Mexico City was one of my favorite destinations so far. I loved the trip, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do things a little differently if I went again. Here are a few recommendations/travel tips for Mexico City for anyone interested in going:
1. Brush Up on Your Spanish
For some places, this is a taller recommendation, but a lot of American students take high school Spanish. One of the reasons Spanish is taught in high schools, aside from the influx of Spanish speakers in America, is that it’s grammatically simple.
If you took a few years of high school Spanish or learned a few words from someone at your work, take the time to review basic words or phrases with an app like DuoLingo. I was surprised to find out how much I actually remembered and I think our willingness to try to speak Spanish played a huge role in how nice people were to us was, even if we didn’t always make sense.
We didn’t always know the words for things like when the waiter asked Sarah how she wanted her eggs cooked. We tried hand motions, but how do you signal “over easy”? She ended up getting them scrambled by doing a stirring motion. But being able to speak a modicum of Spanish meant that bargaining for items, asking for directions, and even just talking to people was a treat.
If Ms. Pitzen, my 10th grade Spanish teacher, heard me say this, she’d be over the moon.
2. Wear Sunscreen
Mexico City is roughly 7,300 feet in the sky. I didn’t have problems breathing due to the thin air or the pollution, but I did get a crazy sunburn, especially after going to Teotihuacan.
At the airport, beer helped in more ways than one.
3. Don’t Drink the Water
Cliche, yes, but also true. Bottled water is everywhere.
4. Know What’s Happening Locally
This is in reference to the Gay Pride Parade on our last day. Considering its size, a simple Google search would have alerted us to this event, and we’d be able to plan accordingly. I don’t mean that we wanted to avoid it; the contrary, in fact. I wish we’d been able to plan to see it or more festivals like it while in Mexico City.
5. Stay Longer than 4 Days
It’s rare that I’m ready to go home when a trip ends, but this goes double for Mexico City. The two full days and two half days that we had on the ground were filled to the brim with things we wanted to do and see, but some got left out. Here’s what I wish we’d been able to add:
– The Frida Kahlo Museum – #8 attraction to do in all of Mexico City according to TripAdvisor
– The Leon Trotsky Museum – I’m a bit of a Cold War buff, and this where Trotsky fled to after being outed by the Soviet Union.
– Floating Gardens of Xochimilco – A pre-Columbian city with gondolas that take you through the intricate canal system. It’s also a UNESCO Heritage site.
I feel that if we had one more day, we could have swing south and hit all of them, but alas.
For others who have been to Mexico City, what else would you add to this list?