Labor Day Weekend in Mexico City

유씨came to visit me in Mexico City for Labor Day. I had to work that weekend, so it was a bit of a whirlwind trip.

Here are some of our activities:

We went to the Palacio de Iturbide for its special exhibit (they change regularly)quintonil, world's top 50 restaurants, mexico city, ballet folklorico, running on paseo de la reforma, palacio de iturbide, palacio de bellas artes

 

We saw the Ballet Folklórico at Palacio de Bellas Artes.  유씨 thought it was going to be cheesy, but later said it was one of the highlights of the weekend. (After seeing me, of course)
quintonil, world's top 50 restaurants, mexico city, ballet folklorico, running on paseo de la reforma, palacio de iturbide, palacio de bellas artesWe had seats in the second row. The second row!!

 

We went running on Paseo de la Reforma, my most favorite thing to do in Mexico City
quintonil, world's top 50 restaurants, mexico city, ballet folklorico, running on paseo de la reforma, palacio de iturbide, palacio de bellas artes
I was pretty impressed with 유씨. Running at this altitude in a polluted city after a flight isn’t easy, but I may or may not have been struggling to keep up with him.

We ate at Quintonil, one of the World’s Top 50 Restaurants. Three of the world’s top 50 restaurants are in Mexico City, but they’re booked alllll the time! I was lucky to get this reservation.
quintonil, world's top 50 restaurants, mexico city, ballet folklorico, running on paseo de la reforma, palacio de iturbide, palacio de bellas artes
We got a tasting menu, with 11 plates of small dishes. This is cactus ceviche and it was incredible.

When’s your next three-day weekend?

 


Wendy

Weekend trip to Taxco

I recently went on a weekend trip to the beautiful colonial town of Taxco, Guerrero.

Weekend trip to Taxco, Silver, Los Arcos hotel, Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Pozas Azules, Mexico, La Gaviota, Chinese Railroads

Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco

Taxco’s terrain is…rugged. The bus trip from Mexico City is about 3 hours and twists and turns through the mountains. By the time we arrived at Taxco, I was no longer outraged by La Gaviota’s bribe…build the railroad!

Weekend trip to Taxco, Silver, Los Arcos hotel, Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Pozas Azules, Mexico, La Gaviota, Chinese Railroads

Taxco is known as a silver mining town, so there was a shopportunity or several.

Weekend trip to Taxco, Silver, Los Arcos hotel, Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Pozas Azules, Mexico, La Gaviota, Chinese Railroads

I may or may not have indulged a bit. These bracelets were about ~$20 for all three.

My friend and I stayed at Los Arcos hotel. Built in 1572, it retained the colonial charm of the Spanish style. It was cheap too – about $60/night.

Weekend trip to Taxco, Silver, Los Arcos hotel, Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Pozas Azules, Mexico, La Gaviota, Chinese Railroads

Here’s the hotel’s lobby/dining area. Breakfast (not included) was delicious. Weekend trip to Taxco, Silver, Los Arcos hotel, Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Pozas Azules, Mexico, La Gaviota, Chinese Railroads

There are a few activities in Taxco, but for some reason we decided to take the cable car from Barrio Los Arcos to Monte Taxco. The cost is ~$6 for this death-defying trip.

Weekend trip to Taxco, Silver, Los Arcos hotel, Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Pozas Azules, Mexico, La Gaviota, Chinese Railroads

Can you see the fear etched on my face? No? It was only a 5-minute ride. We took a taxi back down!  Weekend trip to Taxco, Silver, Los Arcos hotel, Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Pozas Azules, Mexico, La Gaviota, Chinese Railroads

I lived…and the next day we hailed a cab and Julio Cesar was our driver. But he wasn’t just a driver…oh no, he was a bona fide tour guide!

Weekend trip to Taxco, Silver, Los Arcos hotel, Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Pozas Azules, Mexico, La Gaviota, Chinese Railroads

If you’re in Taxco, call him, he’s awesome.
Weekend trip to Taxco, Silver, Los Arcos hotel, Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Pozas Azules, Mexico, La Gaviota, Chinese Railroads

We asked to be driven to the statue of Jesus that overlooks the town. You probably know that Mexico is a rather religious country, and such displays of faith are abundant. I am always humbled and moved.

Weekend trip to Taxco, Silver, Los Arcos hotel, Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Pozas Azules, Mexico, La Gaviota, Chinese Railroads

Up another twisty, curvy, foggy road is Las Pozas Azules. It wasn’t yet rainy season, so the swimming holes weren’t yet ready, but just look at these cascades! After months in completely urbanized Mexico City, this was -quite literally -a breath of fresh air.

Weekend trip to Taxco, Silver, Los Arcos hotel, Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Pozas Azules, Mexico, La Gaviota, Chinese Railroads

I had helpful tour guides explain the rock formations, the history of the area, and other nearby natural attractions. They even held my hands for encouragement when I expressed trepidation about climbing up the rocks.

Weekend trip to Taxco, Silver, Los Arcos hotel, Church of Santa Prisca in Taxco, Pozas Azules, Mexico, La Gaviota, Chinese Railroads

Taxco is now one of my favorite places in Mexico! I would love to return.

What’s your favorite place to visit?


Wendy

Mexico City Trip Suggestions

A friend recently emailed me asking for recommendations when she’s in Mexico City for a conference in a couple of months, I’ve put together a blog post with my suggestions.

Hotels
Mexico City is vast and sprawling, so I think the best place to stay is in the Reforma area. That will put you within walking distance of both the Centro Historico and Chapultepec Park (where there are a lot of museums).

  • Hilton Reforma – I absolutely love this place. The rooms are small and a bit worn, but the staff there is incredible. The Hilton is just a couple of blocks from the Centro Historico and the zocalo. If you stay here, splash out for access to the Executive Lounge – the views are spectacular!

view

  • Le Meridien – All rooms here are suites, so this is a good place to stay for a family or a bigger group. The bartender Marco makes quite possibly the best cocktails in the city. The gym and the wifi really let this place down, though.

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  • Marriott Reforma– I didn’t stay here, but my brother-in-law did when he was in DF for a couple of days on business. He said it was a nice place to stay.
  • Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel – I didn’t stay here either, but some of my co-workers did. They liked the gym and the breakfast.

Some of these options might be kind of pricey, so check Groupon for deals. Anything outside of the Reforma, Centro Historico, Roma Norte, or Zona Rosa areas is probably too far from main touristy areas and you’ll spend a LOT of time travelling to and from places.

Museums
Mexico City has 150+ museums! I’ve not visited even a fraction, but here are some of my favorites.

  • Chapultepec Castle / National History Museum – This is in Chapultepec Park, down the Paseo de la Reforma. The museum displays art and culture from Mexican history. There are lovely views into the park.

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  • National Archeology Museum – The contents of this museum are jaw-dropping. Even if you know nothing about indigenous Mexican history and culture, it’s still an astounding place.

mexico city, rosetta, xochimilco, zocalo, basilica de guadalupe, lucha libre, teotihuacan, Plaza de 3 Culturas,  Aztec calendar, Hilton Reforma, Chapultepec

  • National Art Museum – Lovely displays of Mexican art throughout the centuries.
  • Palacio de Iturbide – This used to be the home of Agustín de Iturbide, who was a revolutionary and later emperor of Mexico in the 1820s. Now the building is a museum that displays collections owned by Banamex, including Diego Rivera’s Flower Seller.
  • National Palace / Secretary of Public Education -this building borders the Zócalo. Inside is Diego Rivera’s mural depicting Mexican history. Bonus! There are kitties in the gardens.

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  • Frida Kahlo Museum (Casa Azul) – Frida Kahlo’s home turned into a museum. Unlike the other museums, it’s a bit far from the Reforma area.

 

Food

  • El Cardenal – There are a few locations of El Cardenal; one in the lobby of the Hilton, one next to the National Museum of Art, and another closer to the Zócalo in the Centro Historico. Food, service, and ambiance (in the locations in the Centro Historico) are all fantastic. Stop here for breakfast or lunch (Hours are 8am-6pm)

cardenal

  • Cielito Quierdo Cafe – This chain coffee shop brews a few varieties of Mexican-grown coffee. Starbucks is great and all…but stop by this place instead.
  • Panaderia Rosetta – The sandwiches and pastries at this place are ridiculous. Generous portions, great prices, and above all, absolutely delicious.
  • Rosetta –An Italian/Mexican restaurant with innovative dishes. Make a reservation a few days ahead of time!
  • Cafe Tacuba – this place is coasting on its reputation. I’m throwing it in as a negative review because it’s on every must-eat list. Skip it!!

Culture

  • Teotihuacan – This is probably the most famous landmark in Mexico.

mexico city, rosetta, xochimilco, zocalo, basilica de guadalupe, lucha libre, teotihuacan, Plaza de 3 Culturas,  Aztec calendar, Hilton Reforma, Chapultepec

  • Basilica de Guadalupe – this is a must-see even if you’re not Catholic or religious. It’s such an important piece of Mexican culture that it would be a shame to miss it.

mexico city, rosetta, xochimilco, zocalo, basilica de guadalupe, lucha libre, teotihuacan, Plaza de 3 Culturas,  Aztec calendar, Hilton Reforma, Chapultepec

I took an organized day tour to Teotihuacan and the Basilica when 유씨 came for a visit since it was efficient and (your hotel can arrange it for you, or you can google “day trip to Teotihuacan”). The day trip also made a stop at Plaza de Tres Culturas, which I think defines Mexico perfectly.

mexico city, rosetta, xochimilco, zocalo, basilica de guadalupe, lucha libre, teotihuacan, Plaza de 3 Culturas,  Aztec calendar, Hilton Reforma, Chapultepec

  • Zócalo – the main plaza of Mexico City, it’s been used as a city center long before the Spaniards arrived and constructed their buildings here.

mexico city, rosetta, xochimilco, zocalo, basilica de guadalupe, lucha libre, teotihuacan, Plaza de 3 Culturas,  Aztec calendar, Hilton Reforma, Chapultepec

  • Metropolitan Cathedral – also on the Zócalo. The views are stunning from here on a clear(ish) day.

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  • Ballet Folklórico – This traditional dance show is inside the beautiful Palacio de Bellas Artes. The music and costumes are breathtaking.

bellas artes

 

  • Xochimilco – Mexico City was built on canals. Xochimilco is a throwback to pre-hispanic times, but with mariachi and booze and souvenir hawkers.

canals

 

  • Lucha Libre (wresting) – No, I’m not kidding.
    mexico city, rosetta, xochimilco, zocalo, basilica de guadalupe, lucha libre, teotihuacan, Plaza de 3 Culturas,  Aztec calendar, Hilton Reforma, Chapultepec

 

Day Trips

Depending on how much time you have in Mexico, there are a few day trips you can take.

  • Puebla– I wrote about it here.
  • Tula – I wrote about it here.

There are many other day trips you can take by yourself or with a tour company.

Safety

But… isn’t Mexico dangerous?!  Here is what I found hazardous:

  • Pollution – smog and second-hand smoke will aggravate your allergies and make your eyes water. If you’re there during the rainy season, though, the pollution is not nearly as bad.
  • Sidewalks are uneven with holes. A co-worker stepped on a nail that pierced her shoe; another tripped and scraped her hand against a rusty piece of metal. Make sure your tetanus shot is up-to-date.
  • Food-bourne illnesses – if you’re very adventurous, you can eat at any of the numerous food stalls on the street. It will probably be a good weight-loss opportunity, too!
  • Traffic – there is none of that yielding-to-pedestrians nonsense here in Mexico City. I would stand at a street corner until a Mexican approached, and then cross with him/her.
  • Altitude sickness – Mexico City is 7200+ feet above sea level, and when I first came here 10+ years ago, I suffered. All the beer I consumed didn’t help either. This time, I was in better shape (thanks Shaun T!) and prepared by drinking a gallon of water the day before I left. No problems with altitude sickness this time.

Mexico City is an amazing, dynamic, endlessly fascinating city! I love it and I’m sure you will, too.

Have you ever been to Mexico City? Would you like to go?

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Wendy

I smell like your abuela

Good morning! For this edition of Fragrance Friday, we’re going retro with Maja. Created in 1921, I think this scent is familiar to a lot of Latins. Now, let’s not beat around the bush – Maja is a perfume favored by-ahem-older Latin ladies.  But when I saw it in Farmacias de Paris in the centro historico of Mexico City, I had to buy it. I mean, with a tag line like that (the scent that seduced the world) how could I not?!

Farmacias de Paris, Maja, la escenia que seduce al mundo, mexico city centro historico

Here’s the gift set, plus I bought a roll-on antiperspirant too. Sadly there wasn’t any body lotion, because I really wanted to go all out and smell like your mima/abuelita/yaya and all the Doñas in your life.

 

Farmacias de Paris, Maja, la escenia que seduce al mundo, mexico city centro historico

Maja is a warm spicy fragrance with rose, patchouli, and cloves. Patchouli is definitely not my favorite note in a perfume, but for nostalgia’s sake, I’m all over it.

What are you wearing (in a totally non-creepy way)?
 

 


Wendy

I’m on Land of Marvels today!

Good morning! Check out Casey’s blog Land of Marvels; today I’m featured in the Destinations series for Mexico City!

zocolo independence day mexico city

Viva Mexico!


Wendy