Dirty, dangerous and crowded?
Don’t be fooled by what you hear about Mexico City. Sure it has 29 or so million people, if you include the bedroom communities, but it is probably THE world capital of this decade! A bargain compared to other world capitals, hotels can be found for well under 100.00CD a night and if you limit your shopping and eat where the locals eat you can have a great stay even on a budget. Like all mega cities, there is crime, but even a solo woman can remain safe given the usual common sense precautions.
At the top of the list of things to do in Mexico City is a visit to Chapultapec Park.
Like other world capitals, you can visit an urban oasis but this grand park comes with a half dozen museums of world class statue. Inside the park, you can soak up the history of the ancient and modern worlds and enjoy a sophisticated multicultural community with shades of Europe, all in the heart of Latin America.
Hop On Hop Off Bus – Great to see a lot in a short period of time.
The hop on Hop off bus is a great way to spend a second day, especially if you are a solo traveller. The convenience of having an English narrated bus tour that passes the main locations of interest saves a lot of time and energy in a city big and as tangled as Mexico City. The double decker maneuvers the historic center of old Mexico City, winding around the Zocolo and heading towards Revolution square along wider avenues before it plunges bravely into the narrow tree-lined streets of the famous neighbourhoods of Candesa, xxxx and the Zona Rosa. Here in these neighbourhoods which have been largely occupied by bohemian artists writers and musicians, you can see evidence of a European style coffee culture, with plenty of small boutique hotels, colourful murals, galleries restaurants, cafes and nightclubs.
Day three is a good day to stretch your wings and explore outside of the city core and experience the suburban neighbourhoods. The best way to travel long distances and cover ground between the core and the suburbs is on the underground Metro. It’s relatively easy to find your way once you’ve conquered the system maps and can differentiate between the multiple lines. In general, Mexico City riders look like their counterparts the world over, mostly bored, tired and distant.
Visiting the Casa Azul, where Frida Kahlo and Diego Riviera resided is some distance from Centro Mexico City, but was easy on the metro, even though it was fourteen very long stops from my Hotel in the Colonia Santa Jose. Frida is the focus in the Casa Azul, although there are elements of Diego as well, but you leave feeling that you have gotten to know Frida more intimately by seeing where she lived, worked and entertained.
Just around the corner is the house where Leon Trotsky took refuge only to be assassinated by his enemies from the USSR. Not much to look at in his house but still you leave knowing how he lived and continued to write his political views even after he was expelled from the Ukraine. For those who visit both houses you will learn that Frida and Leo had a love affair that lasted some time before he died.