05 Feb Mexico City – Food and Ruins on a budget
When you think of Mexico City do you think of violence, cartels, murders, and just danger in general?
Well, stop it. Mexico City gets a bad rap, but just like in any other city, there is danger. Keeping alert and aware of your surroundings is enough to keep yourself safe in Mexico’s largest city.
If you haven’t been here just out of fear alone, you are missing out. This was my second visit to Mexico City, and it is now it is one of my favorite cities in the world. Not only is this a budget travelers paradise, but you will be deeply engulfed in Mexican culture in this capital city more than you would in a tourist laden resort town.
Mexico City is huge, like epic huge. There are 20 million people living here and as you start to approach the airport from the sky all you can see from the window are houses on houses on houses. Direct flights from the US are as little as $175 – $350. I bought a one way ticket from Orlando and with tax the ticket on Volaris was $159. This is also a noisy city, so bring earplugs.
Due to it’s size, there is something for everyone. From art, to ruins, to unlimited amounts of food, festivals, museums, history, there is absolutely no shortage of things to see and do here. This is definitely not a boring, sleepy city, it is the polar opposite, it’s alive and thriving.
It’s way affordable. You can get dinner for around $6, and a two liter bottle of water will only set you back about $.50. If you are on a super budget, you can get street food from $.75 – $2. These tacos were $1.32.
Raise your hand if you like Mexican food! The food is legit the best in Mexico city, way better than in Cancun. I go ham when I am in Mexico eating everything I can shove into my face. And then I complain about having a ‘weight problem.’
I’ve eaten everywhere from nice restaurants, to village eateries, and street food. And no, I have have never gotten travel sickness from eating food anywhere in Mexico. In fact, the only time I have ever had what I thought was ‘travel sickness’ it turned out I needed an organ removed.
My top recommendations are tacos and elotes. You can find tacos virtually everywhere and they are delicious, my favorite are tacos al pastor – these are pork tacos that are mouthwatering. Add fresh squeezed lime, and if you’re brave enough, some of the local hot sauces provided. NOTE: Every single place will have a different sauce with a different level of spice, try just a tiny bit before dousing your food in it – I learned this the hard way, twice.
Elotes, aka Mexican Corn. Mostly sold in the evenings from street vendors, these will change your life and your waist line. An ear of corn smothered in mayonnaise, cheese, and chili; this sounds horrific, but is the best treat I offer myself in Mexico City.
I am lucky in the sense that one of my good friends lives here so when I visit I am able to stay with her or one of her friends. However, after seeing a few different locations in the city I would unanimously recommend staying in Coyacán. This to me is the vision of what Mexico is – full of vendors, a large city square, plenty of eateries, local art to buy, and the Frida Kahlo museum is there.
The Zona Rosa, historic center, or downtown, are also great locations as well depending on your needs. Keep in mind that traffic in Mexico City is a nightmare so wherever you choose stay, make sure it is relatively close to the things you personally want to see.
A budget hotel can range from $20-$40/night, and a hostel will run $5-$15/night.
Like the Aztecs? Or history in general? An hour outside of the city you will find some of the best Aztec ruins in all of Mexico in Teotihucan. This is without a doubt worth a visit. We spent the entire day there, arriving by car and paying the entrance fee of about $2 we joined a free tour and each tipped our guide about $2. There are several tours going daily, ask at your hotel and hostel, they range from $20-$75 depending on the level of service.
There are two ways to see the ruins – the long way and the short way. The long way starts at the back of the park and you walk all the way to the Pyramid of the Sun. The short way is a quick version of the tour, you just walk in at the Pyramid of the Sun. I recommend the long way. Bring sunscreen, a bottle of water, and a snack bar. It is hot and there aren’t any vendors inside the park.
Mexicans are some of the nicest, most honest people I’ve encountered on my travels. I left my Dior sunglasses in a restaurant the first night I arrived and I thought for sure they would be gone. We went back the next day and the same waiter went to retrieve them from the host stand from me. I couldn’t believe it, in city I have been trained to believe is so dangerous, someone held onto my pricey sunglasses.
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