Mexico is a beautiful country with a diverse landscape of mountains, deserts, jungles, and white sand beaches. The country has a lot to explore given its rich history, culture and obviously the food! Tacos and Tequilas Amigos 😉 Sharat and I decided to start our 3 week trip from Mexico City.
HOLA MEXICO CITY!!
Mexico City is a densely populated city, a melting pot of diversity and cultures. Built by Aztecs in the 13th century, it has been home to numerous civilizations from Aztecs to Mayans to Spanish! Some of the oldest structures in Mexico City date from the early Spanish conquest era. Many colonial-era buildings remain standing and have been re-purposed government buildings and museums. The city has been home for some of the famous artists like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera who redefined modern art. It is a feast for eyes to see all the wonderful structures and the graffiti spread all throughout the city. We have shared our 4 day itinerary and some of the must-visit spots and must-know facts of the vibrant city below:
We started our first day in Mexico city with a scrumptious brunch from a restaurant near World Trade Center (WTC), very close to our Airbnb stay. WTC and its surrounding area of Colonia Nápoles has a lot of restaurants and food chains such as California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang’s, Starbucks etc. Yes, it is Mexico and not Mars! So you have all ’em big food chains here too. So after grabbing some pizza and coffee, we decided to head towards south. After a half an hour long Uber ride, we reached the much-awaited Frida Kahlo museum. Only to be welcomed by a mile long queue (No kidding!). After spending half an hour in the queue, and blaming each other for not booking the tickets online (you can buy tickets online so that you won’t have to wait in a queue, welcome to the 21st century! ), we decided to head towards Xochimilco. To add to our misery, when we reached Xochimilco it started raining heavily! But the vibrancy and liveliness of the place made up for all our disappointments. We were off to float on a colorful boat, on a rainy day. We were surrounded by numerous other boats with Mariachi bands and people, young and old, partying to happy music 🙂 We enjoyed our boat ride with hot corn on the cob, tropical fruits and some tacos with Mariachi band playing in the background. Needless to say, it was a perfect way to start our vacation. Xochimilco is a really fun experience. Colorful boats, cheerful people, good music and yummy food, what more ask for!
The day to explore Centro Historica! There are so many architectural marvels in the Centro Historica and all of them are somewhat close by. We decided to take the Turibus as they have guided audio tours (audio guides are only on the bus, you can get off at each attraction, but there won’t be any guide accompanying you) to most of these places. We started with Zocalo, one of the most famous and largest main squares in the world. It has been a gathering place for Mexicans since Aztec times! It has been the site of ceremonies, royal proclamations, military parades, religious events as well as a famous spot for protests too. You can easily spend a day around here, get some coffee from the cafes and grab some yummy street food, shop in the bazaars nearby, and explore the Aztec ruins at the Templo Mayor which is just a block away from the Zocalo. After multiple snack breaks and “wow” ing at the centuries-old architecture, we headed towards the Palacio de Bellas Artes, performance hall & museum featuring murals by Diego Rivera & other notable artists. By then it started raining so, we got on the Turibus and saw some of the attractions as we passed by.
Later that noon, we took a stop at Roma area where we found “La Zarandia Miravelle”, a restaurant which serves handmade Mexican food cooked in prehispanic Zarandian style. The guac and house dips are to die for! After a delicious meal, we took a long walk down the lanes of Victorian and French-style mansions. Roma and La Condesa have many beautiful buildings and sky-high trees, plenty of cafes, restaurants, clubs, shops, and galleries. Later we grabbed some coffee and cookies from Cafe Toscano. Apparently, the coffee and crepes here are the best in Mexico City. We got on the Turibus again and ended our tour with a sight of the Angel of Independence, the golden Angel of Peace and Independence, at her glory, shining in the colorful evening sky. Although we wanted to explore the night-life, we had to wind up early that night as we had a long day planned ahead for the next day.
Rise and shine before the sun shines! For the first time ever we woke up at 4 AM on a vacation! We had plenty of exciting activities planned for the day. We started our day with hot air balloon ride at sunrise overlooking the Teotihuacan pyramids. It was a surreal and stunning experience to rise above the clouds and see the sun shining on the pyramids down below. A big shout-out to Volare for the awesome experience! After the balloon ride, Volare folks had arranged a mini meet-up with some wine and snacks with our tour group before we headed towards the Teotihuacan pyramids. We spent the rest of the day touring the Pyramids with some awesome people we met at the meet-up.
Teotihuacan is a vast Mexican archaeological complex northeast of Mexico City. Running down the middle of the site, which was once a flourishing pre-Columbian city, is the Avenue of the Dead. It links the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun. The climb up the pyramids is worth all the effort for the amazing panoramic views from the top.
Fun fact: If you clap at the pyramids, it claps back at you 😉 It is because of the structural engineering of these pyramids, you can get these echo effect. So don’t be surprised to see many people clapping near all the pyramids!
We ended the day with some yummy Mexican street food near Chapultepec area and some Mezcal from a local bar. I could not get enough of the blue tortillas and the sunflower filled tacos. Street food in Mexico city is really good and it is very very light on your wallet 😉
Chocolate makes everything better! So for our last day in MexicoCity, we had planned a visit to MUCHO Museo del Chocolate, an entire museum dedicated to cacao and chocolate. For those of you who find museums very boring, this one has only 5 rooms and our tour guide’s enthusiasm for chocolate and its Mayan history made the 30-minute long tour very interesting and lively. We learned a little bit about history and making of chocolate and its evolution. There is a room with chocolates on all four walls reaching the ceiling! After the tour, we treated ourselves to some delicious traditional chocolate dishes and drinks at Fonda Cacao. Chocolate museum is a must visit if you love chocolate (who doesn’t!).
Fun facts: Did you know that cacao has more than 300 nutrients in it? That gives us all the more reason to have chocolate 😉 But wait, I said Cacao, not any chocolate 😛 Apparently you should look for chocolates with 70% cacao to get some of those nutrients!
After indulging in chocolate for endless hours, we took a short taxi ride to the mega-library, Biblioteca Vasconcelos. The library welcomes you with some paintings and exhibits of famous artists and some security checks; no cameras, only reading glasses are allowed 😉 At the very sight of millions of books stacked in this huge maze of bookshelves, I knew I wanted to get lost there! Believe me, I did get lost and I ended up walking all the floors searching for Sharat as my phone battery had died. On the bright side, we both got a lot of cardio done ;P
Maze of bookshelves at the mega-library
All the walking and hide and seek in the library made us hungry. On our way back from WTC to our Airbnb, Sharat found some food stalls. We decided to give it a try and it was easily the best decision we made on the trip! We had tacos, tlacoyos, sopes, and so much more! Everything was so yummy! The best Mexican food we have ever had! Alejandro, our server, was kind enough to explain everything on the menu and even show us how they make the blue tacos. It was the perfect way to end our Mexico City trip.
Mexico City is a busy city yet some places make you feel like the time has stopped! It is a perfect blend of both old and new. It was an incredible experience for us, overcoming the language barrier, making new friends, learning about new cultures, seeing the marvelous monuments and living in Mexico City.