No one goes on vacation expecting something bad to happen, but you should always be prepared for an emergency, no matter where you'll be traveling. When planning your trip to Mexico, there are a few ways to prepare in advance so you know what to do in case of an emergency when time may be of the essence.
Emergency Numbers in Mexico
Whatever type of emergency you may be facing, the two most important things to know are the Mexican emergency phone number and the citizen assistance number of your country's embassy or consulate.
Other numbers that are good to have are the tourist assistance number and the number for the Ángeles Verdes ("Green Angels"), a roadside assistance service that offers general tourist assistance and information. The Green Angels can be called at 078, and they have operators who speak English, whereas other Mexican emergency numbers may not.
As in the United States, if you have an emergency, you can call 911 free of charge from a landline or cell phone.
How to Contact the U.S. and Canadian Embassies
Know which consulate is closest to your destination and have the citizen assistance phone number on hand. There are some things they can help with and other things they cannot, but they may be able to advise you as to how best to handle your emergency. Find the embassy or consulate nearest you on our list of U.S. consulates in Mexico and Canadian consulates in Mexico.
The consulate closest to you may be able to offer you more help, but these are the emergency numbers for the U.S. and Canadian embassies in Mexico:
U.S. Embassy in Mexico: In the case of an emergency directly affecting a U.S. citizen in Mexico, you can contact the embassy for assistance. In Mexico City, dial 5080-2000. For elsewhere in Mexico, dial the area code first, so you would dial 01-55-5080-2000. From the United States, dial 011-52-55-5080-2000.
During business hours, select extension 4440 to reach American Citizens Services. Outside of business hours, press "0" to speak to an operator and ask to be connected to the officer on duty.
Canadian Embassy in Mexico: For emergencies concerning Canadian citizens in Mexico, call the embassy at 52-55-5724-7900 in the greater Mexico City area. If you are outside Mexico City, you can reach the consular section by dialing toll-free at 01-800-706-2900. This number is available 24 hours a day.
Before You Leave for Mexico
Make copies of important documents. When possible, leave your passport in your hotel safe and carry a copy with you. Also, scan your documents and send them to yourself via e-mail so you can access them online if all else fails.
Tell your family and friends at home your itinerary. You don't need to let them know your every move, but someone needs to know where you'll be. Check in with them on a regular basis so that if something happens to you, they will know where you are.
Register your trip. If you will be traveling in Mexico for more than a few days, register your trip with your consulate before your departure so that they can keep you informed and help you evacuate in case of extreme weather or political conflict.
Purchase travel and/or health insurance. Look into the best type of travel insurance for your needs. You may want to consider insurance that has evacuation coverage, especially if you will be visiting areas that are outside of large cities or main tourist destinations. You may also want to purchase insurance if you will be participating in adventure activities.