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Mexico Review by Dena Wood

Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden St
Oakland, CA 94607

One quick glance at Lonely Planet's Mexico, and you'll know that this is more than just your average guidebook. With nearly 1050 information-packed pages, this book is sure to provide the answers to most any question you could have about Mexico within its covers.

Mexico begins with a series of colorful two-page layouts, each spotlighting Mexican natives of differing backgrounds and occupations. You'll meet a painter, historian, artist, chef, and mariachi, all accompanied by gorgeous photos. Next is a Getting Started guide filled with tips and advice, a list of what to take with you, the Top 10 Adventures, Top 10 Fiestas, Top 10 Movies, travel literature, and Internet resources. A section of Itineraries offers suggested routes, depending on the amount of time you have available for travel. There are even suggested tailored trips to see The Ruins, The Wilds, The Beaches, and cultural sites such as museums and colonial centers. A brief section on history introduces you to the country's various cities, religions, pastimes and more.

Next, you'll find detailed sections describing specific geographic regions: Mexico City, Around Mexico City, Baja California, Northwest Mexico, Central North Mexico, Northwest Mexico, Central Pacific Coast, Western Central Highlands, Northern Central Highlands, Central Gulf Coast, Oaxaca State, Tabasco and Chiapas, and the Yucatán Peninsula. For each region, you'll find detailed information on sites, eating, drinking, sleeping, shopping, tours, and more. You'll even find a few glossy, full-color pictures sprinkled here and there. Information on "Getting Around" and detailed city street maps will help you get where you want to go. Listings for hospitals, Internet access, laundry facilities, ATM machines, and tourist desks are very helpful as well.

This guide is a real help with trip planning, as youll find everything from restaurant and motel prices (with specific reviews on what to expect at each place) to insider tips and "author's choice" destinations. Interspersed throughout the guide are intriguing text boxes filled with interesting or little-known facts about Mexico.

The Directory in the back of the guide covers everything from accommodations to climate charts, holidays, insurance, postal services, toilets, and work. A separate section on transportation keeps you informed about passports, airlines, border crossings, insurance, and more.

A Health section offers a medical checklist, recommended vaccinations, and Internet resources. You'll find descriptions and causes of several infectious diseases. You'll even receive tips on how to prevent traveler's diarrhea!

Wrapping up the guide is a language section that includes a brief introduction to the Spanish alphabet and many commonly used phrases. There's an especially helpful text box offering translations for Mexican slang and another for road signs.

If you're considering a trip to Mexico in the near future, I would highly recommend this guide. It is well organized and packed with information, providing you with everything you could want to know, right at your fingertips.

Product review by Dena Wood, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2008