If you speak Spanish, it’s a plus, but you can get by with Spanglish.
The roads are confusing & we definitely almost got ran over a few times. It’s organized chaos.
There aren’t trash cans on every corner, so eat where you ordered food or be prepared to carry it with you for a bit.
Everything is really cheap. Matcha is my drink of choice and usually expensive (especially in SF costing $5 roughly), but in Mexico it’s half the price.
Ubers are super cheap too, some rides only cost us $2.
Airbnbs are super cheap as well - our first one was $54 a night and the second one was $66 a night.
Find a taco stand that has a line and order something.
Drink pulque & mezcal and/or tequila.
Eat churros, paletas & bugitos (bugs).
Apparently salsa makes the taco, so don’t forget to add it on.
The city center is worth a visit but it’s so busy and crowded (Mexico City is one of the most populated). We spent half a day seeing a few places (Diego Rivera, House of Tiles, Palicio de Bellas Arts) and that was it.
Wear comfy shoes if you plan to walk around the city.
Don’t drink the tap water - buy bottled water.
Most restaurants don’t open until 10am for breakfast and locals usually eat dinner between 7-9pm.
In December it’s freezing in the morning (40s) but warms up by 11am (70s). Bring a sweater or jacket with you.
So many perros! Get a pet in if you can.
Wander around by foot. There are so many beautiful buildings and homes.
Where we stayed:
We stayed in an airbnb both times we were in Mexico City, the first being our favorite. It is located on the outskirts of Condesa and was truly a gem. Super comfortable while also being stylish. It had everything we needed: enough towels, toilet paper, ironing board, wifi, even a washer & dryer (which we ended up using). The second airbnb was fine, but we arrived an hour & half after check-in (3:30pm) and there wasn’t any toilet paper, so we went to buy some and when we got back a couple hours later, there was some left for us. The wifi was also a bit spotty and since I was checking in on work, that was a big downside for me. I will link the first airbnb for those interested.
Blend Station - highly recommend
Dosis Cafe - highly recommend
Brown Caffeine Lab
Tulio - recommend
Lardo - recommend
Quentin - recommend
Tierra Garat - highly recommend (iced chai was so good)
Pujol - what an experience. Highly recommend.
Lorea - interesting & thoughtful.
Meroma - highly recommend
Pasillo de Humo
Masala y Maiz - HIGHLY RECOMMEND
El Califa de Leon - amazing tacos - highly recommend
Any taco stand with a line. No, seriously.
Fonda 99.99 - recommend
El Moro for churros
Huset (It was okay. We went for dinner. I would maybe recommend lunch & drinks. The space was pretty though).
What to see:
Castillo de Chapultepec
Biblioteca Vasconcelos - highly recommend
Palacio de Bellas Artes
House of Tiles - recommend
Museo Mural Diego Rivera - recommend
Soumaya Museum - highly recommend (it’s also free every single day)
Angel of Independence
Neighborhoods: Polanco, La Condesa, Roma, Roma Sur, Juarez, Hipodromo, Cuauhtemoc, Tacubaya, Anzures, Centro
Casa Luis Barragan - we didn’t get a chance to go, but this was something on my list.
La Ciudadela Market
Fifty Mils at Four Seasons Hotel - both times we went they were out of acai syrup, which is needed to make the 360 cocktail. Unfortunate. The other drinks we had were good but not great.
Hotel CondesaDF - Fun hotel with views & drinks. It seemed a little too hipster & touristy so I don’t think I’d go back, but glad we tried it.
Loup Bar - HIGHLY RECOMMEND - SO GOOD. Great food & a great wine list.
Licoreria Limantour - HIGHLY RECOMMEND - Our favorite bar in the city. It was rated one of the 50 best bars in the world and it deserves that title. Thoughtful drinks with friendly staff.
Baltra Bar - recommend - loved this bar. We were only one of two couples there & we met another couple who recommended a few places in CDMX as well as offering us some weed lol.
Frida Khalo Museum
Weekdays & mornings are sleepy - we were the only people on the canal for a while.
Get there at noon on weekdays if you want to see more action. That is when most people start showing up and when you will see more boats serving food & drinks.
If you go on the weekend, be prepared for all the locals to be there as well - apparently it gets really busy.
It can be chilly so bring a sweater.
Order a quesadilla or taco while on the canals.
If you have time and are with a group - do the 4 hour ride to see more (Isla de las Munecas).
There are no Ubers, only taxis.
Stay downtown so you’re close to everything & don’t need to get a taxi unless going on a day trip.
Eat Oaxaca cheese & other ingredients indigenous to Oaxaca & nearby.
Talk to locals.
Visit the markets & buy local handmade goods.
There are a lot of stray dogs <3.
Eat at El Destilado & Casa Oaxaca.
I was doing all the research trying to find us a place to stay near the beach that wasn’t a massive, overcrowded resort with a million people. I was looking for something that was a little more secluded and quiet. After extensive research and typing “chic boutique hotels in Mexico” multiple times, I stumbled upon Verana. When I made it to the website, it said “I am Verana, meet me. Finding me is part of the adventure. Take a taxi from Puerto Vallarta to Boca de Tomatlan. Catch a boat to Yelapa. The boat curves down through the Bay of Banderas. Suddenly the driver cuts the engine to drift in towards the coast. The mules are standing on the rocks. Your luggage is strapped to their backs, and you hike up the hill into the jungle. I will be waiting for you.” I was instantly hooked.
It was just like the website said. We flew into PVR, took an Uber (I would recommend over a taxi as it was half the price), Moses, the boat driver was waiting for us even though our flight was 45 min late. We hopped on and headed towards Verana. When we arrived about 20-30 min later, Jorge was there waiting for us to accompany us to the hotel. We hiked 15-20 min up to the top where the hotel sat, nestled in the jungle with views of the ocean from every angle. It was breathtaking. We were greeted by the staff & got to grab lunch before heading to our room. We stay in the Pool House, which had 2 beds, wonderful views, our own private pool and no doors. We changed, went on a little tour of the property & then headed back to the restaurant and bar for a Tequila & mezcal tasting. Paul really enjoyed it but I wasn’t a fan until Joel, the bartender, used what I spit out to make a killer margarita.
The first night was interesting. Every night, someone from the Verana team comes in to do the turndown service, where they light candles, tidy up and make sure the mosquito nets are tucked in while everyone is at dinner. Once we returned to our room, it was time to slip under the covers and tuck the remaining parts of the net in. Sleeping under the stars with all the sounds of nature commence! We could hear it all - crickets, birds, creatures of the night. The first night was the weirdest, just because it was something we weren’t used to. Also because they explicitly state on their website that you may see a scorpion and you may get stung by one. They are apart of Mexico. This was on my mind the first night, as you can imagine. Every other night after the first felt like a breeze, and was actually really enjoyable. To answer all those questions about scorpions, we never saw one.
In nature, bugs don’t go away. The most annoying thing about not having doors, was the gnats. They would really come out viciously around 8-9am during coffee & tea arrival and then again during sundown, 5-6pm before dinner. Not going to lie, we headed to the library a couple of evenings before dinner since it had doors and hung out there.
Some other fun activities we did while at Verana were taking a cooking class with the chef. She showed us how to make a basic pico de gallo, guacamole & then how to make mole from scratch. The mole we made consisted of tomatoes, sesame seeds, peanuts, almonds, Mexican Chocolate, dried chilies with the seeds removed, garlic, salt & pepper, cinnamon sticks, onions, chicken stock, pumpkin seeds, cumin, bay, oregano, and more. We then cooked some shrimp to make mole & shrimp tacos. Muy bien! We also went to the spa. I got a facial and then Paul joined me after it for our massages. He did a deep tissue massage and I did the hot stone massage. BEST THING EVER. Lastly, we visited Yelapa with some friends we met at Verana (Paul actually knew the guy from when he was younger living in Bradford/Leeds - small world?). Yelapa is only a 20 min or so walk from Verana and there is a dedicated trail to take you there. Unfortunately, we visited on Christmas day, so most of all the shops and restaurants were closed, but I would highly recommend it. There are so many places to eat, drink, and pet dogs. There are also a couple of waterfalls and you can make your way to the beach and chill there too.
I told my mom that we decided to go to Mexico for our Christmas break and the first thing she said to me was “where”. I told her Mexico City, Oaxaca & Yelapa. She then asked “are you scared?”. My first reaction was “no?? Why would I be scared??”. She is used to going to Cabo & Cancun and staying at dedicated tourist & foreigner resorts. There is nothing wrong with that, but that’s not how you really get to know a country or city. Why not do both?
Mexico was beautiful, breathtaking, raw, colorful and the people were some of the most hardworking I’ve ever seen. It was so easy to fall in love with Mexico. I felt more safe in Mexico City than I do in some parts of the U.S. I can’t wait to go back and explore more of the country, especially the bits that most people don’t go to.
Thanks for following along, as always.