Location Review: Mexico City
Until visiting Mexico City, our experience of Mexico has been limited to the area surrounding Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. While Puerto Vallarta has allowed us to get to know the culture, customs, and people of Mexico, one can’t exactly say they know/understand an entire country based on experiences in one area! Just think of how different your experience would be visiting Orange County, California versus New York City!
We had been wanting to visit Mexico City for some time, but we just hadn’t made it happen yet. Luckily for us, my dad had to travel to Mexico City for business. This was a perfect opportunity for us to spend some time with him and to explore the second largest city in the Western Hemisphere!
We really had little to no expectations of what Mexico City would be like before visiting. We knew it was big, but I don’t think we were prepared for 20+ million people big!
Puerto Vallarta has spoiled us with some of the best food in the world, but Mexico City did not disappoint! We were lucky enough to be in CDMX during the Feria Internacional Culturas Amigas 2017 (a big international fair). They had food from pretty much every country imaginable! We tried food from Azerbaijan, Austria, Switzerland, Georgia, South Korea, and Serbia! Additionally, we stumbled across China Town and had the best Chinese food we have ever tasted!
But of course, the trip wouldn’t have been complete without trying some traditional Mexican food. The tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, enfrijoladas, were all delicious! We used to think that Puerto Vallarta was just an anomaly in terms of having such great food. That has been proven false. Mexico City is a foodie haven!
Our experience of the transportation system in Mexico City is limited to the use of taxis and our feet. One great aspect of CDMX is that it is extremely walkable. If you stay near the Zocolo or Alameda Park you can easily walk to a great number of museums, shops and restaurants. The only time you will need a taxi is if you want to travel to a different neighborhood within the city.
We found that taxis seemed to be fairly inexpensive. Our initial ride from the airport to the Alameda park area was 220 pesos. When leaving town our taxi along the same route cost 150 pesos. My research before our trip indicated that taxis in Mexico City use a meter much like a taxi in the United States. However, each time that we used a taxi we paid a negotiated amount. I asked a driver about this and he said that during the weekends the meters are turned off and you pay a set rate, but during the weekdays the meters run like normal. However, we took a taxi on a Thursday evening and the driver did not use a meter.
For more information about taxis in Mexico City check out this post from the folks over at Mexperience.
Uber is available in Mexico City, but we don’t have cellular data here in Mexico so Uber was not an option for us. However, if you are used to using Uber and you have international data, it is nice to have that as an option.
- At the airport only get a taxi from certified taxi stands as opposed to people walking around trying to sell you. We got our taxi from Sitio 300.
- Most drivers do not speak (any!) English.
- Make sure the taxi has a license plate and a picture of himself in the bottom right of his windshield
- Although we felt safe in all of our taxis, Greg can speak Spanish and attempts to make friends with the drivers. We believe this helps make the taxi drivers like us!
Things to do
One of the best things about Mexico City is the shear volume of things to do! We suggest taking a Turi Bus on one of your first days in the city to get your bearings, explore different neighborhoods, and get to know what the heck you are looking at!
No matter your interest, Mexico City has something for you. The architecture, art, and public parks are all amazing! We spent a considerable amount of time in the Zocolo exploring the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Temple Meyor. We highly suggest planning to spend an entire day in this area!
Our trip to Mexico City could not have gone better. We left CDMX feeling exhausted from trying to explore every corner of the city, though we barely scratched the surface! Every American needs to visit Mexico City. Sure it may “sound” better to say that you’re going to Paris or Rome, but Mexico City can rival each of these cities!
If you are looking to explore a different culture, eat some amazing food, and witness some of the best architecture in the world, Mexico City is a must visit!
Keep it Kinetic,
Greg and Hillary