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Ten tips for a great trip to Mexico City

Join our ten tips for a great trip to Mexico City.

Visit the National Anthropology Museum. The “Museo Nacional de Antropología” is a great introduction to the origins, ways of lives and cultures of the different native tribes and civilizations that lived in Mexico. If you are later moving to other parts of the country to see the ruins, the museum is a must-do.
 
Spend some time in Zona Rosa. Also known as “the Mexican Montmartre”, you can find varied boutique stores, restaurants, bars, art galleries and hotels in Zona Rosa. It is one of the places in Mexico City with a very active night life and a place of inclusiveness, where there is great tolerance. Zona Rosa is the most gay-friendly part of Mexico City, as well as a place where the varied urban tribes can feel at ease.
 
Try local meals and drinks. Mexican food is worldwide-spread but, of course, nothing like trying their meals on the place of origin. Enjoy the tacos and burritos, but beware of the spices. Be safe and avoid street food stalls. As for typical drinks, try the “aguasfrescas” (fresh waters). These are refreshing non-alcoholic drinks made with water, grains or fruits and sugar. The all-time favorites are horchata, tamarindo and agua de Jamaica. In the alcoholic side, of course you must try a good Tequila.
 
Visit the Chapultepec Woods, a beautiful huge park that functions as the “lungs” and green oasis in the very-polluted Mexico City. Take a guided tour, go for a hike or just sit on a bench and relax.
 
Take a day trip to Teotihuacan. This great archeological site is located only 40 kilometers northeast from Mexico City and is of easy access by bus or hired van. UNESCO World Heritage since 1987, it is one of the most visited archeological sites in all of Mexico. Climb the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, and take a walk on the Avenue of the Dead.
 
Bargain for souvenirs. Especially for English speakers there may be a bit of over-pricing of some consumer goods. Avoid that by bargaining a bit, comparing prices and checking the quality of what you buy. There are government-owned markets where you can buy gifts from Mexico to take home.
 
Ride a local bus if you dare. Mexico’s local buses are micro-buses, and they tend to be very crowded. It is a whole cultural experience to ride one of these buses in rush hour. If you decide to do that, beware of pickpockets and stay safe.
 
Better safe than sorry. While in Mexico City carry your money in a money belt, be discreet with your camera and when using ATMs, only withdraw small amounts at each time. Be careful in crowded areas or public transportation. Never haul cabs on the street but call them from your hotel in Mexico City or from the place you are visiting.
 
Use your cultural sensitivity. With Mexican migrants facing a difficult situation abroad, their co-nationals back in their land of origin may resent people coming from countries in which they perceive better opportunities, especially in those in which migration laws are tough on them. Be aware of this and acknowledge the situation: when you are abroad you are indeed a representative of your country of origin.
 
Move on. Mexico is such a great country that you should try not to limit your trip just to Mexico City. Visit it first; it’s the best starting point, but then move on to the several ruins, cultural centers and beaches that this country has to offer.
 

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