Why You Should Travel To Mexico City In 2017
I’ll bet if you’re reading this right now you’ve probably been to Mexico before, and you probably went to a beach. Many people I know have only ever been to a resort in Mexico, which (in my opinion) hardly even counts as going to Mexico at all! I lived in CDMX – short for Ciudad de México – for a month this December and absolutely fell in love with the the city, culture and people while I was there. Here are my top reasons you should visit Mexico City in 2017(instead of a resort).
Holy hell people. I thought I’d had good tacos before. I thought you couldn’t improve much on a taco. I thought a taco was a taco and it would always be pretty damn good, but never mind-blowing.
I’m here to tell you I was 100% wrong.
In Mexico City I would walk out my apartment door, turn left and greet my corner taco lady where I would promptly purchase 2 tacos for 15 pesos. That’s $0.75. The street vendors in Mexico City aren’t flinging some mediocre tacos either, the best tacos I had in my LIFE came out of a makeshift kitchen 4 blocks down from my office. Each cart has a different specialty – some serve chile relleno (peppers stuffed with cheese and then deep friend I mean HELLO PEOPLE), others stick to chicken or beef, and some serve up a local favorite – ojos y cabeza. That’s eyes and head. I still don’t exactly understand what PART of the head they eat, but if you’re adventurous I highly recommend you find yourself a crowded cabeza taco stand because damn are those bad boys good.
Aside from the street food (which I could ramble on about for hours) CDMX is full of hip coffee shops/bakeries, trendy brunch patios, sleek restaurants with good lighting (v important) and established local hangs. There’s something for everyone and something for every MOOD.
Long story short, my life was forever changed by the food in Mexico City. I ate tacos almost every day, chilaquiles became my new favorite breakfast and I could make everything spicy if I wanted to (which was a dream come true for the girl who usually carries hot sauce around wherever I go). If you’re a foodie, a taco enthusiast or just want to see what Mexican food REALLY is (hint: it’s not chips and guac) then a visit to Mexico City is a must for 2017.
Mexico City is home to some incredible museums (here’s looking at you, Frida Kahlo Museum and National Museum of Anthropology) where you can soak in some ancient history. Above that, many of Mexico City’s markets host Shamans (who will prescribe you natural medicines for all that ails you) and witches (who will cleanse your aura and give you a voodoo doll). They may seem silly, but they’re actually a rich part of the country’s ancient history. UNESCO site Teotihuacan is just a 30 minute uber ride out of the city center, where you can see some of the largest pyramids in Central America. Unlike many other pyramids, you can actually still climb the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun.
I spent most of my time in the Roma Norte and Condesa neighborhoods, which I akin to Brooklyn (but at 1/3 the price and without all the pretentious hipsters). Mexico City is like, accidentally cool. They don’t try to be too cool for school, they just are. Plus, if you stop someone on the street or ask for directions the locals are actually nice to you. I would walk into a new cafe every morning and be greeted with a “hello, how are you? Where are you from? How do you like Mexico?” and an inevitable “what do you think of Donald Trump?”
I had a pre-conceived notion of what Mexico was before I arrived, and that picture in my head was completely turned around when I got to know the locals. People invited me into their homes for dinner with their families. People invited me into their homes to bust open piñatas. Mexico City is full of happy, energetic and hard-working people – it’s important now more than ever to change the over-politicized view of who Mexicans are and what Mexico is.
A flight to Mexico from the USA is a few hours and a few hundred bucks. Once you get there accommodation, food, drinks and entertainment are cheap. You could do an entire vacation in Mexico City on a shoestring budget and have the time of your life. It’s amazing how a country so close to my homeland could be so different from what I assumed it would be.
There’s Always More to Do
Artisanal markets, Lucha Libre, concerts in bars, sprawling parks, the floating gardens of Xochimilco, bike paths, yoga studios, salsa dancing… there’s never a dull moment in CDMX.
So, can you tell I’m in love with Mexico City yet? If you find yourself in CDMX, let me know – I have a whole list of taco places you need to try out. My four weeks there were far too short and I will absolutely be going back. Is there somewhere you’ve been dying to go back to, but don’t have the travel fund to do it? Make sure to enter Rakbo’s instagram contest for a chance to win a $150 travel fund!