Traveling to Mexico City

Being in the center of the Country, Mexico City is mostly reached by airplane. Located on a high basin, it requires some adaptation once you arrive. As one of the largest in the world and a major business hub, the city offers first quality accommodation and an intensive cultural life. Time zone is Central time in North America.

Mexico City Weather

Mexico City is located 2,240 meters (7,350 ft)* above sea level, located in a valley surrounded by forests, high mountains and volcanoes, sometimes covered with snow. Its position below the tropics makes the weather a mixed one: mornings and evenings are usually cool, but during the day it tends to become warmer, especially on a sunny day. 


March-May :  WARM-SUNNY . Temperature varies from  12° C (54ºF) to  30° C (85ºF), with low humidity (24%) and scarce rain. Sun rays beat hard during the day but it can rain in the afternoon. Be prepared with light wear, sunscreen and hat.


June-September :  MILD-RAINY . Temperature varies from  11° C (52ºF) to  27° C (81ºF), with medium humidity (40%), regular showers in the afternoon or evenings (160 mm rain). Sun rays shine gently during the day but it can be cloudy and stormy at night. Be prepared with an umbrella or raincoat. 


October-November :  MILD-SUNNY . Temperature varies from  9° C (48ºF) to  22° C (72ºF), with medium humidity (30-40%), scarce rain. Sun rays shine gently during the day and temperature descends after sunset. Be prepared with light wear, a jacket, sunscreen and hat. 


December-February :  DRY-SUNNY . Temperature varies from  5° C (41ºF) to  24° C (º75), with low humidity (20%), and scarce rain. Sun rays beat hard during the day, temperature drops quickly after sunset. Be prepared with a jacket for early mornings and evenings, sunscreen and hat. 

Iztaccihuatl (White Lady) during Summer time in the South-east of the Valley of Mexico.

* High Altitude Thinner atmosphere is not a big problem for most people: You will adapt within few hours. The city location, on the other hand, doesn’t help pollution to spread easily,specially between December and April. A good way to cope with altitude is to drink more water, have some food containing iron and potassium, watch your physical activity and reduce alcohol intake. For those above 80 years old or with extra weight, it may be harder to adapt.

Travel Tips 



Money Exchange 

It is useful to have some local currency, though most hotels, restaurants and services accept credit and debit cards. It is convenient to use the airport facilities, which offer better rates. Those linked with bank companies take a little more time because they ask for more documentation. Exchange rate floats daily: Right now exchange houses give you around  21 pesos for 1 US Dollar .
Notice that Mexican currency, Pesos use the $ symbol ! If you pay $950 pesos in a restaurant, it’s roughly $50 USD. 


Documents 

As soon as you go through customs, the authority will give you a Visit Permit (FMM) that is your official admission to the country. You must keep one portion of it until you check in your return flight and show it again, otherwise you’ll get a fine and loose precious time in before your flight. You won’t normally need your passport after checking in at the hotel, so keep it safe. 

It is a regular precaution to have a photocopy or electronic scan and have your passport number stored. Passport is useful for check in in hotels, change money or expensive purchases. 


Airport to the City transportation 

You can look for authorized taxis once you get to customs area on both terminals. They charge by distance and give you a ticket. Then you may walk outside to catch the same company’s boarding station in order. This is a reliable service. Uber has some restrictions to pick up people at the airport but it works fine as well. 

There is an efficient bus system called Metrobus departing from the two airport terminals to Downtown area-Reforma (Monumento a la Revolución). You must purchase an e-card on specific boots close to the stop and load MX$60 pesos per person. It takes some time to wait and buses run every 30-45 minutes plus the trip, making one hour in total. Look at the city map.


Safety and money 

Mexico City is a safe place to visit. As any big city you have to be aware of your personal belongings during your stay. A good suggestion is not to carry too much cash or more than one or two credit cards with you. Avoid using expensive jewelry or showing your wallet and money in the street. Be discrete all time about money chat. When you have to face crowds, you have to take some precautions, and that includes bars and restaurants, where pickpockets may take advantage. 

If you carry a professional camera it is advisable to bring a case and be aware of it all the time, it is a good idea to be with someone else to help you with the street photos. It is very safe to walk in the streets, but you may avoid getting into obvious dark alleys or venture alone outside tourist sectors alone or well-known dangerous areas. 

Street taxis are safe in general, but drivers many do not speak English, so it would be better to avoid them, especially at night. Then, it’s useful to have a private transportation service (Cabify, Uber or Didi) or calling from a taxi stand called “sitios” (they charge some extra fixed tariff or charge by distance). Hotel taxis charge you a very high fare and may be useful to take you back and forth. 


Insurance and health 

Public and private transportation services have limited insurance contracts to cover eventual accidents and emergency attention, so it would be better to have a travel insurance advice with your agent to cover other issues abroad. If you need a prescription, you must bring it with you. In case you need some medical attention pharmacies have very affordable medical services. Some hotels also will recommend you a doctor. 

After Influenza and Covid-19 Mexico City has implemented very high standards in avoiding contagion You may expect sanitation procedures when crossing check points or entering main facilities. Bring your set of mask or any protection you consider necessary. 


Dress code 

Since the city is mostly a business hub, you’ll find many people wearing office outfits, but it tends to be more casual during weekends. For men visitors it is advisable to wear light trousers instead of shorts, which would be suitable  for very warm days only . In winter you may need to be prepared for sharp temperature changes between day and night. 

When going out for dinner it is not necessary to wear suit and tie, but if you are going to a formal restaurant you’ll feel more comfortable wearing proper shoes, long sleeves and a casual blazer. Ladies: just remember the city is not a resort and sometimes you’ll be visiting churches,  avoid short pants, the rest is based on your taste and style. 


Food, water

Mexican Food is spicy and sometimes oily, so be moderate according to your taste and prudence. The change may be hard for some if you are not use to it. Hotels and restaurants serve purified water, but that is quite different in street vendors selling prepared food, so avoid them, as well as anything sold fresh in markets. If you get fresh fruit in the street, it is better to sanitize it before eating. Don’t drink tap water: it is probably not in a good condition after being pumped through a damaged distribution system. We prefer to drink bottled or purified filter water. Ice cubes, on the other hand are pretty safe in most restaurants. 


Extra tip

By the way, when going to the toilet mind that M is for Ladies “Mujeres” and H Men for “Hombres”.

path, jogger, trees, park, avenue

Paseo de la Reforma on a Sunday Morning 


Mobility and the City 

Crossing from one area to another or even moving within the same area takes a lot of time. Touristic areas, museums and attractions are packed of people. If you go to the airport consider one hour driving from central areas. Rush hour is from 6 am to 9 am, and from 5 pm to 10 pm, but down is always congested. Touristic areas those central sectors having most of the attractions, hotels and services, mostly concentrated and connected. The rest of this vast city is mostly residential and industrial, with limited interest. Despite the distance moving in the city normally takes long time (it is the most congested city in the world). 


Street Culture 

Mexican people are friendly and open to visitors. It won’t be difficult to start a casual conversation any time. But this friendliness is sometimes forgotten when driving, so normally do not expect a car stopping for pedestrians in an avenue and most streets. Cross the street on the corner at signaled areas and wait until cars have passed. Sometimes drivers might slow speed, and give you the courtesy to cross first, so take it as a compliment to you. 

Also take care of bicycle drivers, since they tend to drive in all directions with no particular care for pedestrians. If you rent a bicycle you should have good skills and experience in city driving. On Sundays a lot of people enjoy biking, using major roads like Reforma Avenue and Chapultepec Park. 

Registro Nacional de Turismo 31090140074

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