When you think about Mexico, what do you expect? Beaches, food, chaos, tequila, pyramids, traditions, violence? Maybe a little bit of it all. And you won’t be wrong! Mexico has many Mexicos and it is so diverse that I can’t make an accurate description of it.
But I can tell you about my experiences when traveling to other countries and the BIG differences I have found!
When you are landing in a country like Canada or the United States, you can see an almost perfect traced land: beautifully divided farmlands sharing similar colors, a well-traced city with regular shapes that can be seen from above.
Outside the airport there’s a sensation of order, of existing rules, and moreover, rules that are respected by almost every citizen!
The airport in Mexico City is right in the heart of the city! You see buildings everywhere. And out of the airport, you start to live the chaotic, flamboyand, colorful and noisy life of “puestecitos” (illegal street business), vendors shouting to sell you something, people and cars trying at the same time to get to their destinations.
It feels alive, it looks colorful, it seems dangerous!
Okay, let’s take it step by step…
In Mexico City Airport
- The first thing you should know is that most people are friendly. And they will be willing to help you. The only thing is that few Mexicans speak English!
- Inside the airport there are many money exchange houses, and if you are moving by subway, I recommend you to have 5 pesos coins (it’s what a ticket ride costs!)
- You will also find ATMs from banks like HSBC, Scotiabank, Santander, IXE, BBVA Bacomer, Banorte and Banamex.
- In Mexico City there are services like Uber, Cabify, and DiDi. Don’t trouble yourself finding a taxi or cab, they are more expensive!
- If someone tries to help you with transportation or your baggage, make sure his/her company is inside the airport. There are some scoundrels out there!
- Keep close to your belongings and always have them in sight. Yes, the theft rate is high! And don’t put your cellphone or wallet in the back of your jeans.
While traveling to your destination (Uber, Cabify, DiDi…)
- If the driver tries to make small talk, don’t panic! Mexicans are curious and like to give a warm welcome. Actually, you can have great advices from them! Obviously don’t share any personal information.
- If they start to speak and you don’t understad anything… say “No hablo español, lo siento” (I don’t speak Spanish, sorry). And maybe they can surprise you by speaking a little English!
- While traveling to your destination (local transportation, subway)
- If this is your first time in Mexico, I strongly recommend you NOT TO TRAVEL BY LOCAL TRANSPORTATION! Mini bus or peceras, as are called, are easy places to be robbed.
- If you are traveling by subway, I wrote a special post on the subject. I just want you to know that is the easiest and cheapest way to travel in Mexico City!
Where to buy bottled water or snacks?
- Everywhere! You can have the certainty that most of the bottled water that is sell in any place is drinking water! Bonafont, Ciel, E-Pura are reliable brands. In some countries there are hydration points, but in Mexico is not common. Maybe in some museums, malls and in some subway stations.
- And about snacks, you will find a wide variety of candies and snacks. There are Seven Eleven and Oxxo chains all over Mexico. But in the “tienditas de la esquina” (corner shops), you will find almost everything! They sell from candies, to eggs, vegetables and fruits, meat, and personal toiletries.