Our last sisters’ trip was in 2010, a last minute 2 week road trip through Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and Amsterdam with zero plans, and less technology than today. Let’s just say we set the bar for crazy and impromptu last time– stories for another day.
This time, we were older, wiser, but still as different as we’ve always been.
Less than two months after my last trip to Mexico City, I learned my sister planned a solo trip to CDMX, Oaxaca, and Puerto Escondido. It never crossed my mind to join her, nor did it cross hers to ask, until a few days before her trip (nice sis).
After a few failed attempts of deflecting, I’m a sucker and gave in. I booked my tickets the day before my sister flew out, and joined her the day after. I can’t believe how cheap and steady the prices were. I was hoping they would spike up and I’d say, “Oops, it’s too expensive now.” But… they never went down. Not even the day before I flew out. Go figure.
So CDMX. I thought I had seen it all. It just goes to show you, there is always so much more to discover. I got to know CDMX deeper, better, and at a different angle, the way I have with Paris. Traveling back and experiencing a mix of familiarity and new discovery is such an awesome feeling- one of the best things about being a “seasoned traveler,” I’m learning. While I love experiencing the new, I am learning what it means to rediscover places the second, third time around. Traveling never gets boring, I’ll say that much!
Sisters’ Trip: Mexico City, followed by Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido.
For CDMX 101 travel tips, including what to pack and where to stay, read my first entry, Mexico City: The Unicorn Card.
- Land. Uber to AirBnB. Drop off suitcase. Get ice cream (priorities). Walk through Parque Mexico (it’s always full of dogs!).
- Uber to Palacio de Bellas Artes. Find sister. Get a street snack.
- Wander to Pulqueria Duelistas to try pulque, it’s 5’oclock somewhere. Befriend some drunk locals, quickly decide that was a bad idea, and scat.
- Go to Mercado San Juan around the corner, chat with one of the fruit vendors, sample some delicious fruit – my favorites are maracuja and granadilla de China.
- Pop into La Ciudadela, pop out.
- Uber home, head to dinner at Azul Condesa. It got great reviews, but honestly, meh. Not worth it, IMO.
Day 2. Breakfast at Maque Café, highly recommended. We ordered fresh pastries, café, and chilaquiles, so delicious. We were debating between a museum day or a trek out to the floating gardens of Xochimilco.
The girl at the front desk of our AirBnb (who was new to CDMX) really sold my sister on Xochimilco, so we decided to take the metro. Roll my eyes. Well, first let me start with the interesting: it was cool to experience the local metro. Easy peasy, and super cheap. There is an option for women and children to sit in a separate train car – though we noticed some older gentlemen taking advantage of the less crowded option. Wish we had that option in NY!
So why do I roll my eyes? Okay, maybe this is shame on us for really not doing any research and just going, and please, anyone who has been, sell me on why I should ever consider going back. I’m going to assume that the recommended version is to go on a weekend, with a group of friends, with the objective of partying on a boat, being totally cool with tourist traps because you’re drinking and there’s a mariachi band, and the place is packed with other groups doing just the same. Our version? We went on a Tuesday, just the two of us, and there was not another soul in sight. Not even locals. All of a sudden it seemed silly to rent a boat between the two of us to ride through the empty canals. So what did we do? We hopped in an Uber, drove all around and through the canals, got out at Embarcadero Nuevo Nativitas, again not a soul in sight, nothing was even open, lol, so we ordered another Uber and went back to CDMX. I mean…. you can only laugh.
The takeaway? Go on a weekend. With a group of friends. If you want to party on a boat. There are many embarcaderos, and people on bikes and posted signs will try to steer you their way, but ask for Embarcadero Nuevo Nativitas, the main place to rent a boat. That should be your starting point. But please, share your version!
So after that little adventure, we Uber’d up to the Frida Kahlo Museum aka Casa Azul. Whaddup Frida. You’re weird as f*ck, I love it. Seriously, what an interesting, troubled, tortured, and eccentric soul. It was really cool to walk through her home and feel her story and art come to life. We were even inspired to watch the movie Frida again, during our trip.
Mercado de Coyoacan, down the street from Casa Azul, for esquites. Everyone was getting in the Christmas spirit. So festive. Back in October the market was full of vendors selling costumes for Halloween/Day of the Dead, and this time the market was full of Christmas decor and piñatas.
Uber’d to a taco spot we wanted to try in Condesa, got in a bizarre car accident, and ended up getting churros and hot chocolate at Churrería El Moro instead. Met up with a friend we met in NY, who now lives in CDMX.
- There’s a fruit guy outside our AirBnb, and my eyes are bigger than my stomach. I ordered a jumbo juice and a jumbo cup full of fruit the size of my forearm. The fruit is so fresh and so cheap in Mexico ❤
- Daily walk through Parque Mexico, admired all the dogs.
- Morning tacos at Tortas al Fuego, so cheap, so good.
- Wandered, snack stop at Panadería Rosetta. Had the strongest espresso at a nearby café.
- Uber’d to Zócalo, wandered through the square, read about the history.
- Went to Zara, emerged many hours later. ….
- Ended the night with tacos at Taquería El Califa. (El Tizoncito is also a good option)
Layover, Tail End. I flew back from Puerto Escondido in the morning, and booked my return ticket to NY later that evening. I dropped my bags off in left luggage and Uber’d to the Soumaya Musem, where I admired the Diego Rivera mosaic and Rodin collection. I wandered through Polanco, had the prettiest ice cream at Gelatoscopio, decided I had just enough time to Uber to another neighborhood to go shopping, totally forgetting that traffic is horrendous. Speed purchased. Barely got another Uber in time, to barely make it back to the airport in time for my flight home. Woof.