What should everyone know about Mexico City
Mexico City: The best sights & travel tips around Mexico's capital
Our guest authors Anica and Julian from the wavesnbackpack blog will give you great tips for your trip to Mexico City and tell you which sights you shouldn't miss. Of course, they have also written down helpful travel tips for you.
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Hi, we are Anica and Julian.
We traveled through Mexico and give you our insider tips for Mexico City in our guest post.
We will of course also reveal our highlights to you.
And where do you start your Mexico trip in most cases?
In the capital, Mexico City, of course. Almost 22 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, an incredible number of cars, but also quieter streets and tacos as far as the eye can see.
In this guest article we give you some information and tips about traveling in Mexico's capital.
Mexico City: Practical Travel Tips
What's the best way to get to Mexico City?
Mexico City can be reached from many airports. You can choose flights with stopovers or take a direct flight to Mexico City. This depends entirely on how flexible you are and what budget you can plan.
We reached the metropolis of Mexico from Düsseldorf Airport with KLM with a stopover in Amsterdam.
When is the best time to visit Mexico City?
June, July, August and September have between 14 and 19 rainy days, making them the less pleasant months to explore the city. We ourselves were there in January and had nice weather throughout. It is important to note here that it is relatively fresh in the mornings and evenings in January and February.
So it's more like long trousers and a loose jacket than shorts and flip flops. What other things you should think of before your trip can be found in our travel preparations for backpacking in Central America.
How much time should you plan for your trip to Mexico City?
With a population of 22 million in the metropolitan area, Mexico City is immense. The city stretches for about 45km if you start in the west and drive to the east. In other words, it takes enough time to fully explore the city, but we believe there are neighborhoods in Mexico City that are not necessarily worth seeing.
You will find small, cute parts of the city that you can easily explore on foot and, for our taste, one week is enough to get to know Mexico City well. We stayed there for 12 days but could have cut it down to a week.
How do you pay in Mexico City?
The currency in all of Mexico is the Mexican peso (MX $). The corresponding coins start at one peso and end at ten pesos, the notes continuously up to a value of 500 pesos. Converted to 1 euro is about 22 pesos.
How do you get from the airport to Mexico City?
We were picked up at the airport by the owner of our Airbnb. Another option is of course the taxi drivers waiting on site, but the safer option is Uber.
Where are you staying in Mexico City?
We were able to find a nice AirBnB in Germany in what we were told to be in a good location. After doing a bit of research and comparing, we booked the room in Colonia Roma.
While we were traveling in Mexico City, we met some travelers who felt very comfortable in their AirBnB accommodations. Since we shared a communal kitchen with other guests, you could get to know a few people from all over the world. So we would recommend AirBnB for your stay in Mexico City.
Alternatively, you can find a good selection of hotels in Mexico City here.
How do you get from A to B in Mexico City?
During our time in Mexico City, we only rode with Uber. These are in fact cheaper than taxis and much more comfortable and, above all, safer than public transport. Uber drivers have a star review in the app and are tracked with GPS, so there are no safety concerns.
Neighborhood in Mexico City
What would a big city like Mexico City be without the nicer quarters on the one hand and the less beautiful on the other? Exactly. Mexico City also offers dreamy little quarters with idyllic charm such as our favorite quarters “La Condesa” and “La Roma”.
Here young, hip people come together and meet around the little green spots and it is not uncommon to see well-dressed people with the most unusual clothing styles. As already written above, we lived in “Roma” and felt comfortable and safe at all times.
However, if you go to the northern or southern quarters, you will see that the city also has less beautiful corners to offer. Even during the day, the back streets seemed a bit strange to us.
As in any big city, but especially in Mexico, it is important to always keep an eye on where you are and who is around you. This brings us to the next important point when it comes to the metropolis of Mexico City.
Security in Mexico City
As already described above, we were recommended the Colonia Roma and Condesa and then looked for our AirBnB here as well. As in all big cities in the world, the neighborhood in which you move is essential. The risk of assault or other acts of violence is certainly greater in Mexico City than in Singapore or Melbourne, but some measures can be taken to reduce the risk to a minimum.
During the day we walked through the two districts mentioned, through parks and explored the city. It is important to note here that we never felt unsafe.
As soon as distances got longer, we were lazy or it was later in the evening, we decided on Uber. We were rarely out at night because we worked a lot at home. But if it got later, we just ordered an Uber straight to the restaurant and drove home with it.
If you are out and about in Mexico City at night, you shouldn't stumble through the area drunk - alone with your mobile phone in hand - but rather be in a group. Also an important note: It is forbidden to consume alcohol on the street. It goes without saying that you should then do without a Wegbier.
As we have heard many times during our time in Mexico, the local police force is no small problem. Corruption breaks a lot here. In order not to provide the police with a target, we always had copies of our passports and immigration papers on the man in a bum bag. In this way, in the event of a control, we can immediately make it clear that we entered the country legally.
It is also important to know that no photos should be taken of police officers. Always keep your eyes open and see what's going on around you is certainly the most important safety tip for Mexico City.
Transportation in Mexico City
Before our trip, we were advised not to take taxis and, above all, not to stop them on the street. So we tested Uber, which is the safer alternative to taxis in Mexico City.
At first we thought Uber driving all the time could be costly, but Uber trips in Mexico City are incredibly cheap. You pay about 2 dollars for a journey of 20 minutes, depending on the traffic. So we always drove longer distances with Uber. Ubers are the safest form of transportation in Mexico City, especially at night.
Metro in Mexico City
Due to the incredible traffic, the Mexico City metro is often the faster alternative to Uber or taxi rides.
Especially at peak times, it usually makes more sense to choose the trams.
For this you get a card, load it with cash and can now “process” the money.
As in any other big city, the metro is often overcrowded and a place where it's better to take a look at your valuables and possibly carry your backpack on your chest instead of on your back.
The ticket price for the metro is 5 pesos per trip (approx. 23 cents), making it one of the cheapest in the world.
To keep things short: Uber trips are cheap, safe and very comfortable.
Culinary highlights and restaurant tips for Mexico City
Since we spent almost two weeks in the metropolis, we were able to test some restaurants and the food in Mexico City is definitely one of the highlights. Not only incredibly delicious tacos on every street corner, but also good vegetarian food, juicy burgers and much more.
Street food in Mexico City
You will find stalls with cheap tacos in many corners. At first we were careful and didn't want to overstrain our stomachs, but later we liked to eat a taco here and there.
Especially in Roma there are some food markets where you can choose the basic ingredients and then refine the Mexican delicacies with various sauces at tables on the street.
But be careful, almost all sauces are based on chilies and are muy picante!
Our favorite restaurants in Mexico City
Tacos, tacos, tacos
Rodolfo, our nice host, suggested we add the tacos El Parnita To taste. We did this on the first day and found our favorite pretty early. Great restaurant with first class tacos and tasteful, typically Mexican decor.
Since not only we seem to love the tacos, but also many others, the restaurant is always well attended. So you should either show up early - around 2 p.m. (the kitchen opens at 3 p.m.) - or reserve a table the day before.
For us, El Parnita is an absolute must-eat in Mexico City!
Vegetarian and organically produced food
Our two favorites are very clear here Orígenes Orgánicos and El Pan Comido. We went to both restaurants a few times and were never disappointed.
At Orígenes Orgánicos, which is a little more expensive compared to other restaurants, there are salads made from quinoa, potatoes and whole wheat pasta that change daily and can be combined with other delicious dishes on the menu. For dessert there are excellent cakes (you have to try the matcha!) And very good coffee. We often spent some time here, ate well and worked on the street with our laptops.
As we found out later, El Pan Comido is an exclusively vegetarian restaurant, which offers burgers, salads and falafel at a good price in a noticeably high quality on the menu. There are two restaurants in town, both of which are recommended.
We think that's a great thing: No cola or other well-known soft drinks are sold, only water and tea of the day. Both changing daily, refreshing and healthier than the sugary lemonades.
For everyday coffee
The operations from Café dose have already greeted us with a laugh, as we have been there so often.
The coffee is great and what is important for travel bloggers and digital nomads: the WiFi is just as good.
The hip café in Condesa has comfortable seating both inside and on the street.
Do you appreciate a good coffee and will you soon be in Mexico City?
Then the Café Dose is definitely a must-try!
Excursions & sightseeing in Mexico City
Of course, in Mexico City you can not only eat and drink, but also experience other exciting things. We present our favorites briefly and concisely below.
The pyramids of Teotihuacán are located around 40 kilometers northeast of Mexico City and are one of the most important prehistoric ruins in America.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site should definitely be on your list if you are in Mexico City for more than two days.
Starting from the valley of the dead, one finds the pyramids of the sun and the moon.
In the following picture we are on the smaller pyramid of the moon and look into the valley and onto the pyramid of the sun. (Entrance fee per person: 70 Pesos)
On the eve of your visit to the pyramids, it is worth watching a documentary about what happened earlier in order to get a better picture as soon as you stand on the imposing ruins.
For the day tour to the pyramids of Teotihuacán, Santuario Guadalupe and Tlatelolco
Here the Spanish influence is more than evident. Beautiful old houses line the busy streets of Mexico City's historic center. Nice to look at, but often very hectic with lots of street vendors, street musicians and other sources of noise.
Although it was too loud for us on a few days, a visit is essential to understand the city as a whole.
El Palacio de Bellas Artes
The monumental building is considered the largest and most important cultural center in Mexico.
Events such as theater, dance, music, literature and performances by the visual arts take place here. The building, which should definitely not be left out, characterizes the cityscape of the historic center.
El Parque de Chapultepec
The enormous park in the southwest of the city can be reached on foot from Colonia Roma and Condesa. Here you can stroll through markets, visit museums and watch traditional dances. Perfect for a day or two when the weather is nice.
The approximately 4 km² large green area is a popular destination in the big city, so it should also be on the to-do list for Mexico City.
Museo de Antropología
Probably the most popular museum shows the pre-Columbian times of Mexico. The various Indian cultures and eras of Mexico are shown through archaeological collections, both covered and partly in the open air.
An interesting journey through time in which you can spend a few hours. (Entrance fee per person: 70 Pesos)
As you can see, there is a lot to see, eat and experience in Mexico City.
After almost two wonderful weeks in the capital of Mexico it was time for us: Surfing in Puerto Escondido! Then we went on towards the mountains in Oaxaca and Chiapas, then via Yucatan to Nicaragua.
Be sure to read our other articles as well:
Our packing list for Southeast Asian and generally warm countries
Our international health insurance
51 great books on travel
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