When I tell people I live in Puerto Vallarta many think I live as if I were perpetually on vacation. I wish it were the case, but it’s not always a day at the beach. That said, my morning commute to the office consists of strolling down the boardwalk on the ocean and I certainly don’t fight ice and snow in the winter months. When it comes time for vacation I like to make the most out of living in Mexico by visiting its big cities to get my “fix” from those things that I can’t get here on the coast.
I visited Mexico City during a long weekend last month when many Mexicans flock to the beaches. It’s often the best time to visit the bigger cities as the traffic and chaos is considerably less.
Mexico City is the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world and with over 21 million people living in greater Mexico City, a global giant. I have been to Mexico City many times, for both work and play, and each time I visit I not only make new and wonderful discoveries but also happily revisit old favorites. The museums, the restaurants, the parks, the history and the people all help make Mexico City one of my favorite cities in the world.
If at all possible, especially if you’re an expat living in the country, try to see CDMX (as it is now called) in multiple visits. Local airlines like Volaris, Interjet and Vivaerobus have great deals on flights and there are hotels, B&Bs and hostels for every price range and style. Also try to stay in the area of the city where you want to explore. You will save time and money by avoiding the insane traffic that can often plague this metropolis.
If multiple visits are not an option, you can still organize your exploration of the city by section and dedicate each day to a different part of the city. There is so much to see but if you make a plan prior to your arrival, you’ll find that it is much easier to accomplish a lot.
On my last visit during the Benito Juárez holiday weekend I was in the city for only four nights. I spent the first two nights with friends in the southern part of the city and the final two nights in the historic center, or Centro Historico. While down south I revisited the markets and canals of Xochimilco, walked through the streets of Coyoacán and ate tacos at the Charco de la Rana. Back downtown, I saw an art exhibit and the symphony at Bellas Artes, walked through the Zócalo –Mexico City’s principal plaza – and had a beer at Salon Corona.
In my next few blogs I’ll share my favorite places in Mexico City by section with sample itineraries and travel ideas for each area.