This article will give you the necessary information you require to get around in Mexico City, while ensuring your travel plans are still pleasant, exciting and fruitful. So let’s get started! It’s an exciting journey you are about to embark upon.
Traveling in Mexico City, a General Overview
The naming conventions used for Mexico City’s streets and neighborhoods can be very exasperating to the out of town traveler if you aren’t sure what everything means. The most important thing to remember when trying to find a certain location is: Patience. Many times, streets that ‘should’ be in a certain place, just aren’t.
Numbered streets are usually (but not always) designated as North/South (norte/sur) or East/West (oriente/poneinte). A block can be numbered, depending on how far it is from an arbitrary starting point. However, you’ll notice during your travels that many Mexican addresses have only “s/n” (sin número) listed after the street name, which means, literally, “no number”. And yet other addresses have a kilometer designation in the address, indicating that they are located a certain number of kilometers down a major street, such as a highway.
All addresses in Mexico City are written with the street name at the start, then the street number. The postal code (código postal) is listed before the name of the city, not after. Apdo., or apartado, means box, and Postal, or A.P. means post-office box number. And finally, most addresses include the neighborhood (colonia, or col.) that the residence is in.
Traveling in Mexico City, By Bus
The bus system in Mexico City is used extensively by locals and travelers to the area. It is often crowded, and pickpockets are an issue. Never show a wallet on the bus, and make sure to carry change with you if you plan on using this method of transportation.
When boarding the bus, tell the driver where you plan on going, and the driver will tell you the fare. Sometimes bus stops will have signs above them, telling you where you are; many times, you’ll know it’s a stop only because there are people waiting by the side of the road. Buses are rarely on time in Mexico City; if you plan on traveling later in the day or at night, alternate methods of transportation are recommended.
Traveling in Mexico City, By Car
Driving through Mexico City’s streets, especially for the traveler, can be a harrowing experience. One way streets abound, and rush hour is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Millions of people, literally, are sharing the road with you.
Renting a car is possible in Mexico City, but poses different risks for the out of town traveler. Driving on Mexico City roads is not only dangerous because of the lack of skill used for travelers (many get their license not by taking a test, but by paying someone off), but treacherous because of the unusual and poorly maintained roads.
Another option is to hire a taxi, or limousine, to chauffeur you around. Ask the travel hotel you are staying at in Mexico City for recommendations, or for the closest cab stand (sitio).