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Jetset Seeker's Top Five Mexico City Travel Tips

E4: Jetset Seeker's Top Five Mexico City Travel Tips

Welcome to Mexico City, a sprawling metropolis rich in history, culture, and vibrant energy. As one of the largest cities in the world, navigating its bustling streets and uncovering its hidden gems can be both exciting and overwhelming. Whether you are planning your first visit or returning for another adventure, preparation is key to making the most of your trip. In this post, we will share our top five Mexico City travel tips to ensure you have an unforgettable experience in CDMX. Discover why immersing yourself in the city's history beforehand can enhance your experience, how walking might just be your quickest mode of transportation, and what you need to know about using Uber in the city. Plus, we will cover the importance of booking experiences in advance, carrying pesos, and why you should avoid drinking the tap water. Get ready to explore Mexico's capital like a pro Jetsetter with these essential top five Mexico City travel tips!

1. Learn the History of Mexico City

Of our top five Mexico City travel tips, this one is the most important as it provides context to the many juxtapositions seen in daily life in Mexico City. Mexico City, one of the most vibrant and culturally rich cities in the world, boasts a fascinating history that stretches back to the 14th century. Understanding its past can greatly enrich your visit, providing deeper insights into its landmarks and heritage.

Tenochtitlan and the Aztec Empire

Mexico City stands on the ruins of Tenochtitlan, the magnificent capital of the Aztec Empire. Founded by the Aztecs (also called Mexicas) in 1325, Tenochtitlan was built on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico. According to Aztec legend, the location was chosen based on a prophecy: the Mexica people were to settle where they found an eagle perched on a cactus, devouring a snake. (If this imagery sounds familiar, it is because this iconic image is now depicted on the Mexican flag.)

Mexican Flag

Tenochtitlan was a marvel of engineering and architecture, with grand temples, intricate canals, and bustling marketplaces. At the heart of Tenochtitlan was the Templo Mayor, a massive pyramid dedicated to the gods Huitzilopochtli (the god of war and the sun) and Tlaloc (the god of rain and agriculture). The temple was a focal point for religious ceremonies and rituals, including human sacrifices, which were believed to ensure the favor of the gods and the prosperity of the city. 

The Aztecs showcased impressive ingenuity in adapting to the challenges of their aquatic surroundings. They developed chinampas, or "floating gardens," which were artificial islands created by layering mud and vegetation. These chinampas provided fertile ground for agriculture, allowing the Aztecs to grow crops such as maize, beans, and squash, which sustained the city's large (and growing) population. Additionally, the city had an advanced aqueduct system that brought fresh water from nearby springs, ensuring a reliable water supply for drinking, irrigation, and sanitation.

Want to learn more about the Aztec's floating gardens or perhaps even visit them on your trip to Mexico City? Check out our comprehensive guide to the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco

Tenochtitlan stood as a tangible representation of the burgeoning strength and sway of the Aztec Empire with its strategic island positioning offering a formidable defense against adversaries. However, Tenochtitlan reached its zenith under the rule of Moctezuma II. In 1519, Spanish conquistadors led by Hernán Cortés arrived, forming alliances with indigenous groups opposed to Aztec rule. After a brutal and protracted siege, Tenochtitlan fell to the Spanish in 1521, marking the end of the Aztec Empire and the beginning of Spanish colonization.

Colonial Era and the Birth of Mexico City

After the fall of Tenochtitlan, the Spanish built Mexico City on its ruins, using stones from Aztec temples to construct their own buildings and churches. The heart of the new city was the Metropolitan Cathedral, erected directly across from the ruins of the Templo Mayor. This juxtaposition symbolized the Spanish conquest and the imposition of Catholicism over indigenous religions. Mexico City was designed in a European style, with many trademarks that are still visible today, including wide boulevards, plazas, and grandiose architecture. The grid-like layout and the emphasis on monumental structures reflected Renaissance urban planning principles, which aimed to demonstrate the power and order of the Spanish Empire.

As the capital of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, a vast territory that included much of North America, Central America, and the Philippines, Mexico City flourished as a center of trade, culture, and political power throughout the colonial period. The city became immensely wealthy, benefiting from the extraction of resources like silver and gold from the surrounding regions and the labor of the indigenous and enslaved African populations. This wealth was reflected in the construction of opulent palaces, ornate churches, and other public buildings that showcased the prosperity and influence of the Spanish elite.

However, this period of growth and prosperity came at a tremendous human cost. The arrival of the Spanish brought devastating diseases such as smallpox, measles, and influenza, to which the indigenous population had no immunity. Combined with the harsh labor conditions and violent suppression, the result was a dramatic decline in the indigenous population. It is estimated that millions of indigenous people died during the early years of Spanish rule, leading to a demographic collapse that reshaped the social and cultural landscape of the region.

By the early 19th century, however, widespread discontent had taken root in New Spain. The rigid social hierarchy imposed by the Spanish crown created deep divisions between the peninsulares (Spaniards born in Spain) and the criollos (those of Spanish descent born in the Americas). While peninsulares held most of the political and economic power, criollos and the broader mestizo and indigenous populations were marginalized and increasingly dissatisfied with their lack of opportunities and representation in positions of power.

The global context also played a significant role in fomenting revolutionary sentiment. The success of the American Revolution (1775–1783) and the French Revolution (1789–1799) inspired similar aspirations for independence and democratic governance in Latin America. Additionally, the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) and the subsequent occupation of Spain by Napoleon's forces in 1808 weakened Spanish authority and created a power vacuum in its colonies.

The War for Independence

The Mexican War of Independence officially began on September 16, 1810, with Miguel Hidalgo's famous "Grito de Dolores," a call to arms against Spanish rule. This rebellion, led by Hidalgo, a criollo priest, quickly gained traction among the lower classes, including indigenous people and mestizos. Although Hidalgo was captured and executed in 1811, the movement continued under the leadership of figures such as José María Morelos, Vicente Guerrero, and Agustín de Iturbide.

The conflict was characterized by brutal fighting, shifting alliances, and widespread destruction. The insurgents' determination and the weakening grip of the Spanish authorities eventually led to a turning point. By 1820, liberal reforms in Spain and the reinstatement of the Spanish Constitution of 1812 further undermined colonial authority and emboldened the independence movement.

In 1821, Agustín de Iturbide, a former royalist who had switched sides, and Vicente Guerrero, one of the leading insurgents, formulated the Plan of Iguala. This plan called for Mexico's independence, the preservation of the Catholic Church's privileges, and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. The plan gained widespread support, and on September 27, 1821, the Army of the Three Guarantees, led by Iturbide and Guerrero, triumphantly entered Mexico City.

The Treaty of Córdoba, signed on August 24, 1821, formalized the independence of Mexico, marking the end of the Spanish colony of New Spain. Mexico City, as the capital, became the center of the newly independent nation, which faced the daunting challenges of building a cohesive state from the remnants of colonial rule.

The transition from colonial rule to independence was far from smooth. The newly formed Mexican Empire, with Iturbide as emperor, lasted only a short time before he was overthrown in 1823, leading to the establishment of the Mexican Republic. Despite these challenges, the fall of the Spanish colony of New Spain was a pivotal moment in Mexican history. It set the stage for the development of a national identity and the ongoing struggle for sovereignty, democracy, and social justice. Understanding this tumultuous period is essential for appreciating the resilience and complexity of Mexico City, where the echoes of its colonial past and the spirit of independence continue to shape its vibrant present.

Emperor Maximilian & Empress Charlotte

The mid-19th century was largely a turbulent time for Mexico, marked by political instability, foreign intervention, and the Mexican-American War (1846–1848). In 1864, Archduke Maximilian of Austria was installed as the Emperor of Mexico by French forces, supported by conservative Mexican factions. 

The period during which Emperor Maximilian I reigned over Mexico, known as the Second Mexican Empire, was a dramatic and complex chapter in the nation's history. This era, spanning from 1864 to 1867, was marked by political intrigue, foreign intervention, and a struggle between conservative and liberal forces. The legacy of Maximilian's reign, and the events surrounding it, continue to influence Mexico today. Conservative factions, seeking to restore order and counter the liberal reforms of President Benito Juárez, sought support from European powers. This led to the French intervention in Mexico, with Emperor Napoleon III aiming to expand French influence in the Americas.

In 1864, Archduke Maximilian of Austria, a member of the House of Habsburg (at the time the ruling family of modern-day Austria & Hungary), was installed as the Emperor of Mexico with the backing of French military forces. He and his wife, Empress Charlotte of Belgium, took residence in Chapultepec Castle, a historic and strategically important site overlooking Mexico City. Chapultepec Castle is one of Mexico City's most iconic landmarks. Originally built in the late 18th century as a colonial-era fortress and home to the viceroys of New Spain, the castle underwent renovations under Maximilian's rule, transforming it into a European-style imperial residence. The castle's grandeur, with its elaborate gardens and opulent interiors, reflected Maximilian's aspirations for his empire.

Today, Chapultepec Castle serves as the National Museum of History. It houses extensive collections of artifacts, documents, and exhibits that chronicle Mexico's history from the pre-Columbian era to the modern day. The castle offers visitors a glimpse into the opulence of Maximilian's court and the turbulent events of his reign.

Chapultepec Castle_Carriage

Despite being a foreign ruler, Maximilian aimed to modernize Mexico and implemented several progressive reforms. He attempted to balance conservative and liberal policies, promoting land reforms, religious freedom, and the establishment of educational institutions. However, his reforms often alienated both his conservative supporters and the liberal opposition. Maximilian's efforts were hampered by the ongoing conflict with Republican forces led by Benito Juárez, who refused to recognize his legitimacy. The French military support that sustained Maximilian's rule began to wane as France faced pressures in Europe and from the United States, which opposed the foreign intervention in the Western Hemisphere under the Monroe Doctrine.

Ultimately, Maximilian's reign was short-lived. The French withdrew their support under pressure from Mexican republicans and the United States, leading to Maximilian's capture and execution in 1867. (Empress Charlotte, devastated by the turn of events, returned to Europe and spent the rest of her life in seclusion in Belgium.) Maximilian's execution reinforced the resolve of Mexican republicans and solidified the nation's commitment to republicanism and sovereignty. It also served as a cautionary tale against foreign intervention. Furthermore, the story of Maximilian and Charlotte has become a poignant chapter in Mexican history, symbolizing the nation's struggle for self-determination and the complexities of its interactions with European powers.

Mexico City in the 20th Century

The early 20th century saw Mexico endure a brutal revolution from 1910 to 1920, which profoundly reshaped the nation. Mexico City, as the capital, was at the heart of the conflict and subsequent political changes. Throughout the 20th century, the city grew rapidly, transforming into one of the largest and most populous cities in the world. Despite facing challenges such as social inequality, political upheaval, and environmental issues, Mexico City has remained a vibrant cultural hub.

Mexican Revolution (1910-1920)

The Mexican Revolution was a pivotal event that reshaped the course of Mexican history. It began as a series of uprisings against the long-standing dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, who had ruled Mexico for over three decades. The revolution was fueled by a desire for land reform, labor rights, and political freedom.

Mexico City played a central role in the revolution, serving as a strategic hub for political organizing, military operations, and diplomatic negotiations. The city witnessed intense street battles, sieges, and shifting alliances among various revolutionary factions, including leaders like Francisco Madero, Emiliano Zapata, Pancho Villa, and Venustiano Carranza.

The revolution was marked by violence, social upheaval, and significant changes in governance and land ownership. It led to the establishment of a new constitution in 1917, which enshrined key principles such as land redistribution, labor rights, and social justice.

Following the turbulent years of the revolution, Mexico City experienced rapid growth and urbanization. The influx of rural migrants, displaced by agrarian reforms and seeking economic opportunities in the city, fueled population growth and the expansion of urban neighborhoods. The city's infrastructure underwent significant development, with the construction of modern roads, bridges, and public utilities. Urban planning initiatives aimed to accommodate the burgeoning population and address issues of housing, sanitation, and transportation.

Cultural Renaissance

Despite the challenges posed by social inequality, political instability, and environmental concerns such as air pollution and water scarcity, Mexico City emerged as a vibrant cultural center in the 20th century. The city's cultural renaissance was fueled by a diverse range of artists, writers, musicians, and intellectuals who contributed to Mexico's rich artistic heritage.

Art movements such as Mexican Muralism, led by artists like Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco celebrated Mexican history, culture, and social justice themes. Literature flourished with renowned writers, like Octavio Paz, making significant contributions to Mexican and global literature.

Present-Day Mexico City

Today, Mexico City is a bustling metropolis that beautifully intertwines its rich historical heritage with the vibrancy of modern urban life. Exploring the city is like embarking on a journey through time, where ancient civilizations coexist with contemporary innovations. Historical sites such as Chapultepec Castle, perched majestically on a hill overlooking the city, invite visitors to step back in time and envision the lives of Emperor Maximilian and Empress Charlotte during the brief yet impactful Second Mexican Empire. The castle's opulent interiors, expansive gardens, and panoramic views serve as a testament to Mexico's complex history and European influences.

On the other hand, a visit to the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco offers a different perspective, harkening back to the time of Tenochtitlan and the Aztecs. These gardens, known as chinampas, are man-made islands floating on the ancient waterways of Xochimilco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating back to pre-Hispanic times, the chinampas were used for agricultural purposes, providing sustenance to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. Today, a ride on a colorful trajinera (traditional gondola-style boat) through the canals of Xochimilco allows visitors to experience the unique beauty of these floating gardens and appreciate their historical significance.

Xochimilco Up-Close
Beyond these iconic sites, Mexico City pulsates with cultural energy and diversity. Neighborhoods like Coyoacán and Roma showcase a blend of colonial architecture, bohemian vibes, and contemporary art scenes. Museums in Mexico City such as the National Museum of Anthropology, Frida Kahlo Museum (Casa Azul), and Museo Soumaya offer a deep dive into Mexico's indigenous cultures, artistic legacies, and global contributions.

Understanding Mexico City's turbulent history enhances your appreciation of its diverse and dynamic culture. As you explore its historic sites, from ancient Aztec ruins to colonial-era landmarks and revolutionary monuments, you will gain a deeper connection to the city's legacy and its ongoing story. 

2. Navigating Mexico City

Next on our list of our top Mexico City travel tips is all about navigating Mexico City. In fact, something that might surprise you is that walking often proves to be the quickest form of transportation in this metropolis. Mexico City is infamous for its traffic and road congestion, which can be daunting for visitors and locals alike. The city's extensive road networks, combined with a high volume of vehicles, contribute to frequent gridlock and delays, especially during rush hour. Factors such as ongoing construction projects, limited parking spaces, and unpredictable traffic patterns further exacerbate the situation. It is also not uncommon for roads to be suddenly closed to through traffic as the result of a protest or public event, particularly in the Centro Histórico.

Navigating Mexico City's streets by car can be a challenging experience, with traffic jams and long commute times being common occurrences. Public transportation, while extensive and incredibly affordable, can also be incredibly crowded and subject to delays. 

Despite its vast size, many of Mexico City's top tourist attractions are clustered within walkable neighborhoods or are accessible via pedestrian-friendly routes. Strolling through historic districts like Centro Histórico or trendy areas like Condesa and Roma allows visitors to immerse themselves in the city's ambiance while avoiding traffic woes. Therefore, we highly recommend staying in hotels near the attractions you wish to visit during your trip. This not only saves time and frustration associated with commuting but also allows for a more leisurely exploration of the city on foot. In fact, and from our experience, any attraction within a two mile radius of your hotel will be reached quickest on foot - particularly on weekends and during rush hour. 

Get an Early Start

If you plan on visiting the enchanting Floating Gardens of Xochimilco or exploring the ancient wonders of Teotihuacan by car, starting your journey early is key to avoiding traffic delays and making the most of your day. We beat the traffic by heading to Teotihuacan early. Our tour guide picked us up from our hotel at 6:50 AM. While the early wake-up call was less than ideal on vacation, it allowed us to get to Teotihuacan in less than an hour. By getting an early start, we not only missed the traffic, but were also treated to a less crowded Teotihuacan experience and cooler temperatures. However, when we set out later in the morning for our trip to the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco, the journey to our destination was relatively smooth. Unfortunately, on the way back, we hit the beginning of rush hour, turning what should have been a one-hour trip into a nearly two-hour ordeal. To make matters worse, we were stuck in a bus without any air conditioning, putting a real damper on our otherwise enjoyable day!


In Mexico City, taxis are not always the safest form of transportation due to the potential for unlicensed drivers, unmarked taxis, and the risk of being overcharged for your ride. Issues such as taxi crime, where passengers may be overcharged, robbed, or worse, are concerns that travelers should be aware of during their trip to Mexico City. To mitigate these risks, it is advisable to avoid hailing taxis off the street. If you need to use a taxi, it is always best to have your hotel call for a licensed and reputable taxi on your behalf. If you find yourself exploring the city and in need of a taxi, seek out an official taxi stand, or ask for assistance from a nearby restaurant or hotel to arrange one for you. This ensures that the taxi has been vetted and is reliable, providing a safer and more secure experience for your journey. 


Additionally, when arriving at Mexico City International Airport, officially known as Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX), make sure to book your taxi through the official taxi stand rather than accepting rides from drivers who approach you directly. This practice helps to avoid potential scams and ensures a secure and regulated journey to your destination. A taxi from MEX to Mexico City's historic center is a fixed price depending on your destination. Plan for it to cost around $360 MX (or approximately $21.00 USD). You pay in-advance - in pesos - at the taxi stand at the airport, so you do not need to worry about haggling with your driver over the fare. Taxi rides typically take around 30 minutes from the airport to the city center, but may take longer if you are traveling during rush hour. If you want to take a taxi from MEX follow the signs in the airport for the taxi counter and be sure to ignore taxi drivers that wander up to you in the arrivals terminal as they do not work for the companies (like Yellow Cab) that offer the fixed price taxi service.  

One last note about taxis in Mexico City...from my experience the taxi drivers did not speak any English. However, if you have the address of your destination handy or can rely on a translation app for assistance, communicating with taxi drivers should not pose a problem. But if language barriers are a concern, Uber is an alternative means of getting around Mexico City.


If you are worried about the language barrier, do not have cash, are not near an authorized taxi stand, or would prefer to pay via an app on your phone, Uber is widely available in Mexico City. Uber is known for being a safe and incredibly affordable option for getting around. The app-based service provides a convenient way to book rides, ensuring that you know the driver and the car details before your trip begins. Many travelers and locals prefer Uber for its reliability and ease of use, making it an excellent choice for navigating the city's bustling streets. Prices in the Uber app will be shown in Mexican Pesos, so make sure to use a credit card that does not incur foreign transaction fees.

Public Transportation 

Public transportation in Mexico City is both extensive and affordable, making it a practical option for getting around the city. However, it can be incredibly busy, especially during peak hours, with crowded buses and metro trains. While not commonly used by tourists, public transportation is a viable option for those looking to experience the city like a local. If you choose to use it, Google Maps can be an invaluable tool for finding the best routes and navigating the system efficiently. Public transportation not only offers an affordable and practical way to navigate Mexico City but also plays a crucial role in reducing traffic congestion and keeping the streets less busy, making it an important consideration for travelers looking to explore the city responsibly.

3. Book Experiences in Advance

When visiting Mexico City, it is crucial to plan and book excursions, experiences, museum tickets, and even reservations for popular restaurants in advance. Mexico City is teeming with cultural gems and culinary delights, and many of its renowned restaurants and museums have more demand than availability. 

One prime example is Casa Azul, the former home of Frida Kahlo and now home to the Frida Kahlo Museum (Museo Frida Kahlo), a museum dedicated to her life and art. Tickets for Casa Azul often sell out weeks in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons and holidays. Unfortunately, we missed out on visiting Casa Azul during our Mexico City trip as the tickets were already sold out when I tried to book them online three weeks in advance. Therefore, to avoid our feelings of disappointment, we recommend that you to purchase your tickets well ahead of your planned visit. For Casa Azul in particular, tickets can be purchased directly from the museum's website. If you are unable to procure tickets on your own, tickets and guided tours of the Frida Kahlo Museum can also be booked using third-party websites like GetYourGuide.

Similarly, reservations at popular restaurants in Mexico City, known for their exquisite cuisine and innovative culinary experiences, can be hard to come by on short notice. From trendy eateries in Condesa and Roma to fine dining establishments showcasing Mexico's gastronomic diversity, securing a table in advance ensures you will not miss out on the city's culinary highlights. We were itching to try Contramar in Roma, but we unfortunately could not book far enough in advance to snag a highly coveted reservation. Reservations for Contramar, and many other popular restaurants and cocktail bars in Mexico City, fill up a month in advance. However, fret not if you are unable to plan that far ahead or opt for a more relaxed and spontaneous approach to vacationing, there are still plenty of exceptional dining options in the city that do not require reservations.

Guided tours to iconic sites such as Teotihuacan, with its ancient pyramids and archaeological wonders, also tend to book up quickly, particularly on weekends. These tours offer valuable insights and context to the historical significance of the sites, making them popular among visitors. If you can visit during the week - like we did - you will save yourself a lot of headaches and be able to enjoy a less-crowded experience at Teotihuacan. Otherwise, be sure to book your tour a few weeks in advance. We highly recommend the phenomenal half-day tour that we did of Teotihuacan that we booked via GetYourGuide.  The tour included round-trip transportation from our hotel, admission to the site, bottled water and snacks, and a guided tour of Teotihuacan.

Booking in advance not only ensures your access to these sought-after experiences but also allows for better itinerary planning and flexibility. As always, we recommend that you check the official websites of museums, attractions, tour operators, and restaurants for availability and secure your spots early. By planning ahead and making reservations, you can make the most of your time in Mexico City and indulge in its cultural, historical, and incredible food scene without any last-minute stress.

4. Pesos & Money Matters 

In Mexico City, cash is still widely used, especially for smaller transactions, in markets, and with street vendors. Taxi drivers are also cash-only. However, major establishments such as hotels, restaurants, and large retailers will accept credit cards, including Visa and Mastercard. It is essential to have a mix of cash and cards for flexibility when visiting Mexico City.

BBVA Building CDMX
When withdrawing cash, we always recommend using ATMs from reputable banks like BBVA, Banorte, or Citibanamex. These ATMs are more likely to have security measures in place and lower fees. If you can help it, avoid using standalone ATMs in remote or less secure areas such as those at convenience stores or on street corners to minimize the risk of fraud or skimming incidents. We also recommend using ATMs during daylight hours only. 

We usually kept anywhere from $1,000-2,000 MX (approximately $56.00-112.00 USD) on us at all times, as this was enough cash to pay for small purchases as we explored Mexico City, while still feeling safe. 

During your time in Mexico City, prices will always be displayed in Mexican Pesos with the dollar symbol, $. If you need to quickly convert Mexican Pesos to US Dollars, or your home currency, use a website like Google for the most up-to-date exchange rates.


Tipping culture in Mexico City is similar to many other places in Mexico and North America. In restaurants and bars, it is customary to leave a tip of around 10-20% of the total bill, although some higher-end establishments may include a service charge (in which case you do not need to leave an additional tip). A service fee should be labeled as such. If you see IVA on your bill, that is added tax and not a service charge. Otherwise, as a rule of thumb, you can tip bartenders $20 MX per drink which is the equivalent of about $1.20 USD. Tipping should be done in cash.

For street food, tipping is not expected or required, but it is common to round-up and have the street food vendor keep the change. Unlike in the United States, taxi drivers do not expect a tip in Mexico. However, if you have luggage, it is polite to tip them $10-20 MX per bag (roughly $0.60-$1.20 USD). If you use Uber, you will be prompted in the app to leave a tip while in Mexico City and it is your discretion if you choose to leave a tip. We always did leave a tip on the few occasions that we used Uber in Mexico City - leaving a tip somewhere in the $20-50 MX range (roughly $1.20-3.00 USD) depending on the length of the ride. 

It is common to tip a luggage porter at your hotel or resort somewhere between $40-50 MX (or $2.35-$3.00 USD). Certain all-inclusive resorts may already include gratuities in their resort fee, so be sure to double-check before jetting off on your trip. In general, tipping is a way to show appreciation for good service, and it is always courteous to acknowledge the efforts of those who have assisted you during your time in Mexico City.

5. Water

To round out our list of our top five Mexico City travel tips we have to talk about the water. Water quality in Mexico City is a significant concern for both residents and visitors. The tap water is generally not safe for consumption due to contamination from various sources, including aging infrastructure, pollutants, and inadequate water treatment processes. Therefore, it is strongly advised to avoid drinking tap water during your visit to Mexico City.

One common issue that travelers might encounter is "Montezuma's Revenge," a colloquial term for traveler's diarrhea, which often results from consuming contaminated water. Symptoms can include stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and sometimes fever. Many hotels in Mexico City are well aware of these concerns and take steps to ensure their guests' safety and comfort. For instance, the Sofitel Mexico City Reforma where we stayed, as well as most other hotels, provide complimentary bottled water for guests. This bottled water is intended not only for drinking but also for daily hygiene practices such as brushing your teeth. 

By using bottled water, you can significantly reduce the risk of waterborne illnesses and enjoy a worry-free stay in Mexico City. Additionally, it is a good idea to carry bottled water when you are out exploring the city to stay hydrated - particularly in the heat of the summer.

If you do find yourself affected by Montezuma's Revenge, it is essential to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of bottled water or oral rehydration solutions (like Pedialyte or Gatorade), which can be found at local convenience stores. Stick to bland foods like bananas and toast, and avoid dairy, fatty foods, and anything spicy or rich until you recover. Over-the-counter medications can help manage symptoms, but it is best to consult with a pharmacist or doctor before taking any medication. If symptoms persist for more than a couple of days or if you experience severe dehydration or a high fever, seek medical attention right away. Many hotels can assist in calling for a doctor or directing you to nearby medical clinic.

Taking these precautions will help ensure that your visit to Mexico City is enjoyable and free from health concerns related to water quality. Remember to use the provided bottled water for all your hydration and hygiene needs, and do not hesitate to ask hotel staff for more if needed.


Water in Mexico City Restaurants 

In Mexico City, the water served in restaurants is generally safer than tap water due to purification processes. In fact, thanks to a 2015 law, all restaurants in Mexico City must serve filtered water and ice made with filtered water to their patrons. (This law does not apply to street vendors.) Most reputable restaurants and hotels understand the risks associated with untreated tap water and take measures to ensure the water they serve is safe for consumption. This often includes using purified or bottled water for drinking, cooking, and making ice.

To further minimize any risk of waterborne illnesses while dining out in Mexico City:

  1. Stick to Bottled Beverages: When in doubt, opt for bottled water, sodas, or other sealed beverages. Most restaurants readily offer bottled water upon request.
  2. Avoid Raw Produce: Be cautious with raw vegetables and fruits that may have been washed in tap water. Instead, eat fruits that you can peel yourself, such as bananas.
  3. Hot Beverages: Tea and coffee are usually safe since the water used is boiled, which kills most pathogens.

More Mexico City Travel Tips

Beyond the essentials, we have a few more travel tips to make your trip to Mexico City even smoother. From altitude adjustments to cultural etiquette and exploring diverse neighborhoods, these insights will help you navigate the city with confidence and immerse yourself in its vibrant culture. Here are some additional Mexico City travel tips:

  1. Altitude Adjustment: Mexico City sits at a high altitude, 7,350 feet (2,240 meters) above sea level, which can affect some travelers. Take it easy during your first few days in Mexico City to acclimatize, stay hydrated, and consider carrying medication for altitude-related symptoms if needed.

  2. Safety Awareness: While Mexico City is generally safe for tourists, it is essential to stay vigilant, especially in crowded areas and at night. Keep your belongings secure, avoid flashing valuables (especially jewelry and watches), and use reputable transportation options.

  3. Language Skills: While many locals in tourist areas speak English, knowing some basic Spanish phrases can enhance your experience and interactions. Consider learning a few common phrases or carrying a translation app, like Google Translate, for convenience.

  4. Explore Neighborhoods: Mexico City is a mosaic of diverse neighborhoods, each offering its own unique charm, culture, and attractions. Do not limit yourself to the Centro Histórico; venture out to neighborhoods like Coyoacán, San Ángel, and Polanco for a more authentic experience.

  5. Cultural Etiquette: Respect local customs and traditions, such as greeting people with a polite "buenos días" or "buenas tardes," respecting personal space, and following dress codes when visiting religious sites or formal establishments.

As you prepare for your trip to Mexico City, armed with these travel tips, you are poised to embark on a memorable and enriching adventure. By delving into the city's history, embracing its cultural diversity, savoring its culinary delights, and navigating its vibrant neighborhoods with confidence, you will uncover a rich assortment of experiences that beautifully capture the essence of Mexico City. Remember to stay open to new discoveries, respect local customs, and savor every moment of your exploration. Whether you are admiring the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacan, strolling through bustling markets, or indulging in delectable street food, Mexico City promises to captivate your senses and leave you with cherished memories to last a lifetime. ¡Buen viaje! 

Looking for more information on Mexico and Mexico City? Check out our Mexico City Travel Guide for more popular sites, incredible restaurants, and general information about this vibrant capital! Looking for general information on Mexico before embarking on your trip? From money matters, to crime and safety warnings, we have it all in our Mexico Travel Guide

Have you visited the Mexico City? We would love to hear from you!

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