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About Monterrey

Monterrey is one of the three most important cities in Mexico. Surrounded by the beautiful Sierra Madre mountains in the Northeastern part of the country, the city has an altitude of 537m above sea level. Its population reaches more than 3 1/2 million people. The city is full of tradition, culture, and progress.

As a producer of steel, glass, cement, and beer, it has a major industrial and financial center in Mexico, drawing on students from its two world-class universities, the Tec de Monterrey and UdeM.

Monterrey has nine months of warm weather and three months of colder temperatures. Being a semi-desert region, rainfall is sporadic throughout the year. The warm weather starts in March and continues until the end of October with temperatures ranging from 80° to 100°F. During January and February, some cold spells usually occur. Temperatures can go below freezing; however, snow is rare.

Monterrey is noted for dramatic and rapid changes in temperature. The newcomer soon becomes as acclimated to these changes as to tortillas and refried beans, and finds that they too add to the charm of living in Mexico.

Though primarily a city of industry, Monterrey offers its share of museums and restaurants, with many interesting places to visit nearby. In addition, Monterrey has many things to do for the adventurist: rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking and more.

Newcomers have a look! There is a lot to do and see in Monterrey and Garza Garcia.

Language and Etiquette


Most women kiss once on the right cheek when greeting you hello or goodbye. When woman friends kiss in greeting hello or goodbye, they do not actually kiss. They touch cheeks and kiss into the air. Women will greet the men usually with a handshake the first meeting then on subsequent meetings (only if comfortable with it) will "kiss" the men on the cheek. You may opt to wait for the other person to take the initiative, or to kiss anyone you meet! Most people greet with a handshake. Handshakes are less firm. Men have a variety of handshakes, some more 'padre' than others.

Common Terms

Greetings are very important and are not to be overlooked.There are a million ways to say excuse me/thank you... learn the options well and think before you speak! You may use the Dictionary Online which offers instant vocabulary. Sound available.

  • ¡Gracias a Dios!: means "Thank God!" not "thanks, good-bye" which would be "Gracias, adios"
  • ¡Qué padre!: Great, cool!
  • ¿Qué tal? : How are you?
  • ¿Qué onda?: What's up?
  • ¿Mande?: Pardon?
  • Mucho Gusto: Nice to meet you.
  • Con permiso: To pass by someone
  • Disculpe: To get someone's attention
  • Perdón: I am sorry, excuse me.
  • ¿Puedo usar el teléfono?: May I use the phone?
  • Buen provecho: Enjoy your meal.
  • ¿Bueno?: Hello? when answering a phone call


Dress Code

Generally, women dress more formally (pants/skirts rather than shorts), especially when going out. Men rarely wear shorts around the city. Discos have dress codes. Ask about the dress code before going. People dress well, generally, and take pride in their appearance.

Timing for Gatherings

Most people arrive later than the time stated on an invitation, sometimes up to an hour later. Expect meals to be served 2-3 hours later, between 8:00pm and 11:00pm. People often leave shortly after eating, though not always. People like to stay out late.

Phone Calls

You can answer the phone with "Bueno?" for Spanish or "Hello?" to indicate that you speak English (many callers then hang up). Use "Mande?" when you want them to repeat. If you want to speak to someone, say "Se encuentra...?" or "Puedo hablar con...?", both mean "May I speak to...". If you want to know who is speaking, say "Quien habla?". If it is a wrong number, say "Esta equivocado el numero"; "Con quien quieres hablar?" means "With whom would you like to speak?" .Check the PTA phone book for important numbers and instructions for long distance calls.



  • Families are of paramount importance to Mexicans, as is the network of school friends.
  • Purses on the floor are bad luck (and good advice against potential theft).
  • Do not give the OK sign. It is inappropriate in all company. Thumbs up is a better option.
  • When bargaining in outdoor markets, expect a 25% markdown on all Artisan wares.
  • At Mexican parties and gatherings, all ages from baby to the great grandmother are at the same party. All age groups may take part in the conversation of adults if they have something to add.
  • If you are invited to a party to begin at 9:00 p.m. do not expect to eat until 10:00 p.m. or possibly 11:00 p.m. Also be sure to ask what time the other guests are expected to arrive. If the party begins at 8:00 p.m. the guest may not start arriving until 9:00 p.m. or 9:30 p.m.
  • Cultural Differences: Mexico with Canada & the United States (Mexico Connect)


Non-verbal language and gestures

  • Charades is the name of the game. Use them.
  • Waving index finger back and forth means "No."
  • Moving your index finger up and down means "Yes."
  • Scooping your hand like a shovel, palm facing downwards, means "Come here."

Dealing with service industry staff

  • They will always use the formal "Usted".
  • Maids will usually come to your home while you are out. Have someone write a note for instructions. Keep the note simple. Write out instructions or demonstrate how you like things done if language is a problem. Most have done this before and are very capable.
  • Tipping of a few pesos to all delivery people is usual.
  • Tip the kids in the grocery stores for bagging your groceries. They will push the cart to your car and unload the bags as well. Three to seven pesos are fine as a tip.
  • You may tip gas attendants the same amount.


Most of the people in Mexico are Catholic, but there are also some other churches. See list below.
  • Fatima: Catholic church, (8356-1756) on Ave. San Pedro. Col. del Valle. English mass Sunday at 11:00 am in small Chapel.
  • Union Church of Monterrey: Non-denominational (8378-4304 & 378-0541)
  • Basílica de la Virgen de Guadalupe, Catholic, on Castelar 224 W. (8345-6686).
  • Cathedral de Monterrey: Catholic on Zuazua 1100 Downtown(8342-7831)
  • Holy Family Anglican Church: Hotel Novotel, Salon Guadalajara, Avenida Lazaro Cardenas 3000, San Pedro Garza Garcia, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, e-mail:, Phone: (81) 164-27670
  • Iglesia Metodista de la Trinidad: Methodist on Washington 513 W. Downtown (8342-2612)


Mexico celebrates many national and religious holidays. These usually take place on the exact date. Celebrations in Mexico are very colorful, rich in symbols and rituals, specially those related to religion. For a more detailed calendar click here.

New Year's Day (1)
Carta Magna (5) February
Benito Juarez' Birthday (21) March
Children's Day (30) April
Labor Day (1)
The Battle of Puebla (5)
Mother's Day (10)
Teacher's Day (15)
Independence Day (16)
Monterrey's Foundation (20)
Columbus Day (12) October
Day of the Dead (2)
Revolution Day (20)
Virgen de Guadalupe (12)
Christmas (25)