Posts Tagged ‘mexico city’

Mexico City Survival

If Buenos Aires is the Paris of the Latin Americas, then Mexico City would have to be the New York. Imposing Skyscrapers rub elbows with the beautifully crafted stone work of Cathedrals. Bells ring out over bustling market places, above neighborhoods adorned in peeling paint and graffiti. The sacred tones weave their way among the rattling of trucks, the hissing of opening bus doors, car horns, and footsteps. Voices call out above the din- vendors hawking their wares. Siete tacos, Seis pesos!

With everything going on around you, you might not be sure where to start. In a city spanning an impressive 651 square miles, and harboring approximately 20 million inhabitants, it is easy to become a bit overwhelmed. Hopefully you will find some reassurance in this brief guide intended to give you a hand on enjoying your stay in Mexico City.


The following message is extremely important, and should not be ignored:

DO NOT rent a car or attempt to drive in Mexico City!

Much as Superman enjoys breaking the laws of physics, so to do the citizens of Mexico City enjoy breaking any and all laws concerning the road. In fact, you may as well operate under the assumption that Mexicans believe there are no laws, there are only suggestions (which they choose to ignore on a regular basis). The very first day of my arrival to Mexico City, I was treated to a thrill ride. Having passed the street he had intended to turn on, the Taxi Driver stopped, put the car in reverse, and drove backwards amidst traffic on a one-way street.

The city is, on the whole, very well communicated. There are plenty of choices when it comes to getting around. The most effective and the most inexpensive (2 pesos per ticket) method of transportation is probably the subway system. The local people call the subway system the “Metro”, and even if you don’t speak Spanish very well people should know what you’re looking for if you use that word. Every station should contain a wall map of the different lines you can take, and the locations those lines stop at. Be sure to find out the names of metro stations that are close to the places you need to get to.

Another great mode of transportation in this city is the bus. Almost every street has at least one bus running through it, and every bus route will make a pass by at least one Metro station. The busses typically cost between 3 or 4 pesos, and are able to be hailed from any street corner on the route. Unlike bus lines in the US, the drivers are not required to stop at specified bus stops, and can pick up and drop off passengers as necessary.

*When you enter a bus, be sure to move to the back of the bus as soon as possible, and look for a button located by the back door. This button will usually be either bright red and located on a pole by the bus door, or a small silver button located directly above it. *

Despite some of the more interesting driving techniques, taxis are also a great way to get around. The cost of this method is a bit higher, but nowhere near the amount you would spend on a taxi in the United States. Most trips will cost around 10 to 20 pesos, and longer trips around 50 pesos. From one side of the city to another you should never spend more then 20 USD. Taxis can be hailed on most major streets, you rarely have to call for one. Different cabs charge different rates, the least expensive tend to be the small green or red and gold VW Beetles.