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Planning your trip to Mexico is the first step in what promises to be a fascinating journey. Mexico's geographic and cultural diversity make this country among the world's most interesting to visit. Climate, food, dress, dialect, and social norms often differ markedly from one region to the next: You may be surprised at how a trip to Baja California or the Pacific Coast will differ from an excursion to the Caribbean; how distinctive the Mexican culture is on the U.S. border, compared to the Central American border; and how liberal Mexico City seems compared to the conservative colonial cities surrounding it.

A little planning can make the difference between a bum trip and a great journey. What's the best way to get there? How much should you plan to spend? What safety or health precautions should you take? 

In addition to these basics, I highly recommend taking a little time to learn about the culture and traditions of Mexico. It will help enrich even the simplest seaside getaway.

Travelers to Mexico should be aware of security concerns in a number of parts of the country and take precautions to maximize their safety. For the most part, Mexico is safe for travelers who steer clear of drugs and those who sell them, but visitors should still exercise caution in unfamiliar areas and remain aware of their surroundings at all times. Much of the worst drug-related violence has occurred in the border region. Visit the U.S. Department of State's website, www.travel.state.gov, for up-to-date information on travel to Mexico.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.