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Latin America Travel & Tour Information

Mexico City Travel Information

Metropolitan Cathedral, Mexico

Great cities have an underlying rhythmic beat which complement a diversity of things to do and attractions. Whether for a couple of days or extended visits, touring Mexico City reveals a mixed bag of little surprises pulsating to an authentic Mexican beat. In Mexico City museums and archaeological treats are numerous. The sculptured and tranquil gardens are beautiful. Plazas and parks embellish colonial neighborhoods. Shopping and dining preferences can be met to satisfy any style of travel.

At the time of Spanish conquest, the Aztec capital of Technotitlan which preceded Mexico City was one of the largest on the globe, today, Mexico City contests the same title in the modern world. The enormity of the city should not deter a visit as all major sites are either close or simple to get to by taxi, public transport or the hop-on-and-off Turibus that now services all Mexico Cities major attractions.

A visit to Mexico City should start at its heart. This was also the centre of the Aztec world and today you can witnesses the Metropolitan Cathedral slowly sinking into the earth which entombs the great pyramids of the Aztec. The historic centre boasts the massive plaza, affectionately referred to in Mexico as the 'Zócalo'. The nearby ruins of the Templo Mayor emerges tamed by Spanish occupation and the National Palace borders the plaza in historic grandeur awaiting the glory of Mexico's independence day when the president tolls the bell from a balcony overlooking the square.               

Neighboring the Zócalo you find the elegant Palace of Fine Arts which sits at the edge of Alameda Park, Mexico City's oldest. Walking the parks paths you allow yourself a peak into the colonial charm of times past while weekends attract many performers and picnickers. Beyond the park the Paseo De La Reforma ornates the city with a lengthy landscaped avenue dotted with many monuments and fine hotels, while also leading to the dramatic entrance to Chapultepec Park.              

Mexico City features the world largest city park which accommodates many of the city's major attractions. Apart from the green oasis, zoo and lake where you can hire small boats, Chapultepec Park boasts well instituted museums. One museum can be found within the Castle of Chapultepec where short-term puppet-emperor Maximilian resided. Mexico's most important museum, the National Museum of Anthropology, also graces the park with its well designed building that honors pre-Hispanic Mexico and indigenous cultures.                      

Other nearby areas of interest include the neighborhoods of Zona Rosa, Roma, Polanco and La Condesa where the who's who of Mexico City go to shop, dine, and party. If the above mentioned sites do not fill-up your days, then venture south into greater Mexico City. Coyoacan and San Angel are two areas where a walking tour takes you through streets lined with notable colonial mansions and charming plazas. Another short trip away is the floating gardens of Xochimilco which are unique to Mexico City and a great way to float a day away.                    

Mexico is far from just a beach resort and visiting the capital could be a great addition to your Mexican vacation or even an outright destination in its own right. Apart from the attractions found within the city, there are many destinations one could visit in a day, including the great pyramids of Teotihuacán, the silver and jewelry Mecca of Taxco. A city full of sights and sound A piece of Mexican culture on every corner and a variety of entertaining excursions, makes Mexico City a world class travel destination.                 

Mexico City Tours: Coming Soon!

Mexico City at night

Mexico City Attractions

According to legend, it was prophesied when an eagle lands on a cactus and devours a snake this was where the Aztecs had to build their capital. Today, here stands the centre of the Aztec world. This is now the centre of Mexico City. Mexico City's historic centre was first constructed in the 16th century on top of the former Aztec city of Tenochtitlan by the Spanish. Today it is a pleasant mass of noise, movement and structure and for modern México, a source of national pride.        

For such a densely populated city the centre is not as chaotic as one would think, with easy to navigate streets and manageable crowds. In Mexico a central plaza is referred to as the Zócalo and this is the perfect starting point for a walking tour.  Bordering the Zócalo are government buildings, the towering Cathedral and the National Palace. Not far from here you find the ruins of the Templo Mayor with an attached museum, a reminder of the city's pre-Columbian history.              

Roaming away from the Zócalo takes you through charismatic streets teeming with vendors and merchants, fine restaurants, emporiums and numerous museums and galleries. Walking west you stumble upon the Palace of Fine Arts, which is noteworthy for its aesthetic art nouveau exterior and majestic art deco interior.  Adjacent is the alluring Alameda Park, brimming with tall trees, fountains and sculptures making it a great resting spot before once again heading out to explore the remainder of the great historic centre.              

Historic Centre Attractions

Zócalo  

Mexico City's Zócalo is the second largest plaza in the World after the Red Square in Moscow. The only thing occupying the plaza is a massive flag pole bearing a giant Mexican flag. To the south of the square are the city hall buildings, to the west lies the Monte de Piedad (a national pawnshop), the east is the National Palace and you can´t miss the Metropolitan Cathedral to the north. Although quite void of objects, the Zócalo can quickly fill up with regularly rallies, festivals and concerts.

Getting There: Metro Station Zócalo on Line 2 exits right onto the Zócalo. Don't be in too much of a hurry to leave the metro station as they have on display a model of the historic Aztec Temples before the Spanish occupation.  

Metropolitan Cathedral        

North Side of Zócalo,

Mon. Sun.  9.00 to 18.00   

Free Admission     

Built on unsteady subsoil, the 16th century cathedral is quite visibly sinking into the earth. It is built above a former Aztec temple and is the largest and oldest Cathedral in the Americas. A testament to the efforts of the Spanish to convert the indigenous population to Catholicism.  Construction first began in 1567 and took over 250 years to complete. The design is a mixture of neoclassical, baroque and Gothic styles. The towers are 64 meters high (210 feet) and contain 18 bells. Great carved doors reveal an interior of period altarpieces, paintings and statues beneath four identical domes.    

National Palace / Palacio Nacional        

East Side of Zócalo,

Mon. Sun. 9:00 to 18:00    

Free Admission   

Tel. + 55 28 12 52    

Once the site of Montezuma's palace, the then headquarters to Cortez and now the presidential offices and finance Ministry. The bell hung over the central door is believed to be the same bell revolutionary hero Miguel Hidalgo rang to declare the beginning of the independence struggle in 1810. This is reenacted by the president from a balcony overlooking the Zócalo every September 15th at 11.00 pm. Paintings by revered  muralist Diego Rivera grace the inner courtyard´s stairways and balconies. These mostly depict Mexico's many struggles from the Spanish conquests over the Aztec to the Mexican revolution.     

Templo Mayor & Museum       

Seminario 8,

Tue.  Sun. 9:00 to 17:30    

Admission $75.00 pesos; Video Camera Additional; Sundays free     

Tel. + 55 42 02 56    

Walking around the central plaza of Mexico City is a lesson in the history of Latin America. What once was the greatest temples of the ancient world lays in ruins seemingly shrouded and submissive to the largest Catholic cathedral in the Americas. The Templo Mayor was once the religious centre for the Aztec and was the site of many sacrifices. The admission is paid at the ticket window to the right of the Cathedral. You walk to the museum on a walkway which passes through the remains of the once great temple.     

The museum allows an insight into the life of the Aztecs including their migration to the central valley as well as housing artifacts found in the immediate area. The Templo Mayor and artifacts were not discovered until 1978 when workmen digging in the area stumbled upon the buried archeological treasures. Pieces to note are the Templo Mayor model, the wall of skulls and the life-size statues of the Eagle Warriors.      

Palace of Fine Arts / Palacio de Bellas Artes    

Avenida Juárez 1, Alameda Central       

Tue - Sun. 10.00 to 18.00       

Tel. + 55 12 25 93         

Designed by Italian architect Adamo Boari, although construction started in 1901 the outbreak of revolution delayed its completion until 1934. The imported Italian marble finishes the art nouveau exterior and murals by popular Mexican Artists complement the art deco interior. Murals from Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo and David Alfaro can be viewed on three levels circling the main foyer, along with exhibits from the National Architecture Museum.          

The stage of the Palace of Fine Arts models a crystal curtain manufactured by the Tiffany Studios of New York. This curtain depicts the Valley of Mexico complete with its two imposing volcanoes and can be seen by taking a guided tour which runs from Tuesday to Friday at 1pm and 1.30pm. Alternatively, attend a performance in the main theatre. The popular Folkloric Ballet of Mexico has performances on Wednesdays and Sundays. An art deco flavored café and restaurant can be found to the left of the lobby where tables can be found overlooking Alameda park.        

Alameda Park      

Once a park for the exclusive use of aristocrats, it is now enjoyed by all members of society. Situated to one side of the Fine Arts Palace, the rectangular park takes up two city blocks, interwoven with geometric pathways. These lead visitors past fountains, monuments and mounted police. Designated a national park in the 16 hundreds, Alameda takes its name from the 'alamo' trees that were first planted there. The semi-circular monument dedicated to Benito Juarez (former Mexican president) in 1905 is worthy of a visit and can be found on the south side of the park.      

Torre Latinoamérica             

Cnr Av. Madero & Lázaro Cárdenas         

Adults $50 pesos, Children $40 pesos       

Mon. Sun. 9.00 to 22.00      

Tel. + 55 18 74 23        

The building looks like a column of glass and features a viewing platform on the 44th floor. On a clear day, this provides stunning views of the whole city. At the  entrance you will be given a bracelet which is valid for the whole day until 10pm. This gives you a chance to go back and see the city lights later on at night. The city lights give you an appreciation of how extensive Mexico City really is. A visit is also a good way to orientate you around the landmarks of the city centre.          

Spanish Cutural Centre / Centro Cultural de España     

Guatemala 18 (behind the Cathedral)          

Tue. - Wed. 10.00 to 20.00, Thur. - Sat. 10.00 to 23.00, Sun. 10.00 to 16.00       

Tel. + 55 21 19 25;          

The cultural centre hosts many visiting art exhibitions as well as cinema from around the globe, workshops, conferences, lectures and mini-concerts including the latest DJ´s in electronic music. Check website for what's on www.ccemx.org  details in Spanish.            

Templo/Plaza de Santo Domingo             

Cnr Republica de Brasil & Luís González Obregón       

Tue. - Sun. 9.00 - 17.00            

+ 55 10 27 83            

The stunning baroque altarpiece stands out on a visit to the Dominican church which sits at one end of the plaza de Santo Domingo. The statue rich plaza is and has been for many years a plaza for scribes to put into print documents for those who are not able to do so for themselves. Although a dying profession a few still set up their open aired offices daily to offer their services.         

House of Tiles / Casa de los Azulejos         

Francisco I. Madero or 5 de Mayo      

Mon.  Sun. 7.00 - 22.00, Free        

+ 55 21 60 58           

The 16th century former mansion is ornate with Talaveras, a particularly pretty tile (azulejo) from the Mexican state of Puebla. Rumor has it that a wealthy count´s son had the mansion covered in tiles as a response to his father exclaiming that he 'would never have a house of tiles!' The modern English equivalent to this phrase is ´you will never amount to anything!' Once the residents of Counts and Countesses, then a fashionable men's club, the store has been turned into a modern day department store making it free to move around the building. The central court is a restaurant serving good Mexican fare.           

Post Office Palace / Palacio de Correos        

Cnr Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas & Tacuba        

Free admission     

Tue.  Fri 10.00 to 17.30, Sat. to Sun. 10.00 to 15.30        

Tel. + 55 10 29 99       

Said to have been used as a set for the James Bond movie License to Kill, the building is still a functioning post office. Designed by the same architect who worked on the Palace of Fine Arts, it is worth popping your head in to see the grand stairway, old style elevators and the fancy interior of this 1907 building. The upper floors host a postal and naval museum.        

Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso           

Justo Sierra 16         

General $20 pesos, Students $10 pesos    

Under 12yrs free, Tuesday free admission   

Tue. Sun. 10.00 to 17.30  

Tel. + 57 02 63 78     

Another building in Mexico City which exhibits large works by Diego Rivera and other muralist around the balconies and stairways of its inner courtyard. Once a Jesuit school, today it functions as a museum which accommodates good temporary exhibitions. Check website for what´s on -www.sanildefonso.org.mx - details in Spanish.      

Diego Rivera Mural Museum /  Museo Mural Diego Rivera    

Cnr Balderas & Colon    

General $7 pesos, Sunday free admission     

Tue. - Sun. 10.00 to 18.00       

Tel. + 55 12 07 54      

Diego Rivera etched his impressions of Mexican history, culture and politics in mural form throughout Mexico City. Probably the best known work of Diego has been relocated here from its original spot due to the buildings demolition after the 1985 earthquake. The 1947 piece is called Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park, and features influential historical figures of Mexican history. There is a light and sound show Tuesdays to Fridays at 10:30 and 16.00.

Post Office Palace and behind the Latinoamerica Tower
Zócalo

A vital lung in a city of millions, the green Chapultepec Park has served as a retreat for centuries. Meaning ´the hill of Grasshoppers' in the Aztec Náhuatl language, today Chapultepec Park attracts locals and tourists alike to its 4 sq km (1.5 sq mi) shady haven. Only within the 20th century was the park opened to the people, before then it was the grounds belonging to the castle perched on Chapultepec hill. These days people flock to the park, its museums, zoo and the artificial lake where you can rent rowboats; perhaps many just come to escape the pace of a busy city.

 

A great way to enter the park is from the Avenida Reforma passing the Monument of Heroic Boys / Monumento Niños Héroes. This monument dedicates its six pillars to six cadets left in charge of defending the castle from the US troops during the Mexican-American war. Legend has it that the six leaped from the hill to their deaths instead of surrendering, one with the Mexican flag wrapped around him so as not to let it fall into the hands of the Americans.      

 

The Anthropology Museum is testament to Mexico's love affair with its history. It is a world class museum contained in a pleasant building showcasing the many pre-Hispanic cultures and modern indigenous themes. Upon a large maypole looking column, not far from the Museum's entrance, you can find the Voladores de Papantla / Flyers of Papantla. Four men with their feet attached by rope make 13 rotations in unison, unwinding the rope as they go.         

 

Getting There: Either walk to the entrance from Avenida Reforma or alternatively take the metro to Metro Station Auditorio which would leave you closer to the Anthropology Museum and Zoo.     

 

Anthropology Museum / Museo Nacional de Antropología     

Peseo de la Reforma & Calzada Gandhi      

General $45 Pesos, Under 13Yrs & Students free     

Tues. ? Sun. 9.00 to 19.00      

Tel. + 55 53 63 86        

 

A truly well put together museum showcasing pre-Columbian Mexico and indigenous Mexicans in a modern world; a trip to this museum is not to be missed. To do the museum justice give yourself the good part of a day, the permanent exhibits are extensive and temporary expositions feature regularly. The museum contains 26 exhibition halls which make up the perimeter of a dramatic central patio supporting a central fountain which umbrellas the entirety of the enormous inner courtyard.         

 

The Museum is well organized allowing the visitor to explore exhibits chronologically detailing the many aspects of Mexico?s indigenous past and present; including more than 10,000 original artifacts from the Aztecs, Mayas, Zapotecas, Toltecs Mixtecas, and Olmecs. Outside close to the entrance the massive Aztec statue symbolizing the rain god, Tlaloc, stands tall as if on guard; and nearby the Papantla flyers soar high above the tree line offering an animated glimpse into a time-honored tradition.        

 

National Museum of History (Chapultepec Castle)     

Admission $40 pesos        

Tue. Sun. 9.00 to 16.30      

Tel. + 52 41 31 00        

 

Construction of the buildings began in 1785 with the intention of serving as a country house, but funds were exhausted for that project and it was turned into a military academy.  During the Mexican-American war of 1847, brave cadets died attempting to defend the castle from American troops. The ceiling above the entrance stairs depicts in mural the story of this confrontation. In 1863 Austrian born Maximilian of Hapsburg, at the urging of Napoleon during the French occupation, was crowned Emperor of Mexico. During his short tenure as emperor, Maximilian converted the Castle into his palace and embellished it with stately furniture from Europe. The furniture remains though the castles role was changed to serve as the National Museum of History.         

 

After the execution of Maximilian, the castle became the president?s residence until it was dedicated as the National Museum of History in the year 1939.  A deceivingly long path spirals up to the museum?s entrance which traces Mexican life from the conquest to the Revolution. Other aspects making the trip worth while are the beautiful gardens, Maximilian?s personal effects and imperial carriage, Mexican themed murals and a stunning panoramic view of the park and surrounding cityscapes.          

 

Rufino Tamayo Art Gallery / Museo Rufino Tamayo       

Peseo de la Reforma & Calzada Gandhi      

Admission $15 pesos, free Sunday        

Tue.  Sun. 10.00 to 18.00      

Tel. + 52 86 65 19         

 

This Museum is dedicated to the Oaxacan born, renowned painter Rufino Tamayo and displaying paintings, prints and sculptures by the artist. As well as containing important 20th century works from the master himself, there is also on display the  pieces he collected by such artists as Dalí, Miró, Warhol and Picasso.          

 

City Zoo / Zoológico de Chapultepec        

Admission Free           

Tue.  Sun. 10.00 to 16.30        

Tel.+ 55 53 62 63        

 

The zoo attempts to provide natural looking and hopefully naturally feeling holding pens for its animals with one of its aims being to teach people about environmental protection. The visitor can find 260 species of animals here and many are native to the Americas. The zoo is also quite proud of being one of the first to have Panda?s produce offspring in captivity. The grounds of the Zoo cover 42 acres (17 hectares) with various sections dedicated to different biomes including tropical rainforest, deserts and temperate zones.
      

Chapultepec Park, Mexico

A stroll through La Condesa will take you past Art Deco style mansions along tranquil tree lined streets. This hip area is very cosmopolitan and one will find good bookshops, galleries, antique shops, cafes and restaurants with outdoors seating. This is also a nightlife centre of Mexico where professionals of all ages come to hangout at pubs, bars and discos.

 

Avenida Michoacán and the surrounding streets is the place to go for fine restaurants, charming cafes and great bars. It also cuts through Parque Mexico, a beautiful park with Art Deco features, a duck pond, roller skate section and benches which mimic logs and branches. The park takes on an ellipse shape due to a racetrack that used to be found in that area in years past.

 

Getting There: For the closest Metro stop take the brown line to Chilpancingo station.

La Condesa

Apart from being home to Mexico City's Stock Exchange building and financial district, Zona Rosa is a place where wealthy Mexicans love to play. Offering sidewalk cafes, boutiques, jewelry stores, bars, nightclubs, hotels and some of Mexico's finest dining options; there is always a tourist presence here.

 

Metro station Insurgentes on the pink line is a good starting point, then heading up the promenade on Genova where many shops and galleries can be found. Zona Rosa also houses a wax museum and a 'Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum'. There is also a Sunday outdoor art fair in the 'Jardìn Del Arte' from 10.00 to 15.00.

Imagen

The indigenous name Coyoacan means 'place of the Coyotes' which are emblemized in statues proudly showcased throughout the neighborhood. The conquistador Hernán Cortéz temporarily resided here and the Spanish were headquartered here during the redevelopment of the Aztec capital in the area now known as the Historic Centre.

 

Cobble-stoned streets amongst colonial houses painted with the typical Mexican blend of colours, lead the visitor to Coyoacan's centre plazas and church where you will find musicians, dominoes games and young lovers embracing on park benches. The houses of Frida Kahlo and Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky bought certain fame to this edgy bohemian area.          

 

Jardin Del Centenerario & Plaza Hidalgo makes up the core of Colonia Coyoacan. Sculptured hedges and fountains compliment the impressive Ex Convent of St John the Baptist, a 16th century church that is one of the oldest in Central Mexico. The weekends bring market stores and street performers in what is popularly referred to as the hippy market.

 

Getting there: Coyoacan lies 8 Kilometers to the south of the city centre. Take line 3 on the city Metro to Coyoacan station, or alternatively to Viveros crossing the peaceful wooded park          

 

 

Church of St John the Baptist         

Jardin Centenarion 8        

 

Casting shadows over Jardin Hidalgo is the Ex Convent of St John the Baptist. Built by the Dominicans in 1528, many changes have ensued for the baroque landmark over the centuries. Originally vaulted but suffering a collapse, the roof was rebuilt and now stands out as a beautiful attribute to its baroque style. The church attracts many worshipers during the day and it is asked that you reframe from touring the chapel during mass.House of Cortes (Casa Municipal)       

 

Jardin Hildago 1      

Mon. Sun. 8.00 to 20.00       

 

Although not the original residents of Cortez, it is believed to have been built in 1750 by his descendents on the same site as a previous palace utilized by Cortez and his army during the conquest of Aztec capital. Today it is an administrative headquarters of the local government delegation. Inside contains a few murals.

 

Museum of Popular Culture / Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares        

Av. Hidalgo 289          

Free Admission         

Tue. Thurs. 10.00 to 18.00, Fri. ? Sun. 10.00 ? 20.00        

Tels. + 91 72 88 59, + 91 72 88 40          

 

The museum of popular culture was created by a group of anthropologists that questioned the traditional museum. It aims to reflect the creativity of Mexican people from the different regions of Mexico showcasing their beliefs, artefacts as well as regional food. The museum at times also hosts folk music, lectures and plays.        

 

Frida Kahlo Musuem       

Cnr.Londres & Allende        

Admission $20 pesos      

Tue. Sun. 10.00 to 17.45        

Tel. + 55 54 59 99           

 

Opening just four years after the death of Frida Kahlo, this blue house is where she grew up and later lived, painted and taught. The Museum houses many of her personal effects including her famed ?tehuana? dresses, diary, and many paintings including her last known work. Walking around the nine rooms it is easy to imagine the eccentric artist carrying out her days amongst the collections of pre-Hispanic idols and popular Mexican art. The museum includes a bookshop and café.Leon

 

Trotsky Museum      

Viena 45      

Admission $10 pesos        

Tue. Sun. 10.00 to 17.00       

Tel. + 55 54 06 87         

 

Leon Trostky, the Soviet Revolutionary, was killed in his former Coyoacan residence by a Spanish Communist assassin. The assassin was in Mexico on a forged Canadian passport posing as a businessman under orders of Stalin. Trotsky gained asylum in Mexico with the help of artist Diego Rivera, one of the founders of the Mexican communist party.           

 

The front wall and door of his former home is riddled with bullet holes from a previous failed assassination attempt. Inside conserves the house as he and his wife kept it in 1940, as well as Trotsky?s rare cactus collection. The museum is also the headquarters of the Institute of the Right to Asylum and Public Liberties

Frida Kahlo Musuem

This is another classic colonial-era neighborhood with cobbled streets and the air of nostalgia. Once a separate town and aristocrat getaway, San Angel has been swallowed-up by Mexico City's sprawl. Picturesque with colonial houses and tended gardens, it preserves a small town ambience. Saturday brings shoppers and the curious to the Saturday Bazaar while Plaza San Jacinto welcomes artists, performers and intellectuals alike to loiter in the amicable surrounds.     

Located on Altavista Street are boutiques, restaurants, bars and the Pabellon shopping mall. The same street will also lead you in the direction of two of San Angel's favorite attractions, the former house of Diego Rivera and Ex Hacienda de Goycoechea.      

 

Getting there: The closest Metro station is M.A. Quevedo on Line 3 and then you have to catch a small pesero marked San Angle.

 

House of  Diego Rivera Museum / Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera 

Cnr. Diego Rivera & Altavista 

Admission $7 pesos, under 7yrs & students free     

Tue.  Sun. 10.00 to 18.00     

Tel. + 55 50 15 18       

This was the house of the endeared artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Though married they had separate quarters linked by a small bridge, which symbolizes the turbulent but inseparable relationship the pair had. Although the museum is left lacking for artworks of the two, the museum is still a delight to saunter through and there is plenty of pre-Hispanic art and memorabilia to keep you interested including Diego?s death-bed. The cactus fence safeguarding the property is reason enough to make the trip here.

 

Ex Hacienda of Goicoechea      

Cnr Diego Rivera 50 & Altavista       

Across the way from the house of Diego Rivera lies the old Hacienda of Goicochea. The former home of the Marquis de Selva and Conde de Pinillos , restaurant San Angel Inn has now taken over the premises. Take a walk through the restaurant to see the angelic chapel and colonial gardens. Why not even stay for a meal as it is also a standout restaurant.

 

Plaza San Jacinto  

This plaza is perhaps the soul of San Angel, especially on the weekends when mariachis and other performers set a festive mood. Saturday draws painters and artisans to the garden in the hope of selling their wares. A step inside the San Jacinto church will reveal a 16th century baroque altar, while the Casa Del Risco accommodates a fine and applied arts museum within a beautiful colonial mansion.  Here you will also discover a baroque fountain embellished with a mosaic of porcelain.         

 

Saturday Bazaar / Bazar Sábado        

Plaza San Jacinto 11       

Worth a visit if in the hunt for handicrafts, though not necessarily if you are on a budget. As the name suggests, you can only find this market on Saturdays and you rarely have the place to yourself. The building itself has history; reportedly fifty or more Irish solders lost their life attempting to help the Mexican army repel the U.S. Army. It later became barracks for the U.S. forces.

Museo Casa Estudio Frida Kalo y Diego Rivera

Aztec Stadium / Estadio Azteca

Built in 1966 for the 1968 Olympic Games, the Estadio Azteca remains the largest soccer stadium in the world, holding 105,000 fans. Not only hosting Olympic soccer games, the stadium was also the stage of two world cups, including the game where Argentinean legend Diego Maradona starred in the hand of god incident. Later in the same game many believed he scored the greatest goal ever and a monument to Maradona has been erected outside the stadium to honor the man.    

 

The stadium sometimes serves as the venue for concerts but it is usually associated with soccer (futból) acting as home to the Mexican National side and local club side America. Games to look out for are when America plays the Pumas or Guadalajara.

 

Tickets go for about $50 - $100 pesos, more from scalpers but be careful you are not purchasing fakes.      

Getting There: Estadio Azteca station on light rail service from Tasqueña Metro Station.

Mexican Wrestling / Lucha Libre

Citizens of Mexico City flock to the two Lucha Libre Arenas with cult-like passion making a night at the fights great fun while taking you out amongst the people. The fighters are professional acrobats and the crowds become part of the action with funny and relentless name calling. Most wrestlers wear masks and the greatest insult is for this mask to be pulled off to reveal their identity. Some say this is a throw-back to when the Aztec warriors fought in mask?s to instill fear in their enemy. The bouts are usually between good and evil played out by heroes and villains (rudos). Every Mexican child has their favorite luchador (wrestler) and souvenir masks are big business in Mexico. Warning: If you are seated in the first couple of rows you may be closer to the action than you think, sometimes the fun spills out into the audience.       

 

Admission can cost between $40-$150 pesos, there are two main arenas: The Arena Coliseo and Arena Mexico also known as The Catherderal of Luch Libre.     

 

Arena Coliseo     

Cnr República de Perú & República de Chile, Historic Centre     

Metro stations: Allende or Lagunilla    

Sunday afternoons

 

Arena México (better for the big-name wrestlers)     

Dr. Lavista 189, Col. Doctores      

Tel. + 55 88 03 85     

Friday 20.30 ? 11.00    

Metro Station: Cuauhtemoc or Baldreas    

Mariachis at Plaza Garibaldi

A truly Mexican experience is to be serenaded by a band of Mariachis neatly dressed in traditional getup.  In the Plaza Garibaldi come 8pm, you will find plenty of groups waiting for their chance to entertain onlookers willing to part with 50 pesos or so. But it is free to walk around the plaza and listen to Mariachis in full swing and Plaza Garibaldi is a great place for a shot of Tequila or two with many drinking establishments lining the perimeter.     

 

Plaza Garibaldi, 5 blocks north of Palacio de Bella Artes     

Metro Stations: Garabaldi or Bella Artes

Ballet Folklórico de Mexico

This grand spectacular draws on styles and themes from all over Mexico. Choreographer Amalia Hernandez, once a famous dancer herself, continuously revises routines in an effort to modernize the movements while not taking away from Mexican nostalgia. It is a festival of colour and movement which separates itself from the tackiness which could easily accompany these kinds of performances.     

 

Palacio de Bellas Artes, Avenida Juarez 1     

$360-$600 pesos      

Wednesday 20:30 hrs / Sunday 9:30 and 20:30       

Tickets at the Palacio de Bellas Artes or call Ticketmaster + 53 2590 00     

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Legend has it that in 1531, while a recently converted Aztec Indian was on his way to mass, a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared requesting that a church be built on this hill. The story goes that a cloak was left by the apparition as proof of the encounter, on this cloak was imprinted the image of a dark-skinned virgin. A church was then built and the Virgin of Guadalupe was declared the Patroness of Mexico and Empress of the Americas.      

 

Today the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe can be found all over Mexico and many Mexicans make the pilgrimage to the basilica, some even on their knees. The original image of the Virgin of Guadalupe can be seen in the 100 meter (330 feet) diameter circular basilica. With a conveyor belt moving the many faithful beneath it for a closer look. The basilica can accommodate up to 50 000 worshipers and there are masses every hour on the hour everyday of the year. Besides the main basilica you can visit other buildings including the Old Basilica built in 1709 as well as the Capilla del Cerrito constructed on the site where the apparition appeared. There are also many gardens, statues and fountains to be found on the grounds.       

 

The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe takes place on December 12, extremely crowded but lively and interesting with music and entertainment. Careful around the church as there are many pickpockets in the area, do not flaunt your valuables!      

 

Getting There: Take metro to Indios Verdes station. Follow the crowds or just ask for the Basilica.

Xochimilco

With 80 kilometers (50 Miles) of Canals to explore, allow yourself plenty of time when visiting the floating gardens of Xochimilco (soh-chee-meel-coh). The Aztecs cultivated the canals long before the arrival of the Spanish and today the area still supplies much of the food to Mexico City. For about $150 pesos brightly painted flat-bottom boats called ?trajiners, navigate locals and tourist around the canals much like the gondolas in Venice.     

 

Weekends can get quite festive if not a little crowded. Many of the trajiners have picnic-style tables making them popular with families who bring their own food, though if you don?t have your own then floating vendors will dock beside you while they take your order. Mariachi bands float around in their own boats to serenade you if you wish; this will cost about $200 pesos for three songs.      

 

Getting There: Xochimilco lies about 28 kilometers south of the city centre; take the Metro to Taxqueña and then catch the light-rail train (tren ligero) to Embarcadero. Outside the station head east two blocks to where the boats leave from.

Axteca Stadium
Lucha Libre
Mariachis
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Traverse America

(+55) 45 3027 4157

Ecuador

 
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