Mexico is, without doubt, among the prime countries to explore in the world, particularly due to its rich culture & history. Among the places that tourists love to tour while in Mexico is the country’s capital, Mexico City. Are you one of them? Then read on because we are about to give you a guide that will help you get the most out of Mexico City.
Things You Need To Know Before Visiting Mexico City
- Spanish is the dominant language in Mexico City. There are, however, other indigenous languages such as Zapotec, Otomi, and Nahuatl which you are likely to hear on the city’s downtown streets. You don’t have to worry, though, as a major percentage of the city’s natives understand a bit of English, German, and French. You will get along quite well even if your Spanish isn’t that good.
- The Mexican Peso ($1 is equal to about 20.36 Pesos) is the legal currency in Mexico City. Because credit and debit cards are not accepted in most of the places that you may wish to visit, eat, or sleep, it’s imperative that you convert your money into Pesos before you travel. Better still, although a little expensive, you can use your debit or credit card in an ATM/cash machine to withdraw Pesos (Not dollars) while in the city.
- A generous tip is always welcome in Mexico. As a rule of thumb, you will be expected to tip hotel waiters, taxi drivers, and basically everyone who offers you any kind of service between 10% and 20% of your total bill.
- Mexico City is among the safest cities in the world for tourists. That, however, does not mean that you are 100% safe in all parts of the city. Areas such as La Lagunilla and La Merced are no-go zones for tourists, particularly due to their high rate of mugging cases and prostitution.
- The city is a lot colder than other Mexican cities. If you are planning on visiting in the months of June through September, you will need to pack your warmest clothes as those months are mostly chilly. Other months are fairly warm but still not favorable for “shorts and sandals” form of dressing.
The Top Five Places To Visit When In Mexico City
Mexico City has too much to offer in terms of culture and attraction sites that we cannot accommodate everything in a single article. We, however, have compiled a list of the five coolest, fun-packed, places that could be of a particular interest to you. However, even though our list compiles some of the best places to visit, it is always favorable to consider taking a tour guide while you visit Mexico City as they will show you all the best places and the history that comes with them. In this way, you will not miss anything.
- Do you love archeology? If yes, the Templo Mayor Museum is a must-visit for you. The museum houses some of the most exquisite excavation works in the history of mankind. You will get to see Coyolxauhqui, the Aztec moon goddess, among thousands of other archeological items.
- The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Mexico City is another magnificent place to visit while in Mexico City, particularly if you are a Christian. The ancient structure is falling apart now- the more the reasons to visit soon.
- If you are a lover of art, Palacio de Bellas Artes is your place to go. You will have the chance of seeing art masterpieces, and if you are lucky to encounter one of the city’s regular exhibitions, you will be treated to a host of mind-blowing pieces of art from ancient Mexico.
- The village of Coyoacan is a jaw-dropping scenery at the heart of Mexico City. Here, you will have a chance of riding on a boat along the Xochimilco river and learn some of the deepest cultures in the history of Mexico.
- Do you love nature? If yes, then you will love Bosque de Chapultepec. This 686-hectare park is green all year long and is, without a doubt, the heartbeat of Mexico City. What’s more, there are many food and curio stalls therein so you will not have to worry about anything while there.
How to Get Around Mexico City
The most affordable transport option for you is the Metro train. With only about 5 bucks, you will be able to visit as many tourist attraction sites within the city using the Metro. Buses are also a good option for you but you will be disadvantaged a bit due to the heavy traffic on Mexico City’s roads. If your budget allows, though, you can board a tourist bus or a Metrobus which are more efficient than other buses, will cost you around 40 cents more for one way.
Do you dislike public transport? Well, Mexico City has lots of options for you too. At about $30, you will get a good taxi to drive you around the city for about an hour. You should, however, liaise with your hotel when booking a taxi because, recently, there have been cases of criminals posing as taxi drivers on the streets and then robbing unsuspecting tourists.
How’s Accommodation Like In Mexico City?
Well, you get what you pay for in Mexico City. There are 5-star restaurants which are air-conditioned, have the best view of the city, have English-speaking attendants, clean drinking water, and almost everything fancy you could think of. Such a room goes for between $150 and $300 per night.
If you will be operating on a mid-range budget, then you can go for shared bathroom suites for about $80- bed and breakfast- or private doubles for about $30 per night… The Red Tree House is also a good place to try with about 100 bucks for bed and breakfast. As for backpackers, there are good dorm beds that go for about $5 to $10 per night.
Which Foods to Try In Mexico City?
Spoiler alert: almost all Mexican foods have chili, herbs, and spices so you better start adjusting already. Some of the common foods for a mid-range or a shoestring budget include vegetables, beans, corn, cheese, and meat. These foods are combined in downtown restaurants to produce some of the tastiest meals you can ever get for less than $2. However, as tight as your budget could be, avoid street junk foods like a plague. Most locals don’t trust these foods so, why would you?
For an upscale, air-conditioned restaurant, you will find all the western and Asian foods that you are probably accustomed to. Some of the Mexican delicacies that you can try include Enchiladas (meat, cheese, corn & flour tortillas, and chili sauce), Guacamole (mashed-up avocados, garlic, lemon, tomatoes, onions, and the obvious- chili sauce), and Chilaquiles for breakfast (Scrambled or fried eggs, refried beans, cheese, and pulled chicken)
Quick tip: Tap water in Mexico City isn’t fit for human consumption. You will need a weekly budget of about $3 for bottled water.
Do you wish to visit Mexico City soon? This travel guide will help you to plan for your dream trip and when the day finally comes, to get around the city without a hitch. Remember to carry enough money for tips and for the simple reason that tourists are often charged more than the locals. One more thing: don’t ask for direction from random people on the streets of Mexico City. Just use GPRS or better still, call your restaurant if lost.