1 week itinerary advice needed
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Feb 6, 2012 10:00 PM Last Post By: p0gue
Jan 31, 2012 10:03 PM
1 week itinerary advice neededHi all,
I'm flying in and out of MC. I have 7 full days and I want to run my itinerary by you to see if it makes sense.
1. Anthropology museum and Chapultepec area
2. Centro historico
3. Teotihuacan and maybe basilica de Guadalupe. Easy walk from terminal Norte?
4. Extra day for something further afield in MC like the khalo museum or the university campus. Other suggestions?
5. Puebla zocalo and city center
6. Cholula. Can I add anything to this day?
7. Tlaxcala, cacaxtla & xochitecatl. Too much? Seems really tricky to get to and between these places by bus. Any tips?
Then I'd get a bus from Puebla to th MC airport.
My challenge here is to NOT pack too much stuff into each day so I have time to wander around or spend an extra hour in a coffee shop etc. At the same time, I don't want to be idle. I figure I'd base myself in the zona rosa in MC and near the zocalo in Puebla, everything else would be a day trip. I'd love to hear from anyone who would recommend more interesting sights to a first timer in Mexico with very little Spanish. Originally, I was thinking of spending one less day in each city to add Xalapa. Any thoughts?
Thanks in advance!
Jan 31, 2012 10:33 PM
1If you go to La Casa Rosa (Frida Kahlo's house) in Coyoacan, and I think you should, walk 5 blocks to visit the Leon Trotsky house/museum. I liked this little suburb of Mexico City - the zocalo has a protest group (not quite "occupy" it was explained to me) camped out there and the town centre is compact and very Mexican. If you are a good walker, there is a beautiful park there as well.
In the historic centre of Mexico City, be sure to visit the Presidential/National Palace. 10 pesos. Not only are the Diego Rivera murals awesome to view, but also the rooms of the palace that you can walk through afterwards, are quite beautiful with each room having a different and very intricately designed ceiling. Also, don't miss the old Post Office, across the street from the Palacio de Bellas Artes. Both the exterior, but particularly the interior are exquisite.
Feb 1, 2012 12:39 AM
You itinerary covers well colonial heritage, modern Mexico, and pre-Hispanic archaeological sites. personally, I sure thing like all of those but some will probably point that it lacks areas with indigenous population, Mayan ruins, etc. Yet, Mexico is huge and diverse and there is unlimited things to do and see so given just 1 week, I think your itinerary looks good.
Looks like you've done plenty of research - so just few comments:
1. Anthropology museum and Chapultepec area - 1 day sounds good.
2. Centro historico - 1 day sounds good
3. Teotihuacan and maybe basilica de Guadalupe. Easy walk from terminal Norte? You'll hear this a lot: try to get to Teotihuacan as early as possible. Also, I always like to walk from Pyramid of the Moon (Gate 3) to Main entramce (Gate 1/ Pyramid of the Serpent) rather than in the opposite direction - several reason major being that this way you walk against "traffic" which really helps to enjoy the site.
If you go to Basilica, I suggest to take a metro from the TAPO - it will require just one transfer and Metro is cool.
4. Extra day for something further afield in MC like the khalo museum or the university campus. Other suggestions? Other major attractions are Xochimilco, Roma and Condesa. But I agree with the above: Coyoacan is probably the most rewarding neighborhood, imo. In addition to Frida's Blue House and main sq -- there is a great number of old colonial buildings including some original Castilan ones dating from 16th century including houses Cortes built for himself and Malinche as well as Pedro Alvarado's house.
5. Puebla zocalo and city center - 1 day sounds right. Note: Amparo museum, while great, may be underwhelming if visited right after Anthropological Museum in D.F. Otherwise, beautiful city, plenty things to see, do and enjoy.
6. Cholula. Can I add anything to this day? I think so. You won't need more than half a day, even if you spend 2 hrs in cafe :))) If you are into old trains, do visit Museo de Ferracorriles in Puebla (btw, it's about 15-20 min from Puebla's centro to Cholula).
7. Tlaxcala, cacaxtla & xochitecatl. Too much? Seems really tricky to get to and between these places by bus. Any tips? Few tips:
Xochitecatl is very simple. But if weather is clear, the views are amazing and it's a perfect place to observe the sunset. It officially closes at 5:30, I believe, but the guards always let us stay for some extra time when we ask to see the sunset.
If you come on the weekend, there will be stalls selling large blue corn tacos at the entrance to Cacaxtla. Do you self a favor and have those for lunch :)))
If you really want to od Tlaxcala/sites in one day, I'd suggest such an approach (if you pack lightly): D.F. -> Tlaxcala -> Cacaxtla/Xochitecatl -> Puebla. E.g. --
Take an evening bus from D.F. to Tlaxcala. Enjoy centro at night, enjoy views, spend a night in Tlaxcala. Walk more next day in the morning. Next, take collectivo to Cacaxtla (LP guide has details). To get from Cacaxtla to Xochitecatl you'll probably need a taxi (it's very close, 15 min or so) - not sure if any public transport goes there. To get to Puebla: Flecha Azul has direct bus from Nativitas, a town between 2 sites, to Puebla.
Edited by: alterigor
Feb 1, 2012 4:28 AM
3The trip to Puebla & Cholula seems rushed. I'd consider either devoting more time to them, or leaving them for another time. Frida Kahlo's/Diego Rivera's former home in Coyoacan is called the Casa Azul. Your Tlaxcala leg is good - few newcomers to Mexico City know of it.
In Mexico City:
-Right next to the zocalo are the ruins and excellent museum of the Templo Mayor, the Aztec city conquered and sacked by Hernan Cortez.
-The folklorico ballet (traditional dance and music from all over Mexico) is performed twice a week in the Bellas Artes performaing arts palace (Bellas Artes is worth a visit just to see the building and murals inside).
-A few hours at a major mercado would be entertaining (La Ciudadela, La Merced, etc).
-While in Chapultapec, be sure to tour Chapultapec Castle - magnificent.
Feb 1, 2012 10:34 AM
Feb 1, 2012 11:19 AM
5If it is your first time in Mexico city, I would recommend doing the Turibús tour. It may be a very touristy thing to do, but I think it is one of the best tours of its kind in any city while very affordable. The two circuits seem to pick the best and present it to a tourist who doesn't have too much time to get to know everything as a nice intro. Do it as early in the morning as possible, as it tends to get more crowded later, as well as traffic gets worse later in the day and the tour takes longer. Demonstrations later in the day may also cause detours which will result in missing some parts of the tour and there will be no audio during the rerouted part. Frequency of the buses seem to correlate to the demand, so in a slow time you may wait 30-40 minutes for the next turibus. Also there is no toilet on the bus, so that morning coffee may result in an unnecessary break.
I would be less rigid about the itinerary, although you seem to have many must-sees on it, and it is always better to have a plan than to not have a plan. The turibus tour may bring up something that will appeal to you so you can come back to it later. At the end I think you will realize that you need more trips to Mexico city. If I were you, I'd spend all week in Mexico city, and maybe do a daytrip to Puebla/Cholula in one day (either buy a tour or do your own with a guide book).
Re Frida Kahlo, visit Coyoacán on a Saturday, then take a taxi to lovely San Ángel and visit the artists market on Plaza San Jacinto and the other Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo museum house studio. It sort of complements la Casa Azul.
Feb 1, 2012 12:01 PM
6Re Templo Mayor, it definitely is a fascinating site to visit and the museum is excellent. However, many people don't know that there were two adjacent cities on the island, Tenochtitlán and Tlatelolco, each with its own Templo Mayor. The archeological zone Tlatelolco is very well maintained and as the Tlatelolco Templo Mayor is in a much better shape today than the Templo Mayor in Zócalo, it can offer a much better perspective to a visitor. The admission is free and they supposedly offer a free english guide (which I have never used). Time permiting, very well worth a visit.
Feb 1, 2012 2:46 PM
7Yes, and Tlatelolco is within the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in which you can see the ruins of the ancient Aztec city adjacent to the Templo de Santiago built by the Spanish in the early 16th centruy with the modern high-rises of Mexico City surrounding the whole site; thus, the three cultures; Aztec, Spanish and the product of these two, modern Mexican. This is also the site of one of Mexico's darkest moments when hundreds of college students were gunned down by the Mexican army in 1968 while protesting the government's expeditures on the 1968 Olympic games.
Feb 3, 2012 6:10 PM
8I like the Tlatelolco ruins much more than the ones in the Zocalo. The Zocalo ones are in ruins and it's kind of a sad thing to see just sitting there almost dead next to the magnificent cathedral and noisy and bustling Zocalo plaza itself where verything and anything goes. From Hidalgo metro station (probably ones of the most jamm packed metro stations in the entire world, the station is teeming with people everywhere!!!) you can switch from the blu to the green line, the Tlatelolco ruins are about 3 subway stations north right before La Raza station.
I'd avoid packing any other activity over Teotihuacan. If alititude sickness doesn't hit you, heatstroke might (happened to me once), the place gets insanely hot during the day, bring oodles of sun block and water. Sundays the entry fee is free and so there's more people. There's a wonderful cave restaurant nearby. I'd avoid doing any other activity that day.
Many of the sites (Zocalo, Centro histroico, Alameda, Bellas Artes...) are just 12 blocks so walking around can be done in less than 3 hours if you skip museums. Next to Bellas Artes is the Torre Latinoamericana where you can get to the top and for a small fee use a telescope to see the entire city, it even has a small aquarium.
The antropology museum and Chapultepec castle can be chugged easily together since both sites are close by. Coyoacan is wonderful, a favorite neighborhood of locals and tourists alike! La Condesa and Roma are also worth a visit.
I also second the Turibus, it only lasts about 90 minutes and will give you insight about where you'd like to trek next, there's less traffic on the weekends obviously. I feel like you will want to stay in Mexico City the entire week. The city probably has the Guiness world record holder of most museums in the world, I think there's over 200 museums!!!
Feb 5, 2012 4:13 PM
Feb 6, 2012 6:48 AM
Feb 6, 2012 10:00 PM
11Here's a really cool, lesser-known tour on the zocalo - climb the bell tower of the metropolitan cathedral. Theres a ticket desk inside the church, you may have to ask to find it. Only 15 pesos, they take up groups every 45 minutes. Great views over the Zocalo, and up 5 de Mayo. Especially nice around sunset. A fascinating behind the scenes look at a magnificent structure - it's not every day you get to climb around on the roof of an enormous 500 yr old cathedral.
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