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Mexico City Travel Tips: Dos and Don’ts No One Tells You

Mexico City Travel Tips: Dos and Don’ts No One Tells You

Even if you’re already familiar with my more general Mexican travel tips, when visiting a new (and huge) city like Mexico City, it’s always a good idea to get some more specific recommendations to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip. 

Mexico City is an amazing place to visit. I’m sharing all the tips and tricks I learned while living in Mexico City to help you have a great trip.

What Should I Know Before Traveling To Mexico City?

Before we get started with some of the most common questions about Mexico City, I wanted to start with a list of some quick but important things to know before visiting. 

  1. Learn about common scams in Mexico so you know how to spot and avoid them. 
  2. Enjoy yourself, but don’t let your guard down as petty crime is still prevalent. 
  3. Avoid taking public transport during rush hour around 6-9 am and 6-9 pm. 
  4. Everything costs more in tourist areas, but you can negotiate for a fair price at larger markets.
  5. Restaurant servers expect a 10-15% tip, but taxi drivers and street food vendors do not. 
  6. Most museums are closed on Mondays
  7. Earthquakes are not uncommon in Mexico City and will be preceded by a city-wide alarm so you can get outside. 
  8. Traffic is quite bad in Mexico City so expect to add extra wait time onto any taxi journeys. 
  9. Nothing opens early and don’t be surprised if you find markets and attractions closed until after midday.
  10. Carry cash in small notes with you at all times as you will often need to pay in cash. 

Where Should You Avoid in Mexico City?

While there are numerous areas in Mexico City that you should avoid to preserve your safety, the areas that are home to the city’s tourist attractions are generally not on the dangerous list. It’s very unlikely you would wander in most of these places by accident.  

The neighborhood of Doctores is an exception to this rule as it’ i’s known as being one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Mexico City while also being home to the famous Lucha Libre wrestling. 

Thankfully, on match day it’ i’s still relatively safe to attend this unique show as the arena lies right on the border of the Doctores and Roma neighborhoods. So as long as you don’t hang around and follow the crowds to leave Doctores right after the show, you should be okay. 

Similarly, the areas of Tlalpan, Xochimilco, and Tlatelolco each have tourist attractions that are safe enough during the day, but these neighborhoods should be avoided after dark as they become much more dangerous. 

Check out this post if you are looking for the safest areas to stay in Mexico City, alternatively, here are some neighborhoods to avoid in Mexico City: 

  • Doctores
  • Tepito 
  • Iztapalapa
  • Ciudad Neza
  • La Merced Market

Is it Safe To Shower in Mexico?

Yes, while you should avoid getting water in your mouth as much as possible, it’s safe to shower in Mexico City.

More importantly, don’t freak out if some water gets into your mouth. Most people still brush their teeth with normal tap water and don’t even think about it. You will be just fine.

Can You Drink the Tap Water in Mexico City?

No, even most local Mexican people drink bottled water in Mexico City as the tap water is generally not safe for human consumption. 

Large hotels will never offer you tap water and will use bottled or purified water to create their iceblocks but be wary of water and ice blocks offered to you on the street or in restaurants. 

Can I Flush Toilet Paper in Mexico City?

While some more modern septic systems in Mexico City can handle it, there’s no way to tell what type of system you are using so you should avoid flushing toilet paper to avoid clogging the toilet

Instead, place your toilet paper in the bathroom garbage, taking care to cover any unsightly parts. 

Are Taxis Safe in Mexico City?

In the past, Mexico City taxis had quite a bad reputation for criminal acts, however, stricter government regulations have made it much safer for tourists to take taxis these days as long as you stick to a handful of rules. 

All verified Mexico City taxis are painted pink and white and cannot be hailed on the street. 

To get a safe taxi you must go to a designated taxi stand (sitio) located outside hotels and major attractions or order one on the CDMX app

You should also check that the taxi license plate numbers have not been covered or scratched off and begin with either an A, B, or M. 

Each taxi driver must also display an identification document in the window which shows the driver’s photo, license, and registration number, so you can check that the driver is the correct person. Lastly, all taxis must operate using a meter so make sure your driver resets it when you get in. 

Can You Get an Uber from Mexico City Airport?

Yes, Uber and Didi both pick up and drop off at Mexico City Airport and normally have designated spots at each terminal. 

The pickup locations can change so make sure to check on your app, but commonly, the Terminal 1 pickup location is outside Exit 4 while for Terminal 2 it is on the ground level outside Exit 2.

Uber is safe, but during busy times can be slow so you might want to opt for a taxi instead.

What Should I Wear in Mexico City?

Mexico City is quite open to all styles of fashion but you may find that local people do dress more formally than you might at home. For example, flip-flops, tank tops, and short shorts are generally left for the beach. Even bus drivers will wear dress pants and white collared shirt.

In addition to this, many religious and cultural attractions may require you to cover your shoulders and knees

Aside from these factors, you can wear anything suitable for the climate which is generally quite moderate throughout the year. Make sure to pack a wide range of clothing to account for hot days and potentially chilly nights including long pants and a waterproof jacket.

Does Mexico City Get Cold?

Yes, with an elevation of 2,240 meters (7,350 feet), Mexico City can have quite chilly nights with temperatures dipping to below freezing during the winter

Buildings in Mexico City are generally quite poorly insulated and lack central heating so you may find that you also need to rugg up indoors to keep warm. 

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