Sunday, October 18, 2009

Think About Visiting Mexico City This Year

I just returned from a work trip to Mexico City. What a breath of fresh air. Apart from being the "Big Tamal" and having a population estimated at up to 25,000.000, the city is alive and well and has undergone a beautification process in the last few years.
I flew in on Thursday afternoon via Interjet Airlines. Their all new fleet of Airbus A320s are spacious, clean and the on-board service includes open bar and snacks. Unlike U.S. airlines, Mexican airlines still cater to the customer. Another discount airline, Volaris, flies to Toluca and then takes you via bus to Mexico City a 40 minute ride. Both these airlines offer flights from Hermosillo, Sonora (as an example) for about 230 dollars round trip tax included.

Upon arrival in Mexico City you have an array of ground transport options. There is a Metro station (.20 u.s. cents )there at the airport for the most adventurous followed by several private taxi companies (average $12 u.s.) and then the rental car option with coupons up to 50% off.

Where to stay? There are literally thousands of hotels in D.F. Prices range from $20 to $150 as an average. The Holiday Inn Express Trade Center is located near Insurgentes Ave. and close to most tourist attractions. Cost: $79 per night. The last two days I stayed at the Radisson Flamingos where their weekend rate is $69. Of course there are less expensive and more expensive hotels depending on the areas you wish to visit such as Reforma, Zocalo, Zona Rosa, etc. All of the hotels offer weekend rates, special offers, tours, and tour guides or you can find all of the above on your own. There are also bed and breakfasts for as little as $50 a night.
This is the Radisson Flamingos where I stayed for $69 a night.

Moving around is easy. Hotel taxis are the safest option but are also expensive. The company insists we use hotel taxis and the cost over the last two days was about 9 dollars for a one way 20 minute trip. I like to use street taxis. Hailing a cab is easy and I have no qualms about refusing one that stops that I don't like. You can simple say no and give a quick finger shake. The Metro is an experience on its own. 5 million users daily it is clean, safe and maps are available to plan your route as well as ask friendly informations staff, police and shop owners, all underground.

What I like most about D.F. is the abundance of restaurants, sidewalk cafes and coffee shops. Mexican flavor but very cosmopolitan. If there were ever a place that one could say that food is offered from around the world, Mexico City is one of those. We have had Italian, Portuguese, German, Chinese, Lebonese, Greek, Hindu, and geeze, I can't remember what else. In addition, the fantastic assortment of Mexican food from around the Republic. A true dining experience.

Yesterday we chose a sidewalk cafe with a huge selection of Mexican seafood. We dined on tuna tostadas (not canned but fresh filet), shrimp quesadillas, shrimp soup, oyster on the half shell with pico de gallo. After, we chatted over an expresso before heading to the airport. Valet parking is available and you get a great view of daily life in the city.

Friday night we had dinner at La Strega, a famous Italian restaurant that has a witch swinging overhead of a medievil palace with a huge walkin fireplace. Prices are reasonable and the vodka martinis to die for. But don't listen to me, whatever your desire you will surely find it.

After work and play, heading to the airport is now a breeze. New viaducts have been opened that fly over the rest of the city taking you to the new Terminal C. Modern and futuristic, I walked in, plugged in my confirmation number, dropped my bag on to the scale and off I went to the gate all within less than 5 minutes. We departed on time, enjoyed free cocktails and snacks on the flight back to Monterrey.

Too much to do in D.F. to even begin to write it all down. But remember, this is a city that is over 3000 years old, the only city I know of that has a pyramid, Spanish Inquisition and a Revolution all in the same center of town. So if you are rving in Mexico, drop that rv in an rv park for a week and hop on a plane and find some true adventure.

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