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One of Latin America’s most cosmopolitan cities, Mexico City is a cultural hotspot, attracting visitors for its art, ancient history and world-class cuisine. A huge mega city, home to some 9 million people, Mexico City both surprises and confirms your expectations.
Many people simply bypass the capital en route to the Riviera Maya and the resorts of Cancun and Tulum, but if you do, you’ll be missing out on one of the country’s most fascinating places. The city was founded as Tenochtitlán by the Aztecs in 1325, and while much of the architecture today is left over from the Spanish colonial era, you can still see vestiges of its Aztec past, including the ruins of the grand Templo Mayor.
Another place to fuel your interest in everything about Mexico’s ancient indigenous groups is the Museo Nacional de Antropología (the National Anthropological Museum), located in the sprawling park of Chapultepec, one of the largest urban parks in the western hemisphere and home to the National Palace.
The city’s fantastic art scene – made famous by Mexico’s celebrated daughter, Frida Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera – also draws in travellers. Their home, the famed Casa Azul, and their House-Studio Museum are both worth a visit, as is the grand Palacio de Bellas Artes, housing pieces by the country’s best artists.
One thing that can’t be denied is that Mexico City is one of Mexico’s foodie hotspots, home to everything from street food stands on almost every corner to great cafes and upscale restaurants.
Most visits to Mexico City pass without incident but as with any big city, be aware of pickpockets in crowded places and public transport. For up-to-date travel advice for Mexico, check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
British travellers don’t need a visa to visit Mexico but will need to fill out an immigration form upon arrival or online in advance.
A Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended, but other vaccinations to consider include Diphtheria, Tetanus and Typhoid. Visit the NHS Mexico page for more information.
You’ll need at least five days to see all the major sights Mexico City has to offer, but you might want to add on a couple of extra for some day trips to places such as Teotihuacán or Puebla.
Friends in Mexico often greet each other with a single kiss on the cheek, but if you’re meeting someone for the first time, it’s often just a handshake or a touch on the arm.
There are several ways to get around Mexico City. The city’s metro system is straightforward and easy to use, however it can get extremely crowded, so be sure to avoid moving around at peak times. Another great way to get around during your Mexico City holiday is to use Uber. It’s generally considered safer than using the local taxis because no cash is exchanged, and the app can track exactly where you’re going. It’s best to avoid rush hours as traffic in Mexico City can be horrendous at certain times.
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