Date of stay: Sep 2011
Where you stayed: Casa Comtesse
Travelled with: Wife
Tour or pre planned: Pre-planned
It has always been a dream of mine to go to Mexico. I’ve always admired the culture and its rich history, and I’ve always felt a deep love for Mexican food and Tequila in particular.
Not to mention all the ancient Mayan and Aztec treasures littered throughout the country, which, when I was a young boy, inspired me to be one of the world’s greatest archaeologists (I’ll have to settle for sales & marketing instead).
Upon descending into Mexico City, you get a good glimpse of the grand scale of just how big this city is. For miles and miles all you can see is house after house after house, without much room to breathe in between. It is the largest city in the world, and is home to some 22 million people.
A taxi from the airport will cost you around 300pesos, depending on where you are staying.
We stayed at a place called Casa Comtesse, and I have to say that this is one of the best backpacker places I have been to. It is well designed, has comfy rooms, friendly staff, awesome breakfasts and is supremely located in the Condesa area, which is quite central and is a popular area for the locals as there are many good restaurants around.
The Casa is only a short walk to either of 2 metro stations, and I can honestly say that the Metro rail system here is one of the best I have used. It’s really easy to get around as everything is well signposted, tickets only cost 3 pesos (making it one of the cheapest in the world to use) and several stations smell like melted cheese, which is just totally awesome.
A little taco place nearby called El Carifa was recommended to us so we heartily obliged. It was so good that we ended up going 3 nights in a row. I usually like to try different things, so we literally ordered everything on the menu. Along with the many different tacos and beers, we were up to our ears in avocado, beans, limes, cactus leaves and chilli. And it’s all so cheap too.
There is quite a lot to do around Mexico City, but I’d advise to give it at least 2-3 days to enjoy what it has to offer.
Below are some of the highlights you should definitely not miss:
An absolute MUST SEE while in Mexico City. It’s only a short 1 hour bus ride which will cost you about 35 pesos, and once you turn onto the final road leading to this ancient site and the world’s 3rd largest pyramid comes into view, it will literally take your breath away.
There are two pyramids to see, both of which are nearly 2000 years old. The great thing is you are able to climb both of them, giving you some pretty incredible views over the surrounding area.
Every 20 seconds or so you’ll hear eagle and jaguar calls, and they sound pretty real until you see them coming out of these whistles that are being sold down below.
One thing I should note, on this bus route they have a mandatory stop where the police usher all the men off the bus and proceed to check everyone. It’s just a safety check, so nothing to worry about.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY
I’m not really a museum person, as most tend to bore and tire the hell out of me, but this one was filled with ancient Mayan and Aztec treasures so was not to be missed. The world famous sunstone is also located here.
THE ZOCALO AND AROUND
One of the world’s largest squares, and the centre of it all in Mexico City. The huge Cathedral is also located here, along with many ancient treasures as it was once home to the great Aztec Templo Mayor. You can explore around the area and do a spot of shopping, but apart from that there isn’t really that must more to see.
One further mention would be to head to the Centro de Artesanias la Ciudadela, a large and very colourful market where you can buy everything from ponchos to wrestling masks.
For those concerned with safety in Mexico City, don’t believe everything you read and hear. As with any big city there is a fair amount of crime that goes on, but all it takes is a bit of sensibility and vigilance and you likely won’t have any problems. I.e. don’t wander around dark secluded streets at night and don’t jump into random cabs off the street.
If you have any questions about Mexico City, drop a comment below and I’d be happy to answer.
Points to highlight:
Mexico City is the mother of all cities. It really is huge, but it’s also really easy to get around (thanks to the fantastic subway system). Although there is not a ton of touristy things to do in the city itself, there are many fantastic tours you can do in the wider region, making Mexico City a great place to base yourself. A worthy place on anyone’s Mexican itinerary.
Would you recommend this destination: Yes
Would you recommend your accomodation: Yes
Overall rating: 4/5