Mexico can not be called a standard destination for tourists from Russia, but if you travel around the countries, why not visit here too? It was with such thoughts that I got on a plane to Mexico City, where endless adventures began.
The easiest and fastest way to be in Mexico is by direct flight from Moscow to Mexico City. But even in this case, you will have to spend about 13 hours in the sky, so you should be patient, entertained and read how to survive such a test in general, taking into account a considerable time difference.
An immediately interesting fact is that permission to enter the country can be obtained on the official website, but this is not necessary if, for example, there is a Schengen visa with insurance. And here, after passing all the procedures required for the airport, the first surprise awaits - this is the weather.
My trip was in August, when, as you know, in Mexico there is heat. But it turns out that the capital is located at a high altitude, so that every night the temperature here drops to 10-15 degrees and warms up only by noon. In other words, if the arrival is in the early morning or late evening, a warm sweater or light jacket will not be superfluous.
What to see in Mexico City
Chapultepec - A name known to all lovers of Mexican TV shows. It is here, in the central park, that romantic meetings and secret dates take place. Interestingly, in this case, the park is not just an island of greenery in a multi-million city with a couple of standard entertainment for children and adults.
In Chapultepec you can find a rather big zoo with free admission, as well as go up to the real palace, which in the past served as the official residence of local rulers. Here, it does not remind you that you are in a modern city, so skyscrapers and busy traffic when leaving the park are a bit stupid.
To get to the old town and the main attractions, just go to Paseo de la Reforma and go straight all the time. If you have doubts about the correctness of the chosen direction, pointers will always help.
Among the interesting places from a historical point of view, of particular importance are: the Cathedral, the National Palace and the Palace of Fine Arts. But they all do not differ on a large scale, so the inspection does not take very much time. The rest of Mexico City sights, for the most part, belong to the modern world, or are represented by museums, which for me is not key. So it was decided to stop the study of the capital at this pleasant moment and pay attention to gastronomic delights.
On the first day in Mexico, I had the impression that people who do not like cheese and spices should not go here because they are everywhere - even popcorn is problematic to find without cheese, not to mention other dishes.
It turns out that repeating a real Mexican dish is very difficult, because each of them has its own base, filling, as well as a special sauce, the composition of which can include about a dozen ingredients. Many recipes have been passed on in families for decades, and in different places the same dish is served differently.
To get to remote areas of Mexico, you can call a taxi, use the land transport or underground. With a taxi everything is clear, but expensive. Buses run in abundance, but English is not welcome here - most of the names are in Spanish. As a result, the metro is the fastest way to get from point A to point B, especially at rush hour.
What is surprising is the number of food stalls. There are traditional local snacks and world-famous fast foods at each station, so if you half-way suddenly want to have a snack, you won’t have to look for a suitable place for a long time.
Most stations are accompanied not only by the name in Spanish and English, but also by a picture. It turns out that the images were specially invented for the illiterate population, because only in Mexico there are 4%, that is, about 1 million people.
And the last, and most important thing you need to know about the metro - separate wagons for men and women. Moreover, the separation is not just a feature, as, for example, in the UAE, but directly on wagons. This was done first of all for women so that they do not become victims of harassment, so if it seems that the so-called “male” carriage is freer, you can go there too, but men are strictly forbidden access to the compartment for the fair sex and children.
This rule is true not only for the local population, but also for tourists, so when traveling a couple will either have to separate or come to terms with a large number of interested views. Although, experienced traveling couples say that when a man accompanies a woman, the number of people who want to show her their location is sharply reduced.
A couple of days is enough to get acquainted with the main attractions of Mexico City and move on. The nearest resort town - Acapulco - was once a place where world-famous stars rested. But then the dark streak of history, including the mafia and drugs, made Acapulco uninhabited. Only at the beginning of the 21st century, order returned to the streets again and tourists began to come on vacation again, and Mexicans - on the weekend.
If you do not go outside the hotel, it may seem that Acapulco is no different from other resort cities. The very same color manifests itself on local beaches. Quite unusual, but one gets the impression that everyone goes to the water for a picnic, and in order not to carry food with them, here are scattered in abundance points where fresh seafood is cooked directly in the open.
It is worth mentioning that the prices for oysters and king prawns can be even lower than the cost of a big burger at McDonald's, and the fruits are striking in their rich taste and aroma. In general, if you are not a squeamish person and do not mind eating a meal prepared in a non-sterile kitchen, then Acapulco Beach is the best place for this.
It is no secret to anyone that Mexico is the birthplace of the Mayan Indians, so to visit here and not to look at the great pyramids would be an unforgivable oversight. By the way, for this it is not necessary to go to Chichen Itza to the most famous of them, because traces of the past era can be found in almost every state.
In the direction of Puebla, it’s easy to find the pyramid - just do not miss the turn to the Cholula complex, where the largest creation of the Indian tribe is located. You can look at the pyramid not only from the outside, but also from the inside, and it’s better not to say anything superfluous - the complex is designed in such a way that the echo is spread throughout the room and can be heard even in the most remote corners.
The only drawback of the complex is the lack of English-speaking guides. If you don’t know Spanish, it’s better to get to know all this splendor yourself - it will be cheaper.
In general, if the purpose of the trip is a gastronomic vacation, Mexico is the best for the traveler, but you must have a strong stomach, love meat and spicy food. And the capital of all this gastronomic splendor is the city of Oaxaca.
It takes almost 5 hours to get to the destination from Mexico City, and the first thing that catches your eye is the difference between the city and the capital:
- There are small bright houses on the streets,
- Classical Catholic churches with the severity inherent in Europe,
- English speech.
It turns out that many Americans live in Oaxaca after retirement for beauty and tranquility. And this place is perfectly suited to such a description.
Arriving here, you should definitely visit the restaurant Los Danzantes and try the traditional local dish “mole negro”, washed down with mezcal - a drink from agave juice, which was first obtained here. In the bars you can find many interesting cocktails, and of course they will be based on mezcal.
Another amazingly beautiful town that can overturn the traditional view of Mexico is Sochimilco, otherwise called the Mexican Venice. Back in the 10th century, it was a small village where the Aztecs began to build canals. Soon, houses appeared near the water, and then a whole town, which in terms of beauty and atmosphere makes a serious competition to the most romantic city in Europe.
There is an interesting place in Sochimilco - Garibaldi Square, where the tequila museum is located and street musicians give an idea. For a fee they will perform a song to order, and the number of artists will depend on the amount transferred to them. Here it is time to buy a bottle of a traditional drink as a gift and go home to share your vivid impressions and return to Mexico, having prepared a list of places to visit and tightened up spoken Spanish.
The capital of Mexico is Mexico City
Mexico City, the largest Hispanic city in the world, founded by the Aztecs as Tenochtitlan on the salty island Lake Texcoco in the valley of central Mexico between several volcanic hills in 1325. Arriving in 1519 conquistadors led by Hernan Cortes were struck by the size, beauty, and orderly structure of Tenochtitlan, which, however, did not stop them from destroying the Aztec city-state and erecting a new political and economic center on its ruins, centuries later becoming a grandiose metropolis, where the wealth of historical and cultural heritage and traditions is combined with modern the rapid pace of life.
Guided tour of Mexico City in Russian at this link
Constitution Square in Mexico City. Mexico
Mexico City Historic Center
Mexico City Historic Center - Object UNESCO and one of the most beautiful places in the world, where every square, street and market can tell hundreds of legends about the almost 700-year-old existence of the city. Here you will find most of the attractions and the most interesting museums in Mexico City. Constitution Square , is the main city square, the second largest in the world, and is also considered the geographical center of Mexico.
The ancient world of the Indians. Painting by Diego Riviera 1929
Zocalo in Mexico City
Zocalo's territory Tenochtitlan also served as an administrative and religious center. In 1978, during the electrical installation, next to the National Palace and the Cathedral, images of the moon goddess were discovered. Koyolshauki, after which part of the building was demolished and excavations started Temple Major - pyramids with two temples dedicated to the god of war Witsilopochtli and the god of rain Tlaloku. In 8 halls of the Temple of Major Museum, opened in 1987, the history and culture of Tenochtitlan is presented on the example of many artifacts, including the monolith Koyolshauki, sculptures, balls, funerary masks.
Three Cultures Square in Mexico City. Mexico
The area of three cultures
The remarkable area of the historical center is Three Cultures Square, in its building demonstrating the pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern stages of development of the Mexican capital. In the time of the Aztecs, this place was called Only and served as an essential market. In 1527, the conquistadors destroyed the Indian temples and the commercial premises and built a church on their ruins and Monastery of Santiago.
No less impressive squares of the city - Plaza Garibaldi, the standard of Mexican folk culture and mariachi music, Plaza Santo Domingowhere the palace of the Aztec emperor was located, Manuel Tolsa Squaresurrounded by monumental historical buildings with a sculpture of the Spanish king Charles VI in the center, and Plaza de la Ciutadella, a meeting place for lovers of Cuban danson.
Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City
Chapultepec Grasshopper Hill
Mexico City Attractions: West of Zocalo, where "skyscrapers avenueAvenue Paseo de la Reformaaround the hill Chapultepec and the lake of the same name is a vast park area - the former suburban residence of the Aztec emperor. The park consists of three sections, and the attractions of the first are zoo , lake with boats , House of Mirrors , alley leading to the top of the hill, interesting museums of modern art , anthropology and history in Chapultepec Castle .
The second part is more entertaining in nature, there are restaurants and bistros, playgrounds, fountains and exhibitions and sales of folk art. The third section is a wooded area and less visited. Chapultepec Castle was built during the colonial period at the highest point of the hill and at different times served as a military college, the palace of the emperor Maximilian of Habsburg and his wife Charlotte, the residence of Mexican presidents, and since 1944 his premises are occupied National History Museum.
Museum of History in Mexico City
Palace of Fine Arts
The abundance of monuments and many architectural masterpieces of the colonial and republican periods gave rise to call Mexico City "city of palaces". Near Alameda Central Park by order Porfirio Diaz to the 100th anniversary of the independence of Mexico in the years 1900-1934 built one of the remarkable buildings of the city in the style of Italian art deco - Palace of Fine Artswhich combines the opera house, concert halls and National Architectural Museum.
The magnificent neighbor of the Palace of Fine Arts is located a block away Tile House, or Casa Asulejos, - an elegant monument of colonial architecture of the XVIII century, decorated with tiles and majolica from the state of Puebla.
Torre Latino Tower at sunset day. Mexico City Attractions
The most resistant skyscraper in Mexico City
In 1956, another attraction appeared in the historic center of Mexico City - Torre latino44-story tall skyscraper 182 meters. The elevator lifts tourists to the 37th floor, which houses souvenir shops and a cafeteria, which offers panoramic views of the capital. Museum premises occupy the 36th and 38th floors, and above are restaurants and observation platforms, on clear days you can see not only the monuments of the metropolis, but also volcanoes Popocatepetl and Istaxiwatl.
Active Popocatepetl Volcano in Mexico
Coyoacan - Frida Kahlo House Museum
The character of Mexico City cannot be understood without visiting some distant districts from the center, marked by the history of origin, the influence of the pre-Hispanic and colonial past, various architectural styles and cosmopolitan atmosphere. After the conquest of Tenochtitlan, one of the first settlements founded by the Spaniards was Coyoacan, which has preserved most of the historical architecture, ancient churches and chapels and entered the southern zone of the capital of Mexico City (Mexico).
The attraction of this area lies in its museums and houses, where celebrities such as artists lived Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, revolutionary Lev Trotsky with his wife Natalia Sedova.
Frida Kahlo. Famous mexican artist
Neighboring Quarter Culuacan considered the birthplace of the first leader of the Aztecs, in addition, colorful festive celebrations are organized here, personifying the connection of the people with their past. The main attractions - located on the slopes Cerro de la Estrella Hill Monastery of San Matias and San Juan Temple, archaeological museum, chapel Divino Salvador and first in america paper mill.
Tlalpan - A picturesque district inhabited since ancient times. Its name from the Nahuatl language translates as "land".The area is characterized by a high concentration of religious buildings, museums, colonial development of streets and squares where many cultural events are held, and ecological reserves and national parks around the hill located on its territory Ahusco. Loreto Park - the founding place of the ancient Olmec city of Cuicuilco, buried under a thick layer of volcanic lava, excavations of which have been carried out since the middle of the 20th century.
Bright boats on the Sochimilco canal
Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the dominant of Zocalo, was built from 1573 to 1656 and reconstructed in the 19th-20th centuries, its grandiose building has 15 side chapels, combines Baroque, Renaissance, Neoclassicism styles and is the chair of the Archbishop of Mexico City. The foundation of the temple is the uneven remains of pre-Hispanic structures, and for this reason, as well as because of the composition of the soil and the large mass, the cathedral gradually goes into the ground. Restoration work in 1990 corrected the slope of the towers, but the immersion process cannot be stopped. On the eastern side of the Constitution Square, in the place where palace of the Aztec king Montezuma IIConquistadors built a government building called the Palacio Nacional. Inside this Mexico City landmark frescoed diego rivera dedicated to Mexican history, and on the esplanade in front of the palace every year on the night of September 15-16, a military parade is held in honor of the independence of the republic to the sound of the bell ringed by the President of Mexico.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Mexico City
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When to relax in Mexico: November - April.
Difference with Moscow: 9 hours (Mexico City).
Seasonal average temperature: +29 ° C.
Currency: Mexican peso (MXP, $), equal to 3.45 R.
Tongue: spanish. Popular resorts speak English.
If there is a multi-Schengen visa for the USA, Great Britain and Japan, a visa to Mexico is not needed. In other cases, you can apply for a free electronic entry permit. It is really 30 days. Details are on the website of the Mexican Embassy.
From Moscow to Mexico, an average flight time of 13 hours. Ticket prices for Cancun and Mexico City start from 30 000 R one way. The plane makes a dock in Dusseldorf, Riga or Amsterdam. Tickets through the USA are cheaper: from 23 000 R per one-way ticket. But without an American visa, they won’t be allowed on a plane.
Pesos can be bought at foreign exchange ATMs or at casa de cambio - exchange office. It’s most profitable to shoot pesos at an ATM: the rate is as close as possible to the Central Bank. A commission of 30 to 50 pesos (100-170 R) will be charged regardless of the amount.
In large cities and resorts, they are also willing to accept dollars. Change in groceries is most often given at the rate of the central bank in pesos, but in small shops and when paying on the street, the rate may be unprofitable.
Cards are accepted everywhere, except for small shops, taxis and buses.
In cancun little entertainment: mostly they go there to lie on the white sand and enjoy the Caribbean. If the sea is bored, you can climb to the observation deck Torre Escenica. This is a tall pillar that looks like an attraction. His cabin rises to a height of 110 meters. The site overlooks the city and the Caribbean. Entrance ticket costs $ 15 (975 R).
Even from Cancun they go to nearby islands, for example, Contoy. This is a national park with white sand and azure water, where you can see stingrays or huge pelicans. An excursion to Contoy with a transfer and breakfast will cost $ 99 (6435 R) per adult. On the way, the boat will call on another beautiful island - the island of Women.
Chichen Itza - The center of Mayan civilization, where the ancient pyramids are preserved. In 2007, Chichen Itza was recognized as the new seventh wonder of the world. Entrance costs 225 pesos (776 R). You can get to Chichen Itza by ADO bus. A ticket from Cancun will cost 228 pesos (786 R).
Palenque - another Mayan city, which has been preserved almost completely. The buildings are diverse: there are temples, tombs and even the remains of public toilets. They are located in the middle of the jungle. Unlike Chichen Itza, in Palenque you can climb a pyramid and feel the frescoes.
Entrance costs 70 pesos (241 R). You can get to Palenque from Cancun by bus for 447 pesos (1,542 R).
Chichen Itza has more tourists than Palenque. Pictured - Chichen Itza
💀 Day of the Dead in Mexico
Day of the Dead is a holiday dedicated to the memory of the dead. It is celebrated on November 1 and 2. In honor of the holiday, Mexicans organize a carnival, dress up and draw skulls on their faces. UNESCO included Day of the Dead on the list of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind.
Fruits and vegetables
📌 All year round they sell potatoes, tomatoes, beets.
📌 Fruits change every season: papaya, guava, watermelon.
📌 2.5 kg of mango costs 30 pesos (100 P), a bucket of strawberries - 40 pesos (140 P).
📌 Rice with chicken and tacos, corn tortillas with meat and vegetables are sold everywhere. The price is 50-100 pesos (170-345 R).
📌 All dishes are served with hot sauce, the sharpness can be adjusted by yourself.
📌 Fried grasshoppers are eaten like seeds. A glass is worth 20 pesos (69 R).
📌 Mexicans adore Elotes, boiled corn with toppings of your choice: butter, cheese, mayonnaise. A serving costs 20 pesos (69 R).
Cafes and restaurants
📌 You can find the usual European food: pasta, steaks, rolls.
📌 Breakfast with coffee and freshly squeezed juice costs 65 pesos (224 R).
📌 Freshly squeezed juice, meat, salad and potatoes will cost 80 pesos (276 R).
Air traffic well developed, you can quickly get from one end of the country to the other. Tickets for domestic flights can be purchased on the websites of Volaris and Viva airlines.
Collectively - These are local minibuses. They depart from the markets and travel around the district within a radius of 30 km. The fare is from 5 pesos (17 R) in the city to 50 pesos (170 R) in the neighboring village.
Buses go without delay. They have free internet, a toilet and rugs. Tickets can be purchased at the bus station website or at the terminal. To get from Mexico City to the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, or just San Cristobal, costs 830 pesos (2863 R). Distance - 633 km.
Car. Renting an old Nissan Zuru will cost 500 pesos (1725 R) per day. In 3 days, another 500 pesos can go for gasoline.
Hitch-hiking - it's long and free. Drivers are mainly driven by cars or jeeps, rarely truckers. The average waiting time is half an hour.
Upon arrival You can rent a room or a house for a couple of days through Air BBC. Further it is better to bargain with the owner. If you rent a house for several weeks, landlords can make a 50% discount. A room with breakfast in San Cristobal will cost about 700 R per day, and a separate house - 1000-1500 R.
Hostel Owners often make a discount when paying for a long period: when booking a month they can save up to 30%. Accommodation will cost from 700 R per bed in a ten-bed room. Breakfast included.
House rent. To rent a house, look for se renta signs in the city. So you can find a good house without intermediaries and ask for a discount. You can still search on “Locanto” and “Viva-nuncios”, but houses there are likely to be more expensive. Rental price - from 8000 R per month.
Some hostels have theme and grill parties
Wi-Fi is in almost all coffee houses, restaurants, large supermarkets and malls, and sometimes in central squares. There was enough speed for work and calls.
Three operators work in the country: Telcel, Movistar and AT&T Unidos. “Telsel” has better coverage, and the tariffs for all are approximately the same. 1.5 GB of Internet per month costs an average of 200 pesos (690 R).
⚠️ Safety Rules
- Do not drink from the tap: the water is dirty, you can catch salmonellosis.
- Before washing products, add disinfectant drops to the water. They are sold for 15-30 pesos (50-100 R) in any store, pharmacy or market. Such drops purify water and products from bacteria and germs.
- Keep track of pockets and backpacks.
- Do not walk on dark streets and industrial areas.
🚨 If something happened
Embassy of Russia in Mexico
Address: Mexico City, st. Carlos B. Setina 12A (corner of Chikontepek street), Ipodromo Condes district, Kuautemok administrative district, postcode 06140.
Phones: +52 55 52 71 4856, +52 55 5273 1605.
Emergency number of the embassy (threat to life, health or loss of documents):
+ 52 55 5516 0870.
We are looking for people who travel on their own. If you organized holidays in Russia, neighboring countries, popular resorts or more exotic places - share your experience with us.
How to get to Mexico City
You can fly from Russia to Mexico City with one or two transfers. The most suitable routes with adequate ticket prices are offered by Aeroflot, Air France, Key-Em and Lufthansa with transfers in Havana, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt am Main. Travel time: from 16 to 40 hours.
Flights operated by United Airlines, Aeromexico, British Airways, and Interjet, as a rule, land at airports in London, New York and Los Angeles, which is not very convenient, since it’s very easy to get to The UK or US transfer zone will require a separate transit visa.
The same carriers plus Air Canada and Alaska Airlines offer to fly to the Mexican capital with two transfers. The total travel time will also not exceed 16-40 hours, but the tourist will hardly be able to choose a route without landing in the USA, Canada or England.
From the airport to the city
All international flights arrive at Benito Juarez Airport, which is located quite close to the city center. It’s easier and faster to use the metro (the nearest station is Terminal Aerea, just 200 meters from Terminal 1).
It’s better not to catch a bus, despite the fact that two stops are in close proximity to the same Terminal 1, because Mexico City is a huge metropolis and it is quite easy to get lost in its road system. The exception is cases when only ground transportation goes to the hotel.
Exit No. 1 has several taxi racks. Since the airport building is located almost in the middle of the city, there are fixed tariffs for passengers depending on the zone. The average price for a trip to central streets is 450 MXN. Prices on the page are for October 2018.
History and culture
Mexico City is the owner of an interesting and eventful story that goes back to the days of the Aztecs. In the 14th century, the famous tribe of Indians founded the city of Tenochtitlan on the territory of the future Mexican capital. Its magnificence, scale and degree of perfection of the construction work carried out delighted the Spaniards who arrived here in the 16th century, who actively conquered new territories during this period. The wealth of the Aztecs also did not leave them indifferent, which led to an open war. As a result of a long confrontation between the leaders of the tribe and the conquerors led by Cortes, Tenochtitlan was destroyed, and in its place Mexico City was founded, which became the capital of the Spanish colony.
One of the main excuses for the Spaniards, who actually destroyed the local population, and those who survived, turned into slaves, were Aztec rites. Human sacrifices, which are an integral part of the religious cult of the Indians, were indeed extremely widespread. In addition to religious fanatics, the captives were sacrificed to the gods.
The further history of the city was filled with all sorts of conflicts, the struggle for independence, and revolutionary actions. The rebellious spirit of the Aztecs continues to live in the local population until now.
Hit "City of the Gods", 7 n. - from 100 128 rubles / person + air flight.
"4 Cultures", 7 n. - from 78 414 rubles / person + flight.
Relax in the hotels of Cancun, Riviera Mayi and Los Cabos!
Areas of Mexico City
One of the most interesting parts of the city, built up with buildings of the colonial era, is the area around Constitution Square (Sokalo), the Cathedral and the Presidential Palace. This is where travelers head for their first stroll through the Mexican capital.
The Rosa Zone is Mexico City's second most popular county. The tourist infrastructure is well developed here: hotels, night clubs, shops, restaurants at every step. Another area is known for its st. Paseo de la Reforma, connecting the center and Chapultepec Park. The avenue is called the Champs Elysees. It was laid under the emperor Maximilian of Habsburg and soon became the "front facade" of the city.
In the green areas of Alameda and Chapultepec you can see old buildings - examples of Spanish architecture, magnificent squares, museums, fountains, monuments, well-groomed alleys and attractions. Also noteworthy are the areas of San Angel, Sochimilco and La Villa, located at some distance from the center.
There are places in Mexico where a tourist should not go, especially in the dark. Contrary to stereotypes, they are not only on the outskirts - literally a few blocks from Sokalo there is the Tepito district, where drug dealers rule the ball. In addition, you need to bypass the slums, car repair shops and narrow alleys.
Mexico City Hotels
A tourist planning a trip to the Mexican capital faces a serious problem of choosing housing among hundreds of options. In Mexico City there are quite decent and inexpensive hotels at 300-390 MXN for a double room per day, located in the center or close to it. You can even find an option for 216 MXN, however, far and simpler.
The average cost for accommodation in a city hotel 3-4 * is 1000-1500 MXN for two, apartments will cost about the same amount, five-star establishments far from the center go for 1900 MXN, and closer - for 3200 MXN.
It is better to settle in more or less safe areas: Coyacan, San Angel, Zona Rosa, Alameda, Colonia Roma, La Villa, Chapultepec, as well as on the streets surrounding the historic city center due to the proximity of major attractions.
Of course, for the most colorful little things you need to go to markets and fairs. As a rule, in each tourist area there are such places. Typical souvenirs that will remind you of a trip to exotic Mexico: ceramic dishes with national ornaments made by Mayan Indians, brightly painted skulls and statuettes of Katrina - symbols of the Day of the Dead (one of the most spectacular holidays), hammocks, ponchos and embroidered with gold thread sombrero.
In any large supermarket like the American Walmart, a large selection of tequila and mezcal is presented at more humane prices than in souvenir shops. There you can buy locally produced chocolate or hot seasonings that can diversify the usual cuisine and add spicy notes to the dishes.
The most famous markets in Mexico City with a large selection of products: Ciudadela (Calle de Balderas), Lagunilla (Lopez Rayon, 46 lote 1), Bazaar de Sabado (San Jacinto, 11), Sonora (Fray Servando Teresa de Mier, 419).
In stores, prices are fixed, but in the markets it is worth bargaining, and sellers will give in with great pleasure, if they are explained in Spanish, even if it’s clumsy. Unlike Arab traders, Mexicans do not arrange shows from bargaining - if the buyer leaves, they will not chase after him, jumping over the shelves.
Cuisine and restaurants of Mexico City
Mexican cuisine is an explosive mixture of fiery flavors. It is as bright and unusual as the culture of this country, but, alas, completely unusual and even to some extent dangerous for a sensitive European stomach.
Naturally, in the capital, the “ball is ruled” by restaurants of national and Latin American cuisines, where they cook classic burritos, fajitas flaming in a pan, corn nachos, quesadillas with various fillings, and enchilada.
But it is impossible to eat such food all the time, that's why dozens of establishments with more traditional cooking work for tourists, offering “neutral” European dishes, pizza, burgers, salads and familiar snacks.
The cost of dinner or lunch in a mid-range restaurant will not exceed MXN 500 for two (while a couple of glasses of wine or a glass of tequila go for a meal). In a more democratic place they usually fit in 250 MXN.
For more immersion in the country's traditions, you should at least once go to a city eatery and try Mexican fast food: corn tortillas with filling and buns with meat and vegetables (tortas al rosto). This food costs a penny (up to 150 MXN per generous portion), but the pleasure is unforgettable.
Hi Mexico City
Tired, but with excitement, she stepped towards passport control in Mexico City.
- Girl, where is your visa?
I shocked the airport employee with an electronic printout. The confusion on his face confused him.
- For the first time I see this. This is not a visa.
How is it not a visa? The day before departure, I went to the website of the Mexican Embassy, filled out a form and received such electronic permission to enter by mail. The Internet did not work, I could not show the letter. Panic. Somewhere there my Lucas stood waiting for me, but I couldn’t even go through this damn passport control.
“What am I to do with you?” - the employee shook his head and leafed through my passport. - ABOUT! Spanish Schengen?
- Great, welcome to Mexico. We can let Schengen. And you, apparently, did not print out everything that you received by mail.
Okay. Thanks for that too.
He stood with a radiant smile on his face and with gerberas in his hands.
- Flowers? Come on! The first time I see foreigners giving flowers!
- I read an article on how to behave with a Russian girl.
You are laughing. A she really there.
We went outside, and I instantly froze. In Mexico. In August.
“Didn’t you take anything warm?”
- No, I'm in Mexico.
- Mexico City is at a decent height, the temperature is almost always the same here. In the evening and in the morning it is cool, no more than 15. And during the day it warms up sharply. Every day around five in the evening it rains.
Here you have a sunny vacation in Mexico.
We stood in a traffic jam for two hours. As it turned out, about 22 million people live in the capital. So with traffic, things were no better than in Moscow.
The apartment was tastefully furnished. Cousin Lucas, with whom he lived, is an interior designer. On the shelves were cute skeletons in colorful dresses. About them - later.
He booked a table for us at one of the best seafood restaurants. “You have a shortage of them,” added my friend.
The menu, of course, is in Spanish. In English? No, not heard. Therefore, I decided to entrust Lucas to surprise my little inner gourmet.
Immediately make a reservation: everything that was brought looked disgusting. For example, a strange brown slurry in a saucepan. But then it turned out that it was an incomparable dish of several molten types of cheese with the addition of chili and an unprecedented amount of seafood. There were so many shrimps on the tacos that the tortilla itself was not visible. When they brought half of the pineapple, filled with unappetizing mass, I was ready for what would be very tasty: it contained fish, squid, mussels, and the sauce was above all praise. It became clear what it means to not judge a book by its cover.
After a hearty dinner, no 8-hour time difference prevented me from sleeping like a little chico (baby in Spanish).
First day in mexico city
Lucas gave me a portable wifi and asked me to answer him instantly. Say, Mexico City is a very dangerous city for young beautiful girls. Okay
I decided to start my walk from the central park of Chapultepec. Here is the zoo. Free admission and an impressive collection of animals have a positive effect on your mood. After looking at the animals, I went to the palace of the same name, the one on the mountain in the park. On the way, I looked into the shopping carts with interest. They even sprinkled popcorn and nachos with spices and watered with cheese. Nuts, sweets, fruits in chili, soda of all colors ... Kill your stomach, in a word.
Squirrels were jumping everywhere. She called one and she shot me with such a fierce look that I had to admit that the wild monkeys in Bali were not the worst thing that had happened in my life.
Once upon a time, Mexican rulers lived in the palace. Apparently, they got here only on carriages, the climb was serious for "their majesty", I had to stop to rest every now and then. It was noon and already seriously warmed up, I had to throw off my sweatshirt. The entrance cost about $ 3 and a beautiful view of the park and a piece of the capital opened from the mountain. In the palace itself, the atmosphere was preserved, and even carriages stood. I was right about them.
Leaving the park on Paseo de la Reforma, I gasped. Skyscrapers, tens, hundreds. It was as if she was at grandpa's place in New York again. To get to the historical part of the city, you had to go along it all the time straight.
Most of the street musicians were killed, so to speak. They wore pale brown suits and twisted barrel organ. The melodies were such that it seemed that blood would flow from the ears.
The main attractions were nearby: National Palace, Cathedral, Palace of Fine Arts. Walked on them.
I wanted to eat. And then just in the main square of Sokalo broke the market. Taking quesadilla, I finally realized that it was a corn tortilla with cheese. And not like ours - with everything that can fit there. I also bought corn from a sweet grandmother in a glass, which she abundantly sprinkled with cheese and hot spices. I could not get past the merchant, who in cans had ice cream of all tastes, starting with vanilla and ending with pina colada, cheese and corn.
Mexican cuisine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just imagine all these tacos, quesadillas, ceviche, enchiladas, gil, guacamole ...
Recipes are centuries old, and sauces, which sometimes add up to 10 ingredients, can be envied by the chefs of European capitals. Everything looked a bit different than in Moscow. Each dish has its own base, its own sauces, to which the filling is optionally added. Fajita and burrito, for example, are the cuisine of American Texas, not Mexico, as it turned out.
About the beach
“I want to see the local beach,” I ached.
- Look at the hotel. Look how cute he is.
“I want to see how the locals rest.”
- What should I do with you, well, let's go.
The guard goggled when he heard what we want on a shared beach. Taking out the keys, he unlocked a huge lock on the door separating the hotel from him. It was not enough for him to cross us onto the path.
Apple had nowhere to fall. But at the same time no one was sunbathing and just a couple of kids were busy in the water. Umbrellas, plastic chairs and tables were placed everywhere. People were sitting and. drank and ate. Well, of course, what else can you do on the beach?
Yeah of course. I dream On the beach, in the heat, among the local bohemia. Barbecue atmosphere on the waterfront in Tuapse.
We went to the counter and here again surprise. Tanks with fresh oysters, shrimp and crab. We were given a menu. I suddenly wanted to eat.
Immediately a woman ran up and held out a rose made of mango. Admittedly, Mexico had the most delicious fruit I have ever eaten. Then Lucas said they were being exported to the United States.
Oysters for 1 dollar! Where is it seen? Tacos with fresh king prawns, mussels in salsa sauce. Now I understand the love of Mexicans for the beach.
A group of mariachi approached and began to sing.
“You can play a wedding here: there are singers, there is food and drinks, there is a view, a bouquet of mangoes too,” laughed Lucas.
Let's go for a walk around the city. In addition to numerous bars, restaurants there was nothing to watch. Unless on the ruins of a castle on a hill and a few churches. About eight o'clock came to the rock of La Quebrada, from where crazy guys jumped right into the water, making this a whole show. For a modest fee, of course.
We went into a coastal restaurant, ordered a plate of seafood for two. They brought out the soup. So. Then a seafood salad. Excellent. Tacos. When another folding table was set up to our table, we got excited. A huge tray appeared, on which there were several types of fish, shrimp, squid, cuttlefish ... We were watching us at the next tables with curiosity.
“Is that for two?”
- For one, for two ... Yes.
When they brought a half-liter Margarita, we were no longer surprised. Yes, Mexicans definitely love to eat.
A man came up to us from a nearby table:
- Excuse me, sir, where are you from?
Lucas's father was a Catalan, and his mother was from Venezuela. But, as he explained, it’s better to tell everyone that you are from Latin America. More trust.
- And your companion?
- Did you meet at the World Cup in Russia?
“No, long ago, in New York.”
For a long time in Acapulco they decided not to stay too long and went to look at the Mayan pyramids. To be honest, I was always sure that in Mexico there is only one surviving Mayan pyramid in Chichen Itza.
As it turned out, almost in every state there are remnants of the former luxury of the Mayan era.
Therefore, we decided on the way to the city of Puebla to call in the ancient complex of Cholula. Here is the largest pyramid, even more than the Egyptian ones. At the end of the 16th century, a Catholic church was erected on a small hill. After the earthquake, one of the bells collapsed and, during its restoration, a strange foundation was found underground. During the excavations it turned out that this is a pyramid! And that was only in the 20th century. Naturally, UNESCO immediately took a place under its care.
This was all told to us by the guide, whom Lucas simultaneously translated. English? No, not heard. We wandered through the labyrinths of the pyramid, listened to how we supplied the city with water. But the most striking thing is the echo. The complex was specially designed so that priests could be heard from anywhere.
- We are going to the gastronomic mecca of Mexico - the city of Oaxaca in the state of the same name. True, it will take five hours to go.
I nodded. In the morning I was unwell. It began with the fact that I did not want to eat. The mere mention of something where there is a tortilla, cheese or salsa made me nauseous. And this is 90% of the diet of Mexicans.
We went to the Los Danzantes restaurant, one of the top on TripAdvisor. Frankly, I never trusted ratings, but apparently in vain. The place was really worthy: decor, polite waiters, live music, and the public. And the food. I believed Lucas because my appetite still did not come to me. They ate "mole negro" - a traditional dish of the state, meat in a sauce consisting of chili, chocolate and secret ingredients. And a salad with dwarf crayfish, I affectionately called them Sebastian.
Oaxaca, in addition to the gastronomic capital of Mexico, is also the birthplace of the mezcal drink. Therefore, we went to a bar where all the cocktails are made on its basis. Locals sitting near the bar looked at us with great interest.
- Where are you from? - asked Lucas.
- And she? - They nodded at me.
- Did you meet at the World Cup?
- No, we met a long time ago, in New York.
They nodded approvingly. What kind of prejudices about dating at the championship in Russia.
The next day, we fled to the market and bought a local cheese home: a huge ball, something like suluguni.
They saw on the map that 60 kilometers from Oaxaca are the most beautiful natural sources of the country. How can I stop here? So I drove a point into the route.
“Are we definitely going there?” Something did not look like a road to a tourist place.
We really drove along the road in potholes through small villages where the children ran after us, and lonely cacti flaunted on bare rocks.
- Google maps have not failed yet. To us to the right.
The Hierve el Agua tablet cheered us up noticeably. What a beauty it is: mountains with a view of the plain, natural pools with cool thermal water formed on the slopes. After wandering around a bit, we found a waterfall with a picturesque view and a key that hit the air right from under our feet.
Sitting in the thermal lake as in a jacuzzi, we watched the tourists. Nearby sat a young couple - Mexican and obviously Russian. She did not stick off the phone and whispered something in a familiar language on WhatsApp. The Mexican looked at her with love and took photographs.
- Do you think they met during the World Cup in Russia?
- And someone was indignant that everyone thinks in cliches.
It was the third day of my reluctance to eat. Honestly, this is the first time with me. Food is one of my favorite pastimes. And then such a crash.
We traveled from Oaxaca home to Mexico City. And on the way, they saw a mezcal farm. Again, this is Mexico's main drink, and tequila is just a subspecies of it. They are also made from agave, but, unlike tequila, sugar is not added to mezcal, but a worm is added, which demonstrates the purity of the drink.
I was troubled by the thought that I was going to drink a strong drink, where the innocent worm had also ended its days.
Sitting at the table, Lucas ordered a guided tour with a tasting.
“I'm not sure I'm able to drink.”
“Don't worry, it will put you on your feet.”
A cute man came up with a set of bottles. And he put in front of me some kind of chatter in a glass.
“Your young man said you have stomach problems.” This infusion of chamomile and special herbs, drink.
The man, meanwhile, began his story. Lucas quickly translated. Before us was a classic mezcal, annual with an amber hue, brownish with cocoa, yellowish with melon.
Then they started tasting: one shot, second, third. After about 10 minutes a smile appeared on our face, warmth began to flow through our stomach, and we, staggering slightly, went to look at the production, which was not to say that it was terribly interesting. The tasting was more exciting. 43 degrees in mezcal and 35 in the street.
“I want to eat,” I said softly, as soon as we started the engine.
- Hurrah! We did it!
He braked near a village and a woman ran up to us. Lucas said something in Spanish and five minutes later she brought something wrapped in a bamboo leaf. I turned it around and the steam started from there. She eagerly stuck a fork, kindly provided by a woman.
No kidding, it was the tastiest food in the last few days. Maybe, of course, because I was not sick and there was no processed cheese and salsa.
- This is tamal. They say that even the Mayans made this dish when they went camping. Corn dough is put in a palm leaf, meat, pepper, onion and herbs stewed in spices are added, wrapped in an envelope and kept steamed.
- This is a recipe for the gods, honestly!
Just drove up to the house, remembered that my mother loves tequila. Mescal would definitely like her. Lucas promised to give her a bottle on his behalf.
Sochimilko. Mexican Venice. The city on the lake appeared in the X century. Gradually, the Aztecs began to build canals, then houses were built on small islands. And now, the Mexico City region is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here they like to spend time not only locals, but also tourists. Lucas rented one of the traditional boats, more reminiscent of a small old barge, which was pumped by Xzibit, decorated with patterns.
They took the michelad, which we brought in a liter glass. I understand this size, should be enough for the whole trip. Michelada is a beer, usually Mexican Corona, with lime juice, salt and spices on the rim of a glass.
We sailed past the boats on which we celebrated birthdays, stag parties, arranged a family barbecue, dates. On separate boats they sold snacks, drinks and even flowers. At some point I saw trees on which ... dolls were hanging! And from my childhood nightmares: without hands, eyes, in torn dresses.
- There is a legend that there lived a man who began to pick up abandoned dolls on the street and collect them. Then he left his family altogether and settled on this island, which was later called the “Island of the Dead Dolls,” our guide-gondolier gloomily told.
Seeing how my eyes sparkled, Lucas promised to give me a farewell evening in Garibaldi Square, the main gathering place for Mariachi bands.
The square was right next to the tequila museum. The logic is clear. He walked around, looked, tasted, sang.
I could not imagine that this is a whole culture. Groups of singers, dressed in colorful clothes of different colors depending on their involvement in a particular group, scurried from one table to another, singing songs for money. The cost depended on the number of musicians. The more of them, the more expensive. Lucas left for a short while, then returned with a group of pretty uncles in red-green costumes who sang the song "Murka, you are my little puppy." It turned out that this was the only song in Russian that they knew. But it is symbolic and consonant with my last name.
My plane was late in the evening. Lucas and I watched the Russian series Crime and Punishment with English subtitles and ate rolls. I honestly admitted that I can no longer look at the Mexican cuisine. He sighed and said, "Me too."
Suddenly, he jumped up from the couch, hit his head on the head, grabbed a bicycle and shouted what would happen in half an hour.
He returned with a bottle of mezcal.
- Darling, this is pure alcoholism, when you are so blown up for a bottle.
- Mi amor, I promised to buy your mother a bottle of good mescal, did you forget? I remember in one of the articles it was said that you can’t promise something to a Russian girl and not fulfill it. You are vindictive, you will remember all your life.
God save those people who write manuals for foreigners.