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Cascoly Travel -- Tips for Travel to Mexico City
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Cascoly Travel
Tips for Travel to Mexico City

Mayan frieze
 Mayan frieze

Despite its reputation as a huge sprawling, polluted city, Mexico City is one of our favorite urban stays. It's well worth several days spent exploring its world famous, outdoor markets, great walking, fresh & incredible food, with easy access to the outskirts by metro.

 

Prehistoric Mexican god
 Prehistoric Mexican g

From the Mexico City Airport, look for booths inside of baggage claim with a large TAXI sign. AVOID ALL OTHER AIRPORT TAXI SOLICITATIONS. Set rates apply to all areas of the city, with most fares running around $10 U.S. per trip

Mostly for Mexican citizens, but helpful for tourists - each stop on the extensive metro subway system has its own icon. So even if your Spanish is weak, you can easily plan your trip - transferring at the 'eagle' and getting off at the 'galloping horse'

Taxis are inexpensive and quick - just be sure to agree on a fare before starting as meters tend to suffer from the worldwide problem of "not working today".

Walking is by far the most interesting and inexpensive way to see the city - take the metro out, then walk back to your hotel, stopping along the way for a lunchtime comida, or afternoon cerveza

 

Layers of fresh bell peppers
 Layers of fresh bell peppers
Ancho and other dried chilis for sale
 Ancho and other dried chilis for sale
Bright red chilis and fresh tomatoes
 Bright red chilis and fresh tomatoes
Merced Market

This mother of all markets has its own metro stop - you emerge in the middle of the thriving cacaphony that is Merced. It's a foodies or photographers paradise - everything's fresh and appetizing; my biggest regret is not having a kitchen in my hotel room to be able to prepare the marvels available. I'II always stock up on dried chilies [often to the amusement of the vendors, since I request 5 to 10 times the amount needed by the quotidian shopper] Moles come both wet and dry , and are presented in open bins. Mole pastes are unique to each vendor, combining as many as 20 chiles, spices and other ingredients, so you'll need to taste them, then imagine how they'll flavor your chicken, fish or meat dishes at home. It's hard to go wrong, and these mole pastes will keep for a few months in the refrigerator. They also make unique gifts for your less adventurous friends - you can even find small jars at the market for even more special gifts.

Throughout the market, you'll find fresh fruits and vegetables; hard working vendors, preparing nopales - succulent cactus - by cutting away all the spines. Spices like achiote , pimento rioja y naranja , comino entero abound. Bring alcohol wipes if you're also photographing! Last time we discovered huitlacoche . It's a fungus that grows on corn ears, producing big, swollen, deformed kernels, black inside with a silvery gray skin. It's easily compared to truffles, with a delicious, inky mushroomy flavor, but it's rarely available commercially. Sometimes you can find it in restaurants as Huitlacoche para Quesadilla. We'd discovered it in a restaurant the night before, then sought it out in the market to see what it looks like in the 'wild'.

 

  • Download Royalty-free Images of Mexican markets

    The outside of the huge Merced is surrounded by other smaller markets, and dozens of places to eat - sopes, tacos, enchilladas , and many more items are tasty, cheap and fresh.

     

  •   Murals of the Revolution

    The Mexican Revoluntion inspired and produced an enormous outpouring of huge works buy Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiro and many iother masters. There are many different museums around town, and many murals are not in museums, but placed in public buildings. sSee our other hubs for some other places to visit around the Zocalozocalo & Chapultepec

    Take the metro to the University and walk the campus to find the mosaic murals decorating many of the buildings.

    The Carrillo Gil Museum of Contemporary Art in Mexico City has the largest collection of work by Jose Clemente Orozco. This museum has a permanent collection of first-rank Mexican artists, with numerous works by Rivera, Siqueiros and Orozco.

     

    Head of Aztec Moon Goddess
     Head of Aztec Moon Goddess
    Aztec altar - stone of the sun
     Aztec altar - stone of the sun
    Chapultepec Museums

    The Anthropology museum is one of the finest in the world - the bottom floor is devoted to ancient civilizations of Mexico, while the upper floors show the ethnography of Mexico in the 20th century - many of the collections gathered in the 1950s and 1960s display cultural heritage that has been lost in globalizing modernity. The museum's cafe serves an inexpensive and excellent lunch. We spent 2 days here on our first visit to Mexico City, and have returned each subsequent trip.

    Museo Nacional de Historia...The Chapultepec Castle was the former home of Emperor Maximilian and is the current home of the National Museum of History. Visitors to the castle can inspect the various salons, with their opulent furnishings and a the splendid imperial carriage. Good place to see murals by Orozco, Siqueiros and O´Gorman. Some of the works here include "History of Independence," "Juarez, the Church, and the Imperialists," and "The Constitution." Look for Lenin subverting the extravagances of the robber baron age capitalists. You get an incredible view of the city and the manicured grounds make the trip to the castle even more spectacular.

    Nearby is an excellent Museum of Modern Art.


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