Mayhem and mystery envelops the vast mesh of steel, glass, sound and smell that besets Mexico City.
With some 22 million residents in its 5000 square kilometre area, making it one of the largest cities in the world, the Distrito Federal, (Mexico’s glorious capitol) is an endless assault on the senses and mind alike.
For many, Mexico City evokes a sense of trepidation, with the media oft touting it as full of violence, crime and pollution. Whilst there are certainly areas of the city which are more dangerous than others*, as is the case in any big city, to simply boycott Mexico City for fear of safety would be to miss out on losing one’s self in the blissful chaos of this metropolis.
Like any metropolitan mass, Mexico City is a plethora of culture, history, art, architecture, food, entertainment and constant movement. With so much to see and do there, Mexico City converts even the most cynical of its patrons.
Sip authentic Mexican tequila in an ornate grand cantina (bar) then take in a barefoot ballet performance by the world renowned Ballet Folklorico at the Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Take the Metro to Zona Rosa and feel a million miles away from the surrounding concrete jungle whilst strolling through the city’s largest park and make sure you don’t miss the National Anthropology Museum in nearby Bosque de Chapultepec.
Meander around the UNESCO world heritage site of the Centro Historico (historic city centre) and if you’re lucky, see an impromptu traditional Aztec dance in the 57, 000 square meter Zocalo (town square) or admire the local artists who showcase their works daily in the square.
For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, just an hour away yet another UNESCO world heritage site awaits: Xochimilco on the banks of Lake Tenochtitlan.
Filled with magnificent floating gardens, alive with colour and an intricate network of canals and artificial islands known as Chinampas, visitors can appreciate why the conquistadors dubbed Xochimilco ‘the Venice of the new world’. Take a leisurely gondola ride to the tune of a Spanish serenade, accompanied by the shrill chirps of a traditional mariachi band. Try and spot the curious reptilian hybrid, the Axolotl- a cat fish looking creature with four legs- or ultimately just unwind as your boat gently drifts on down the river.
Dare to challenge the fear mongering of the media and take a chance on Mexico City. Experience the intrigue of life in the pounding heart of the Central American world and feel your own heartbeat mirror and quicken with delight.
*Check your local embassy website for information about where to avoid going when in Mexico City and for up to date warnings or cautions in regards to travel to the city.