Iberocoop:Encuentro Wikimedia Iberoamericano 2013/Ciudad de México/Información para el visitante/en
Ciudad de México
Mexico City is located in the geographical center of the country. The states of Mexico and Morelos surround it, but the states of Querétaro, Hidalgo, Guerrero, Michoacán and Puebla are relatively nearby.
Mexico City (also known as "Distrito Federal") is located in the geological province of the lakes and volcanoes of Anahuac. Its northern limit is the sierra of Guadalupe, in which Cerro del Tepeyac (the Hill of Tepeyac) is in. Towards the eastern part of the city, there's the sierra of Santa Catarina, part of a of inactive volcano range whose highest summit is the Guadalupe Volcano or El Borrego ("the mountain goat") clocking at 2780 m. of altitude. Some geographic descriptions mark the Hill of La Estrella as part of the Santa Catarina Range.
In the middle of the valley of Mexico, where the majority of the city's inhabitants are, is only interrupted by small hills, among which are worthy of mention, the Peñón de los Baños, near the Mexico City International Airport. On the southeast, near the roads to Puebla, one can find Peñón Viejo ("Old Crag")
On the West part of the city, the Chapultepec hill rises. It's a small hill that signals the beginning of the range of hills and mountains on the east and southeast part of the city, and it marks the geographical separation between the valleys of Toluca and Morelos. The Range of Las Cruces is part of this system and it's the source of most of the rivers that still cross Mexico City.
To the east of the Range of Las Cruces the Ajusco volcano is found, the highest summit of the Distrito Federal and lends its name to the range that circles the Mexico basin on it south. Within it, the Xitle, Chichinauhtzin, Tláloc and Teuhtli volcanoes are found. The Range of Ajusco is home to fertile land where its inhabitants plant wheat, oat and maize. Amiong them, the most important plateaus are Parres, in Tlalpan and the Valley of Milpa Alta, which goes from Tecómitl to San Pedro Atocpan, between the Teuhtli and Tláloc volcanoes.
Mexico City is one of the biggest cities in the world, with millions of inhabitants. Therefore, is probable that during your stay you will find heavy traffic in the streets of both cars and pedestrians.
Mexico City is renowned worldwide because of its friendliness towards international visitors. The locals are usually light-hearted and amicable, and are willing to help if asked.
- Language: Mexico's most popular language is Spanish. Most people use the tuteo, but the general practice when speaking to an elder or stranger is the formal second person, for example:
Buenas tardes, ¿sabe hacia donde queda el Zócalo?
(Good afternoon! Could you tell me which way's the Zócalo?)
- Salutations: in Mexico, the custom is to shake hands between men and a small kiss on the cheek between or towards a woman, even when she's just been introduced. The most common greeting is a simple hola and the anglicisms bye and/or chao are commonly used to say good-bye.
- Manners: as a direct influence from nahuatl, the Mexico City inhabitants usually speak with many formalities and/or diminutives. When soliciting or asking for anything, the highest formality is normally used. Not doing so can be perceived as being uncourteous.
- English: English is usually spoken wherever tourists and international visitors are expected, such as hotels.
The urban zone presents a subtropical highland climate, nice around the year with temperatures above 30°C (86°F) around spring and summer and as low as 5 °C (41°F) during winter. For this event, a light jacket is recommended when the temperature drops in the night. There's a possibility of rain on the afternoon and night.
Mexico city is a city dealing with high pollution, although this tendency has decreased in the past years and its atmosphere has presented regular levels throughout 2013
Mexico's violence situation exists in some states away from the country's capital. Mexico City is safe, although certain precautions are in order as with any other city of similar size: don't flash valuables, avoid dark streets and keep within the staff-recommended places. Centro Histórico (Downtown) is safe, and the place where the event will take place is there.
The staff is more than happy to escort you on any activity you may want. The city's Public Safety office is the Secretaría de Seguridad Pública del Distrito Federal (Distrito Federal's Public Safety Secretariat), whose officers wear blue. Within Downtown, some of them know basic English.
It's recommended to take your passport with you, although questionings by the police are infrequent. Downtown attracts many tourists and the police usually questions them if there's suspicion of alcohol consumption in public spaces (it's forbidden by law).
The Emergency Response telephone number is 060 in any landline or mobile phone.
- Country code: +52
- International calls prefix: 00
- Trunk prefix: 01
- Mexico City area code: 55
Dialing a mexican number
If you want to call a Mexican number from the USA or Canada, you must dial:
011 + 52 + area code + phone number
To call a mexican number from Europe:
00 + 52 + Area code + Phone number
There's no shortage of public telephones. Some are coin operated and some are card operated (these cards are called Ladatel and cost 30, 50 and 100 pesos). Long-distance phone cabins are rare and becoming extinct.
A SIM card/chip can be bought for 50 MXN. These cards are usually prepaid and credit for them can be bought to receive roaming calls.
Within Mexico City, public transportation es diverse and accesible:
Metro de la Ciudad de México (Subway system)
It's a train-like public transportation system operating in Mexico City and parts of the State of Mexico. It has 12 lines, each with a single number and color (numbers 1 through 9; 12, Line A and Line B) and unlike other subway systems, a single image per station. One ride costs $3.00 MXN ($0.24 USD); tickets may be bought for individual rides or a prepaid-like card (with a cost of 10 MXN plus however much money you want to spend on it). One of its biggest advantages is the ability to transfer between lines with no additional cost, along with its reduced price compared with other subways systems in the world. Service times are from 05:00 to 00:00 Mon - Fri; 06:00 to 00:00 Sat and 07:00 to 00:00 Sun and holidays.
Mexico City Metro system (STC)
Metro map (STC).
- During rush hour, the subway can be quite congested. Two days of the event will be in normal working days, so you can expect big crowds if you want to use the service those days.
- There are unofficial salespeople inside the Subway, some of them selling music using loud speakers.
- Pickpockets aren't unheard of. Take care of your belongings.
Metrobús (Rapid Bus)
Metrobús is a Rapid Line Bus system, with 4 routes, each with a distinctive color and number. It runs through 65.1 km (~40 miles) and has 115 stations, of which 105 are normal, 2 are transfer stations and 6 are terminals.Each ride costs $6 MXN () and it's card-operated (prepaid card). Service hours are 4:30 to 00:00 Mon - Fri; 05:00 to 00:00 weekends and holidays.
There are two kinds of buses: the small ones minibuses (also known as microbuses or peseros) and conventional buses. They run all around and through the city with established routes. They cost $3.00 MXN ($0.24 USD). Their use is more complex as there are no official maps of all routes.
Microbuses or peseros
Buses in the Passenger Transportation Network (Autobuses de la Red de Transporte de Pasajeros RTP )
Taxi cabs in Mexico city are painted gold and burgundy. They charge an initial fare (banderazo) of 7.04 MXN (0.007 USD) plus $0.86 MXN (0.07 USD) per 250 meters or 45 seconds. Tourist cabs exist, with higher fares usually established by the operator; usually found outside hotels and typical tourist spots; they don't have an established color, but they all have a distinctive sticke on the back window.
- Taxis in Mexico city are relatively cheap compared to other cities. When you board, the operator must reset the taximeter and fare
- Public transportation is often a better alternative than Taxi cabs, for safety reasons. the event's staff is more than happy to help you locate and board a safe taxi cab.
The local currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN), issued in coins on 0.50, 1, 2, 5 and 10 pesos. Banknotes are issued in 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. The exchange rate varies day to day but it averages $13 MXN = $1 USD.
Money exchange businesses can easily be found on the airport, around Downtown and through Paseo de la Reforma, although the exchange can be done in many banks. By law, almost no establishment will accept payments in anything but Mexican Pesos.
A guide to prices
|One ride on subway/metro||3.00||0.24|
|A Big Mac||42.00||3.32|
|A Big Mac combo||60.00||4.74|
|One Coca-Cola can (355 ml.)||8.00||0.63|
|Average restaurant meal||200.00||15.70|
|Economical meal, "Comida corrida"||40.00 a 50.00||3.13 a 3.72|
|Gasoline, 1 liter||9.82||0.76|
Power plugs in Mexico are found in two types: A (most common) and B, with 127V/60Hz. The event's venue will have both types. Electrical tension can usually vary +/- 10% (that is, between 114 and 140 volts).
What to do?
Mexico City is home to the biggest cultural offer in the country, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage City in 1987
Some of the most important places to see are Downtown, containing historical buildings such as Palacio Nacional ("National Palace") which is an office to the President, regularly hosts art galas and holds several murals by Diego Rivera; the Cathedral; the Mayor's Office building; the Plaza de la Constitución also known as Zócalo, a common gathering place and the second biggest plaza in the world; the Templo Mayor (Major Temple), a mexica archaeological palace, the Supreme Court of Justice, home to the highest court in the country.
In the pedestrian street of Madero there are several cafés, stores and boutiques, the Estanquillo Museum and the San Francis Temple, the Iturbide Palace, La Profesa temple, the House of Azulejos (a typical ornamental ceramic tile from Puebla) and the Latinoamericana Tower, a 188-story skyscrapper. After that, the Alameda Central is found, a traditional park founded over 400 years ago, home to the Diego Rivera Museum which hosts several paintings of said famous artist; there's also the Palacio de Bellas Artes ("Palace of Fine Arts") which houses a theatre, opera house and museum; declared a Wolrd Heritage Site in 1987 by UNESCO
Within Downtown there'sn also the Post Office Palace, which still hosts the Post Office's General Management office, Palacio de Minería ("Palace of Mining"), the UNAM Engineering School Museum, the National Museum of Arts (MUNAL) hosting pieces of all mexican history between the Colony years and the 1950's, the Museum of Mexico City, hosting temporary art collections, a permanent art collection and several pieces by mexican painter Joaquín Clausell.
Coyoacán, a cultural neighborhood and handcraft marketplace is located to the south, home to the second most visited plaza in the city. Here we can find Casa Azul ("the Blue House"), the former house of Frida Kahlo; and the National Museum of Popular Culture, with art from every culture in the country.
South of Coyoacán there's San Angel, the biggest pop art market in Mexico; the National University (UNAM) campus, dubbed University City which is also a World Heritage Site since 2007 and home to Universum, the University Museum of Sciences promoting science and technology; cinemas, music stages, theaters, a botanical garde, the "Mexico 68" football stadium and the university's teaching facilities; in the Tlalpan burrough there's Six Flags Mexico, the only one in Latin America, as well as El Colegio de México (The College of Mexico), a public university created by Spanish and Mexican cooperation.
On the south there's also Xochimilco a must-see for every visitor. The trajineras (traditional shallop-like vessel) offer rides with food and music around the lake, which is a World Heritage site as well. In Xochimilco there's also a handcrafts and flowers marketplace.
Inside Xochimilco the Dolores Olmedo Museum is found, after the owner of the biggest private collections of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo's pieces, now in exhibition.
On the west part of the city there's the neighborhood of Polanco, full with California-style houses, the Soumaya Museum hosting a Rodin collection; the Santa Fe neighborhood, home to modern buildings and 21st century companies; the Forest and Castle of Chapultepec, now the National Museum of history; the Muesum of Modern art, featuring pieces by: Kahlo, Siqueiros, Orozco, O’Gorman, Rivera, Tamayo, Carrington, Varo and Álvarez Bravo; the National Museum of Anthropology, one of the most important in Mexico housing archaeological remains of all mexican peoples with over 2 million visitors every year; the Auditorio Nacional, main stage for entretainments and music; the Chapultepec zoo, home to 1930 specimens with free admittance; the Museum for Children "Papalote" with a heavy emphasis on science, art and technology; the Federal Electric Museum of Technology, with physics, mathematics and energy-related collections.
A tourist-exclusive service, Turibus, runs througout the city near the main tourist attractions. It currently runs two routes: one is Downtown-Chapultepec and one on the South side. The admittance fee includes all day hop-on and hop-off, as well as transfer between these routes at no additional cost.
- [ http://www.turibus.com.mx/ Turibus official website]
Mexico City is located in the geographical center of the country and it's surrounded by the states of Mexico and Morelos, but Querétaro, Puebla, Hidalgo and Guerrero are relativelty close and worthy of visiting.
We have short (2-hour to half-day) tours:
Distrito Federal (Mexico City)
On the way to Toluca, EDOMEX, the Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla National Park, also known as La Marquesa is found. It's a 1760 ha (4349 acre) oak, cedar and oyamel with an average temperature of 12°C (~54°F), perfect for horseback riding, motorcycle and BMX rides, rock climbing, rappel, paintball and many other activities. There are several trout farms in the vicinity, perfect for eating as quesadillas along with the traditional mushroom soup.
On the Álvaro Obregón burrough another forest called Parque Nacional Desierto de los Leones is found; but unlike Marquesa, this is the home of a Carmelite Nun monastery.
Mexico State (EDOMEX)
The Teotihuacan pyramids, one of the biggest mexica cities is near the City. Its two biggest pyramids (the Sun and the Moon pyramids) are the main landmarks, from where the rest of the city and local museum can be seen. On bus, it's a 2-hour trip from Mexico City
In EDOMEX there's Metepec, famous for its clay handcrafts and "El árbol de la vida" (the Tree of Life). A typical trip can include a visit to the San Juan Bautista de Metepec Church and former Convent; the Calvario chapel and the "2 de Abril" bar to have a taste of garañona, a traditional drink.
Malinalco is located sout of EDOMEX, famous for its archaeological site Cuauhcalli, a monolithic building carved entirely from one single boulder. Its abundant flora and fauna makes for a very nice trip.
Puebla, the capital of the state of the same name, is a colonial city often cited as having the most churches in all the country. Its architecture and food are unique and worthy of knowing.
Is a city on the state of Guerrero, famous for its silver production, rocky roads and wonderful views. Every saturday the silver artisans sell their products at reasonable prices, and during the week several stores and boutiques are open and ready to help visitors feel at home.
The Prismas Basálticos, geometrical basalt columns are the result of magma cooling and being covered by waterfalls. Today, these are recreational centers with pools, camping zones, horseback rides and tours to the San Antonio Dam
The State of Morelos lies South of Mexico City. In it, there's Tepoztlán, part of Mexico's "Magical Towns, an excellent place for walking through the Tepozteco Pyramid and the Nativity Convent. Tepoztlán has become a must-see for local and international tourists. There are lots of restaurants featuring international and local cuisine (quesadillas, itacates, tlacoyos, pancita, barbacoa, cecina from Yecapixtla, tacos acorazados, mole, pozole); the water-based ice cream ("nieves") are particularly good.
Cuernavaca is commonly known as the "City of Perpetual Springtime" because of its warm, even climate throughout the year. There you can find the Palacio de Cortés, the archaeological site of Teopanzolco, Jardín Borda, a colonial-era garden with fountains, and fauna brought from the Philippines. Nightclubs, bars and restaurants of all kinds are present in popular touristic spots.
If you wish to visit somewhere not on this list, please ask the staff for help.
What to eat?
Mexican food is characterized by its varied palette of ingredients and flavors. In 2010 it was recognized as an Immaterial Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Every state has its own characteristic recipes, but the most famous are the Puebla, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Jalisco and Yucatán cuisines. Pozole, mole, tamales, chiles en nogada, cochonita pibil and several species of fish are just the tip of the iceberg.
A traditional breakfast would include eggs, cooked in one of many different ways, fruit, coffee and "pan dulce" (pastries); but tamales with atole (a cornstarch-based sweet beverage) are also commonplace. A common lunch in the style of "comida corrida" (a two or three course meal served in many places) includes soup, rice or pasta and a serving of some "guisado" (with some kind of chicken, pork or beef). for dinner, one could eat molletes or a guisado like the one eaten during lunchtime.
One of the most emblematic foods in Mexico is tacos (singular: taco), of which many varieties are found, with maize or wheat tortillas and many different ingredients inside. You can't leave Mexico without having at least one. Among the most popular varieties:
- Tacos al pastor ("shepherd's tacos"): its main ingredient is pork seasoned with achiote or chile ancho, oranges, vinegar and pepper; these are usually served with a slice of pineapple and often in one or two small tortillas.
- Carnitas tacos: Made with pork cooked in its own lard.
- Carne asada (grilled meat): as their name hints, these are made of grilled beef meat. These are commonly found in steakhouses and other restaurants whith emphasis on meat.
- Cochinita tacos: Cochinita is a traditional dish from Yucatán. Pork is marinated in achiote for at least one hour and then putting it on an oven previously heated to 180°C (~360°F) and cooked until the meat is very tender. Traditionally, it was cooked in a hole in the ground, where hot stones were dposited and covered with several leaves
- Cabeza tacos: the different parts of a pig's or lamb's head are cooked with steam se preparan al vapor con los diferentes tipos de carne que hay en la cabeza de la res o del borrego. Includes tongue, ear, eye, brains, "maciza" and cheek, among others.
- Tacos dorados (commonly known in english as "taquitos"): these tacos were invented in Sinaloa and are prepared with freshly done tortillas, filled with chicken, beef, pork or lamb; beans, potatoes are also common. The tortilla is wrapped around the filling and deep fried on oil or lard so that it becomes firm. When served, they are usually garnished with creme, grated cheese, lettuce and salsa. Their low prices and great taste make them very popular everywhere. These are also known as "flautas".
- Tacos de canasta ("basket tacos"): these tacos are prepared with small tortillas and heated with steam on a steamer pot. These have an oily and wet texture. They are usually filled with potato, beans, beef, pork or chicken "deshebrada", chicharrón, green mole, chicken tinga and picadillo (ground beef with vegetables). These tacos are very popular in the northern states, usually in the morning or during night reunions. In Mexico City, there are many people selling them in a bicycle or adapted tricycle, carrying a big container with salsa. The tacos are stored in a basket (hence their name) storing several hundred tacos. They are extremely cheap, very popular and the basket amazingly keeps them warm.
- Tacos de guisado (casserole tacos): these are tacos made of several casserole-like dishes, such as: chicharrón in salsa, morita ribs, entomatado (pork in a tomato-based sauce), cheese-filled chiles, rellena, green mole with pork or chicken, picadillo, pasilla steak, eggs and ham, eggs in salsa, etc. They are served with two tortillas, rice and salsa. Many small taco stands of this kind are found everywhere in the City.
in Mexico, most food (and even some candies) are spice or very spicy. It's highly recommended to ask first whether your food is spicy. Many different kinds of salsa are available, but the most common are made out of chile de árbol (red) and habanero (yellow). It's also a good idea to taste the salsa before using it on anything.
It's a mexican custom to eat a lot of things with maize (corn) tortillas, either in the form of tacos or as a side dish of sorts (analog to how bread is consumed in some countries). Tortillas can be used as an impromptu spoon or as a disposable second eating utensil. Many restaurants offer tortillas with their meals at no additional cost.
Along with sodas, the most popular soft drinks in Mexico are fruit-based "aguas", with horchata and jamaica being the most common choices. We recommend consuming bottled water available in every store.
The most popular alcoholic drinks are beer, tequila and mezcal. Mexican beers are renowned worldwide.
Mexico has a deeply rooted tradition of food stands. Many people eat regularly on food stands in the streets, making it a very authentic experience for visitors. These food stands may offer:
- Antojitos: other mexican dishes, such as, sopes, tlacoyos, pambazos and the world-renowned quesadillas
- Tamales and atole: both in the mornings and nights
- Elotes: corn ears, served with mayonnaise, lemon and hot spices. Esquites are a special preparation of the grains in a soup-like dish.
Tipping is usually 10% of the total bill, although it's not mandatory. It's considered good manners to say "provecho" or "buen provecho" (lit. "may the meal do you good") to nearby tables when retiring from a public place to eat.
Mexico City also offers all kinds of international food. One can find everywhere fast food restaurants, such as McDonalds, Burger king, KFC or Subway. The traditional "fondas" serve full meals quickly and with accesible prices.
Mole poblano (from Puebla)
Chiles en nogada.