Credit: Merissa Thomas
If you’ve ever heard me speak, then you know how much I’ve wanted to visit/live in Mexico City, Mexico. One day I was tired of only talking about it and I started stalking flight discount websites, like The Flight Deal, for months.
So I made a plan: set up a sinking fund for my future travel goals, so when a deal does come, I can purchase my ticket and lodging without flinching. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a sinking fund is, it’s a small savings account that you deposit into each month for a certain period of time. It’s super easy to set up a sinking fund, especially if you sacrifice Chipotle for a few months and prioritize for a longer term plan.
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Luckily, I found a $165 round trip ticket and invited my mom to come with me to Mexico City earlier this month.
Mexico City is an important cultural, historical, and financial hub for the Western Hemisphere. And what convinced me to visit was its weather, people, food and affordability. I wanted to travel to the city where 8.8 million live and thrive for the most part. And I wanted to purchase as much Frida Kahlo paraphernalia I could find.
I spent a little less than $700 on the flight and excursions. And despite my mom falling and getting a black eye, and me missing my flight to get back home because I had to purchase a new Mexico visa, the trip was an amazing time to explore such a vibrant and friendly city.
You’ll probably spend far less than what I spent, considering you can find a central Airbnb for nearly $20 a night in CDMX but here’s a breakdown of my costs:
Bed and Breakfast: $265
On Monday, we arrived in the city around 6:30 am and quickly called an Uber to take us to Chaya B&B Boutique. Our B&B overlooked Alameda Central, a public park in downtown Mexico City. After eating breakfast we decided to take a walk through the park and past the Palacio de Bellas Artes to the Zócalo, the main historic square which was once the ceremonial center of the Aztec city, Tenochtilan. After taking a bunch of photos of the Christmas decorations on all of the historic buildings, we took a tour of the Torre Latinoamericana, which used to be the tallest building in Latin America at one point. At the top of the building we were able to see the city at bird’s eye.
After we walked down from the skyscraper, we took pictures at the Correo Mayor (Main Post Office), with it’s ornate gold staircases, and ventured off to eat churros at Churrería El Moro and took another Uber to grab marlin tacos at El Pescadito, in Zona Rosa. The service was fantastic, and I was glad to experience a popular spot among the locals.
I realized that we were extremely close to the Angel of Independence monument, and I risked my life to cross the roundabout just to get a closer look. As we were leaving the monument we spotted a hop on, hop off tour bus that took us throughout some of the residential and retail areas of the city like Condesa and Polanco. That tour was also our first introduction of how terrible the traffic is, but it helped me pinpoint the areas I wanted to explore more.
The castle was close to a neighborhood called Condesa, and we walked to a store to get my mom new sneakers, and afterwords we stopped into a restaurant called Los Loosers. They served vegan Japanese-Mexican dishes such as ramen and tacos. And we spent a good two hours there sampling food and fresh drinks.
We continued throughout Chapultepec Park and entered into the National Museum of Anthropology, the most visited in the country. We learned a lot about the different indigenous groups and the periods of times they lived in Mexico. And we ended our day taking photos in front the famous Aztec sun stone. After the museum, we went back into Condesa and stopped to share an ice cream sundae at Nevería Roxy.
Later that evening, while my mom rested in our room, I took the metro to Arena Mexico, where I waited in a small crowd trying to get a ticket to an upcoming Lucha Libre fight. Finally someone pointed me to an open ticket window and I purchased a random seat for $140 MX. If you’re interested in watching the fights, wait until a ticket window opens and don’t purchase anything from someone haggling from behind the line. After I got my ticket, I followed a man in a blue uniform into the arena and he sat me down right in the middle, in front of the stage. I had the best view! As corny as wrestling is, I was really entertained that night, and I’m happy I had the experience!
Wednesday, we traveled down south to Coyoacán to tour Frida Kahlo‘s childhood home which became the residence she shared with Diego Rivera. I suggest you order your tickets prior to arriving so you don’t have to wait in line. La Casa Azul is beautifully preserved and full of Instagram worthy backdrops. They have much of her furniture, clothing, artwork and photography on display. And even with the amount of tourists gathered, it was a peaceful place to be and I almost didn’t want to leave.
For lunch we walked down to the Mercado de Coyoacán and ordered fried fish and carne asada at one of the small restaurants for about $120 MX which is about $3 USD. We went closer into Coyoacán, and walked through the Jardin Centenario and my mom went into Parroquia San Juan Bautista, which was one of the churches Hernán Cortés helped expand in the 1500s.
After returning, my mom tripped and fell on her head in the middle of a busy street, but there were a bunch of people around ready to help us and I was able to get her safely to our room so she could rest for the night.
Thankfully on Thursday my mom was feeling a lot better and we were able to tour Teotihuacan, one of the largest cities in the pre-Columbian era. My brother purchased this tour for us for Christmas, and we met our group at a hotel and got on a bus to drive about an hour and a half to the pyramids. The views were breathtaking, and some of the artistic elements on the pyramids where still well preserved.
After the tour we stopped at a tourist trap that sold overpriced souvenirs, but the tour guides talked about Mesoamerican life, the importance of the agave plant in Mexican culture, and then passed around about 5 different shots of alcohol.
Back in the city, we ended the day going to a candy shop called Dulcería de Celaya and getting a bunch of sweets I couldn’t pronounce. We later retired to our bed and breakfast after hiking all day.
On Friday, we went back to the Zócalo, since many of the museums in that area were closed on Monday, and we toured the Palacio Nacional to finally see Diego Rivera’s History of Mexico mural. It’s ginormous, and almost too much to handle. But it gives you a really interesting perspective on Mexico. Afterwards, we stopped for lunch at Café de Tabuca, and walked around and purchased a few souvenirs around the area.
When it was time to leave and board the plane back to Maryland, I realized that I didn’t have my visa. So I had run back to the entrance of the airport, exchange money, and purchase a new visa. Of course the time it took to do that made me miss my flight, so I frantically tried to do what I could to leave. There was another girl on my original flight who had the same issue and her mom was able to find us a new flight the next day. So, I booked a hotel room nearby and was thankful to have my flight issues resolved.
I had a wonderful time visiting Mexico City and I hope to be back one day, for good. If you’ve ever considered visiting, don’t wait any longer, book your ticket and experience Mexico City for yourself.
Follow Merissa on Instagram @merimoocow: My name is Merissa and I’m the face behind merimoocow.com, a living journal used to track my goal of doing everything I’ve ever wanted to do in life, including living debt free and becoming a freelance content creator. Follow along as I build my craft and fulfill my purpose of doing it all.
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