So you are planning on visiting Mexico City? I am so excited for you! There are so many sights to explore and neighborhoods to visit in this city, but half of the fun is just getting there! While it may be tempting to Uber everywhere, I want to convince you to do otherwise.
When I first started exploring Mexico City, I used a variety of transport, Uber included. However, I felt like I missed a lot of what the city had to offer when I took Uber. As they say, it’s about the journey, not the destination. You get a better feel for the city when you’re in charge of navigating. You slow down enough to take in your surroundings and experience the city more authentically.
I’ll admit that sometimes Uber is the better choice, the key is knowing what transportation to take and when so you can have the best experience! So if you are up for a little more adventure and want to experience the most of Mexico City, keep reading for my Top 5 favorite ways of getting around besides Uber in Mexico City.
The Mexico City metro began construction in the ’60s, in anticipation for the Mexico City Olympic Games that were planned to take place in 1968. Today, the metro is the second largest in North America after the NYC subway and one of my favorite ways to get around Mexico City!
When should I use the metro?
You can reach practically all major tourist attractions using the metro. I find it most useful to travel from Colonia Roma or Condesa to the Centro Historico where the Zocalo, Templo Mayor, Palacio Nacional, and plenty of other fun places are located. The metro is a great way to cover large ground quickly.
How do I use the metro?
All you need to do to get started is to buy a ticket or a rechargeable metro card at the ticket booth in whatever metro station you enter. Each ride costs 5 pesos (like 25 US cents), so it’s one of the most affordable ways of transport in the city. It’s also pretty easy to navigate, especially if you have a smartphone. You can plug in your destination into Google Maps and it will tell you where to change lines and what stop to get off at. There are also maps in all of the stations in case you are traveling phone-free.
Is the metro safe?
A lot of people ask me if the metro is safe and my answer is yes, but you need to be alert. Firstly, don’t take the metro from the airport. This is one of those times where Uber is better and safer. Secondly, do NOT keep anything in your pockets. Pick-pocketing is probably the most common crime, so be smart and keep your phone and wallet someplace secure like a purse or a backpack. And make sure that you move your bag to your front side where you can see it at all times. When I rode the metro for the first time, I was impressed to see that the first ten or so metro cars are for women only. You’ll see a barricade where only women will be allowed to pass, so if you are a female traveler this is a great option.
When should I NOT take the metro?
Although I generally enjoy taking the metro, there are times when I absolutely HATE it, and that is during rush hour. Avoid the metro at all costs before 10 AM and between 5-8 PM. It gets extremely crowded with lots of pushing and shoving, and you’ll probably have to wait forever just to get in. And as I previously mentioned, don’t take the metro from the airport. Traveling with all of your luggage just makes you look like a sitting duck.
Otherwise, during the daytime, the metro is a convenient, safe, and very Mexican way to get around the city. You’ll take in all the sights, sounds, and smells that are distinctly Mexico City. If you’re visiting Mexico City I definitely think you should ride the metro at least once!
Electric mopeds are a great option for navigating the streets of Mexico City. Mopeds like Econduce can be found throughout the city.
How does it work?
It’s pretty simple to get started, you just download the respective app, sign up, and start riding. You’ll be charged by the minute. Be aware that you can only ride the mopeds and drop them off in designated parts of the city. Click here for a full map.
If you are looking for a quick and fun way to get around the more touristic parts of Mexico City, a moped is a great way to go!
The metrobus is Mexico City’s major bus system. Like the underground metro, there are different lines, and of course, bus stops for navigating the city.
How to take the Metrobus?
I almost exclusively use Line 1 to travel between the Escandón, Condesa, Roma, and Juarez neighborhoods. Line 1 runs up and down the very long avenue, Avenida Los Insurgentes, so as long as you know where that is, you’re not very far from a bus station. And just how you used Google Maps to tell you what stop to get off at, the same thing works for the metrobus.
The metrobus is not as far-reaching as the Metro, but I often use it to cover large distances and then either bike or walk the rest of the way, depending on how far the bus stop is to my destination.
Like the Metro, you’ll want to avoid using the Metrobus during rush hour or when it’s raining, which often coincide since the rain in Mexico usually comes after 5 PM. Also like the Metro, the Metrobus has designated part of the bus to women only to make it safer and more comfortable for female passengers.
How much does the Metrobus cost?
A ride on the Metrobus will cost you 6 pesos. You can use the same rechargeable card for both the Metro and the Metrobus. Handy right? There’s even a third mode of transport you can use the card for, but I’ll cover that later.
Overall, the Metrobus is a good way to bring you to the general area of your destination and cuts down on walking or biking time.
Walking might be one of my favorite things to do in Mexico City, and I have to admit it’s one of the reasons I moved here in the first place. I love how darn walkable this city is! The heart of Mexico City is made up of several neighborhoods with distinctly different feels and it’s so easy and enjoyable to wander aimlessly between them. I love walking past all of the street food vendors, bustling restaurants, and cute cafes.
As you’d expect, there’s not much to getting around on foot. Two of the most popular neighborhoods, Roma and Condesa, are right next time each other. Walking from the far end of Condesa to the far end of Roma is no more than about 3km.
As far as other colonias, it’s best to take another mode of transport there and then start walking. Coyoacan and San Angel are absolutely lovely colonias to walk around but are not within walking distance if you are staying more central. I would take the metrobus to San Angel and the Metro to Coyoacan and explore on foot once you’re there! To get to Polanco or the Historic Center I would take the metro or a bike and then start walking around.
It is safe to walk around Mexico City, but you do need to keep a couple of things in mind. Firstly, the buses sometimes run against traffic so make sure you look both ways before crossing the street. Secondly, just like on the Metro, never walk around with any valuables in your back pocket or they could get stolen.
I’m a big advocate for walking because I think that’s how you’ll see the most of this awesome city and get a really good feel for what this city is all about.
My last recommendation for getting around Mexico City, and probably my favorite, is by bike! It actually took me five months to warm up to the idea of biking around this bustling city. I don’t know how I managed to get around without a bike for so long, but now I can’t live without one!
What bike options are there in Mexico City?
I use to walk 40 minutes to work every day. When I told you I liked walking I wasn’t kidding. But then I signed up for the government bike-share, Ecobici, that has hundreds of bike stations all around the city where you pick up and leave a bike whenever, all for less than $25 USD PER YEAR! They also have an option to rent daily and weekly. I use this mode of transport by far the most. I bike to pilates, to work, to bars, really everywhere. There’s no limit!
In addition to Ecobici, Mobike, and Uber Jump are other popular bike options. Although I use Ecobici, Mobike and Jump are probably better suited to travelers that are only staying in the city for a short time. You can find Mobike and Jump on sidewalks all around the city. There are no designated bike stations so just look at the respective app for the bike nearest you. Just like the scooters, all you do is download the app and start biking!
Is biking in Mexico City safe?
I feel very safe biking in the city. There are bike lanes and the cars are accustomed to sharing the road. I actually prefer to bike in the rain or during rush hour. In these cases, it’s twice as fast to bike than it is to take public transport or even an Uber. It’s also a great way to take in the city and really see a lot while you’re on your way to wherever you’re going.
When should I take Uber in Mexico City?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against Uber. I just think that you don’t get the full experience of a city if you’re cooped up in an Uber every time you want to go somewhere. However, there are times when it is wiser to choose Uber, like when traveling to and from the airport as I’ve already mentioned. I would not recommend you take one of the pink taxis either as they can be a bit sketchy at times. It’s also better to take Uber at night if you’re far from where you’re going or you’re not exactly sure how to get there.
On that note that concludes my five recommendations for getting around Mexico City in a fun and more immersive way! I hope you found this helpful and let me know what your favorite way of getting around a city is below!