Mexico City day trips that are just a metro ride away

In this collection, Lonely Planet’s group of writers and editors responses your vacation challenges and gives tips and hacks to aid you plan a problem-free vacation. We imagined contributing editor and Mexico obsessive Brian Healy would have some good tips for this Mexico City–related query.

Problem: I’m spending a handful of days in Mexico City and would like to get out of the center on a half-day tour. Any tips that will not include dear motorists?

Brian Healy: You never have to journey extended to get absent from the central city’s (superb) clamor. Utilizing only a one Metro fare – all of 5 pesos (¢30) – listed here are two half-working day experiences that are as Mexican as they get.

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Organizing tip: Since Mexico City Metro has accomplished away with paper tickets, you’ll require to check out an digital kiosk to buy a Tarjeta MI (about $1), which you will then leading up to shell out your fare. (The kiosk can only be discovered at sure stations, so strategy ahead.) The metro system is remarkably clear and successful, and while there is a seen police existence at main stations, it is always smart to secure your possessions so as to not tempt pickpockets.

Pilgrims and celebrants in traditional costumes celebrate the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe in the Plaza Mariana, Basílica de Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico
The pilgrims who flock to Basílica de Guadalupe – in particular on the Virgin’s feast day, December 12 – represent a cross-portion of Mexican society © Belikova Oksana / Shutterstock

Make a mini pilgrimage to the Basílica de Guadalupe

One particular of the most sacred locations in Latin The united states is just a several Metro stops away from the Zócalo. No matter whether you’re a human being of religion or not, the Basílica de Guadalupe gives a reverent environment, and the people you are going to experience there mirror the dynamism and variety of Mexican society.

In 1531 on the Cerro del Tepeyac, a younger Chichimec convert named Juan Diego knowledgeable visions of the Virgin Mary, whose picture turned miraculously imprinted on his cloak (tilma). Today, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is a common religious icon in Mexico and outside of, and her shrine attracts the faithful from all in excess of the planet.

The icon of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe above a giant Mexican flag, Basílica de Guadalupe, Mexico City, Mexico
The miraculous image of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe is an icon of Mexican society © CassielMx / Shutterstock

In the large Plaza Mariana, teams of pilgrims of all ages – schoolchildren, city associations, disabled folks in wheelchairs – line up with banners to method into masses supplied hourly in the significant 1970s-period basilica, which can keep up to 40,000 congregants. Within, the Virgin – as noticed on Juan Diego’s tilma itself – presides above the altar. On a lessen level (accessed from a aspect entrance), transferring walkways convey visitors instantly under the icon, exactly where they can have a nearer look at by searching up via an opening below the altar just upstairs. 

Continue on the contemplation by walking the short length up the hill, exactly where smaller shrines line a leafy paved pathway to the baroque Capilla del Cerrito. On the way down, further gardens, churches and chapels present areas for more contemplation – and for observing Mexicans of all stations spending their respects to the country’s patroness.

Preparing tip: Follow the utmost regard. Although guests of all faiths (or none) are welcome at the basilica, everyone really should dignify the website by staying away from skimpy shorts and covering shoulders, and speaking only in hushed whispers.

Mariachis entertain tourists on gondola-style trajinera boats on the canals of Xochimilco, Mexico City, Mexicos
For a payment, mariachi musicians will float more than and serenade you as you float by means of the canals of Xochimilco © jejim / Shutterstock

Go for a float in Xochimilco

For a decidedly more…secular experience, it is tricky to conquer an afternoon on the canals of Xochimilco. This reserve in the city’s south implies what the metropolis may possibly have felt like centuries in the past, when a giant lake protected most of Mexico City’s existing metro area. But really do not hope tranquility, specially on weekends, for a jaunt in a trajinera – just one of the brightly painted, separately named gondolas that ply these waters – guarantees a raucous afternoon without a doubt.

A light-weight-rail line (Tren Ligero, which involves one more fare and Tarjeta MI tap) runs from the Tasqueña Metro station to a terminus about 25 minutes by foot to Xochimilco’s principal embarcadero, Nuevas Nativitas. Touts will want to tutorial you towards other, smaller, far more high-priced launch spots, but stand your ground: at Nuevas Nativitas, hundreds of trajineras are moored facet by facet, in a riot of coloration.

Right before you board one, you’ll have to negotiate a price with your captain. On weekdays, you will have some leverage on weekends, when seemingly each individual family members in the region converges on the canals, you are going to probably have to pay out the official maximum price of 500 pesos ($28) for every hour. Take note that this charge is for the whole boat, not for every man or woman – which means every friend you invite alongside will make the tour more cost-effective.

Dozens of brightly painted trajinera gondolas wait to take passengers in the canals of Xochimilco, Mexico City, Mexico
Brightly painted, independently named trajinera gondolas await travellers for a float in Xochimilco’s canals © LIBIA SEGURA / Shutterstock

As your captain poles the motorless trajinera bit by bit together, you’ll pass dozens of other crafts. You are going to see cuddling couples, youngsters carrying out tequila pictures to a soundtrack of Undesirable Bunny and multigenerational groups experiencing good quality loved ones time. Boats with mariachi musicians float by (they’ll board your boat to serenade you up near for a number of hundred pesos) the cacophony of competing teams seems astonishingly enjoyable. And this tableau of city leisure is one particular you’ll find nowhere else in the entire world.

Preparing idea: When food items and alcohol sellers will happily paddle over to offer you what ever you want at an outrageous premium, we endorse executing as the Mexicans do and arriving with a pre-packed picnic. Decide on up a couple cold beers on the walk from the station.

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