Not as big as the Pyramid of the Sun, but still good sized. Just look:
While Teotihuacan is superb and one of the post Instagramable places in all of Mexico, these aren’t even the biggest pyramids in Mexico. That crown goes to the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
The Pyramid of Cholula is technically the largest pyramid in the world by some accounts. It weighs in at (Source):
Width/Length: 1,480 x 1,480 feet
Height: 217 feet
Total Volume: 157 million cubic feet
And of course, we gotta compare these massive monuments to the most famous pyramid in the world, eh?
Yep, let’s take a look at the Giza Pyramid in Egypt. To compare, the Great Pyramid of Giza weighs in at (Source):
Width/Length: 755.75 x 755.75 feet
Height: 481 feet
Total: Volume: 88.2 million cubic feet
Certainly taller than all the pyramids in Mexico, which is one of the reasons why the structure is so famous.
How to Get to the Teotihuacan Pyramids: The Easy Way
Enough with the history, let’s talk about how to get to Teotihuacan.
Luckily, that’s incredibly easy. Seriously, this might be one of the easiest world-class tourist attractions to get to.
If you’re in CDMX, there’s legit no excuse why you can’t check it out one morning or afternoon.
How to get to Teotihuacan?
Just grab an Uber. The one-hour ride from Condesa or Roma Norte should cost you around $350-500 Mexican Pesos.
Or roughly $18-27 USD, depending on the exchange rate.
That’s pretty cheap, especially if you’ve got a group of 2-3 people. Plus, Uber is easy. There’s no walking to a bus station, dealing with a shady tour company, or any other hassle.
Los Broskis en Mexico!
You just grab and Uber and show up to the ancient ruins around an hour later. It’s too easy.
Plus, most Uber drivers have been to Teotihuacan more than once if they’ve driven in Mexico City for a while. So, they’ll know where to drop you off and usually offer a few quick tips.
There’s no need to ask them to wait. There are dozens of Ubers around Teotihuacan during the day. They’ll quickly find another ride and you’ll have no problem grabbing an Uber ride home, either.
It costs $70 Mexican Pesos to get into Teotihuacan, which includes museum admission.
Now, there are other ways to get to Teotihuacan…
You can take public transportation or book a tour through an operator.
In my opinion, both of these opinions are a pain in the arse. You’ll save a few bucks taking the bus from Mexico City to Teotihuacan and back.
However, you’ll still need to take an Uber to the bus station and back. As you’ll probably be staying around Condesa and the bus station to Teotihuacan is Autobuses del Norte station.
The ticket to Teotihuacan from here costs around $100 Mexican Pesos roundtrip, or a little over $5 USD.
Booking with a tour operator is unnecessary. Visiting Teotihuacan is easy peasy. There’s no reason to spend extra money on a tour.
Just visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids by yourself or with some friends. It’s more of adventure to do it that way – then to pay for a tour guide. Plus, you have more freedom to roam around!
All smiles at Teotihuacan.
Is It Worth It?
Yeah! The Pyramids of Teotihuacan are most definitely, 100% worth it. And a must-visit while you’re in Mexico City.
Even if you’re not a big tourism person, this is a pretty cool site to visit and easy to get to. There’s really no reason not to check out Teotihuacan.
To make it easier for you, here’s a few quick tips when visiting Teotihuacan:
Just Take an Uber: Taking an Uber will make the trip so much more pleasant and quicker. It only takes about an hour to get to Teotihuacan from CDMX in an Uber, even with traffic. Split the trip between a few people and it’s barely more expensive than the bus.
Get Here Early: The earlier you get to Teotihuacan, the better. The site opens at 9 a.m., so you’ll want to arrive around 8:45 in the morning. Not only is the lighting better for photos in the morning, but there are fewer people, too. You’ll skip the crowds if you’re here early, which makes the experience more rewarding.
Bring Sunscreen: There wasn’t any cloud cover and very little shade when we went to the Teotihuacan Pyramids. My pasty gringo skin wasn’t loving the strong sun. Luckily, my buddy packed sunscreen and we were good to go. This is a must for my fellow gringos!
Go to Gate/Entrance #5: Have your Uber driver take you around back and drop you off at entrance #5. There is less of a crowd here and you should be able to walk straight in without any issue – if you’ve arrived early. Again, entrance costs $70 Mexican Pesos.
A Gringo’s Guide to Visiting the Teotihuacan Pyramids
That’s about it, y’all. Everything a gringo would need to know about the Pyramids of Teotihuacan.
If you’re in CDMX, just do it. Hop in an Uber and visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids. It’s worth it for the Instagram photo alone.
If you’ve got any questions, comments, or concerns about this unique site, make sure to comment below and I’ll get back to ya.
The world’s largest pyramid is right here in Mexico? Bro, get outta here! My buddy was regaling me with his tall tales, again. This time the topic was the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
The dude was a habitual chain yanker, and I mean that in the most straight-laced way, wey.
I didn’t believe him for one second until I hopped online and started researching the Cholula Pyramid.
Surprisingly, it turned out to be true. The biggest pyramid in the world was in Mexico, just a few short hours south of Mexico City.
And it just so happened I was in Mexico City and drunk off pyramid vibes. There’s just something about the ancient ruins that offers a unique energy.
Standing on the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
After seeing Teotihuacan, these ancient ruins had us hooked. We were more than intrigued.
And there was no way we were passing up an opportunity to see the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
So, we blocked off an entire Monday to head down to Cholula from CDMX and see the massive pyramid.
Four grown ass men jumped into one tiny Uber and sped down the highway for a few hours.
Shoulders were checked and legs spread out to ensure dominance was known. The whole ride was one giant “mansplaining” cluster.
But we eventually made it down to Puebla and eventually, the Cholula Pyramid. Luckily, the whole ordeal was worth it.
While the Great Pyramid of Cholula isn’t as photogenic as Teotihuacan, it’s more than worth it. We had a damned good time in Cholula and got to learn a bit about the unique history of this ruin.
The stunning church atop the biggest pyramid in the world.
What is the Great Pyramid of Cholula?
Enough about my day at the ancient ruins, let’s dive into the unique history of this place and see exactly how this massive monument was made.
I won’t get into too much detail, as this short blog post about how cool the Cholula Pyramid is would become a history book.
What I will do is break down the size of this pyramid and compare it with other famous ruins, like the Great Pyramid of Giza and Chitzen Itza.
First, you can’t really see the Cholula Pyramid. There’s a small section of the actual pyramid that’s been excavated and resurfaced.
That section looks like this:
What the Cholula Pyramid looks like.
But that little area is just a small subsection of the entire Pyramid of Cholula. The thing is massive and filled with a plethora of nooks, crannies, and tunnels, too.
For comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at just how big the Great Pyramid of Cholula is compared to other famous ruins.
The Cholula Pyramid is the biggest pyramid in the world weighing in at (Source):
Width/Lenght: 1,480 x 1,480 feet
Height: 217 feet
Total Volume: 157 million cubic feet
Due to the total volume of this structure, it’s technically the largest pyramid in the world, although some still debate the accuracy of such assertions.
To compare, the Great Pyramid of Giza weighs in at (Source):
Width/Length: 755.75 x 755.75 feet
Height: 481 feet
Total: Volume: 88.2 million cubic feet
Now, the Great Pyramid of Giza is clearly taller and certainly looks better in photos because it’s not covered by a mountain. However, the Cholula Pyramid is still technically larger in total volume.
But, what about the other ancient ruins in Mexico? Both Teotihuacan and Chitzen Itza get way more love than the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
Well, of course! Both of those ruins are damn near fully intact and make for great Instagram photos.
The nearly covered pyramid in Cholula is barely visible, and therefore, doesn’t get much love for tourists. Well, in comparison.
Size-wise, it still smokes the others. For example, Chitzen Itza, aka Kukulcan is tiny compared to the Cholula Pyramid (Source):
Width/Lenght: 180 x 180 feet
Height: 98 feet
Total Volume: 1.06 million cubic feet
As you can see, there’s a significant difference in the size of Chitzen Itza compared to the Great Pyramid of Cholula and of the Giza Pyramid.
That being said – Chitzen Itza makes for a pretty great day trip and photo opportunity.
The church atop the Pyramid, one of hundreds in the city.
How to Get to the Cholula Pyramid
It’s not hard to get to the pyramid in Cholula, but it takes a little more effort than heading to Teotihuacan.
If you’re in Mexico City, then you’re a little over two hours from the pyramid in Cholula.
While the drive is a bit far, it’s a pretty easy trip. The roads are smooth and you won’t encounter a ton of traffic once you get outside of the city.
We just hopped an Uber and headed down. Uber is fantastic in Mexico and almost covers the whole country. The app let us enter the pyramid as our destination and the driver had no issue heading down south.
The fare cost around $1,200 Mexican Pesos one-way, or around $65 USD. That was pretty cheap split between four guys.
We negotiated for the driver to wait a few hours and we would pay him the same fare back to CDMX as we paid on the way there.
We agreed to head back to Mexico City in the late afternoon, giving us enough time to troll around the Cholula Pyramid and then grab some food in the downtown area.
Overall, the ride down to Cholula cost around $33 USD roundtrip, per person. In my opinion, that’s not too bad.
Posing for the ‘gram at the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
There are other ways to get to Cholula.
You could drive down if you have a car, although I certainly wouldn’t recommend renting one just for the trip.
You could also take the bus to Puebla or Cholula before heading to the pyramid.
We thought about taking the bus but ultimately decided against it. It just wasn’t that much cheaper than taking an Uber when you have a group of four.
The bus ticket cost about $8-10 USD each way – depending on the time of day you go from CDMX to Puebla, the large city next to the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
Then you have Uber/Taxi rides from your place in Mexico City to the bus station, from the bus station in Puebla to the pyramid – and vice versa.
That’s four Uber/taxi rides and two bus tickets.
Overall, we found it almost cheaper to take the Uber instead of piece together the trip with bus tickets and tons of taxi rides.
If you’re alone or in a smaller group, it may be more economical to take the bus down.
Puebla views from the biggest pyramid in the world.
Is It Worth the Effort?
Honestly, I’m a bit torn on this one.
If you only have one week in Mexico City, I wouldn’t recommend heading down to the Cholula Pyramid.
Is Mexico City safe? Well, that depends on who you ask…
“What?! You’re going to Mexico City? You’ve got to be careful.”
I was getting lectured as they looked at me like I had some mental illness. I had just told two Mexican friends, who hadn’t returned to their country in over a decade, of my plans to visit CDMX.
They weren’t impressed. In fact, they thought I was downright crazy. The capital of Mexico was a dangerous and disgusting place, according to these two.
Now, my family friends were well-meaning. They’re great folks, but definitely a little on the cautious side.
Giving older folks access to the Internet, mainly Facebook, wasn’t the best idea we’ve ever had. Sex sells, but so does danger. And copywriting works, especially on the uninitiated.
They’d overindulged on the statistics and truly believed that all parts of Mexico, even the wonderful capital of Mexico City, were nearly war-torn hellholes filled narcos and thugs.
I calmly reassured my family friends that everything would be ok and that I wouldn’t put myself in harms’ way, but they weren’t convinced.
You win some. You lose some.
I wasn’t deterred. I was going to explore CDMX come hell or high-water. Preferably high-water, though, as your boy’s stroke game is mad strong.
But enough with the ado, let’s talk about safety in Mexico City, what the stats say, and how to ensure you walk away without a scratch on ya!
Pretty AF in Mexico City, Y’all!
Is Mexico City Dangerous?
Before we go too far, I’ve got to come clean. I’m no CDMX expert. In fact, I barely scratched the surface of this behemoth of a capital city.
I stayed two weeks in Mexico City and explored neighborhoods like:
…And a few other spots
Mainly, I checked out the safe, gentrified neighborhoods where most gringos and other foreigners choose to stay while in CDMX.
The reality of the situation means around 90% of foreigners in the city will choose to live in these areas.
These Mexico City neighborhoods are simply the best, especially for those looking to enjoy a little rumba, live the digital expat dream, or simply relax.
Are other areas of Mexico City dangerous? I have no doubts the slums of CDMX are violent and filled with banditos more than willing to jack a gringo who looks lost.
But you won’t be visiting those parts of Mexico City. Trust me.
There’s almost no reason to leave the “gringo bubble” that is Condesa, Roma Norte, and Polanco.
And these neighborhoods may be the safest places I’ve ever stayed in Latin America. Well, the safest places not named Miraflores.
In a Mexico City Colonia like Condesa, you can stumble home at four in the morning without any issue. The area is just super gentrified and filled with foreigners.
Overall, is Mexico City Safe? Honestly, I felt safer in Condesa than I do while enjoying a little rumba back home in Kansas.
After visiting 4-5 different discos in Condesa/Roma Norte, I didn’t feel threatened once. I saw no suspect characters.
I walked around drinking beer in the streets and giggling like a schoolgirl until the wee hours of the morning. No issues.
Hell, no one even tried to sell me drugs!
And trust me, everyone in Latin America thinks I need drugs. Why? Because I look super gringo.
What the Stats Say?
Well, that’s going to take a little digging. But ya boy is up to it.
See, I know the fancy neighborhoods like Polanco and Condesa aren’t necessarily an accurate representation of the safety in Mexico City.
But you do see tons of armed police around every turn in the capital.
Maybe it’s pretty dangerous, but they simply shield the gringos from the violence…
Well, there could be some truth to that. According to certain stats, CDMX has more armed police per capita than almost any other city. There’s one policeman per 100 residents in the capital of Mexico (Source).
That’s either a really good sign or a horrific one. So, we’ve gotta dig a little deeper. Tons of police could mean safety, but it could also mean there’s looming violence around every corner.
So, let’s take a look at murder rates.
Mexico features some of the world’s most dangerous cities. In fact, according to the most recent edition of the list, Mexico has 11 out of the 50 most peligroso cities in the world (Source).
That’s not a good sign. But there’s good news. The capital, Mexico City, didn’t make the list!
But, there’s more. We haven’t figured out if Mexico City is safe yet. We need to dive into murder rates in the city itself and see what’s really up.
For that, we’ll listen to resident expert, Kyle Valenta, who states:
Delegacion Cuauhtemoc, the central Mexico City district that includes its most-visited neighborhoods, had the highest murder rate in the city as of June 2017 (9.61 per 100,000 residents, according to Animal Politico). Even so, it’s crucial to add some context to these facts. While Roma, Condesa, Juarez, Zona Rosa, and the historic Centro are included in Mexico City’s most violent district, the murder rate for this part of town is far lower than many major world and U.S. destinations. For example, Cape Town’s murder rate has historically been six times higher, while Chicago, Miami, and Philadelphia — all major tourist destinations within the U.S. — had more than double the murder rate of Mexico City on the whole in 2017 (Source).
What does this all mean? Honestly, a lot.
There’s a ton of information in the short paragraph above. Regarding Mexico City safety and danger, here’s how I see it:
Overall, Mexico City has a lower murder rate than many cities in the United States.
On top of that, the neighborhoods that foreigners generally stay in are even safer and rarely see violent crime.
Lastly, a murder rate of 9.61 murders per 100,000 residents is fairly low, especially in Latin America.
El gringo de tus pesadillas.
What the U.S. Department of State Says About CDMX?
Now, we’ve heard what the states say and seen some opinions of bloggers and journalists. But opinions and statistics don’t tell the whole story.
To get the good stuff, we need to hear what Big Daddy Gov has to say. What does the U.S. State Department have to say about Mexico City safety?
Well, let’s take a look…
Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Government isn’t fond of safety in Mexico City and the State of Mexico, although it’s not too bad:
Mexico City – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
Exercise increased caution due to crime.
There are no travel restrictions on U.S. government employees (Source).
Overall, that’s probably fair. The U.S. Department of State issues travel warnings and advisories for dozens of countries and hundreds of cities every single year.
After all, the world’s greatest propaganda machine knows what it’s doing. The goal? That’s an easy one, fam. They want to keep those gringo tourist dollars in the United States of America.
Your safety? Well, that’s a secondary concern.
Now, I’m just joshing here. The U.S. Department of State travel warnings have some merit. But for Mexico City, it seems pretty fair.
There’s some crime in CDMX, but it’s not too bad. I’ve known people who’ve lived in the city for years and haven’t had an issue yet. And I certainly didn’t have a problem during my few weeks in town.
Overall, if you stay in nice neighborhoods, like Polanco or Condesa, you shouldn’t have much issue.
Mexico City is no different. Back in the day, the capital of Mexico was probably a pretty dangerous place that most gringos would have been better off avoiding.
Things have changed these days.
In fact, it’s not too tough to stay safe in CDMX. If you’ve got decent street smarts, you should be all set. If not, just follow a few tips:
Stay in a Safe Colonia
A Colonia is a neighborhood or barrio in Mexico. If you stay in one of the safer ones in Mexico City, you’ll all but eliminate your chance at something bad happening.
Just grab a hotel or hostel in places like Condesa, Roma Norte, or Polanco.
Or better yet…
Grab an Airbnb apartment in the same areas. I stayed in a two-bedroom Airbnb in Condesa for under $50 USD a night. Talk about a deal!
The location was ideal. I could walk to bars, clubs, restaurants, gyms, and more. And I felt safe all day long. From dusk to dawn. No issues.
Just look at my Airbnb spot in Condesa, Mexico City:
Don’t Be an Idiot
Seriously, a little street smarts go a long way, especially in large Latin American cities. If you have zero issues navigating a big city in the United States or Western Europe, you shouldn’t have much problem moving about CDMX.
This isn’t a raging third-world shithole. Mexico City is pretty damn nice. Trust me, Polanco is way nicer than most areas of the United States. Hell, Condesa is even more hipster than almost everywhere outside Williamsburg.
But enough with the ado, here are a few more tips:
For women, try to walk in a group at night.
If someone tries to rob you, just give up your smartphone and cash. Never put up a fight.
If you’re wasted, call an Uber instead of walking home.
Just don’t dar papaya, maricas!
Actually, you can dar papaya and have little issue in CDMX. You’ll see hundreds of people using MacBooks at indoor/outdoor cafes throughout Condesa and Roma Norte.
Learn a Little Spanish
Lastly, Mexico City is still Mexico. While there are hundreds of thousands of foreigners spread throughout the city, you’re still in a Spanish-speaking country.
As such, you’ll want to pick up a little Spanish.
Now, learning Spanish is not a necessity in CDMX. There’s tons of English-speakers throughout the city.
However, it’s always safer to understand what the people around you are saying. A little Spanish skill can easily defuse a sticky situation before shit pops off. Trust me.
If learning a little Spanish for safety is right up your alley, then…
Honestly, this one surprised me. After dealing with dreary days in Bogota, Colombia for months on end, my expectation for big city weather was low.
Mexico City weather far surpassed what I was expecting. In fact, the weather here is amazing. I’m talking sunny and 70s nearly every damn day. It’s wonderful.
Waking up in the morning and walking down to the cafe for a cup of coffee as the sun radiates off my pasty, pale skin was a joy.
It rains a bit in CDMX. But outside of the few times it rained, which often occurs in the early evening, the weather was perfect.
Apparently, Mexico City has a rainy season from Mid-June until early October. But Mexico City weather was perfect during my time here.
If warm spring weather and sunny days are your jam, you’ll dig the climate in CDMX.
Is Mexico City Safe?
Knock on wood, but I’ve been baffled by how safe Mexico City is. If you stay in the nicer Mexico City neighborhoods, I’d be quite surprised if you had issues here. This isn’t Santa Fe in Bogota, y’all.
Can you stumble home drunk in the wee hours of the morning in Mexico City and stay safe? Yes.
Can you work from the cafe with your MacBook without fear of being jacked by some street hooligan? For sure.
And the most important citywide safety test of all…
Can western white women take and post selfies on Instagram without worry about their cellphone being stolen? In CDMX, that’s a resounding hell yes!
Las gringas pueden tomar selfies cuando quieren. Todo el tiempo, wey.
I’m sure it gets grimey in certain areas of Mexico City, but most foreigners won’t venture to these parts of town.
You’ll be spending the majority of your time in Condesa, Roma Norte, and Polanco. All three Colonias are super safe. Point. Blank. Period.
But, I’m an observant dude. I enjoy a good night on the town and learned a few things. During my few forays into la rumba in CDMX, here’s what I figured out:
Small Clubs: The clubs and bars in Roma Norte and Condesa are small. Way too small for my tastes. Most spots I checked out had one, maybe two, main rooms where everyone congregated. The spots were fun, but none were big enough to spend a whole night.
Too Packed: These small clubs also let everyone in. These spots got so packed that you could barely move. Seriously, one place I went should have had 200 or so people inside max. There had to be 400 people. If one more 5’6″ maricon tried to shoulder check me, I was fully prepared to cold clock him. And I’m no fighter, wey. Overall, it’s hard to enjoy going out when you can barely move around or dance.
Gringo Music: I want trap music and reggaeton while going out in Latin America. The spots I went to in Mexico City played way too much electronic music for my tastes. Lots of American pop and hip-hop, too. The gringo influence is strong throughout bars and clubs in Roma Norte and Condesa.
Spread Out: I found a few Zona Rosa strips in CDMX, but most of the places seemed a bit spread out. If you wanted to club hop here, you’d end up walking miles on miles or taking a few Ubers.
Entrance Fees: Club entrance isn’t free in CDMX. We paid anywhere from $5-17 USD to get into clubs on the weekend. That’s not cheap. And it adds up pretty quick when you’re visiting 3-4 spots a night.
Mad International: I met people from Venezuela, Austria, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, and many a gringo while partying in CDMX. Of course, the majority of the clientele is Mexican, too. But this is an international city. You’ll meet people from all over the world here.
English Spoken: Many people living in Condesa and Roma Norte speak some English. With so many foreigners around, speaking English is a valuable skill in these areas. Plus, many people learn English for business in CDMX. Spanish certainly helps, but it’s not a necessity here.
Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City.
Food and General Fat Assery
Outside of Peruvian food, there’s no other cuisine in Latin American that comes close to Mexico food.
Seriously, the food in CDMX is amazing. There’s authentic Mexican fare, organic restaurants, international spots, and everything in between.
If you’re a foodie or simply a fat ass, you’ll find the cuisine in Condesa and Roma Norte more than ideal.
I’m no foodie, but my taste buds were tingling throughout my trip here. The best part about eating your way through Mexico City is the never-ending supply of fine dining and unique eating experiences.
If you’re looking for cheap but delicious Mexican fare in the Condesa area, make sure to check out El Tizoncito.
Things to Do in CDMX
Honestly, I’ve never been to a city with so many things to do. You should never be bored in Mexico City, especially if you enjoy historical landmarks and museums.
Some claim the city has over 150 museums, which would rank as the city with the second most museums in the world.
Plus, there’s a variety of historical landmarks and archeological sites. Personally, I’m a fan of the unique ruins found in and around the city.
While I won’t come close to covering this subject properly, I will make one recommendation:
Visit Teotihuacan: This is an absolute MUST while in CDMX. About an hour outside the city, this old Aztec city is one of the best archeological sites in Mexico – and in the world!
Amazing place to visit!
Hay Mucha Gente, Wey
Got damn! It’s almost impossible to comprehend how many people live in CDMX until you fly in.
As you sit in the airplane, the urban sprawl is mind-boggling. Houses upon houses spread for miles upon miles outside the city center. The city is almost never-ending.
Just think about it…
The CDMX metro area has around 23 million people. That’s more than every state in the USA except California and Texas (Source). Mexico City has more people than the state of New York – not just NYC.
There are tons of people here. You’ll meet new folks every single day. It’s impossible not too. Plus, tourism is alive and well here. Many a digital nomad and perpetual traveler arrives each and every day.
Great International Airport
Mexico City is a great international airport. With easy flights from all over the states, this might be the easiest city for gringos to visit. It only took me five hours of travel time to get from Kansas City to Mexico City. That’s quick!
Plus, you can hit all of Latin America from the CDMX airport. You’ll find direct flights to countries all over the region. And many of them are cheap!
Lastly, flights within Mexico are dirt cheap from CDMX. My one-way flight to Mazatlan from Mexico City only cost $75 USD with baggage. Not bad.
If you want to explore Mexico, then CDMX is the ideal base. You’ll be able to reach nearly every city in the country for under $250 roundtrip.
Personally, the airport in CDMX is one of the best parts of basing up here. For Latin America travel junkies, you have cheap access to so many solid spots.
Now, I may have made CDMX seem like paradise. It’s solid, but it’s not paradise. I like it here, but no city is perfect. Mexico City is no different. Here’s a few downsides to CDMX living:
Too Much Traffic: The traffic in Mexico City can be horrendous. You’ll typically be stuck in the Colonia you’re living in or nearby during the day, as traffic makes it difficult to move around the city – especially at rush hour. This should be expected in a city of 23 million.
Impossible to Tackle in a Short Trip: CDMX is just too big to tackle in a short trip. You’d need 3-6 months to really put a finger on the heartbeat of this city. If you’re coming to Mexico City for a month or two, focus on one or two neighborhoods to make things more manageable.
Lots of Foreigners: This is an international city. In some ways, that’s a great thing. In other ways, foreigners have overrun certain areas and made it hard to find authentic Mexican culture in the big city.
Pollution is a Problem: Everyone I’ve met who lives in Mexico City says the same thing. They all claim to get sick in CDMX more than anywhere else in the world. Why? The pollution. With such bad traffic and so many people, pollution is a problem here (Source).
Los Broskis en Mexico!
First Impressions on Mexico City Neighborhoods, Weather, Nightlife, and More
Overall, I’m impressed. CDMX has far exceeded my expectations.
Mexico City neighborhoods are dope. The weather here is incredible. La rumba bumps damn near every night. Oh, and don’t forget about the Mexican food.
If you get bored in Mexico City, I’d surmise it you – not CDMX.
P.S: Dig unique cultural insights like this article? Sign up for my mailing list right below and get straight heat sent to your inbox every week…
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:
Cost of Living
English & Education Levels
Girls & Dating
Tourism & Stuff to Do
Enough with the ado and out with the hype, let’s dive in and see which city suits your needs.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
El Angel de la Independencia
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.
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.