3. Mexico City
I’ve been to Mexico City twice. My first time was in 2013 as a “dry run” for my upcoming larger trip in Latin America. My first time in Mexico City was my first traveling solo, so Mexico City or D.F. as it’s often called, has special meaning to me.
I’ve never been to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta or any of the other Mexican resort (Spring Break) cities. Mexico City is a completely different type of place than those others and maybe that’s why I started looking it up back in the Summer of 2013. A contrarian Mexican destination with 20 million people exploding with culture everywhere? Sure!
Mexico City has an elevation of about 7,000ft which surprised me when I first started researching. It sits on an old lake and has a rich history. It has one of the busiest subways in the world with an annual ridership of 1.6 billion. Like Sao Paulo, I couldn’t take it all in the first time. Or the second time. There are still things I’d love to see there that I didn’t have time my first two trips.
This is also the place I met Couchsurfers for the first time, where I used AirBnb for the first time, and where I navigated a foreign city solo for the first time. Oh and where I had a taco for the first time. A real Mexican taco.
The two times to Mexico City also show a bit how I changed as a traveler. My first time I took taxis everywhere. Like everywhere. I was nervous taking the subway system thinking that I’d might be the victim of being pickpocketed without a friend nearby. The city was also intimidating due to the size and I thought taking a taxi directly would be less hassle and I didn’t mind paying a bit more. My second trip in 2015 I took the subway everywhere. Even at night. I also took the bus to near the neighborhood I was staying at night. Walking home getting a bit lost one time. Finally finding my way and getting back without any problems and feeling completely safe the whole time.
Mexico City has so much culture its unbelievable. Amazing museums, bohemian neighborhoods, great food in the markets and on the streets, an impressive city square (Zocalo), 2,000 year old (or older?) pyramids 30 miles away, and Lucha Libre (Professional Wrestling).
Mexico City doesn’t have a beach, but getting there wouldn’t be difficult. It’s the hub for any traveling throughout Mexico and buses in Mexico are comfortable in my experience (with WiFi sometimes!). I’m already thinking of my next trip to Mexico and the possibility of having a few days or more stop over in Mexico City so I can explore even more places in this great city.
With all the sites that I have explored and the friends I have that do live there, Mexico City is easily in my list of top Latin American Cities.