MEXICOTHE AMERICAS

My Trip To Mexico City aka CDMX: My First Impressions Of Mexico

Things To Do In Mexico City aka CDMX

After spending almost 9 months in Colombia which includes almost 6 months of Quarantine thanks to the pandemic, I decided to travel to Mexico since my original plan to travel all over South America was not feasibly possible. I was excited to explore a new country and test my newly acquired Spanish in another Spanish speaking country. I pick Mexico for two reasons: Firstly, the country was functioning almost normally (Mexico never closed their border) and secondly, it was cheaper and easier to return back to India from Mexico. I spend 3 months traveling in Mexico before taking a flight back to India in the month of February in the current year. My first stop in Mexico was Mexico City, also known as CDMX (Ciudad de Mexico). This post is about my trip to Mexico City aka CDMX!

Leaving Colombia after 9 months!
Welcome to Mexico!
And the customs took away my lentils and beans!
View from my hostel room’s window 🙂
Indian sweets gifted by the Indian couple
And the Diwali feast!
Homemade South Indian style biryani 🙂
And something to drink 😉
Almost empty metro station during midnight


REACHING MEXICO CITY & MEETING AN INDIAN COUPLE

I took a flight from Medellin, Colombia to Mexico City in the month of November last year.  I reached Mexico City early in the morning and after reaching my hostel, I went straight to bed. I woke up in the evening to meet an Indian couple who spend their lockdown in Mexico as I did in Colombia. They have been living out of their suitcase for more than 3 years now while traveling around the world. We met at a cafe and had a long conversation and they gifted me a box of Indian sweets. I was overjoyed to eat Indian sweets after a long time! It was so great to talk to fellow Indians face to face after such a long time. They invited me to the Diwali party at their apartment which was a day later. It couldn’t be more perfect to spend a Diwali night with fellow Indians. I went to their apartment in the Roma neighbourhood of Mexico City. They prepared South India style chicken biryani which was finger-licking good followed by Samosas and Kachoris ordered from the local Indian restaurant. It was so delicious and authentic as compared to the travesty I ate in Medellin, Colombia during the lockdown. I met another fellow Indian from South India there who live in Mexico. Also, there was an American-Mexican Couple. We had a long conversation while sipping on the local tequila till really late in the night. I got some really good insight into the new country I was going to explore. Finally, I bid them goodbye and took a metro back to my hostel. Mexico City metro is the cheapest metro I have been on at only 5 Mexican pesos!

 

Cathedral in the City centre
Inside the cathedral
National Palace
Templo Mayor site
Protest-cum-housing site in Zocalo: where people are protesting against government
Cool graffiti in the centre
The famous Cafe Tacuba
Latinoamerica tower
Palacio de Bellas Artes
Dog chair 😉
Centre at night

Street market in the centre
The famous Mexican alcoholic beverage “Michelada” with chillies
And how can we forget Tacos!
Gorditos


EXPLORING THE HISTORIC CITY CENTRE

So my visit to Mexico City was marred by the still ongoing pandemic. Several museums/historic sites were closed. I was staying in the city centre near Zocalo. Zocalo is the main square in the city centre. I went to the cathedral in the city centre which is truly stunning. A stone’s throw away from the cathedral, you will find the Templo Mayor. It is the main temple of the Mexica people. It was destroyed by the Spanish invaders in 1521. Now you can see the ruins of the temple. The historic city centre has so many beautiful buildings with stunning European architecture. One such architecture gem is the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Unfortunately, It was closed to the public during my visit. There are so many taco joints in the centre. I had way too many tacos during my short stay haha. There are several markets around the historic city centre where you can find cheap stuff. Torre Latinoamerica was the tallest building in the whole of Latin America at the time of its construction which is in the vicinity of the historic city centre. Alameda Central Park located in the centre is ideal for a morning walk. The best way to explore the city centre is to get lost in It while walking.

Lake in the chapultepec park
Exploring chapultepec park
Palanco neighbourhood
Cool Soumaya museum building
Standing outside Jumex museum
Art pieces inside the museum
Human condition

 

EXPLORING CHAPULTEPEC PARK & PALANCO

Chapultepec Park is my favourite place in Mexico City. It is the second-largest park in Latin America measuring over 1700 acres. You need a whole day to explore it. There’s a castle, theme park, lake, zoo, museums, food joints, markets to keep you occupied. Several things were closed during my visit and therefore I just wander around in the park and when I got tired, I took a nap under a shade:) It is a perfect place to explore by bicycle. Since I am not a fan of big cities, I visited the Chapultepec park twice even during my short visit to Mexico City for the much-needed break from the maddening crowd. Palanco is an affluent neighbourhood in Mexico City. Cool looking buildings, upscale shopping malls, expensive cafes & restaurants and several parks. I explored the neighbourhood on foot before visiting the Soumaya Museum and Jumex Museum. There was no entrance fee for both the museums. Soumaya museum had 6 levels while the Jumex museum is much smaller as compared to Soumaya museum. While Soumaya museum had different times and kinds of art/art pieces while the Jumex Museum has more contemporary art. They are both situated in the same compound.

Monument to the revolution
Frida Kahlo museum
Coyoacan neighbourhood
“The day of the dead” festival celebrations
Inside the cafe
Xochimilco
Vendors selling things on a boat in the canals
Mariachi band
Saw this strange looking bird
My favourite Mexican drink- Pulque
Coconut drink @ 10 pesos!

A DAY TRIP TO COYOACAN & XOCHIMILCO 

On my last day in Mexico City, I planned a trip with the local people from Mexico City whom I met through Couchsurfing to go to Xochimilco and Coyoacan. We planned to meet at the monument to the revolution in the morning. It is a landmark monument commemorating the Mexican revolution. Xochimilco is half an hour drive from there. We were 4 people. I, a bit pompous girl from Ecuador, a Mexican girl and a Mexican guy who was clearly in love with this Mexican girl but for now they call themselves “Friends’. The Mexican guy brought his car and drove us to Xochimilco. We made a quick stop at Frida Kahlo Museum which was closed on that particular day. Xochimilco is known for its canals and Trajinera boats which reminds me of Shikaras in Dal Lake, Kashmir.  We took a boat tour(a couple of hours long) in the canals while making several stops in between. You can find all sorts of boats in the canals like the one with food, drink, flowers and even the one with the mariachi band! The Mexican guy paid the mariachi band to play for the Mexican girl. I was really impressed by his gesture but if only the Mexican girl was half impressed as me haha. It was so beautiful to hear them play. We made a stop at a local house during our ride for the bathroom break. The woman of the house offered us the local beverage called Pulque. It is one of my favourite beverages from Mexico. It is an alcoholic beverage made from the maguey(a plant native to Mexico). It has the colour of milk. You’ve got to try it when in Mexico! After the pleasant boat ride, we head back to the neighbourhood of Coyoacan. Coyoacan is a former village. It is known for its many restaurants, cafes, cantinas(a type of bar), museums, bookstores and other cultural attractions. We had dinner there before heading back to the city. The Mexican girl got really drunk and weirdly start talking in English while singing her lungs out in Spanish on our way back to the city centre, She was clearly having time of her life haha while her friend-cum-future(hopefully) boyfriend amusingly taking care of her.

Mexican notes
Exploring local market
and its food 🙂
and its drinks!
Cheapest tacos I found in the Mexico City

 

MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MEXICO 

My philosophy is never to judge a country and its people by its big cities. So I am going to write taking into consideration my 3 months long travel to Mexico. Mexicans are soft-spoken people and it was the best part for me as they speak in a low pitch manner which made me understand them much better than Colombians. While traveling on a metro train, I was always helped by strangers. Mexicans came across as helpful and warm people. The thing which I really like about Mexicans is the way they speak and treat each other with such grace and compassion. Let’s talk about food! One day, I went to a local market and ate much more than I can digest! Local markets in Mexico City is a great place to eat. Many people told me before I reach Mexico that I am going to love Mexican food because they use a lot of condiments like we Indians use in our food and unlike Colombians. And the people were right about that! Mexicans are not health conscious like Colombians which can be clearly visible in their way too many Oxxos (A supermarket chain that sells only junk food, alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages and snacks high on sugar and sodium). You don’t have to find an Oxxo in Mexico City because it finds you haha. Mexico reminds me of the USA in terms of their eating habits/culture. In terms of cost, Mexico is expensive than Colombia. Even more so in North of Mexico(as told to me by the local people as I have not traveled to North of Mexico). After my visit to Mexico City, I took an almost day-long overnight bus to my next destination in the south of Mexico.

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An Indian Traveler

Hello! My name is Saurabh and I am the voice behind the “An Indian Traveler” blog. I'm a cinephile, travel writer, an avid traveler with a song stuck in my head which I keep humming till ad nauseam :)

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21 Comments

  1. Mexico City looks absolutely amazing! I’ve been trying to get a trip together for a while now. As soon as it’s safe to travel out of India, I’m going there.

  2. I would definitely visit that cafe. I’d even give the famous drink a try even with the chillies just so I can say that I gave it a go. The place looks really wonderful and picturesque.

  3. I, too, have been wanting to visit Mexico city for some time, but now, due to circumstances, everything has been postponed to sometime in the future. So I read your article with great interest, thank you for writing down your experiences and sharing some beautiful pictures.
    I wish you all the best
    Nina

  4. I haven’t been traveling yet and reading travel stories really keeps me sane but somehow it makes me envious. Haha! I wish I could visit Mexico soon as well. I love the pictures especially the aerial shot!

  5. I still haven’t been to Mexico City. I would like to visit — thank you for the information about when to go and what to do. My MIL lives in a small town in Mexico so after the pandemic is over, we might be able to visit her and swing by Mexico City. Thanks!

  6. Wow, this is a side of Mexico that I have not explored yet. Much different than the coastlines and beaches! The food and colors all look so wonderful. So glad you had such a great experience in Mexico City!

  7. Wow! Mexico City looks amazing! It is definitely on my travel list. I’ve only been to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta as of yet. Can’t wait to travel again!

  8. Mexico city looks like such a neat place to visit. So many photo opportunities and culture to experience!

  9. I love Mexico and have been there many times, but I have not made it to Mexico City (CDMX) yet. Well, except for an overnight stay at the airport.
    Like you write, Mexico is more expensive than Colombia, but I still find it significantly cheaper than in the US and the food is fantastic.
    Our next Mexico vacation is in August and your photos make me wish it was August already.

  10. I can’t believe customs took away your lentils! Boo!

    Sounds like you made the most of your visit. I’m glad you were able to enjoy the parks and food even if most of the main attractions were closed.

  11. Sounds like you had a wonderful time there and all of those areas from the photos look absolutely amazing! Don’t forget the delicious-looking dishes as well.

  12. I’ve not been to Mexico City yet. I’ve been to Mexico several times, as it is a cheap escape in Canadian winters. I would love to see the architecture and visit some of those authentic markets.

  13. We have been to Mexico many times but have not yet made it to Mexico City. I am sure that 3 months was enough time to learn a lot about this big city. How great that you met some new people early to give you some insights. So much to see and do in the city. I was surprised to see so much green space. Glad you had such a great impression of this city.

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