By Mark Chesnut
As the largest metropolis in North America and one of the biggest cities in the world, Mexico City is an important hub for business travel, while Mexico City vacations are growing in popularity, thanks to the city’s many museums, historic attractions and sophisticated dining and shopping.
During a recent visit to attend FITA, the largest annual international tourism conference in Mexico City, I came up with a few helpful tips for making the most of your next visit.
1. Break it down by neighborhood. A city this large is easier to navigate and understand if you consider it as a collection of neighborhoods. Top colonias (as neighborhoods are called in Mexico City) for business and leisure travel include the Centro Histórico (the historic city center), Polanco (an upscale area near Chapultepec Park) and Santa Fe (a fast-growing hub for corporate offices and luxury hotels).
2. Choose hotels that are well-located. Based on your activities and interests, you should be able to target specific parts of the city and then choose hotels that are most conveniently located. Hotels like the Marquis Reforma Hotel & Spa and the St. Regis Mexico City—both of which sit on the grand Reforma boulevard—are close to the lively Zona Rosa and the upscale Polanco district, while in Santa Fe, the trendy Distrito Capital is a stylish choice.
3. Avoid rush hour. Traffic is notoriously hectic in North America’s largest city, and while congestion has improved, you’re better off avoiding taxis during peak travel times. Stay put, use the efficient Metro rail system, or take advantage of eco-friendly travel options like EcoBici, an innovative bike lending program.
4. Eat right. Mexico City is a culinary hotspot, so expect lots of gourmet cuisine from around the world, as well as traditional Mexican favorites.
5. Get some culture. By some counts, Mexico City has more museums than any other city on earth, other than perhaps Paris. That means you’ll have lots to see and do. Must-sees include the National Museum of Anthropology and the new Soumaya Museum, an institution funded by Carlos Slim (the richest man in the world), which exhibits artwork in an eye-catching building. For an efficient overview of top sites, consider a Mexico City tour. (Business travelers take note: many Mexico City museums also serve as memorable settings for private corporate events.)
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and publisher of LatinFlyer.com, which focuses on travel to Latin America. Mexico City is one of his favorite places to visit.