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Mexico City Useful Information

Nightscape of Mexico City

Courtesy of visitmexico.com

Not only is Mexico City the largest city in the Americas, it is also the third most heavily populated city in the world.

Getting To and From Benito Juarez Airport:
Benito Juarez airport (MEX) is located approximately 4 miles from the downtown area of Mexico City. The airport offers a variety of transportation options, which include the subway, car rental or taxi. Line 5 for the subway is located just outside the airport at the corner of Boulevard Puerto Aéreo and Av. Capitán Carlos León González and costs approximately 24 cents to ride. (See safety note below about riding the subway). Terminals 1 and 2 offer 29 options for car rental. See the airport website for hours of operation and location for each rental agency. When exiting baggage claim, do not accept offers for cabs, as they are often not authorized companies. You can purchase tickets from an authorized taxi stand, or Taxi Autorizado, outside of baggage claim. Rates are based on the zone you are traveling to but should be around $16.

Getting Around:
Visitors to Mexico City can rent a vehicle with a valid U.S. driver’s license, but it is required that drivers purchase Mexican car insurance. U.S. car insurance is not valid in Mexico. As with any major city, driving can be an adventure when you are unfamiliar with the area. It may only be necessary to rent a car if you plan on visiting the outlying areas of the city, otherwise it may be cheaper and less of a hassle to use public transportation. If you do find yourself needing roadside assistance, you can call the Angeles Verdes, Green Angels, at 01-55-5250-8221.

When using cabs in Mexico City, expect fares to start at approximately $1.20 and go up in increments of $1 per km. These prices are in approximate U.S. dollars and can vary from company to company. The Department of State recommends that visitors use only sitio taxis, as these are better regulated and safer. If possible, have your hotel call ahead for a cab.

At 24 cents a ride, the subway is the least expensive option for seeing the city. Avoid using the subway during rush hour as it can get quite crowded. The subway is open Monday through Friday 5 a.m. to midnight, Saturday 6 a.m. to midnight and Sunday 7 a.m. to midnight. See the airport website for a map of the subway system.

Visiting:
Mexico City Tourism Ministry
Avenida Nuevo León No. 56., Col. Hipódromo Condesa, C.P. 06100, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, Distrito Federal.
Phone: 1-800-008-9090
Hours: M-F 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Geography and Climate: Mexico City is located in the mountain-rimmed Valley of Mexico, approximately 500 miles from the U.S. border. The Aztecs built the ancient city of Tenochtitlan on Lake Texcoco in 1325. This location is now the heart of the sprawling modern metropolis. Mexico City’s elevation sits at 7,344 feet above sea level, which is nearly half a mile higher than Denver, Colorado. Due to the high elevation, it is not uncommon for visitors to experience headaches, dizziness and nausea. This is quiet common and will stop after a short adjustment period.

Mexico City has a subtropical highland climate, which lends to a cooler climate than the rest of the country. The average temperature for most of the year sits at about 60 degrees. The warmest months of the year are April and May where temperatures can reach 90 degrees and above. Winter lasts from December to February and lingers at a balmy 61 degrees, although it has dropped to 0 at night. Rainstorms are at their peak in the months of July and August, but these usually do not last throughout the day.

Currency: The Peso is Mexico’s official currency. The approximate equivalent of one U.S. Dollar is 13 Pesos, but these rates change frequently. There are a variety of places where travelers can exchange money. The exchange houses, or casa de cambios, can be found everywhere from the airport to your hotel. The exchange rates at the casa de cambios will be comparable to those at a bank.

Safety: As one of the biggest cities in the world, Mexico City carries all the risks of any major metropolitan area. It is recommended that you dress to blend in and carry very little on you of great value. Leave your passport in the hotel safe if possible. Pickpockets can also be a major nuisance so be sure to keep an eye on your belongings. The Department of State recommends that you check for the latest security updates when traveling to Mexico on the U.S. Embassy website.

It is recommended that you not drink the tap water in Mexico. Brush your teeth with and drink only bottled water. Be aware that ice cubes will be made with tap water.

The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends that visitors avoid using any “libre” taxis or green VW bug taxis as they are not well regulated and can be potentially dangerous. It is also recommended that visitors take extreme caution when riding the subway, as tourists make easy targets for thieves.

Mexico’s equivalent to "911" is "066." This can be dialed without entering the country code. You can also check the U.S. Embassy’s website for a list of doctors and hospitals in Mexico City.

In Case of Emergency:
American Embassy 
American Embassy in Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma 305,
 Colonia Cuauhtemoc
06500 Mexico, D.F.
Hours: M-F 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Phone: 01-55-5080-2000

After-hours emergency: 01-55-5080-2000, ext. 0

American-British Cowdray (ABC) Hospital 
Las Americas, Álvaro Obregón, 01120 Ciudad de México, Distrito Federal
Phone: 01-55-5230-8000

Consumer Protection Office
Phone: 01-55-5568-8722

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