Mexico City: Travel Tips To Know Before Visiting
Are you planning for a unique place for your vacation? If your desire is to have the city vibes with a bit of historical enchantment, Mexico City is the place for you.
Mexico City is a big Mexican city that looks and feels like other major cities of the world due to its size, population, and status. The city's count of 20 million people is enough to rank it as one of the largest cities in the world.
Getting to Mexico City is easy, but due to its diverse food scene, rich historical remains, and colorful murals, many visitors get hesitant to leave.
However, Mexico capital is not just a bustling urban center, as it also embodies a fusion of modern life and ancient history that dates back to the Aztec civilization. This rich history is evident in all aspects of the city, including its street food, music, and colorful murals, adding a deeper meaning to everyday life.
Getting There and Around
When it comes to visiting Mexico City, timing is everything. As a quick hack, you are better off visiting this city between March and May since it is highly likely to be less crowded. Most tourists come in June, and the festive periods could offer more stress than the intended relaxation.
Mexico City is served by two major airports: the Benito Juarez International Airport and the Toluca International Airport. Once you're in the city, getting around can be a bit of a challenge, given its size and traffic congestion. However, there are several transportation options like the Metrobus, taxis, and ride-hailing apps readily available. Using public transportation is highly recommended over driving. You wouldn't want to be stuck in avoidable traffic. Would you? Taking the bus or metro typically costs less than a dollar and is a convenient and efficient way to travel.
If you prefer to travel by taxi, it's highly advisable to agree on a fare with the driver before getting in and to make sure that the taxi is licensed and has a meter. Uber and Cabify are available and could serve as safer and more reliable options to get around.
Mexico City is a vast city with many different neighborhoods, each with its own unique personality and charm. Some of the most popular areas to stay in Mexico City include the trendy neighborhoods of Condesa and Roma, which are known for their beautiful tree-lined streets, charming cafes, and vibrant nightlife. Another popular option is the historic district of Centro Histórico, which is home to many of the city's top tourist attractions, including the stunning Zocalo plaza and the National Palace.
In terms of accommodation, Mexico City offers a wide range of options to suit every budget and taste. From luxurious five-star hotels to budget-friendly hostels, you'll be sure to find something that fits your needs. Some of the most popular types of accommodation include boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals.
To save money, there are a few hacks you might be interested in. First, try to book your stay during the low season, when prices tend to be lower. Additionally, be sure to compare prices across multiple booking sites to find the best deals. Finally, consider staying in a less-tourist neighborhood, where prices may be lower, and you'll have the chance to experience a more authentic side of the city.
Attractions and Things to Do
Mexico City is a city with a rich history and culture, and there are countless attractions and activities that showcase its unique character.
- One of the top attractions in Mexico City is the National Museum of Anthropology, which houses an extensive collection of pre-Columbian artifacts, including the Aztec Calendar Stone and the Aztec Xochipilli Statue.
- Another iconic destination in Mexico City is the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a stunning example of Art Nouveau architecture that is home to the National Theater and the Palace of Fine Arts Museum.
- For those looking for unique experiences, Mexico City offers plenty of options. The Xochimilco canals are a popular destination for visitors and locals alike, offering the chance to take a trajinera boat ride through the colorful canals while enjoying traditional music and food.
Mexico City is also known for its vibrant street art scene, with murals and installations hidden throughout the city's neighborhoods. Visitors can take a guided tour to discover the work of local artists and learn about the history and culture behind each piece.
In addition to the popular attractions, there are many hidden gems in Mexico City waiting to be discovered. The San Juan Market is a local favorite, with hundreds of vendors selling everything from exotic meats to fresh produce. Another hidden gem is the Casa Luis Barragán, a stunning example of Mexican modernist architecture that was once the home of renowned architect Luis Barragán.
Food and Drink
Mexican cuisine is known worldwide for its bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and rich cultural history. From street food stalls to high-end restaurants, Mexico City has no shortage of delicious food to try.
One must-try Mexican dish is the classic tacos al pastor, which features marinated pork grilled on a vertical spit and served on a soft corn tortilla with cilantro, onion, and pineapple. Another popular dish is chiles en nogada, a stuffed poblano pepper covered in a creamy walnut sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds.
There are plenty of options when it comes to finding the best restaurants in Mexico City. One top-rated restaurant is Pujol, known for its innovative take on traditional Mexican dishes and its commitment to using local, sustainable ingredients. Another popular restaurant is Contramar, which specializes in fresh seafood and offers a lively atmosphere and a beautiful outdoor seating area.
You won't be disappointed if you're looking for the best street food in Mexico City. Some of the most popular street food items include tamales, which are steamed corn dough filled with various meats, vegetables, or cheese, and served with salsa. Another popular street food item is elotes, which are grilled ears of corn that are smothered in mayo, cheese, chili powder, and lime juice.
Safety and Security
While Mexico City is a vibrant and exciting destination, taking some basic safety precautions is important to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are some general safety tips for visitors to Mexico City:
- Be aware of your surroundings: Like any big city, Mexico City can have areas that are less safe than others. It's important to stay aware of your surroundings and avoid any unsafe or uncomfortable areas.
- Use official taxis or ride-sharing services: Regarding transportation in Mexico City, it's best to use official taxis or ride-sharing services like Uber or DiDi. These are generally safe and reliable, and you won't have to worry about being overcharged or taken to the wrong location.
- Learn some basic Spanish: While many people in Mexico City speak English, knowing some basic Spanish can be helpful in communicating with locals and navigating the city.
- Keep your documents safe: Make sure to keep your passport, ID, and other important documents in a secure location while traveling in Mexico City.
In addition to these general safety tips, visitors should also be aware of common scams in Mexico City. Some common scams include taxi drivers who try to overcharge tourists, people who pretend to be police officers and ask for money or documents, and individuals who offer to sell fake or stolen goods.
In case of an emergency, it's important to know how to contact the local authorities. The emergency number in Mexico is 911, and there are also tourist police stations located throughout the city.
Mexico City is a dynamic and captivating destination that has a rich history, culture, and numerous attractions that cater to all types of travelers. As previously mentioned, some of the top travel tips include visiting during the dry season between November and April, preparing to use various modes of transportation, and considering the best areas to stay in.
Apart from the National Museum of Anthropology and the Palacio de Bellas Artes, there are numerous other attractions to explore in Mexico City. For example, the Templo Mayor is a must-see attraction for those interested in the Aztec civilization. The site was rediscovered in 1978 and has been excavated to reveal an extensive array of Aztec artifacts and architecture.
Mexico City is also known for its vibrant food and drink scene, with a range of delicious dishes and beverages to try. For example, visitors can sample tacos al pastor, which are tacos made with marinated pork and cooked on a vertical spit. Another popular dish is "chiles en nogada", which are stuffed poblano peppers topped with a walnut cream sauce and pomegranate seeds, representing the colors of the Mexican flag.
In addition to the above attractions, visitors can also explore various neighborhoods, such as Roma, Condesa, and Coyoacán, to experience the vibrant culture and artistic scene of Mexico City.