I spent three weeks in Mexico City (CDMX, formerly DF) at a hostel in Coyoacan, a municipality (alcaldía) towards the south of CDMX.
The Metro Subway System is
CHEAP. 5 MX peso or 25 USD cent fare
EASY. You automatically just take whatever train passes the station you are at (knowing which direction you’re going). Aside from ones where two routes intersect, stations have only 1 route that passes through it in either direction.
- Each route has its own color; each station has a unique icon and name.Source: https://bit.ly/2MBehnD
SAFE ENOUGH. There are separate TRAIN CARS for women, the elderly, and disabled.
- Some expats/tourists are overly-concerned about safety (as I was) and avoid the metro entirely, but as long as you’re not stupid (see below), you should be fine.
- How not to be stupid: keep a hand on your bag or carry it in front of you like the locals. don’t use the metro- late at night, alone, waving your smartphone around, carrying a huge wad of cash.
Take it SLOW.
In Mexico (or Latin America in general, i think), people are more than happy to give you the time of day. Asking someone for directions or help on the street doesn’t have to be a quick, sorry-to-interrupt-your-day interaction. You can take your time, and maybe even strike up a conversation.
The U.S. has this mentality of time= money= productivity= efficiency= success. Time that I waste on you is time I could have invested into something more “profitable”. Perhaps Mexicans value their time less, or just value people more. In any sense, we can all learn to take life slower and a little less seriously.
This slowness is further manifested on the sidewalks where people casually stroll the street, unlike New York City. (Ironically, the cars embody the opposite and refuse to give the right-of-way to pedestrians, much like NYC).
Churros. Crispy and delicious perfection. 5-6 pesos (25 cents) for a regular churro (sencillo), 20 pesos (1 USD) for a flavor-filled churro (relleno). Any more, you are getting ripped off.
- Other foods: Potato Chips (get the spicy sauce and lime salt!), Corn on the cob (Elote- chewier, bigger kernels than U.S.), Tacos (unlimited toppings, yes)
Forget what you should do and do what you actually want to do.
Before coming to Mexico City, I studied guidebooks and made lists of all the different restaurants, museums, landmarks I “needed” to see. And upon coming to CDMX, I felt anxious to complete this checklist to make full use of my trip here. However, I realized that the highlights of my week were ultimately time I got to spend with the hostel community, playing games and conversing about life. Screw all the tourist attractions and “must-do”s; do what you want, what would make your trip memorable.