Mexico Part II-- Central Mexico
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Boarding a plane ($34 OW via Interjet) from Cancun and landing in Mexico City 2.5 hours later...In this post, we'll start exploring in the capital Mexico City, then move our way down south, passing through Puebla and ending in Oaxaca.
Traveling through Central Mexico...Mexico City is a vast city full of life, lights, movement, art, history, and enchantment. Puebla, the fourth largest city in Mexico, a city filled with colors, archaeological sites, and genuine people. Oaxaca, a coastal state, combines the best of fine dining, mezcal/tequila production, traditional cultural festivals, and off the beaten path beaches.
The temperature in Central Mexico is lower than in the Yucatan Peninsula. It's best to bring an easy to carry jacket as temperatures during the day can reach 80F then drop to 30F during night time.
Transportation -- We're using Interjet
(an affordable local Mexican airline) from Cancun to Mexico City. Then an ADO local bus from Mexico City to Puebla and from Puebla to Oaxaca. From Oaxaca, we're flying back to Mexico City. We decided to fly to save time and visit all 3 places in a total of 9 days. Our plane tickets were about $34 each way. We recommend buying your ADO bus tickets on your travel day unless there's a holiday. They have multiple buses leaving daily from the main stations. You can leave your bags at their lockers for a small fee if you decide to buy your tickets in the morning, then explore a bit and come back. For Transportation, within Mexico City, we relied heavily on walking and Ubers. Ubers are so affordable! Don't even bother renting a car there, be stress-free and let someone drive you around.
Where to stay in Mexico City--
You'll be doing most of your exploring, eating, and drinking in the following neighborhoods :
Roma Sur/Norte: Boho/ nightlife /artsy vibes and centrally located.
Condesa: Upscale /posh / trendy / boho/ nightlife and centrally located.
Polanco: Upscale/ nightlife / luxury/ fine dining and centrally located.
Coyoacan: former village/ near Frida Kahlo's house/ beautiful, artsy, and quiet/ 30min away via car from the center.
Day 1 - Travel day / Half day
We're using half of our day for day one as a travel day since we're flying from Cancun to Mexico City. Flying time is approx 2.5 hours. We chose a late afternoon flight with a 1pm departure from Cancun to have enough time to grab breakfast in Playa del Carmen, drive to Cancun, return our car rental and take a shuttle to the airport. With the time difference between both places, we arrived in Mexico City at 2:30pm. From there, we took an Uber to our hotel, checked in, relaxed, and decided to start the second part of our adventures, exploring the nightlife in Mexico City.
We started with dinner, followed by a night of bar hopping. You'll find plenty of cool bars in Roma Norte/ Sur, Condesa, and Polanco. For a complete list of our favorite bars plus 3 of the best-hidden speakeasies, check out my post " Bar Hopping in Mexico City."
Make sure to stay safe while drinking in Mexico City, as it's considered one of the world's most dangerous cities. We never encountered any problems, but we were always alert, never wore anything too flashy, avoided dark alleys, and took Ubers.
-- end of day 1
Day 2 -- Art and Local Markets
Have an easy-going day sleep if you need to after traveling and bar-hopping the night before. Wake up, whenever you wake up! Today is a full leisure day to soak the art in, admire all the beauty Mexico City has to offer, and eat your way through some of the local markets. When you're ready, start your day at the "Museo de Arte Moderno," Where you'll find Frida Kahlo's original painting of " The Two Fridas," among work from Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Jose Clemente Orozco, and many more local artists.
Castillo de Chapultepec --
Across the museum, through an enchanted forest and a small hike after, you'll find this famous castle set atop a hill. Once the country home for the Spanish Viceroy, later the former home of Mexican royalty and most recently used as the Capulet's castle in the 1996 remake of Romeo & Juliet directed by Baz Luhrmann. Castillo de Chapultepec, now open for public viewing, offer stunning views and mesmerizing corridors with a flare of an 18th-century decor and structure that's not to be missed.
After a feast of the eyes, head on to Mercado Roma and get a feast for the belly or visit any the local Market in Mexico City. We went to a total of 4 markets, and Mercado Roma was our favorite! This market is more upscale and trendy, yet despite being smaller and more commercial compared to the other markets, Mercado Roma can also offer some delicious authentic bites.
Our favorite stalls were:
La Reina de la Braza
Butcher & Sons
Churerria El Morro
The rooftop beer garden
Other Markets near by:
Mercado La Merced
Mercado de San Juan
Both these markets were a little too intense for us, so we simply did a quick stroll and left without eating. People are hustling hard here, and even knowing the language, we felt rushed and uncomfortable with all the screaming. Another thing to note about both these markets is that you can't have a delicate stomach to come here. You'll see all kinds of animals hanging dead in front of these shops. These markets are enormous, so imagine walking into 50 butcheries at the same time where everyone is calling out the specials to lure you in. On another note, both these mercados are the real deal. Chefs come here to shop for fresh meats and produce, so it definitely deserves a visit.
Angel de la Idependencia --
Walk off your food coma and head on to the iconic Angel de la Independencia -- a 27 min walk from Mercado Roma or a 19 min uber drive, depending on traffic. "El Angel" Mexico City's Independence monument was Built-in 1910 to commemorate 100 years of Independence from Spain. The Angel is modeled after Victoria, the Roman goodness of Victory. The Angel's base hosts a mausoleum with the remains of generals and investigators that fought during the Independence. With advanced notice and a permit, you may visit upstairs for a bird's - eye view of these bustling city streets.
After strolling around Mexico City, make your way to the Polanco district for a fancy dinner at Quintonil; Named one of the world's 50 best restaurants in 2017 that's also a Michelin Star recipient. Their menu is always changing and offers an optional seasonal tasting menu of 10 courses for $104pp or $179pp with pairing. Reservations are required, so book ahead of time if planning a visit as they're almost