Latin American culture is different from our Anglo Saxon tradition. The Spanish adventurers who founded Mexico City in 1520 did so on the site of an already flourishing Mexico city—then called Tenochtitlán—which astonished the conquistadors with its wide avenues and magnificent monuments. While English settlers in the U.S. largely killed off the Indian population or segregated them on reservations, the conquering Spaniards intermarried with indigenous peoples of Mexico to form a unique mestizo population whose customs meld both traditions.
While you may not share Mexican values and customs, a good guest should be aware of them. Don't be daunted. It can take years in any environment to become aware of the subtleties that govern our behavior.— Carol Wheeler Esparza
Spanish Language Primer
Whether you want to become a proficient Spanish-speaker or just get by on survival Spanish, it is important to master the language to some extent as it will also provide you with vital cultural cues
Greetings and Farewells
An important aspect about saludos (greetings) and despedidas (farewells) is that Mexicans give them time and due consideration. Although "hola" is very much like our English "hello", "buenos dias" (good morning), "buenas tardes" (good afternoon), or "buenas noches" (good evening) are preferred greetings when you enter a shop, greet your hotel desk reservation person or pass others on the street. "Hola" is too familiar and silence is considered rude.
Mexicans are often interested in ritual greetings every time they meet—not just a cursory nod or wave of the hand. Men often give each other solid handshakes. Women kiss on the cheeks when they meet. Take the time to engage in greeting rituals; it can help smooth a difficult language encounter. —Gerry Mugford Fowler and Adelle Morgan Cordero