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Mexicos Volcanoes General Info

General information

This expedition starts and finishes in Mexico City (elevation 2400m). Rest days are spend in beautiful colonial city of Puebla (elevation 2160m), located 80 miles to the east.

GMT minus 6hrs.

Mexico City

The airport is located centrally, and you will not have to travel far to the hotel.

There is a taxi reservation desk, ATM's and numerous money changers (offering reasonable rates) within the arrivals lounge, so there is no need to change money prior to arrival. NSBC and Santander banks take most UK credit and debit cards.

Mexico City is one of the world’s biggest cities and by far the most important city in the Republic of Mexico. The city is at an elevation of 2400m and this makes it a good base for the purposes of acclimatisation, and it’s well worth extending your stay here before you start the expedition. Mexico's attractions include its historical sites, archaeological ruins, fiestas, beaches, bullfighting, handicrafts, music, dance, heavy drinking and moderate prices. You won't get bored here, whatever your interests.

Commander Halligan's recommendations for spending a couple of days in Mexico City:

Visit the central square (Centro Historico) - there are countless historical buildings, museums, bars and restaurants. A guided walking tours are available.

Watch a Lucha Libra wrestling match. This is a must-do .Ridiculous mask wearing beef-cakes (of both sexes) pretend to knock lumps out of each other in front of huge drunken crowds. Tuesdays and Fridays at the Arena de Mexico and the Arena Coliso.

Visit the ancient Teotihuacan historical site, 50 miles north of Mexico City. Includes the worlds third largest pyramid - climb to the top and admire the view with an ice cream.

Mexecal, Reggae and Salsa pub crawl in the Roma and Condeso districts of Mexico City (guided tours on Wednesdays and Thursdays). I've done quite a lot of research into this, but can't remember any of it. Apparently it's quite good fun.

Puebla

Is a beautiful Spanish Colonial city in which to spend you rest days in between climbs. You'll probably be quite happy to lounge around after the Izta climb, and Puebla is well suited to this. The hotel is located near to the central square and there are countless cheap cafe's and restaurants in which to eat. There are numerous historical sites, including the massive Cathedral within walking distance.

Safety

Mexico gets bad press with regards to tourist safety, but  I’ve never experienced any problems here. Follow the usual rules of travelling in the developing world and you will be OK; don't carry too much cash or bank cards with you. Remove expensive watches and bling before heading out. Stay alert for pick-pockets in busy tourist areas. Never flag-down a taxi in the street - always ask the restaurant/ hotel staff to pre-order one for you.

Language

The official language of Mexico is Spanish, and little English is spoken or understood outside major cities.

Currency/ Money

The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso.  

You will find that £150 – 250 spending money is adequate for restaurant meals, drinks and pocket money. You may choose to bring more depending on your shopping plans and length of stay.

Cash machines are readily available throughout Mexico City (Santander and HSBC), but become increasingly difficult to find outside of the main urban areas. There are several cash machines and money changers at the airport which makes it very easy and convenient to withdraw cash on arrival.

While American dollars are widely accepted, I recommend changing money at the airport so that you have Mexican Pesos for airport porters, taxis, etc.

Credit cards are accepted in most, but not all, areas.

Electricity

Wall sockets in Mexico require ungrounded two-prong plugs, and supply 110 volts, 60 hertz. Appliances with 3 prongs or an enlarged prong will require an adapter.

Climbing Seasons/ weather conditions

The best time to climb in Mexico is November to March.

This is the start of the dry season, which is usually characterised by pleasant sunny weather. However it is not unusual to experience short periods of stormy weather, even during the dry season.

Conditions on the mountains can be harsh; expect high winds, snow and intense cold higher up. At night and at altitude temperatures are normally low, often well-below freezing.

Flights/ Visas

Flights from the UK to Mexico City cost from about £500-£700, and leave daily from most major UK airports.

Visas are not necessary for British citizens, but you should have a full passport valid for at least six months from the date of travel.

Health issues

Although Mexico is one of the more prosperous countries in Latin America hygiene standards don't really reflect this. It is possible you may get an upset stomach or gut at some stage. To minimise the risk it is a good idea to avoid tap water, unwashed fruit, ice and all seafood. Vaccinations for tetanus, typhoid, polio and hepatitis are needed! Malaria and yellow fever precautions are not necessary as we won't be visiting mosquito infested areas.

Pay close attention to personal hygene.

Accommodation

Throughout the trip you will be accommodated in mid-range hotels and mountain huts. On occasion it may be necessary to camp at the mountain huts due to over crowding – in which case we will provide camping equipment.

Food

Good quality food (three meals) is provided throughout the trip. There are dozens of excellent restaurants in Mexico City and Puebla to suit all budgets. It's particularly good for the carnivorous.

Altitude issues

During this trip, you will be climbing and sleeping at high altitude.

We follow a gradual acclimatisation programme, but this is always a risk that you will develop AMS.

Your guide will be experienced in the recognition of the symptoms of AMS and treatment.

It is important that you have a reasonable understanding of the causes, treatment and symptoms of altitude illness – and discuss these with your doctor if you feel it to be necessary.