Competition between European airlines means that air fares to Mexico City are lower, in real terms, than ever before. Through discount agents, British Airways is selling its non-stop Gatwick-Mexico City flight for around pounds 480 return, including tax. Travelling on Air France via Paris, Iberia via Madrid or KLM via Amsterdam can cost even less, with fares around the pounds 400 level sometimes available. These airlines also enable you to travel from one of many UK airports.
It used to be the case that travelling to Mexican destinations outside the capital was relatively cheap on US airlines such as American, via Miami, and Continental, via Houston; recent rises in taxes mean the advantage has largely been lost. It is often cheaper to fly direct to Mexico City and then use an airpass to travel onwards.
Another option, particularly for destinations in the north of Mexico, is to take advantage of low fares to destinations in Arizona, Texas and southern California offered by all the leading transatlantic airlines, and to travel across the border by land. San Diego and El Paso are the US cities closest to Mexico.
Getting there: charter flights and inclusive holidays
Last year the number of British package holiday-makers going to Mexico more than doubled, and a significant increase is expected this year, too.
There are now numerous charter flights, mainly from Manchester and Gatwick, to the Mexican resorts of Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. (Note that many of these stop en route to refuel.) Charters are mostly sold as part of package holidays, by operators such as First Choice (0161-745 7000), Airtours (0541 500479) and Thomson (0990 502580). Some flights may have space for "seat only" customers; expect to pay around pounds 300 return to Cancun, and slightly more to Puerto Vallarta.
Visitors require a tourist card, which is issued free by the airline when you embark, or at the frontier if you enter by land.
Mexican Ministry of Tourism, 60 Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DS (0171- 734 1058). Note that this office takes a substantial siesta, closing each day from 1.30pm to 3pm.Reuse content