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Common Traveler Mistakes when visiting CDMX

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

When it comes to exploring Mexico City, one of the largest cities in the world, you'll want to do everything right; then you will be interested in knowing "the most common mistakes that travelers make" who go to CDMX for the first time.

However, while the densely populated capital of Mexico can be intimidating for a number of reasons, it's actually much easier to use than you might imagine.


1. Stay in one of our hotels away from the bustle of the city

Mexico City is huge and if you intend to make your stay work, it is best to look for a centrally located hotel that has easy access to the tourist areas of the city and public transport. A good location can save you hours of transport and traffic, neighborhoods such as Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, Roma or Centro, Condesa or Polanco are ideal bases for exploring the city.

Be careful, many of the hotels that you will find online may be located in areas such as Santa Fe or Naucalpan, so you might think that it is a tourist or central area. Santa Fe is one of the most important business centers in the city, but they are quite far from everything else and you will spend a lot of time in Uber if you want to tour the city.

We recommend that you first plan what you want to visit, how many days you will be in the City and then look for accommodation close to the places you want to visit.


2. Not planning mobility - Walking, Uber, Public transport

Walking: Mexico City can be walked, if it is divided into much smaller parts. You can easily tour individual neighborhoods like Roma, Condesa, Polanco, and Centro on foot.

But walking between these areas would be a fool's task and even more so if you don't plan, sometimes you can go parallel to a street full of architecture without realizing it.

Apps like Uber or Didi are easier to use if you want to move between different neighborhoods.

Public Transportation: As much as we mexicans complain, public transportation in Mexico City is quite functional and one of the cheapest in the world.

As a tourist, you have the great advantage of being able to plan your day and really take advantage of the local transportation systems. The Metro and the Metrobus are two options that can save you a lot of time on your trips around the city. subway map

If you stay in the surroundings of the Historic Center, ECOBICI (public bicycles that you can rent per day) can be a very good transportation option, which will also allow you to participate in the Sunday bike ride through various areas of the city.

Traffic: Any trip that takes place in CDMX, on average, during any hour of the day, takes 50% more time than it would if there were no traffic. Therefore, we recommend you consider it when you make long journeys, sometimes you can get to your destination faster on foot or by public transport than by car.


3. Not planning - What to visit

The tourist attractions of Mexico City are many and not all of them are just around the corner. If your stay is short, I recommend you focus your efforts on the Historic Center, Paseo de la Reforma, Chapultepec and other nearby neighborhoods, such as Juárez, Roma, Polanco and La Condesa.

If you have more days ahead of you, move to the south of the city and explore Coyoacán, San Ángel, Ciudad Universitaria and Xochimilco. Think of daily itineraries that you can do on foot. You don't want to end up stuck in traffic for hours trying to stick to an overly ambitious schedule.

Museums: Mexico City is famous for the quantity and quality of its museums. The National Museum of Anthropology, Fine Arts, the National Museum of Art, the Templo Mayor, San Ildefonso, the Soumaya, the Franz Mayer, the Chapultepec Castle, the Diego Rivera Mural Museum and the University Museum of Contemporary Art, are just a few. of the essential sites that you should mark in your travel itinerary.

Museums such as La Casa Azul Frida or the House of Architect Luis Barragan require a prior appointment

Try not to schedule your museum days on the weekend, which is when you will have to compete with all the local influx. Schedule your visits between Tuesday and Friday (many museums are closed on Mondays) and forget about the crowds.


4. Forget about altitude and weather

It may not sound like much, but 2,250 meters above sea level is quite considerable if you are not used to these altitudes. Keep this in mind, especially if you play sports or have planned a hike through one of the many mountains that surround Mexico City.

Weather: When most travelers think of Mexico, they envision sun-kissed beaches and humid temperatures. To be clear, that is not the case in Mexico City. The capital of the

nation sits on top of the central Mexican plateau. About a mile and a half above the sea level, Mexico City is the eighth highest capital in the world. That altitude means that Although Mexico City is as close to the equator as the Dominican Republic, the temperatures and humidity are low.

The weather is very pleasant in Mexico City, but it can get a little cold between November and February (although we rarely have temperatures below freezing) and a little hot during July and August (yes we hit 30 degrees at least a couple of days a year). Your summer clothes and a coat should be more than enough to counteract the most violent ups and downs of the capital's climate. The rains start around May and don't stop until October, but there is never a lack of the north or the tropical storm that makes itself felt with good downpours out of season. An umbrella or a waterproof coat will never hurt in your suitcase.


5. Not planning day trips outside CDMX

While Mexico City is packed with food to taste, places to visit, and museums to explore, there are several day trips that are also worth your time. The Teotihuacan Pyramids, some of the best preserved examples of World Heritage pre-Hispanic architecture, are an important must-see.

You also have the option of visiting the Magic Towns. Many of them are less than three hours from Mexico City by car. They are close options that you should consider. The places qualify to be Magical Towns due to the cultural richness of the region in which they are located, its indigenous past, the architecture of the place, its historical legacy, as well as the traditions that are maintained in these sites.

* Tepotzotlán, Estado de México * Malinalco, Estado de México

* Huamantla, Tlaxcala * Taxco, Guerrero

* Tequisquiapan, Querétaro * Cholula, Puebla


6. Not enjoying the local gastronomy (or abusing it)

Like many cities around the world, parts of Mexico City are transforming at an exorbitant rate. Fortunately, even in the most exclusive areas of the city, such as Coyoacán, Roma, and Juárez, there are markets that bring together a cross section of this diverse city. Some of our favorites include Mercado de Coyoacán, which, even with its tourist traps, still manages to have a locally infused pulse, as well as Mercado de San Juan, Mercado Sonora, and Mercado Juárez.

You'll find authentic Mexican food, a variety of products, and a lively atmosphere that can't help but put you in the right frame of mind. And if you're not into traditional markets, Rome has a modern food market, called Mercado Roma, and hosts fashion-focused markets on the weekends where independent designers sell their wares alongside food stalls.

Mexican cuisine is one of the most recognized in the world, and the best place to try many of Mexico's most outstanding culinary expressions is its capital.

A very good part of the city's culinary identity is found in its markets and inns, as well as in its various temples of street food.

We recommend following general food safety rules, such as making sure to only eat hot, cooked food and avoiding items that are in the water, it will usually be fine. Many people get sick to their stomachs for wanting to "adventure" into the local gastronomy, which will ruin your trip.


7. Don't avoid the city at night.

They say that New York is the city that never sleeps, but the same can be said to describe Mexico City at night.

This city is as lively at night as it is during the day. And although you will want to exercise caution in some parts, definitely venture to explore the City at Night.

Night of CDMX Museums.

This activity consists of having access to the city's museums on the last Wednesday of each month from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The museums that you can visit are the Jumex Museum, Frida Kahlo Museum, Diego Rivera Museum, National Watercolor Museum, National Museum of Cultures, Soumaya Museum (Plaza Carso, Plaza Loreto), Museum of Popular Art, among many more.

The good news about museum nights is that they offer free admission and in some you can get tickets at a lower price than normal. You cannot miss this opportunity, since Mexico City is considered one of the cities with the most museums in the world. check the billboard here

Jazz night CDMX

Music lovers have ample options to enjoy, and yes, especially if you are a fan of Jazz you will be amazed at what you will be able to hear. In this great city you can enjoy Jazz in places like clubs, restaurants, bars, museums and in different cultural centers. One of the recommendations is the Tamayo Museum, which offers Jazz nights every last Wednesday of each month and where at the same time you can admire art exhibitions. check the billboard here

Chapultepec de Noche CDMX

This option is perfect if you enjoy a tour in nature and in one of the most emblematic places in the city. Visiting Chapultepec at night is truly an experience that you should not miss.

Do not stay without living Chapultepec at night!

Night Turibus

Exploring the nightlife of Mexico City is a must. Discover every corner and be surprised here where there is always something new to see and do.


8. Not living local experiences

It is true that we can visit the City on our own, but when we finish, many think that there is nothing else to do or because they do not plan, they visit Teotihuacan and Xochimilco on the same day, spending many hours in traffic, there are many activities that will help you complement your visit and enjoy Mexico City to the fullest

Lucha Libre tour, cantinas, Kitchen Guided tour of the chinamp in Xochimilco, Tacos bike tour or architectural tour in Diego and Frida House and more are just an example of the local experiences that you can enjoy on your next visit.




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