Mexico City Travel Tips. An article sharing travel tips about visiting Mexico City. How to get there and more…
Mexico City is one of the financial and cultural powerhouses of Latin America with almost 9 million people living in the city and nearly 20 million in the larger area of Mexico City. A city with ancient roots, in recent years this megacity has undergone a renaissance exploding into a city of color. Mexico City’s color can be found on every street.
It’s in the sunbaked plaza’s and monuments, the dampled shades and quiet of its courtyards and in the brushstrokes of its murals and street art. It’s in the faded pastels of colonial buildings. It’s in the cantinas, the music, cuisine. Everywhere there is color. If life has a color that color would be called Mexico City.
Despite its legendary sprawl, Mexico City isn’t hard to navigate. Just like the paint upon an artists pallet, the city is divided into distinctive borrows, all with their own shades and moods.
How to Get to Mexico City From the Airport
Mexico City is a massive city. It has the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere and it’s the biggest spanish speaking city on earth. This is a human hive of staggering proportions.
The airport Benito Juarez is a great example of that, located just a few miles east of the city. This airport is enormous. It was due to be replaced by a brand new airport, but after public outcry over spiraling costs and the expropriation of thousands of acres of public land, the project was put on indefinite hold. So for now Benito Juarez is your gateway to Mexico City.
As with almost every country in the world, there’s a little bit of paperwork to fill out before you arrive in Mexico. And before is the important word here. Fill out the paperwork on the plane, otherwise it’s gonna delay your entry into the country.
Another important thing in imigration is to keep the paper piece that they will give back to you until you leave Mexico. Otherwise they won’t let you leave until you pay a little bit of a fine and spend a long time refilling the paperwork.
To get from the airport you can jump in a taxi for which you can buy a ticket at one of the marked stands of kiosks inside the airport terminal. The journey will cost between 100-300 pesos ($5-15) depending on the type of vehicle you choose and of course how far you’re going. The journey will take between 30-90 minutes depending on the traffic.
Avoid unlicensed taxis. Not only will you pay a lot more than you need to, in rare cases they can actually be quite dangerous.
Alternatively you can use Uber from the airport. Just make sure to select which door you will meet the driver at and you’re good to go. The journey will cost around 180 pesos ($10).
Best Ways to Get Around Mexico City
How do you move 20 million people around a city all day, every day? By the second half of the 20th century Mexico City’s public transport infrastructure was grinding to a halt. The city was entirely dependent on its overly congested roads and highways. So, in 1967 ground was broken on the Mexico City Metro.
Mexico City has one of the most extensive and busiest metro systems in the world. And it’s a great way to get around too because the 12 lines cover most of this city. It’s very easy to use despite the lack of english language signs, because it was designed by color and iconography to be accessible to everybody.
Mexico City’s stored value transit card is the Tarjeta Dia. Not only does it work on the Metro, but on metro buses and the cities trolleybus and light rail systems too. It can be purchased and recharged at ticket booths or ticket machines in most metro stations. Where you can also purchase your single journey metro ticket too. As you go through the turnstile, just insert your ticket or tap your Tarjeta to begin your journey.
A variety of bus services swarm Mexico City taking passengers to the corners of the city that the metro just can’t reach. These buses cost between 2-6 pesos depending on what type of service and how far you’re going.
Taxis are a great way to get around the city but you will need to take a few precautions. The safest option if you don’t have a signal on your phone is to take taxis from official taxi stands. At the official taxi stands the cars are parked and they are a bit more expensive, but a lot safer.
Best Places To Stay in Mexico City
There are three different areas that I recommend depending on what type of experience you are looking for:
Urban: Condesa and Roma. Two areas that have grown together almost like twins and share a bohemic and urban feel to it. Here’s parks, independent boutiques, restaurants, art galleries and exciting nightlife.
Recommended hotel: Condesa DF
Culture: Coyacán. Coyacan is considered to be on the outskirts of the city and it has an urban feel. It provides an authentic experience of Mexico City, with attractions such as museums and history.
Recommended hotel: Mansion Papillo
Jet-set: Polanco. Luxurious apartments sit side by side with office buildings and huge antique residents. A buzzing vibe with restaurants, museums, galleries and some of the best hotels in the city.
Recommended: Hyatt Regency
What to Eat and Drink In Mexico City
Three guesses to what’s the most popular food in Mexico City? Yeah, yeah I’m not funny! Burritos, tacos, nachos and quesadillas. Salsa, enchiladas and guacamole. Mexican food is obviously thriving in its home country.
A local invention at the food stand La Escuela del Chilaquile is the Tortas de Chilaquil. Derided as a culinary abomination when first introduced. Tortas de Chilaquile is red or green chilaquile stuffed into a french roll topped with chicken milanesa cochinita pibil or shredded chicken.
Try one of the local restaurants La Castilla, one of the main staples of the city since 1970 that serves garlic tostadas with a splash of salsa will get the food conversation going. La Castillas signature dish is la Vulcan, a dish with ribeye splashed with a special type of cheese that will just satisfy all of your senses.
Tacos Tony have the craziest opening hours, they close from 5am to 8am and the other 21 hours they are open. Because they are open all day long you know the food is going to be fresh when you come to get yours. Try their Suadero and be surprised how good it is.
For drinks Mexico is known for its light beers served with a slice of lemon, margarita and its tequila.
7 Experiences You MUST Have In Mexico City
This is the symbolic heart of Mexico that is easy to spot because of its giant mexican flag. The city central square not only houses the mexican government, but also two symbols of the mexican heritage: The mayan temple major which was recently buried underground. And the spanish cathedral, which was built from the stones of the mayan temple.
When the Aztecs built Mexico City it was built on a lake and connected via canals. Xochimilco is a beautiful natural preserve outside the city center. A lot of young people go there to party. You hop on little canal boats and get toured around. You can go to some organic farms where you can sample local food and enjoy the natural vibes.
- Parque Chapultepec
Visit this park and in particular Chapultepec Castle which is a beautiful old castle on top of a hill in one of Mexico City’s biggest parks. Have an afternoon stroll down this nice park and if you are lucky you can even hand feed the squirrels in the park.
- Caza Azul
If you are interested in art, in the neighborhood of Coyacan is the Caza Azul. Frida Kahlo’s childhood home where she eventually moved back in with her husband, Diego Rivera who is a famous Mexican muralist. The house is a great art gallery and museum. Be careful because it is a bit of a tourist trap, so you might have to stand in line for a while.
- Murals of Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera’s work is displayed all over Mexico City. He was part of a movement by the Mexican government to help educate the masses and instill national identity through art. The best place to find his murals is at the Palacio de Bellas artes, a former opera house covered in his work along with other artists of his generation.
- Mexico City Street Art
Museums not your thing? Mexico City is covered with plenty of incredible street art. And the best way to get a grips on the scene is to check out Street Art Chilango. They have taken Instagram and mapped all the new murals all over the city.
- Roma & Condesa
The neighborhoods of Roma and Condesa are beautiful places. It’s a formerly aristocratic spot that was destroyed in the 1985 earthquake. It’s having a really big come back. It’s a great place to go out to eat and there’s plenty of bars around this area.
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