The INA Board of Directors is busy with last minute conference planning, and our 30th annual industry conference is right around the corner. Since this is our first conference outside the U.S. we wanted to help our attendees with this helpful checklist.
- You must have your passport before booking your round trip transportation. Generally your passport must be valid for a minimum of 90 days beyond your travel dates. If it is close to expiration, renew prior to travel. (Kathy Webb’s return flight from the site preview was delayed because a couple who arrived on the incoming flight was turned away at immigration because they only had 5 weeks left on their passports. They only planned to stay the week, instead they had to fly right back home to 27 degree Washington DC!)
- For getting around: The official language of Mexico is Spanish, and the currency is pesos. The exchange rate is approximately 13 pesos = USD $1. You will often see the $ sign used when referencing pesos. If you are in doubt please ask. You may wish to carry small amounts of Mexican currency, particularly if you are doing anything off the resort. The public buses that travel through the hotel zone to downtown Cancun accept only Pesos (10.50 pesos – about 85 cents each way).To obtain pesos, you may use your bank ATM card in any ATM machine (readily available at the airport) or the hotel front desk will change modest amounts of US dollars at a very reasonable exchange rate.
Often if you pay for goods or services in US dollars, you will receive change back in a mixture of pesos and dollars – and this ‘change’ will almost always work in the merchant’s favor. If you are due USD$0.50 change, and are given 50 cents pesos, this will be about a nickel in US currency!
English is widely spoken in the Hotel Zone, so no need to worry about communication. This is especially true of all customer service, wait staff, shop staff and anyone who routinely interacts with the public.
Please bring some small bills. Public bathrooms are generally very well maintained by individuals who simply work for tips. A $1 tip or 10- 20 pesos is customary – they are grateful for either Mexican or US currency. Resort wait staff that serve drinks are appreciative of modest tips also. Other service providers such as spa staff, drivers and tour staff are also appreciative of modest tips.
- Conference dress code is resort casual. Sandals and flip flops are fine, bathing suits, and other casual beach wear are not appropriate during conference hours. Many attendees bring a notepad or laptop/tablet on which to take notes. Please note: Video and audio recording of our speakers is prohibited.
- Our conference hotel is right on the beach. It is an absolutely stunning location. You will have access to ONE beach towel during your stay (the issuance and return at tightly controlled by the resort staff). You will want:
- Beach footwear
- A ball cap or floppy hat to protect you from the sun
- Adequate sunscreen – careful of size if you are doing carry-on!
- Insect repellent
- A beach cover up to use when walking through the hotel common areas
- A beach bag to carry all of the above!
- For excursions: Water outings will require comfortable close-toed water shoes or sandals. Archaeological tours will require sturdy, close toed walking shoes. A backpack or beach bag to carry your sundries, water bottle, etc.
- Medications, specialized toiletries, etc. The Iberostar is an all inclusive resort. You will have access to a variety of food from 6:30 am – 10 PM daily. Room service is 24 hour. If you have dietary restrictions or simply special preferences, you can pack limited prepared foods to bring with you. The resort’s buffet has an impressive selection of prepared and ‘raw’ food, including local fruits, cheeses, and yogurt. Eggs to order, including omelets, are available every morning.You cannot bring fruits and vegetables into Mexico – you will be forced to discard any of these items in the airport. The same is true upon your return to the US. Adult beverages are included. This includes the sodas and beer in your mini-bar.Please note: If you are eating at a restaurant and are presented with a “wine list” – this wine is at additional cost and is priced in pesos, the local currency. Complimentary “house” red and white wine is available in all restaurants. There is a small gift shop that has essentials such as basic toiletries, sunscreen, hats and the like. Your room is equipped with a safe – as with any hotel, we recommend valuables, including your passport, be secured for your piece of mind.