Four Hours in Mexico City
After an action-packed week in Patagonia, I’d absolutely fallen in love with Chile. And I was so not ready to leave.
Despite being a little crestfallen that our adventure was over, we were looking forward to one final stop: Mexico City. Our layover wasn’t going to be incredibly long (about eight hours), but we figured that would be enough time to do a little exploring.
We landed in Mexico City around 7 am local time and waited in the customs line for a good two hours (thank God for podcasts) before catching an official taxi into the heart of the city. With about four hours to explore before heading back to the airport to catch our flight home, I wanted to make the most out of our time. So, I'd planned out our day in advance and made sure that all of our stops were within walking distance of each other.
Here's how we spent our four precious hours in Mexico City.
First stop: Breakfast at Restaurante El Cardinal
This place is known for serving up a legit breakfast, and it did not disappoint. It’s definitely on the fancier side (white tablecloths, coat stands at every table, waiters circulating with freshly baked pastries) and the service was exceptional. It also felt like a local spot – not another tourist in sight.
After a week in Chile, where they don’t really do spicy food, we were craving an authentic Mexican breakfast. And this place delivered. From the coffee and pastries to the main course, everything was delicious.
A spread like this would probably be pretty pricey back home, but we got out of there for $25 (before tip).
Second Stop: The Historic Center of Mexico City
We’d just missed the Dia de Los Muertos festivities but were lucky enough to catch the remnants of what looked like an amazing party. The floats at the city center were beautiful; bright and elaborate. We probably spent a good hour taking photos of everything!
Third Stop: Templo Mayor Museum
This museum is beautiful. Just steps from the town center, Templo Mayor is an Aztec temple that was lost during Spanish colonization. The site was rediscovered and excavated in the late 1970s and is pretty amazing. You can’t help but marvel at what the Aztecs were able to create hundreds of years ago.
We did a simple, self-guided tour since we were tight on time and the exhibits were well-marked. Admission is about $3.75 USD and you have the option to upgrade to an audio tour.
Final Stop: Drinks at La Casa de las Sirenas
If we weren’t so full from breakfast, I would have loved to sample the food here. Their menu looked incredible! Instead, we settled for some cervezas and margaritas on the patio. Not a bad alternative.
Sitting outside gave us a chance to take in the sights and sounds of the town center. We also had a pretty great view of the Catedral Metropolitana, which is stunning. Before we knew it, our four hours were up. So we called a taxi and headed back to the airport for the final leg of our journey home.
Mexico City is beautiful. It feels a little like a European city but with a distinctly Latin flair. It’s cosmopolitan, vibrant and full of history. I can’t wait to make a trip back. I know we didn’t even come close to scratching the surface.
Pro tip: “Lo siento para Trump” is a phrase that you might find very useful while in Mexico. Or really anywhere in Central or South America. We used it a lot. And we are really, really sorry.