Mexico City Life and Visitor Travel Tips
(Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico)
Mexico City is one of the biggest and most exciting cities in Latin America and on the entire planet. Life in Mexico City is what you make it and the city has plenty to offer all of its visitors, ranging from historical ruins and gleaming architecture to modern cultural attractions.
There are a total of more than 15 tourist information offices (modules) in the city and all are operated by the Mexico City Ministry of Tourism, offering endless travel tips about life, events, restaurants and hotels in the city and generally what to expect during your stay.
Useful Contact Details
Located within key parts of Mexico City and also at the four main bus terminals, the city's tourist offices are known for their useful 'Guia General' (general guide) and good map of the area.
There is usually at least one English-speaking member of staff present at Mexico City's tourist offices, with most of these outlets being open daily between the hours of 08:00 to 19:00.
Antropologia Tourist Office
Address: Calz Gandhi and Paseo de la Reforma (next to entrance to the Museo National de Antropologia), Mexico City, Mexico, MX
Tel: +52 55 5286 3850
Basilica de Guadalupe Tourist Office
Address: Atrio de América, Mexico City, Mexico, MX
Tel: +52 55 5748 2085
Bellas Artes Tourist Office
Address: Corner of Avenida Juárez and Peralta, between Alameda and Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico, MX
Tel: +52 55 5518 2799
Catedral Tourist Office
Address: Monte de Piedad, western side of the Catedral Metropolitana, Mexico City, Mexico, MX
Tel: +52 55 5518 1003
Coyocán Tourist Office
Address: Jardin Hidalgo 1, Casa de Cortés, Mexico City, Mexico, MX
Tel: +52 55 5659 6009
Del Angel Tourism Module Tourist Office
Address: Paseo de la Reforma and Florencia, close to the Monumento a la Independencia, Mexico City, Mexico, MX
Tel: +52 55 5208 1030
San Angel Tourist Office
Address: Plaza San Jacinto 11, Bazar del Sábado Market, Mexico City, Mexico, MX
Templo Mayor Tourist Office
Address: Seminario, eastern side of the Catedral Metropolitana, Mexico City, Mexico, MX
Xochimilco Tourist Office
Address: Calle del Mercado, Nuevo Nativitas Boat Landing, Mexico City, Mexico, MX
Tel: +52 55 5653 5209
Zona Rosa Tourist Office
Address: Amberes 54 at Londres, Mexico City, Mexico, MX
Tel: +52 55 5525 9380
Language and Dialect
Around 97 percent of the locals in Mexico City speak a Mexican version of traditional Castilian Spanish. The main differences are that Mexican's do not speak with a Castilian lisp and a number of indigenous words have also been incorporated into the dialect. Many of Mexico City's locals also speak English to some degree, particularly those involved in the tourism industry. However, Mexicans will always respond best if you attempt to speak to them in their native tongue and therefore, do consider bringing a Spanish phrasebook.
- Good morning - buenos dias
- Are children allowed? - se admiten ninos?
- What's up? - qué pasión? (slang) - Mexico City only)
- What time does the train leave? - a qué hora el tren sale?
- Do you accept credit cards? - aceptan tarjetas de crédito?
- Where are you from? - de dónde es / eres?
- Are there any rooms available? - hay habitaciones libres?
- How much is it per person? - cuánto cuesta por persona?
- It is a pleasure to meet you - mucho gusto
- You're welcome - de nada
- I'm looking for... - estoy buscando...
- Sorry - perdón
- Many thanks - muchas gracias
- Good evening - buenas noches
Dos and Don'ts
- Air Pollution - this can become a problem at times, particularly between December and May, when you are advised to drink plenty of fluids and those at most risk (elderly, asthmatics, etc.) should avoid outdoor exercise
- Banks and Money - Mexico City is literally full of banks. Most of these feature at least one cashpoint machine and will be happy to convert traveller's cheques
- Business Hours - the majority of shops in Mexico City will open Monday through Saturday, at either 08:00 or 09:00, closing as late at 20:00. Most banks open Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 17:00, and again on Saturday mornings, between 09:00 and 13:00
- Children - many children in Mexico City are known to beg and will follow you for a long distance until you give them something. Simply say 'No gracias'
- English Newspapers - English-language newspapers are available in Mexico City at newsagents on Florencia and Mata. A Spanish 'what's on' guide is available within the weekly local newspaper - The Herald
- Greeting - a firm handshake is a standard way to greet people in the city, particularly in the business world
- Haggle - many vendors in the city will expect a little haggling and will be prepared to drop a little on the price, so don't be afraid to negotiate, even in hotels
- Internet Access - access to the world wide web in Mexico City is abundant, especially around the Zona Rosa. Hourly rates are extremely cheap
- Mexican Tourist Card - when you arrive in Mexico you will be required to fill out a brief document in order to obtain your 'tourist card'. Visit the Instituto Nacional de Migración on the Ejéricito Nacional for tourist card extensions
- Photography - if you are taking photos with locals in the frame, be sure to ask their permission first and be prepared to pay them a small amount in the way of thanks
- Pickpockets - pickpocketing is rife in crowded parts of Mexico City, so always be careful with your valuables and cash, particularly when at bus stops, airports and bustling markets
- Smoking - smoking in Mexico City is widespread and most locals smoke freely in many public places. Restaurants often feature non-smoking zones and buses no longer permit smoking, enforcing harsh fines
- Smoking - you are generally able to smoke freely around Mexico City, unless signs indicate otherwise
- Tap Water - most hotels in Mexico City supply bottled water, since drinking tap water is not usually advisable and should always be sterilised first, unless there is a sign stating otherwise (usually with a disclaimer)
- Taxis - the importance of taking sensible precautions when using taxi cabs in Mexico City cannot be stressed enough. Avoid hailing taxis on the street if possible, don't travel alone and always use a reliable radio taxi service
- Tipping - the cheapest restaurants in Mexico City don't usually expect much in the way of a tip, although the bigger resort restaurants will
- Toilets - some of the toilets in Mexico City have wastepaper bins. This is where you should deposit any used toilet paper, otherwise the toilet may become blocked
- Travel Agencies - many of the larger hotels in Mexico City feature their own personal travel agent (agencia de viajes) or alternatively will be happy to recommend an agency nearby