A week exploring Mexico City’s diverse neighbourhoods

Mexico City was the very first stop on our very first round the world trip in 2005 which began our wanderlust, so it has always been special place for us. Having said that we couldn’t actually recall much apart from emerging from the metro late at night into the huge empty Zocalo (main square), downing a tequila on our hostel terrace overlooking the square and visiting the pyramids at Teotihuacán.

Therefore, we were keen to revisit, and even more keen to try the food. This time around we spent a week in the capital, staying in two different areas, which enabled us to explore the many different neighbourhoods; none of which are like the Mexico City you probably imagine.

 

Roma & Condesa

We spent the first three nights in a lovely B&B set around a light-filled blue courtyard. Owned by a cool chilango who pointed us in the direction of numerous delicious restaurants and cool bars (which wouldn’t look out of place in London or New York). As well as the amazing array of imbibing options, this middle class area of the city was full of interesting architecture, colonial homes, leafy plazas, parks and small art galleries.


Xochimilcho

25km south of the city is this neighbourhood is famous for its 180km of pre-Hispanic canals. We planned to visit on a tour but it was cancelled so we buddied up with a Dutch traveller and organised a taxi to take us there. 

After a long drive (with a crazy lady) and some confusion over the location, we arrived at a dock and negotiated the hire of a gondola (which could have seated 20) and puntsman. This is where families come to spend the day with their loved ones and being Sunday, there was a real party atmosphere with loads of colourful boats full of boozing, dancing and feasting locals. There were bands who would hop on your boat and play for you (for a small fee) and boats you could buy food and beer from. So we drank Coronas and ate tacos as we cruised the waterways (and bumped into the other boats), shouting ‘ola’ to passersby.

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Chapultepec & Polanco

These upscale areas were a short stroll from our base in Roma. We wandered through the busy Chapultepec Park, full of families on pedalos and kids eating candifloss, to visit the renowned Anthropology Museum. After, we headed to Polanco, and while searching for street food, passed Gucci and Louis Vuitton boutiques. We finished our day in the poshest cinema we had ever visited. Plush chairs and table lamps plus a call button to request food and drinks.

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San Angel

12km southwest of the centre, San Angel used to be a small village but has now been engulfed by the metropolis. It still maintains its cobblestone centre but high-rises loom in the distance. We went for the Saturday crafts market and strolled amongst the art displays past colonial mansions, bougainvillaea and manicured gardens.

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Centro Historico

The rest of the time we based ourselves a few blocks from the magnificent Zocalo in the heart of the UNESCO-recognised old town. The busy streets were filled with myriad museums, pre-Hispanic ruins, churches, palaces and parksSince 2000, money has been poured into upgrading the image and infrastructure of the centre. Streets have been repaved, buildings refurbished, lighting and traffic flow improved and security bolstered. It was a fascinating place to stroll around as there was something amazing around every corner.


Food

Most importantly we ate extremely well here and revelled in the diversity of the cuisine and the preponderance of spice (after having had our fill of steak in Argentina):


Next stops:
San Miguel De Allende and Guanajatuo in the central highlands

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