Some Etiquette Tips for Your Next Mexican Vacation
Mexican Manners: Some Etiquette Tips for Your Next Mexican Vacation
Mexican vacations are extremely popular, and with good reason! Who in Vancouver doesn’t want to escape the rain and cold and spend a few glorious weeks in a Mexican paradise! Since more and more Vancouverites are booking flights to the land of sun and surf (and tequila) these days, we thought we’d provide some helpful cultural tips to make your next Mexican trip the best ever!
Now You’re Speaking Our Language
Generally speaking, Mexicans appreciate it when foreigners attempt to speak Spanish. They don’t expect fluency, but knowing a few select words will win you points and the respect of the locals. In this sense, a little goes a long way!
Know Your Audience
Before asking a local questions, it’s best to start by saying “desculpe” (excuse me). This comes across as much more polite and less abrupt or pushy. It’s also a great idea to ask a local if they “habla ingles” (speak English), as it’s far more polite than just assuming that they speak your language.
Usted or Tu?
When speaking to elders or strangers, it’s considered polite to use the formal “usted” (you) rather than the more informal “tu” which is normally reserved for friends and family. Don’t worry if you forget and use the informal “tu,” as most Mexicans are very understanding and will appreciate the courteous attempt to speak their language.
Slow Down and Smell the Enchiladas
It is generally true that Mexicans have a different sense of time than most Canadians. In short, things are slower. And let’s face it, isn’t that exactly what we want when we go on vacation? It’s a great opportunity to relax and let go of strict deadlines and the hustle and bustle of daily life. Indeed, “manana time” is just what the doctor ordered for most of us!
But be warned, this means that being on time is actually considered rude in Mexico! For example, if you’re invited to a party, it’s common for people to show up between 30 minutes to 2 hours late! At best, showing up on time will mean being the first ones to arrive, and at worst, it will mean catching your guests off guard and unprepared! When it comes to a dinner invitation, generally guests will arrive about 30 minutes later than the appointed time of the invite.
Putting the “Rest” in Restaurant
The slow-paced culture of Mexico extends to the restaurant culture as well. Generally, you won’t find servers trying to rush you through your meal. In fact, a server would never consider bringing you your bill before you ask for it, as that would be considered rude and pushy. When you’re ready to pay, you can get your waiter’s attention by saying “joven” which roughly translates to “young man” (even if he is not so young!). If you are being served by a woman, the proper term is always “senorita.”
Mexicans tend to stand a little closer than Canadians when talking to each other. Try not to show discomfort if this occurs as locals may take offence. Also, Mexicans usually hold their handshakes and their hugs longer than Canadians, so don’t let the proximity scare you!
- Try to avoid standing with your hands on your hips, as it’s considered to be a hostile gesture, and signifies anger.
- It’s also considered rude to stand around with your hands in your pockets.
- When eating, always keep both hands above the table
Now all you have to do is pack the sunscreen and your bathing suit and you’re all set for a fabulous Mexican vacation!