Mexico City 🇲🇽 Gringo's Guide
Everything you MUST know about this mega-city...
Guest post by esteemed LatAm scholar: @GringoGuerrilla
Ah, Mexico City.
The Latin American destination everybody and their uncle seems to be talking about these days.
And for good reason!
The Number of U.S. citizens granted temporary residency in Mexico in 2022 increased by 85% compared to 2019. For better or for worse, many of these Americans are choosing Mexico City as their home base.
Among Latin American enthusiasts, it’s a polarizing city. Many people love it. Many people hate it.
Having spent a few years of my life in the Mexican capital, I’m here to give you a tremendously comprehensive and furiously honest rundown of this monstrous metropolis.
Mexico City, Mexico
22,085,000 in the metro area
Mexico City, also known as ‘CDMX,’ is the 5th largest city in the world and the second largest city in Latin America, behind São Paulo.
Mexico City has close to ideal weather.
It rarely creeps above 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33C) and rarely slips below 46 degrees Fahrenheit (8C).
The only thing to keep in mind is the city’s rainy season, which runs from June to September. During these months you can expect a few hours of heavy rain almost every day, typically in late afternoon. If you’re angling to visit Mexico City, I would avoid these months. It’s annoying enough to put a damper on your experience (no pun intended).
The absolute best time to visit Mexico City is from February to May. You’ll be rewarded with sunny skies and almost no rain. Blissful!
You’ve probably heard something about how bad the air pollution is in Mexico City. Although it’s not going to win an award for air purity any time soon, it’s worth noting that the city has made progress over the past decade. I wouldn’t worry about this too much. For most people, it isn’t a concern.
Mexico City is plagued by earthquakes. If one happens to occur while you’re there, stay calm. There’s a city-wide alarm system in place. This is what it sounds like. If you hear this alarm, you’ll have a few minutes to get out of the building you’re in. Please take it seriously – earthquakes in Mexico City can be deadly.
Why Visit Mexico City?
In addition to its agreeable weather, there are a host of other reasons to visit the Mexican capital!
First, it’s damn easy to get to!
For the American readers, a few hours and a couple hundred bucks or less and you’re there. Leave your city after breakfast and you’ll be engulfing tacos and sippin’ mezcal on a jacaranda tree-lined boulevard by lunch.
Second, you will never run out of things to do here. Never!
Mexico City has an incalculable number of activities for a man to get stuck into. Museums. Parks. Galleries. Restaurants. Cantinas. Aztec Ruins. Markets. Theaters. Landmarks. Concerts. Lucha Libre. The list is inexhaustible. I lived in Mexico City for roughly three years, and I only saw a small percentage of what this fine city has to offer.
Third, livability. If you’re new to Latin America, Mexico City is probably one of the best choices to transition into life down here.
It has better infrastructure than many Latin American cities, it’s safer than most Latin American capitals and you can sneak by on limited Spanish.
It’s also got all the delivery and taxi apps you could ever want. Hell, Mexico City even has Amazon for all your online shopping needs!
Additionally, there’s plenty of great neighborhoods to choose from. The government has done an admirable job of preserving its colonial buildings and urban parks, so there are several barrios here than offer pleasant vibes for day-to-day living.
Fourth, the food and the people!
We can’t talk about Mexico City without mentioning food. This may be the best culinary destination in all Latin America.
Here, or Lima, Peru.
Regardless of where you’re staying in CDMX, you’re never more than a stone’s throw away from excellent food, whether it be a humble street stall or top-ranked restaurant.
You won’t go hungry here, frens.
And, although Chilangos — Mexico City locals — have a reputation among other Mexicans for being arrogant and unfriendly, this was not my experience in the least. People here in the capital are generally warm and welcoming towards outsiders.