What are people like in Monterrey?
People in Monterrey are usually pretty amiable though not that effusive; the social activity in the city is rather closed, though the population is quite tolerant with the habits of the visitors.
Which are the working hours at offices and commercial centres?
Most of the public and private offices in Monterrey open to the public from 9:00 hours up till 18:00 hours, with a recess between 14:00 hours and 16:00 hours for lunchtime.
Banks open Mondays through Fridays from 9:00 up till 16:00 hours, though some of them extend their working hours up till 19:00 hours. The main offices open on Saturdays, though only until 14:00 hours.
Here, as is the case in the rest of Mexico, working hours in commercial centres are from 9:00 hours up till 20:00 hours.
Will I have any problem in communicating with my country?
No, in no way; in order to call your country of origin, you need only to approach the public phone booths that are spread all over the City of Monterrey. From them you will be able to communicate either using prepaid cards or coins.
Travellers should take into account that telephone rates in Mexico are higher than in other countries; therefore, the possibility of making collect calls is always tempting.
Another possibility is to call from your hotel room, which will allow you to have more privacy; however, the cost of the communication is incremented considerably. If your travelling motto is to save as much as you can, forget about this possibility.
You will also be able to get in contact with your country through the Internet, and most of the hotels in the capital of Nuevo Leon offer this service to their guests. In addition, there are several cyber cafés providing access to the web of webs at pretty accessible prices.
Is it easy to drive in the city?
No, it is a true challenge that will test your reflects, especially if you drive through downtown Monterrey. This sector of the capital of Nuevo Leon presents persistent, serious and exasperating traffic jams on peak hours.
Drive carefully and with all of your senses alert; many of the local drivers are characterised for their total disregard of traffic rules and regulations. For these and other reasons (such as irresponsibility and slippery streets), the rates of car wrecks in the capital of Nuevo Leon are higher than in other Mexican cities.
On the other hand, before sitting in front of the wheel, you must know the following: cars go on the right side of the road, you have to pay a toll to use the highways and no individual is allowed to drive through the roads of Monterrey with an amount of alcohol over 0.8 grams per litre; this is equivalent to four drinks taken in a time span of four hours, for a person with an approximate weigh of 70 kilos.
What do I need to present in order to rent a car?
You need to be of age, have a valid driver license and a credit card accepted in Mexico; these are the basic requisites to rent a car in Monterrey.
Due to its characteristics as a cosmopolitan and hardworking city, there are several national and international car rental firms; hence, you will have no problems in renting a vehicle; moreover, you can even do it at the airport.
Where can I purchase handicrafts?
Monterrey is known as the shopping capital, and here you will be able to acquire handicrafts coming from all over Mexico, which are for sale mainly at the shops downtown, being the Rose Zone (close to the Macro Plaza) one of the most interesting places.
However, travellers will find handicrafts' shops in the modern and sophisticated shopping malls existing in this metropolis as well.
Silverworks, blown glass, wicker works, pottery objects, leatherworks and a great variety of Mexican cowboy boots, are some of the articles you will be able to purchase.
What voltage is the electric power?
In Monterrey, as is the case in the rest of Mexico, the voltage is of 110 volts and 60 cycles; if you were to need an adaptor or transformer, ask for one at the reception desk of the hotel you are staying in.