Mexico City Travel Guide
I. Am. Ashamed. Mexico. City has been a constant, neighbor for, centuries it. Is responsible. For much of the food that I cannot, conceive, of my life without, my. Home state of California was part of Mexico until 1850. And is, still home to more Hispanics, than any other ethnic, group in the state. Mexico's. Influence, on modern California and America, is incalculable, and, invaluable. But. I know, embarrassingly. Little about this city about, this country, other, than what has been prepackaged. Distilled. And is resilient, enough to make the treacherous border, crossing, from, Mexico, into. American, popular, culture I am, going to fix that right now. When, you stop for a second take a breath and look around you you realize something pretty, quickly, Mexico. City is gargantuan. The. Largest metropolitan area. And the Western Hemisphere and, the biggest, spanish-speaking. City on earth this, is a human, hive of staggering. Proportions. 1700, neighbourhoods are home to the nearly 20 million, people that, make Mexico, City hum that, makes it the biggest city in North America, by population. This, is a densely. Packed highly. Populous, place no matter how you measure it or, how you experience, it. And. The airport is a great, example of this benito juarez international, located just a few miles east of the city this. Airport is bursting. At the seams, that was due to be replaced by, a brand new airport, designed, by Norman Foster. But after public outcry over spiraling. Costs and the, expropriation of, thousands, of acres of public land the project, was put on indefinite, hold late last year so for now this, is your gateway to Mexico City. As with. Pretty, much every country in the world there is a little bit of paperwork to fill out before you arrive in Mexico, and before. Is the, important, word here fill, out this paperwork on the plane otherwise it's going to delay your entry into the country now you can, pre-fill, it online before you even leave your, home country, but when. You print it out you must, do it on a color printer otherwise. You'll get be sent back to the back of the queue to fill out one, of these the, second really important, thing to remember is when you go through immigration they're, gonna keep one piece of this and they're, gonna give you back another piece, you must keep, hold of this until, you leave Mexico, otherwise. They. Won't let you leave until you pay a little bit of a fine and spend a long time refilling. Out all the paperwork so it'll, take 30 seconds, to get it right on the airplane and best, that time. To. Get from the airport you can jump in a taxi, for which you can buy a ticket at one of the Marc stands or kiosk inside, the airport terminal the, journey will cost between 100. And 300 pesos, depending on the type of vehicle you choose and of course how far you're going and, the journey will take between 30, and 90 minutes really, depending on the traffic now, avoid. Taxi. Towns and unlicensed, taxis like the plague not. Only will you invariably. Pay more than you need to in rare, cases they, can actually be quite dangerous so. Make the right choice. Alternatively. You can use uber, from the airport just be sure to select which door to meet your driver at and you'll be good to go the, journey will cost around 180. Pesos. How. Do you move 20, million people around, a city all day every. Day by. The second half of the 20th century Mexico City's public transport, infrastructure, was, grinding to a halt the. City was entirely, dependent. On its overly congested, roads and highways so, in 1967. Ground, was broken on, the Mexico City metro Mexico, City has one of the most extensive and busiest, metro, systems, in the world it's, a great way to get around to because the 12 lines cover most of the city it's very easy to use despite, the lack of English language signs, because the system, was, designed with illiteracy, in mind so, through the use of color, and iconography, the whole network is accessible, to really everybody. Our. System to be a truly, effective, decongestant. The Metro needed to be accessible, by all not. Just the wealthy or educated. In. Addition, to the easy-to-understand, signage, a discount, on the standard 5 peso fare has always been, available to the unemployed, female. Heads of household, and low-income, students, and it's, free for the elderly and the disabled.
Democratization. Of, public transport, is, how you keep 20 million people. Mexico. City's stored-value transit. Card is that they'll head to DF, not, only does it work on the Metro but, on Metro buses and the city's trolley bus and light rail systems, too it, can be purchased and recharged. At ticket booths or ticket, machines in most metro, stations, where, you can also purchase your single journey Metro ticket - as, you go through the turnstile, just tap your tarjeta, or, insert your ticket to begin your journey. See. The speed interference, assume they mean diseases a, variety of bus services swarm, the city taking passengers to, the nooks and crannies of Mexico City that the Metro just can't reach the. Government and municipal, e run metro, and RTP buses, cost between two and six, spaces depending, on the type of service and how far you're going but they will take you to any destination, along. Their route the. Privately. Owned slightly, less formal for several buses well. They will take you anywhere but the routes are a little more fluid, and the driving style a little more avant-garde. Shall, we say so choose. Wisely Metro. Bus and trolley bus services, complete, this varied, and extensive, suite of bus services in Mexico, City all. Of them start at less than 35 American, cents and will with, a little luck get, you where you need to go. Taxis. Are a great way to get around the city but you will need to take a few precautions, local. Producer, and friend of attache, and weekly Rizzo explains. In I think in general taxis, are a very good way to move around the city there's. A lot of working class people and Mexican people that they don't use public transport, they they. Can afford taxis, and Mexico. City as there are so many cars sometimes. It's even more affordable to only use uber, and taxis, rather, than owning a car. So, what if you don't have enough signal, to Halon uber and Rica explains, the safer option if, you need to grab a taxi the old-fashioned, way so the safer option was, to take taxis. From stands so, these official, stands you. Have the taxis park and they, are a lot safer and they would be a bit more expensive but, that that, way you weren't. Risking it so, if you find yourself as the old saying goes up. Creek without an uber find. A taxi stand it's, always suggestible, to take to use this this app's I would say and never, street taxis. Mas. Morning. In Mexico, City and 20, million people are on the move their. Hard work in many cases for very low pay contributes. To Mexico City being one of the most productive urban, areas on earth and as. You take your place in this river of humanity, flowing across the city you'll, discover what fuels, this ultra, productive, people, Paola. Cristina Flores and her family, have been feeding Mexico City from this same spot for, over 65, years, but. It was Perlas mother Rosario, who, created a dish 20 years ago that, turned this humble Street food stall into a Mexico, City legend, tortoise. That Sheila Kuehl a derided. As a culinary, abomination. When first introduced, tortillas. In a roll who, would do such a thing Torche. Esta chilaquiles, are now a beloved. Staple, across, the city red, or green chilaquiles, stuffed into a French roll topped, with chicken milanesa, cochinita. Pibil or shredded, chicken that. Is already sold out so we are, stuck, with the Roja which is just as good, different, flavor but just as good. Always. In line, much. Longer around, breakfast time but this.
Is My new favorite Mexican breakfast or just street food, it's. So good. In. The ten years it's been since I left California. I've. Learned to my eternal heartbreak. The. Mexican food just doesn't travel, well further. You move away from Mexico. The less authentic, the less satisfying. And frankly the less good it, becomes, to the point of being, unrecognizable. And dare I say insulting. I've. Given up trying, to find good Mexican food outside, of North America I've. Been kicked out of enough Mexican. And burrito restaurants. And London, Hong, Kong in Paris to, have learned my lesson, I just, cannot. Take the disappointment, anymore so this, brings. Me cure. Unbridled. Joy. I'm. Gonna start crying yeah. And. If the food doesn't travel, well you better believe I'm, going to eat my fill whilst I'm local local. Food expert and cook Nico, Garcia is a passionate, advocate for Mexico, City's street food purveyors like. La Castilla, a mainstay. Of the city since 1970. There garlic tostadas, are a great, start to the conversation. Really. Good right and, what doesn't, taste better without a splash of salsa Nico. Explains, the surprising, complexity. Of this classic, Mexican accoutrement. The salsas. Don't. Really have a recipe that you can follow it's just like a general, style so. Every, cell said you try on any place, any restaurant, any streets then it's, gonna be different and what I like to do is what we what I did just now to. Have everything, but, not in the same bite you, know like some, drops of wine some drop of theater so each bite is slightly. Different. By. Costea's, signature, dish is the imposing of all kind so, it's a poblano the rib eye and they're using a type of cheese called Casa, era but, fear not the, Vulcan gets its name not from its heat but, from the Cascade, of melting, cheese that, tops it we, wouldn't consider this spicy, food and people actually would that spice, yeah. Generally. Most many people like spice. And. Mexican, people usually start eating, spicy, food when we're like 2 or 3 years old that's, when you're considered, old enough to start with the lowest, kind. Of spice but, your parents will give you candy with a little bit of chilli if, you're jonesing, for some spice, this, place will, almost certainly be ok so this place is called Pakistani, Tony.
Has. The, craziest hours it's. Easier for me to tell you when, these guys are close that when they're open so Tony's, closest, from 5 a.m. till 8 a.m. and that's it the, other 21, hours of a these places in business and like, this having. Such long opening, hours gives Tony's a certain, advantage over, the competition so. In every second yeah do you know the hours and, you know that you want to be there like 6 hours after they bit after, they open you, don't wanna be there at night because this weather, is gonna be dry and overcooked, and if you're too early it's gonna be chewy still and the. Great thing about this place is because they work all day long every. Few minutes they put a new piece of meat so anytime you come you're going to have a piece that is. Swatara. A cut of beef similar, to brisket, is placed in a bath of water and fat, for several hours until, the beef is essentially, called feed and. It's served with rocket. Fuel this, space we have to be very, very, careful with the cells they're, really spicy even for Mexican standards so, if it's spicy for Mexicans, for, non, Mexican people it's gonna be really spicy so be very careful okay and Nico, was not kidding. SWAT. Arrow might, be my new favorite style, of tacos but, I cannot come to Mexico and not pay my respects to the greatest of all taco styles, our, past or the, place is really really unique because actually by day this, is a car mechanic an auto repair shop so, the place has been open for one hour exactly and you can see how it's already full. Their. Biggest hours are actually after people, go drinking, so, from 10:30. 11:00. Till 4:00 a.m. this. Is absolutely, crazy you have three or four times as much people as you have right now. I adore. Tacos. Al pastor the. Crispy but moist grilled pork the Fleck of tangy pineapple, topped with cilantro and, chopped onion pure. Mexican. Goodness. Beautiful. And. Now, for something very. Special a. Mexican. Cantina is a really. Unique place so, let's go inside and we can see Mexican. Canteen is are the exception, to the old drinking rule eating, is cheating, 100 dishes completely.
Free Even, if you don't believe it and. We convinced, and then, over here it says consumer, or consumption. For, and you have four little drinks this, means that in order to in eat, in this place you need to order for drinks and it's, not for table its purpose, but. Once you do once you are therefore you. Get free access to the menu and it becomes an old you can eat place everything. Is cooked fresh and. Really. There is no limited nobody, is quite sure where, cantinas, came from but, they sure have their fans it's, a little plate that clients. Get after, being, here 1,500. Times that's. 1500. Times and, actually it tells you how long it took them so, these two guys what, happens here I will convey were here 1500, times from. The 9th of October 92, to the 9th of October 2012. So if you do the math this means that these people have been drinking at the same place like, three times a week for almost 30 years that's, a lot of drink and a, lot, of food I was. Happy just to have tallied my first visit, just. 1499. To, go. After. A night of tradition, it feels only appropriate, to end the night in the traditional, way with. A mezcal nightcap. A common. Misconception is, that muscala is a form of tequila, on the contrary as chef when Vera explains, if, you want to name it tequila you, have to produce it in a certain area which, is tequila Jalisco, it's just a town in Jalisco, and surroundings. And using. One single type of agave which is blue agon and so. Miss Cal is a highly, varied artisanal. Creation, with, an incredible. Spectrum, of flavor stemming. From the agave plant Moscow, recipes, have been mastered, and refined from, generation. To generation. Muscala. Is taken a backseat to its more famous cousin for decades, but. With such variety, and taste and provenance, it's, easy, to see why mezcal, is reclaiming, shelf space in bars across, Mexico. Mexico's. Currency is the Pacer now here's, the weird thing the peso is represented, by the dollar sign, but since. The dollar sign was first used to represent the spanish-american, peso, it is safe to say that, Mexico. Got there first so there, you have it this. Is a very, easy City in which to transact, debit cards and credit cards, are widely, accepted and, there are ATMs, everywhere which, is a great thing because as with, so many other cities in the world Street. Food vendors and smaller market, stall holders will really only accept cash so with, that combination you, really can't go wrong here and you could enjoy what is generally. Agreed upon as a very, low cost of living and on that note let's, do the rundown a beautiful. Can coffee will cost you your 20 business that's. A beautiful Mexican beer cost you around 40 pesos and, for the most reliable indicator of a nation's cost the good ol Big Mac you're gonna pay around 52, pesos or two dollars and seventy two cents as a, January. 2019, at about half-past two. So. The cost of living is very low and the quality, is very high so. It's only appropriate, to, show some appreciation. All. Right let's get, it over and done with tipping. It, is absolutely, a thing here in Mexico especially in Mexico City so do. It 10%, in a restaurant if you've had a good meal and good services, though the bare minimum but feel free to do more and, the way it works is simply, when they bring your car you have the option on the card reader machine to select how much you want it tips before, you punch in your PIN or sign on the dotted line in any service environment, Hotel coffee, shop and everything in between it's also the, done thing a few, pesos here and there added, to your bill or just in coins while not going this so do, it. This. City comes with a reputation, a reputation. Magnified. By the lens of the outsider. Mexico. City is quantifiably. A safe, city, compared, with many other capital, cities but. As friend of attache, cath Cuevas explains, there, are pockets of the city which require, a little extra precaution. Just. In Mexico City for the past couple of months there's bit there's been a situation. Where there's been kidnapping, so, as soon as they, spot a lady getting out of the subway and walk into it someplace a guy. Would appear and try to mock, her and like like. Grab her and people. If people would see them, fighting. The guy would go like oh just she's just having an episode she's fine she's my girlfriend so, it's. Like an actual thing this morning yeah, so, what's.
Happening. Right now and has been happening for the past couple. Of years is that as soon as we know we're getting out of the house we, report to someone as. Soon as we know we're getting out of the coffee shop we, report to someone as, soon as we get into the louver we share why we're where we are saying. That you're okay it's part of the survival thing that you have to do. I. Have. Never fallen, in love with a city as quickly as, I fell from Mexico City it, was I can safely say a, revelation. Sure. I arrived, with preconceptions. And hopes of what this city might be what it might offer but. With each new sight sound. Smell and taste my expectations. Were humbled, how. Could anything, anywhere. Possibly. Be this, good, Mexico. City is everything. I want in a city hectic. Sprawling. Loud, creative. Friendly, and, absolutely. Friggin, delicious, I will. Look for every, possible, excuse, or justification, to. Get back here as soon as humanly, possible, but. Until then I urge, you, experience. Mexico, City eat its food meet its impossibly. Warm and friendly people, you, will not be disappointed.