Bogota, Colombia Vs. Lima, Peru Vs. Mexico City

If you’re a big city person with a penchant for traveling in Latin America, then Bogota, Colombia Vs. Lima, Peru Vs. Mexico City might be the comparison post you need to succeed.

See, these three cities are the Holy Trinity of Spanish-speaking locales with massive population numbers. The smallest city featured here has over 9 million locals. Not small!

Luckily, I’ve had the good fortune of passing time in all three of these metropolises. Months in Bogota and Lima have been endured and enjoyed, including a little degeneracy from time to time.

I’m a little new to Mexico City. So, this might be a little premature. But that’s never stopped me before. Trust me. I tell you just like I’ve told a certain few Latinas…

Todo es tu culpa. No es mio, pero no te preocupes, amor. Dame 15 minutos y podemos hacerlo bien rico alguna ves. 

That didn’t come out right. Or maybe it did. Wait. Damnit!  Stop, Jake.

Get focused. Go back to writing about Latin American megacities. Don’t you dare open up What’s App achieves and start looking at old videos from the past. Refrain from perving out and let’s stick to being productive today.

You right, fam. Let’s dig in and see where budding travelers, digital expats, and true degenerates should pass their days in Latin America.

Below you’ll find the ultimate guide comparing Bogota Vs. Lima Vs. Mexico City. We’ll take a look at:

  • City Size
  • Cost of Living
  • Weather
  • Safety
  • English & Education Levels
  • Nightlife
  • Girls & Dating
  • Food
  • Gringo Fatigue
  • Tourism & Stuff to Do

Enough with the ado and out with the hype, let’s dive in and see which city suits your needs.

¡Vamos!

Living in Lima, Peru.

Bogota, Colombia Vs. Lima, Peru Vs. Mexico City

This may get a little sloppy, but we should be able to determine a winner by the end. While Bogota, Colombia vs. Lima, Peru vs. Mexico City won’t be clear-cut choice for all, my goal is to help you find the perfect spot. Here we go:

City Size

All three of these cities are monstrosities. True mega-cities filled with millions upon millions of people. Just look at this list.

Mexico City is the largest city in the Americas, with a metro population of nearly 23 million – although some statistics claim Sao Paulo is.

Bogota and Lima are no slouches, either. Lima has about 11 million in the metro area, while Bogota offers a smooth 9 million residents.

There’s no real winner or loser in this category. These cities are so massive that it’s damn near impossible to fully know or understand them.

I will say a few things though…

Lima, Peru feels far smaller than Mexico City and even a little smaller than Bogota. Why? Because you won’t be spending much time outside the areas of Miraflores or Barranco. There’s just no reason to.

Bogota is a little larger, as you have more neighborhoods to check out, including Zona T, Parque 93, Chapinero, Galerias, and La Candelaria.

Mexico City is a true behemoth of a city. As my flight landed, I starred out the window and saw urban sprawl that was truly unparalleled. The city seemingly never ended.

While I’ve only spent time in Condesa and Roma Norte so far, people tell me that there are nearly a dozen neighborhoods here worth checking out.

  • Winner: Tie. You won’t get bored in any of these cities.

Cost of Living

 

Bogota is a little cheaper than Lima. Everything from food to Airbnb apartment rentals is cheaper in Bogota than in Lima.

I’m still putting my finger on the cost of living in Mexico City. Overall, I’d say Mexico City could be the cheapest of the three – if you didn’t live in Condesa, Polanco, or Roma Norte.

Food is insanely cheap in Mexico City. You can get protein-packed tacos from street vendors for around $2-3 a meal. I’m talking 3-5 decent sized tacos.

Airbnb rentals in Mexico City are a bit of an anomaly, too. Studios and one-bedrooms seem a bit overpriced to me, but two-bedrooms are only a little more.

For example, decent studios looked to be about $700-900 a month on Airbnb in Condesa, but similar two-bedroom apartments were going for $900-1,100.

Overall, I’d say Mexico City and Bogota are similarly priced, but Lima is a little more – if you live in Miraflores.

However, I’ll give the win to Mexico City. Why? Because it feels much safer here than in Bogota. You can’t skimp on location and expect to be safe in Bogota. I believe you could in CDMX.

  • Winner: Mexico City.

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Weather

Bogota weather sucks ass. Punto. Blanco. Periodo. If Bogota, Colombia had solid weather, it would be incredibly hard to leave the city.

But it doesn’t. Bogota is dreary most of the year and the sun tends to only shine before noon. Not ideal when mid-bender and you’re trying to get rid of some scaries.

And trust me, you don’t want to miss out on Bogota nightlife.

On the other hand, Lima features incredible weather for 5-6 months a year and horrific weather the rest of the year. From December through May, the weather in Lima, Peru is impossible to beat.

During this time, Lima gets tons of sun. The weather sits in the mid/high 70s for most of the day. Combined with the Pacific Ocean views found on the Malecon and you have a wicked combination.

From June through November, the weather in Lima is horrific. Why? Because the city gets around one hour of sunshine a day. And it’s kind of cold.

I’ve been impressed with the weather here in Mexico City. It’s sunny as hell and 70s seemingly every single day.

Apparently, CDMX has a rainy season that runs from June through September. I’m sure that wouldn’t be fun, as rain blows.

But if the weather here is good for 8 months each year, I’m inclined to say Mexico City wins here. The weather is pretty damn dope.

  • Winner: Mexico City.

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Safety

I’m one of the few people that haven’t had any safety issues in Colombia. Knock on wood. But there’s no denying that both Lima, Peru and Mexico City are safer than Bogota, Colombia.

It’s not even close.

In Colombia, there’s always a sense of looming danger. You legit never know when someone could whip out a knife or gun with the intention to jack your smartphone.

I don’t think Colombia is dangerous, per se. However, I cannot deny that both CDMX and Lima are so much safer.

When comparing the two, I may not have enough experience in Mexico City to give an accurate description.

However, I do see young white women rolling around with their smartphones out snapping selfies and eating acai berry bowls in streetside cafes.

So, I’m inclined to believe neighborhoods like Condesa and Roma Norte are incredibly safe.

Overall, I believe Lima and Mexico City are both fairly safe – if you stay in upscales neighborhoods.

  • Winner: Lima / Mexico City.

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Mexico City. Might get a little rough in this area at night.

English & Education Levels

The reality of the situation is you can get by without decent Spanish in every single one of these cities.

Education levels are decent in Lima, Bogota, and Mexico City. These cities are capitals of their respective countries and filled with businesspeople, hustlers, and students.

You’ll find most people living in these massive cities works, studies, or both. Many also learn English as a way to boost their resume and potentially land a lucrative job in tourism.

I’d say English levels and education are fairly similar in Bogota and Lima. But once you get out of Miraflores in Lima, the English speaking skills plummet.

So, Bogota might get the slightest edge here. But…

CDMX, especially in areas like Condesa and Roma Norte, seems to be filled with English speakers and highly educated people. After all, Mexico is so close to the USA. For many locals, learning English just makes sense.

Overall, you’ll have no issue getting around with just English here. Spanish definitely helps. Don’t get me wrong.

But I can’t lie and say you definitely need it to get around here, meet people, and stay safe. That’s simply not true.

  • Winner: Mexico City.

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Nightlife

Ayyyyeeee, la rumba! Ya boy has a penchant for a little partying while on the road. Ya tu sabes, maricon.

Even with Gringo Tuesday getting switched up and overly backpacker-y, there’s no denying the nightlife in Bogota. Colombia is truly world-class.

Zona T is the shit. It’s a nightlife mecca of Latin America.

Reggaeton blaring from dozens of discos within walking distance of each other? Check. Stunning girls? Check. Great prices, especially for bottle service? Check. Safety? Ummm, it’s safe enough.

Oh, and you can even head down south if you’re looking to get mad degenerate – which I’m confident some of you might enjoy.

Now, Lima nightlife is pretty solid, too. It’s a little less rough around the edges and you don’t have to worry about scopolamine, prepagos, and phone-stealing gypsies.

If you’re new to Latin America, the nightlife in Miraflores will be more than enough to keep you entertained for months on end. It’s damn solid.

Mexico City? Well, I haven’t partied here just yet. Thus, I can’t comment on much here.

I will say the number of venues seems to be unlimited. However, they seem to be more spread out than in Bogota.

My buddy Vance has said partying in CDMX is more than solid and I’m inclined to believe he knows his stuff.

Overall, I’ve gotta give it to Bogota, Colombia. If you like to party, Bogota simply won’t let you down. It’s wild!

  • Winner: Bogota.

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La rumba en Bogota. 

Girls & Dating

Dios Mio…

Not sure I should even tackle this one, as I’m no expert on dating in Mexico City. At all. Whatsoever.

But I’ll do my best.

The girls are hottest in Bogota, Colombia. You’ll see more head-turners in Bogota than in CDMX and Lima combined.

I’m talking enhanced assets and all. Assets that demand a second look. Or a straight stare.

That being said – the women in Lima and CDMX are definitely attractive. Lima gets a bad rep, but you can find some stunners if you stop swiping on Tinder and get out in the real world.

For Mexico City, I can only comment on the women I’ve seeing cruising around Condesa and Roma Norte.

At first, I was fairly uninspired. Then I went to the gym. After, I took a walk around Parque Mexico around 5 pm.

I found inspiration if you know what I mean. There are some cute girls in Mexico City. It’s a city of 23 million, so there’s bound to be attractive humans.

Personality-wise, I’d say girls in Lima are more interested in foreigners than girls in Bogota or Mexico City. I’d also surmise they’d make the most loyal girlfriends, overall.

Girls in Mexico City seem more westernized and liberal. They’re chill and easy to get along with. These chicks seem to have jobs and might be looking to have fun more than date seriously. I dunno, but this guy might.

For any ladies reading this, lo siento. But I can’t help you much here. No soy un maricon. You’ll just have to visit and check out the dating scene yourself.

  • Winner: Bogota, although that’s not 100%. Too many variables.

Food

This one will be tough. Both Mexican food and Peruvian food is pretty incredible.

Sorry, Bogota. But you can’t compete here. Colombian food is pretty bland.

While I’m no foodie, it’s hard to imagine better places than Lima, Peru and Mexico City for eating.

Seriously, the restaurants around Miraflores in Lima and Condesa/Roma Norte/Polanco are pretty great.

For someone from the States, I’ve been in love with Mexican food since forever. And there’s no doubt the food here in CDMX is way better than the Tex-Mex stuff back home.

But Peruvian food is unique. I’d never tried dishes like ceviche or lomo saltado before I made my way to Lima.

I was impressed. Peruvian food is damn good. Highly recommended.

Overall, it’s a tie. In my opinion, Mexican food is richer and Peruvian cuisine is healthier.

  • Winner: Mexico City / Lima.

Read More:

Gringo Fatigue

We’re not talking Cancun, Mexico. This isn’t Medellin, Colombia. Nor are these cities jammed packed with tourists year-around like Cusco, Peru.

Sure, there are foreigners in Lima, Bogota, and Mexico City. I’d surmise Bogota sees the least foreigners than the other two cities.

But it really doesn’t matter. Why? Because these are massive cities, mate.

Think how many gringos it would take to overrun a city of 23 million people. That’s just not going to happen. It’s not possible.

Overall, gringo fatigue simply isn’t an issue in these cities. I’ve found locals in all three cities more than friendly and quite helpful.

  • Winner: Tie.

Views in Lima, Peru.

Tourism and Stuff to Do

Bogota doesn’t have tons of stuff to do. There’s some cool street art, a few museums, and you can take a cable car to Monseratte for stunning views. Well, there’s the drugs and the women, too. But that’s not exactly my definition of tourism.

On the other hand, Lima is filled with fun stuff. Some of my favorites include:

  • Surfing
  • Paragliding
  • Swimming with sea lions
  • Relaxing at the beach
  • Malecon workouts with ocean views

While I haven’t spent enough time in CDMX to give to accurate a description, I’m inclined to believe Mexico City might have more stuff to do than Lima and Bogota combined.

Some claim there are over 150 museums in Mexico City (Source) and I wouldn’t doubt it. Plus, you have places to visit like:

  • Zocalo
  • El Angel de la Independencia
  • Teotihuacan
  • Palacio de Bellas Artes

And that’s just to name a few. Overall, Mexico City wins. There’s just so much to see and explore here in this massive city.

  • Winner: Mexico City

Bogota, Colombia Vs. Lima, Peru Vs. Mexico City: Overall

So, where does that put us? Which city is the winner? Well, there’s no real “winner” here because all three of these massive cities are pretty great. But let’s take a glance at the scorecard:

  • City Size: Tie.
  • Cost of Living: Mexico City.
  • Weather: Mexico City. 
  • Safety: Lima / Mexico City. 
  • English & Education Levels: Mexico City. 
  • Nightlife: Bogota.
  • Girls & Dating: Bogota. 
  • Food: Lima / Mexico City.
  • Gringo Fatigue: Tie. 
  • Tourism & Stuff to Do: Mexico City.

After nearly 2,500 words, it seems that Mexico City is the winner. However, I’m inclined to believe I gave Lima, Peru a lower rating than I should have.

Why? Because from December until May, I’d choose to live in Lima over Bogota and Mexico City.

If women and partying are the most important aspects of travel, then Bogota will be damn near impossible to beat.

For overall quality of life, I’d have to stay Mexico City is the winner. And the results reflect this. The city is simply nicer, more developed, and has more stuff to do than Bogota and Lima.

Plus, Mexico City is close to the States and one of the easiest flights in Latin America. It’s damn cheap to get to Mexico City.

Overall Winner: Mexico City

…Although, it definitely depends on when you go and what you’re looking for. These massive cities have a lot to offer every type of traveler.

My best advice? Just be yourself. Do what you do. Go to the city and country that intrigues you the most.

Oh, and sign up for my email list. If you dig deep cultural commentary like the above, you’ll love my weekly emails. Just click here to get started.
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Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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My Latin Life - October 6, 2018

Outstanding post, brother!

Since I’ve spent much more time in Mexico City than Bogota – the inverse of your experience (I think we’ve both done enough time in Lima) – I’ll throw down some thoughts.

Cost of Living: Can’t speak for Bogota b/c it’s been too long, but I recall it being cheaper than Mexico City. However, you’re right. Probably less neighbourhoods a foreigner would want to live, which might level costs out. Cover charges for nightclubs were also more common than in CDMX, but unless you’re going out every night, shouldn’t be much of a factor. Lima is slightly more expensive than both for everyday living.

Weather: Agreed. Mexico City is best. Unless you *really* hate rain. Then Lima wins.

Safety: A tough one. Agree that Bogota is most dangerous. Based on my own feeling there as well as tales from people I know who had shit happen to them. Nothing else I can judge it by, really. Between CDMX and Lima, tough call. I’d say safety in Lima’s best neighbourhoods beats safety in CDMX’s best neighbourhoods (police are more trustworthy in Lima, too). Outside those neighbourhoods, probably similar. I feel just as on-edge in La Victoria in Lima as I do in Doctores in Mexico City. Know foreigners who have been robbed in all three cities. Likely a tie.

English/Education: I’ve no idea haha.

Nightlife: Bogota. From what I saw, can’t beat the quality, logistics or options. I would say that CDMX beats Lima, though.

Girls/Dating: BOGOTA.

Food: I’d give it to Lima. More variety in base ingredients make for less repetitive dishes. Most food in Mexico City, aside from soups, is essentially a different interpretation of the taco. Both beat Bogota.

Gringo Fatigue: Agree. Impossible to call in such huge cities. I did notice fewer foreigners in Bogota – seems that hasn’t changed.

Tourism: Tough one. Depends what you’re into, I suppose. For cultural attractions, Lima comes up way short, but they make up for it with the activities you mention. Bogota I regrettably didn’t get too stuck into it apart from nightlife and randomly walking the streets. Heard they have an impressive cycling network, though. Mexico has incredible museums, but lacks in any sort of adventure-type stuff.

…so basically that’s all just a long-winded way to say that I agree with all the shit you said, but I had some time so I figured I’d unload it in your comment section.

Again, great post.

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Cynic In Chief - October 6, 2018

Mexico City is on my short list of places to visit overseas. The Six Flags there has some roller coasters that I really need to ride.

Thanks for the comparison. You should write up some recommendations for Mexico City when you experience it enough.

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