Mexico can be fucking scary, but you should know that cartel massacres and assassinations are almost exclusively at the borders.

Having said that, narco-violence is not the only danger to watch out for.  I lived there most of my life so here are some tips for you all.


It’s true, those pretty blue eyes and white chocolate skin of yours will cause your Marlboro reds to cost triple of what Peruvian tourists pay. This is no Europe, if you see something you like, don’t go, “OMG! That’s so cute!!!” Use your poker face, ask for the price, haggle and walk away. I guarantee someone will catch up and offer you a ‘bargain’.

This is how Mexican see you when they are behind the counter.



Mexicans are well armoured after years of eating habaneros, refried beans and Tequila. Do you have any idea what that does to a stomach? We could digest teeth if we wanted to.

A couple of pointers: anything spelt with an XH or that sounds like you swallowed a fly in the middle of a sentence will put you out of commision for 48 hrs: xhalil, tepaxhe, nek’xh, xhwi’itt!? Get the fuck outta there! Because of shit like that, many hotels have introduced the Montezuma’s revenge package. It consists of a pitcher of horchata and handyman José rubbing your belly while singing Besame Mucho.


One time when I was working in a hotel, an American dude started giving $100 bills to everyone so no one left him alone for rest of his trip. Just imagine a harem but replace the beautiful broads with fat moustached kiss-ass hyenas. That’s not good, not good at all.


You will be tempted to buy shit on the street from that log-shaped Mayan. Don’t, it’s exactly like buying from a random guy in Camden Town.
When you buy drugs, always use the trustworthy receptionist or concierge from your hotel, just try to be smooth, and definitely tip him for it.


Ed Hardy is still out and about in South Mexico, beware.


Mexican guidos are actually called ‘Buchones’. They are a mix between The Situation, George Lopez and Danny Trejo, and they worship some dead drug-lord called Malverde. Started as a narco-trend but the dress code for cartel parties was quickly absorbed by the standard douchebag. Now you see them everywhere, especially in the cities.

Here’s how to recognize them: gelled hair; shoes with scales, operation seams or miner tips; faded jeans, stained or wrinkled as if 5 Taiwanese kids cleaned their asses with it; Bluetooth headset and a Batman belt holding a variety of cellphones.

Their life dream is to go to Ibiza but they don’t really know where it is. They are not really dangerous as they are lame, just avoid wasting a night of your vacay with them.


Mexico is probably number one in terms of corruption, which, let me tell you, IT’S FUCKING GREAT. Do you know how many times I’ve been arrested? Seven, but that’s not the point — the point is that if it wasn’t for corruption I’d still be in jail and so would most of my friends.

So if you get busted for mooning or flashing or peeing in public, don’t freak out. Relax. Keep it humble, like you don’t know what’s going on and pull out a tenner. Have drugs on you? A twenty. You’re going be scared and eager to get out of it no matter what, but trust me, a £20 will do.

“Maybe we can sort this out some other way?”


If for some weird reason you wake up in TJ, don’t panic:

1) Check if you have both of your kidneys.
2) Turn on the tele and check how safe it is out there.


Red: Severe risk of kidnapping and execution; I can’t think of a more shit-in-you-pants phrase than that one.

Orange: Alto. That’s Spanish for “high,” as in, “No matter how high you are with nothing left to eat, don’t you dare to go out.”

Yellow: Risky. You’ll probably go into cardiac arrest if a car backfires.

Blue: Protected. This is when the cartels take a break and police like to go out and pretend like they have it covered.

Green: The risk of being kidnapped or executed is low! Great! You can now feel like you are in a part of Mexico with average crime rates, like Mexico City.

Enjoy Mexico y’all!

Daniel Corrochio
This article was originally posted on Street Carnage* in October 2010.
*Edited for the UK audience.