Little disclaimer: This by all means is not a definite and extensive travel guide to Mexico city & Oaxaca, it’s purely an itinerary of what I did, ate and where I stayed!
Mexico City, famous to be the most densely populated city in North America. I would be lying if I say that this vast, intense and full of contrast megalopolis was at the top of travel list. It definitely wasn’t but I am so glad I made the decision to stop for few days during my last solo trip to Mexico. There is no way you can see it ( and taste it!) all in one visit but is one those cities which I think you will find yourself wanting to come back to.
How to get to there: From London you can get direct flights to Mexico City. I flew with Aeromexico late in the evening so I arrived in Mexico City in the early hours of the morning. The international airport is actually not far at all from Mexico City so once I got there I jumped in a yellow taxi and got to my accommodation in just over 20 minutes. Note: the traffic during the days is horrific but early morning (at least until 8am) the city really seems to be fast asleep.
Where to stay: When it comes to visit a big city I truly believe that where you stay can really have a massive impact on your overall experience and feel of the place. Often people think is best to stay as central as possible in order to have the best experience. I strongly disagree. If I compare it to London (where I live) and I hd to advise anyone on where to stay in London, I would never say Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square (the most central locations) because there are genuinely not the nicest parts of London and they are always crammed with tourists, chain restaurants and tacky souvenir shops.
So after doing some research online I decided to base myself in Roma Norte. Roma Norte is often considered Mexico City’s culinary and artistic hub.This neighbourhood has definitely see a fair bit of gentrification I am not going to lie, however it’s beautifully dotted with gorgeous colonial buildings, leafy squares and a huge array of eclectic eateries and sidewalk bars. It’s a neighbourhood which is extremely walkable so I spent a good chunk of my time in Mexico City just walking around and taking it all in.
I stayed in a lovely Airbnb apartment right in the middle of Roma Norte and I really enjoy my stay there. It was cosy, spacious with a fully equipped kitchen and you have a 24 hours doorman at the entrance of the building which made it feel even safer.
Next to Roma Norte you have Condesa, another very green and quiet neighbourhood with lots of cute restaurants and coffee shop, making it another great option to where to stay in Mexico City.
How to get around: There are probably 3 main ways to get around the city: Taxis, Uber and last but not least public subway. As I mentioned earlier the traffic in Mexico City is horrendous, for a mere 10km ride it took my taxi over 1 hour so I actually ended up using the subway most of the times. I hope I don’t sound rude saying this but Mexico City subway felt surprisingly very safe and it was also very easy to use. It’s also the cheapest way to get around, with 1 way ticket costing only £0.20! Seriously wishing London Underground was that cheap! I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that there are subway carriages reserved just for women and children under 12, which definitely made me feel even safer.
What To Do:
Teotihuacan Pyramids. Teotihuacan is a vast Mexican archaeological complex northeast of Mexico City. Theotihucan was Mexico biggest ancient city and the capital of Mexico’s largest pre Hispanic empire. One of the pyramid is the world’s largest pyramid after the pyramid of Egypt!
They are only 1 hour away from Mexico City making the perfect half day trip. You can either get there by taxi or Uber, you can go on an organised tour or your can do like I did and get there independently by bus. Getting there by bus really couldn’t be simpler.
First of all you need to get to Terminal Del Autobus Norte which is one of Mexico City bus station. You can obviously got there by bus but you can also easily use the subway to get there (that’s what I did). The subway stop where you need to get off is called “Autobus Norte”. Once you get out of the subway you will have the bus station right in front of you, you really can’t miss it! When you walk inside the station turn to the left and walk all the way down to “sala 8” where you will see the “Autobuses Teotihuacan” kiosk where you will buy your tickets. The ticket for both way costs 104 pesos (about £4.50).
You then go through to get on your bus which leaves every 15-20 minutes. Once again you can’t really miss it as it says clearly on the front “pyramides”.
Once you get to the pyramids you can easily walk around on your own or get a local guide which they usually stand at the entrance.
Mexico City Markets: There are many food and non food markets in Mexico City and if you are a foodies like me I would highly recommend to visit at least 1 of them. They are a true immersive experience and is also a great chance to taste some amazing street food.
Mercado De La Merced: this is the biggest and oldest market in Mexico City and it’s also famous for its seemingly endless flower stalls. This market is so big that it abundantly overspill on the surroundings streets making the whole area fairly chaotic and definitely a little bit overwhelming. It certainly took me quite some time to work out my way out of it! It’s still absolutely worth the visit though! This market is also a great one to buy edible souvenirs like dry chillies, mole paste or powder, coffee, chocolate etc..
Mercado San Juan & Mercado De Medellin: These two are considerably smaller than Mercado De La Merced so they definitely feel less intimidating and chaotic. They are both mostly food markets with some excellent options to sit down and enjoy some delicious street food. It’s worth mentioning that most street food stalls don’t really have vegan friendly options, however I find it fairly easy to veganise dishes like tacos for examples. I would just ask for all the vegan ingredients they had like beans, guacamole and vegetables.
Exploring the leafy street of Roma & Condesa: As I mentioned before these two neighbourhood are an absolute joy to walk around. There are plenty of gorgeous colonial buildings, little squares, cute independent shops and an endless supply of aesthetically pleasing coffee shops.
Casa Estudio Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera Museum: this is where the artistic couple lived and worked for several years. You can still see some of their art and the house itself it’s really beautiful to walk around.
Where to Eat (Vegan Friendly): I have to admit I mostly ate in Roma Norte because the options were seriously endless! As you might know I am a big coffee lover so let’s start with my favourite Coffee Shops in Roma:
- Panaderia Rosetta: This is probably the prettiest bakery you have ever seen! They don’t have many vegan options for the baked goods but the coffee was seriously good.
- Almanegra Cafe & Buna Cafe : Both strictly coffee shops, their flat white was excellent.
- Lalo’s Cafe: I ended up going there quite few times as their avocado toast with beef tomatoes was seriously delicious and it was only few minutes away from my airbnb.
- Cicatriz Cafe: Aside from really good coffee (I particularly loved their cold brew) this cafe has also some really good lunch options, like their big kale salad, perfect for when you crave something green and healthy.
- Por Siempre Vegana Taqueria: This casual fully vegan taqueria was probably where I had the best vegan tacos of my life! They have the absolute best selection of vegan tacos and even though I am not the biggest fan of mock meats I really like theirs.
- La Pitaya Vegana – Famous for their instagram worthy pink tacos this vegan restaurant is definitely another delicious option to add to your list.