New York has long been known as the concrete jungle, but whoever coined this phrase has obviously never visited Mexico City. A bustling city brimming with fascinating culture, delicious food, colonial architecture, and hundreds of museums and historical sites, Mexico City is alluring both for avid travellers and the 22 million people that call the capital home.
For aspiring explorers with limited time to see everything the city has to offer, we’ve collected some of the experiences that should be at the top of your list.
Day 1: Explore the Historic Centre & Museum of Anthropology
Mexico City is huge. HUGE. So organising your activities by proximity is always your best bet. Start your journey downtown in the famous Zocalo, once the centre of the Aztec empire and now the second largest main square in the world. Soak in the smells, sights and sounds as you adjust to the hustle and bustle of the downtown and admire the architecture at every turn. Next, set your sights on the National Museum of Anthropology, one of the biggest museums in the world and one of the most important in Latin America. Finish it off with a trip down the Paseo de la Reforma to gaze out at monumental sculptures like the famous ‘Angel of Independence’ and the Hunter Diana while strolling the streets and admiring the beauty.
TOP TIP A day tour is usually your best bet to fit in all of these awesome sights. Meet some new people and have your own guide to really give you the history behind these fascinating sites with Bamba’s Mexico City Day Tour.
Day 2: Get lost in the Cuisine and Local Culture
Mexico is loud and proud about their delicious cuisine, and for undisputed reasons. World renowned for fresh flavours, unique food choices (cricket tacos, anyone?) and the ultimate lovers of spice, you will soon learn you’ve never really tasted Mexican food until you’ve arrived in Mexico. And while traditional Mexican restaurants will serve you up some of the best mole that will ever touch your lips, many will tell you that the true taste of Mexico lies in the food stalls that line the streets at every turn. Check out the city’s local markets and get lost in a sea of traditional clothing, handmade bags, and beautifully crafted trinkets as you steer your way through the organised chaos, all the while dreaming of your next meal. Hit up a taco cart? Yes please! Hot tamale? Don’t mind if I do!
TOP TIP If you truly want to feel like a local as you navigate the city and all the food on offer- you simply can’t beat the Bamba Local Markets and Food Tour. It will give you a sense of authenticity you will rarely find with another company in the city.
Day 3: A trip to the Teotihuacan Pyramids
One of the region’s most visited attractions, Teotihuacan offers an insight into prehistoric life for the ancient Aztecs. Steeped in over 2,000 years of history and once Mesoamerica’s greatest city, you will be in awe of the Piramide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun) and the Piramide de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon) which are the defining features of the remaining metropolis. Be sure to strap on your walking shoes, because getting to the top of the pyramids can be quite a hike- but the views from the top are worth every step. And if you need that extra bit of motivation, you can push forward knowing a shot of tequila will be waiting for you at the bottom- any tour worth its salt will take you to taste some traditional tequila and other delicious liquors that Mexico is oh so famous for!
TOP TIP Check out the Bamba Hidden Teotihuacan & Dinner to get it all in! And if you want to take it to the next level with your visit to Teotihuacan and don’t mind heights, you should take the Teotihuacan Hot Air Balloon ride over the pyramids. The views are totally indescribable!
Day 4: Visit the Xochimilco Canals & Coyoacan Neighbourhood
Nothing quite says you’ve arrived in Mexico than a serenade from a Mariachi, and with a little trip out to Xochimilco, it’s just a boat ride away! Declared a world heritage site in 1987, where once ancient cultures planted and cultivated their crops; tourists can now ride the scenic waterways on a traditional ‘trajinera’ gondola-style boat and take in the beautiful surroundings and soak in the history. Relax with a few drinks, pack some food and coast the waters while being serenaded by mariachis- what’s not to love?
Next squeeze in a visit to the quiet and bohemian village of Coyoacan, once home to the iconic Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. Millions of tourists flock to visit Casa Azul, also known as ‘the little blue house’ to gain a deeper understanding of her life. And although there are hundreds of museums filling Mexico City, you truly get a glimpse at more than just Frida’s work, as the house is brimming with personal items and mementos from a life filled with passion and tragedy.
TOP TIP Visiting Xochimilco and Coyoacan in one day can be tough, but definitely doable- especially on a group tour, which also makes the ride along the canals way more fun, with new friends! Check out the Bamba Xochimilco & Frida Kahlo Day Tour to make sure you fit it all in!
Day 5: Cantinas, Mariachi, Lucha Libre!
If you are lucky enough to spend five days in the city, then you need to go out in style! It’s time to hit the traditional cantinas and celebrate with a glass of mezcal- and you may learn the hard way that mezcal is NOT a shot, but to be enjoyed slowly with a slice of orange (we’ve all been there). And for the grand finale, a ringside seat at the Lucha Libre, Mexico’s version of professional wrestling with a splash of show business, plenty of spandex and colourful masks to truly make it stand out from the crowd! Soak up the energy in the arena of Mexico’s favourite sport and join in with plenty of cheering, screaming and excitement as the wrestlers throw famous moves like El Martineta, La Segadora, La Quebradora and plenty more. This little bit of madness marks the perfect end to a perfect trip that you’ll never quite be able to say goodbye to.
TOP TIP You HAVE to experience seeing the Lucha Libre with other travellers, it’s something so unique and awesome- you won’t forget it in a hurry. I would recommend doing the Bamba Cantinas, Mariachi & Lucha Libre tour to soak up the atmosphere with a guide and friends.
Need more inspiration? Check out Travel Mag for the Editor Pick: Mexico City’s Best Tours