions

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.

Official Functions

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

Military Information

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 indicated below:

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 dress.

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 modest fee.

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.

Miscellaneous Information

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 persons.

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 011-52-656-651-6019.

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 El Paso.

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 employee's HHE.


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 positions furnished.

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 days.


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 occasions.

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 time-consuming.

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 dependents.

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 known comedians.

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 American retirees.

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 and 011-52-33-3825-2700.)

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 appropriate attire.

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 not available.

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 other sports.

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 available.

Special Information Last Updated: 7/17/2003 5:27 PM

The Consulate General maintains an official Internet web site at that you may wish to visit.

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 Mexico.

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 011-52-81-8345-2120.

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 Consulate General.


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 interim.

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. standards.

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 toll roads.

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 private-sector contacts.


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 expensive.

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.


Dependent Education

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 August.

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 representative.

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 private clubs.

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.

Medical Facilities

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 Affairs.

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 higher prices.

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 complicated.

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 air.

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 with Arizona.

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 post.


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 office.


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 notice.


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 supermarkets.

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 level.

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 recommended.

Hermosillo is home to three large universities (one private and two public) as well as several smaller institutions of higher learning.

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 Mexican).

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

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 speak English.

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 freezing.

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 in Tampico.

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 Brownsville.

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 months.

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 vehicle.

Health Issues

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 contamination.

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 (in Spanish).

Official Functions Last Updated: 7/28/2003 10:37 AM

Three hundred business cards are enough for a tour. They can be printed locally.

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 winter.

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 U.S.: 011-52-631-313-4820.)

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 order.

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 Arizona.

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 Consulate.

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 heating systems.

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, Texas.

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 City College.

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, TX 79925

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 78521

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 78041

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. 06500, Mexico

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 accredited.

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 stringently enforced.

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 and Customs.

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 equipment.

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 arrival.

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 12:05 AM

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 four months.

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 post.

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 Jovanovich, 1993.

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 Press, 1985.

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 & Co., 1968.

Stierlin, Henri. Art of the Aztecs and Its Origins. New York: Rizzoli, 1982.

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 Internacional, 1991.

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 Press, 1993.

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, 1996.

Camp, Roderic Ai. Politics in Mexico: The Decline of Authoritarianism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Third edition.

Centeno, Miguel Angel. Democracy Within Reason: Technocratic Revolution in Mexico. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994.

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, 1996.

Erfani, Julie A. The Paradox of the Mexican State: Rereading Sovereignty From Independence to NAFTA. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1995.

Farriss, Nancy M. Maya Society Under Colonial Rule: The Collective Enterprise of Survival. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984.

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 Press, 1993.

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, 1996.

Mendoza, Arturo Alvarado, ed. Electoral Patterns and Perspectives in Mexico. San Diego: Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California, 1987.

Morales-Gomez, Daniel A. The State, Corporatist Politics, and Educational Policy Making in Mexico. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1990.

Morris, Stephen D. Political Reformism in Mexico: An Overview of Contemporary Mexican Politics. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Pub., 1995.

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, 1997.

Reed, John. Mexico Insurgente. Mexico: Editores Mexicanos Unidos, 1989.

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, 1995.

Sayer, Chloe. Costumes of Mexico. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985.

Smith, Michael Ernest. The Aztecs. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1997.

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

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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