Do's and Don'ts in Mexico

Mexico Etiquette Tips

1. Dress Attire

  1. DON'T wear shorts if you wish to blend in outside of tourist areas. Aside from beaches and resorts, shorts are seldom worn by Mexicans.
  2. DO dress nicely for business situations. A suit and tie is fine, and women may also wear conservative dresses. In very hot regions, it's acceptable to wear lighter clothing, but don't wear overly casual clothing, such as t-shirts or flip-flops.
  3. DO dress casually for social occasions.
  4. DO take off sunglasses and hats if entering a church.

2. Table Manners

  1. DO rest your wrists on the edge of the table while dining.
  2. DON'T sit until told where to sit.
  3. DON'T begin eating until the host does.
  4. DO understand that only men give toasts in Mexican culture.
  5. DO indicate that you are finished eating by putting your knife and fork across your plate with the prongs going downwards and the handles facing right.
  6. DO leave a little bit of food on your plate when you are

3. Tipping

  1. DO tip in the same fashion that you are used to in the U.S. or Canada.

4. Gift Giving and Accepting Gifts

  1. DON'T give red flowers or marigolds. However, white flowers make a nice gift.
  2. DO open a gift upon receipt.

5. Greetings

  1. DO shake hands upon meeting someone.
  2. DO follow the lead of who you are greeting. Hugs are often shared among friends, as well as a light kiss on the cheek for women.

6. Visitors Etiquette

  1. DO be fashionably late! Thirty minutes late is appropriate. Arriving early or even on time is considered rude.
  2. DO bring flowers or sweets for your host.

7. Business Meeting

  1. DO make an appointment at least two weeks in advance, confirm a week before and a confirm one last time upon arriving in Mexico.
  2. DON'T be late! However, your Mexican business associates may be late. Mexicans have a very relaxed view of time, but as a foreigner, you will be expected to be on time.
  3. DO be patient. Negotiations may proceed slowly.
  4. DO have written material translated to Spanish.
  5. DO hire an interpreter.
  6. DO pick your negotiating team carefully. Have someone on your negotiating team who is an executive but do not include a lawyer.
  7. DO expect haggling and prepare accordingly.

8. Socializing and Conversation

  1. DO understand that “estúpido” is considered a bad word in Mexico, and it means much worse than “stupid.”
  2. DO say “salud!” when someone sneezes. To not do so is considered rude.
The above list might seem a little intimidating, but don't let it make you nervous! Go with the flow, but be conservative in your behavior and you'll blend in just fine. Happy travels to Mexico!

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