Report from First Visit to Mexico City

Old Mar 8th, 2010, 11:53 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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Report from First Visit to Mexico City

I am not going to make a detailed trip report because during our trip we basically took advantage of the advice offered so generously by so many of you, but I did want to post a few thoughts which would have been helpful to me before making my first trip to Mexico City.

1. We were in Mexico City itself from Tuesday until Saturday, and as everyone warned us, that is nowhere near enough time to do the city justice. It merely whets your appetite and makes you realize how much you have NOT been able to see. On the other hand, almost every single tourist we ran into was on a return trip to the city, and we definitely plan to make another visit. Soon.

2. We stayed at the Red Tree House in Condesa, and Condesa is where we plan to stay for any other visit we make to the DF. It's a charming neighborhood for walking with tons of really nice restaurants, and the Metro stop is right around the corner from the B&B.

3. Upon initial research for our trip, I was tempted to book a room in the Zona Rosa, because that sounded like the heart of the city's nightlife. Well, I guess it is, but the area was loud and crowded and sure didn't have much else to offer, so I am so glad we did not stay there (or spend much time there). None of the restaurants in the area even looked especially appealing.

4. The first full day we were there, we took the "hop on/hop off" Turibus, which seemed like a good idea at the time. But be forewarned: once you reach the central historic district, traffic comes to a standstill and you're stuck on top of a bus in the middle of honking horns and plenty of car exhaust. We finally jumped off and never got back on. In our humble opinion, this was an enormous waste of time, and we would recommend simply using the Metro system.

5. On the other hand, I had read posts from people recommending hiring a cab to Teotihuacan and having the driver wait for you there. It seemed unnecessarily extravagant to me, but that's what we ended up doing, and let me tell you: that is the way to go. The cab is not expensive (at least ours wasn't), and it was so easy.

6. Speaking of cabs, one member of our group had been petrified by stories about hailing cabs on the street. Once we arrived in the city and I saw the hundreds and hundreds of gold and maroon cabs, I could not imagine that stopping one could pose such a huge risk. I eventually found out that the gold and maroon cabs are "official" cabs, and we hailed several with no problems. That being said, we did ask to see the driver's papers, but I honestly think the majority of warnings about taking cabs is perhaps an overreaction. (We did see several beat-up, unmarked questionable looking cabs, too, and definitely would not have taken one of them.)

7. We spent the first two nights of the week in Puebla, and as many have mentioned, the bus ride to and from Puebla is quite comfortable. One warning, though: take the bus to the 4 Poiniente station to be closer to town, but when returning to Mexico City, the buses from 4 Poiniente only return to the Mexico City airport. If you need to travel elsewhere in the DF, you need to leave from the main Puebla bus station.

8. While in Puebla, we took a bus to Cholula to see the pyramid, but the tunnels beneath the pyramid were closed. Someone later made a comment about there always being "some reason" for the tunnels to be closed. I bring this up because we saw many advertisements for tours to Cholula -- some much more expensive than others -- so before deciding to pay an agency to make the trek, make sure the tunnels are actually open. (Cholula does have a charming zocalo, though, and the church atop the pyramid is lovely, so I am not saying a trip without tunnels is not worthwhile.)

9. We arrived in Puebla Sunday afternoon, and we strolled into the zocalo with all the familes out for the afternoon, and tons and tons of balloons, and it was one of the best sights of the entire trip. We stayed in Mexico Sunday to Saturday, and for our next trip we definitely plan to be in the area over the weekend, even if it means bigger crowds. When we left Mexico City on Saturday, the city was alive with people, and we were sad to be leaving.

10. And for anyone wondering, the first week of March seemed to be the ideal time of year to visit -- the weather was absolutely perfect every single day.

Thanks to everyone who provided us with information to make the trip even more enjoyable.
richnindy is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2010, 01:40 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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I leave Sun for Mexico City, Puebla, and Veracruz so I am really happy to read your glowing report. Thank you for posting and if you have any more tips, I'd love to hear them.

Sandy (in Denton)
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Old Mar 9th, 2010, 07:44 AM
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Glad your trip went well. Great to see more people learning about all Mexico City offers.
Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Old Mar 16th, 2010, 08:12 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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We loved Mexico City and will stay longer next time.
Judi is offline  
Old Mar 16th, 2010, 08:23 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
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Yes, I love Mexico City too. Admittedly, it is stressful for residents in many ways, but great for visitors.

I have been in the tunnels in Cholula (in February 2008), so it is possible.

The Zona Rosa is a bit tacky, but I liked the fact that there is activity day and night. I had not previously visited until my last stay, and I enjoyed having my hotel there, versus the historical center (although that has some advantages too). I also had not visited Condesa until my last stay, and I agree that would be a very nice area to stay in.

What I found to be an excellent deal was the tour offered by Mundo Joven to the Plaza de Tres Culturas, the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, some artisan workshops, and finally Teotihuacan.
WillTravel is offline  
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