A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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Mexico City is the hub of all travel in the country. You won’t have any trouble getting there! You can fly to Mexico City pretty easily from anywhere in the world. Highways converge on the city, and comfortable buses take you to everywhere else in the country. If you are traveling between two other locations in Mexico, you may find the easiest way takes you through Mexico City, even if it isn’t the shortest way.

Air Travel to and from Mexico City

Nonstop and direct flights come to Mexico City from every city of North America. There is one passenger airport: the Benito Juarez International Airport, about 4 miles east of the main downtown area of the city. The airport has six halls or salas, divided between domestic and international arrivals and check-ins.

Over 35 airlines fly into Mexico City. Aeromexico, Mexicana, Alaska Airlines, American, America West, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United, and US Airways are just a few of the companies that come from the United States. Many airlines have offices in Mexico City.

Consider a vacation package if you are coming as a tourist. This would include your airfare and your lodging price.

Getting to Mexico City by Road

You can drive there from the United States. Whenever possible, take the rather expensive toll roads, as the prices keep most of the traffic off them and they are pleasantly fast and easy. Of course, once you get to the Mexico City area, then you have a car or motorhome to deal with! You may want to stay in a city or town outside of the DF (Distrito Federal, and Mexicans speak of Mexico City that way, much as Americans speak of Washington as DC). Then you can take public transportation into the city.

My husband and I took the trip around parts of Mexico described in my book Mexico with Heart, (the link takes you to first page — all pages are online here) in a small RV. We had no interest in taking our rig into Mexico City, and since we had gotten lost in a variety of other Mexican cities by the time we approached Mexico City, we took a roundabout way to get to Teotihuacan, our destination in the area. It worked nicely.

Intercity Bus Service to and from Mexico City

Mexico has excellent bus service, and Mexico City has four main bus terminals, roughly one for each of the four directions. That’s how they are named: Terminal Norte for points north, Terminal Oriente, called TAPO, for the east, Terminal Sur for the south, and Terminal Poniente for the western destinations. The terminals have luggage check rooms, cafeterias, and other amenities. Buses are frequent, and come in deluxe, first class, and other qualities. You can generally just turn up at the station and find a bus, though you may want to make reservations. The Lonely Planet Mexico guidebook is good on bus travel information throughout Mexico.

Travel around Mexico City

A nightmare at worst.

A nuisance at best.

The city is choked with vehicles, and as a result, there are strictly-enforced rules that keep some cars off the streets daily, according to their license plates. Renting a car is certainly possible but not only do you have to deal with frustrating traffic and parking space non-existence, but you also have to be careful about possible crime against you.

Taxis are probably the best way to travel around Mexico City, provided you only get them at official locations, since there are a number of freelance taxis whose activities include robbing tourists. City buses are more confusing than in many Mexican cities. There is a fast, cheap, efficient metro, which runs to and from the airport as well as around the city. It can be dangerously crowded during the long rush hours, is known for the pickpockets who work in it, and has regulations (not always enforced) against traveling with more than a shoulder bag. Adventurous travelers may wish to join the 5 million other passengers per day.

Be sure to allow plenty of time to get to the airport, however you are doing that.

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