"Taking it as a whole, Mexico is a grand city, and, as Cortes truly said, its situation is marvellous."
WELCOME TO MEXICO CITY
A Few Helpful Tips about Navigating Mexico's Capital & Beyond
MAKING MEXICO EASIER
CDMX AIRPORT & TAXI SERVICE:
Arrival at the Mexico City Airport is less stressful than most fear. This airport is well organized and efficient for clearing customs. Once you’ve picked up your luggage, you can approach any “Taxi” desk and give them your hotel address. We recommend writing the hotel address on a card for the taxi desk clerk, in the event they do not speak English. Taxi rates are standardized throughout the city, and you may pay with a credit card. The clerk will give you a ticket, which you give to your taxi driver once you are outside. There will be several taxi’s and airport staff to help you. Tipping is customary here, for those helping you carry your luggage. We suggest a minimum tip of $20 MXP.
*We will send you the hotel address once we have you confirmed.
FLAGGING STREET TAXIS:
While we have had no problems flagging taxi’s in CDMX, or elsewhere in Mexico, it isn’t recommended in CDMX. That said, if you do happen to flag a taxi in the city, it is wise to write down the address for the driver and ask for a price, before getting into the taxi. If the taxi has a meter, you may pay to get stuck in a traffic jam – but so long as he refreshes the meter before your journey begins, at least your rate will reflect an honest price.
Uber is available throughout many major cities in Mexico now. Many recommend Uber for CDMX, due to security and assured pricing. We ask our guests to consider the traffic and time your driver spends with you, and tip accordingly. There is no question Uber drivers lose wages due to guaranteed rates, despite long wait times in traffic – especially during rush hour.
ATM’S & CASH:
All ATM’s have an English Option. While you won’t get the best rate from the airport ATM’s, it is helpful to have pesos upon arrival. You can order pesos through your bank at home, though we have had two guests arrive with large bills that were actually expired. The easiest option is to take out a small amount at the airport ATM, then look for an ATM in the greater city. US money is not as easy to use in Mexico, as it once was. In many cases, you will need to locate a Western Union to exchange your money into Pesos. Once again – the simplest solution for accessing cash in Mexico, is using your ATM card to withdraw pesos.
Currency conversion on ATM’s in Mexico can be tricky. When you are going through the options, you will be asked to pay a service charge ($35-$80 MXP). You must accept this to continue. If the screen shows you a “conversion” rate and asks you to accept or decline, DECLINE! By declining the conversion rate of said bank, your own bank will convert the amount instead – at a much better rate. In some instances, this can save you $20 - $40.
Even after removing your card – Make sure you read everything the screen offers you. Sometimes it will ask you if you would like to continue banking! Make sure you follow all of the steps until the screen returns to the “welcome” screen.
Please Note: Prior to travel, we recommend doing some research on your local banks. Canadian guests can access cash at Scotiabank Machines for free, if they have an account through the Bank of Nova Scotia. US Citizens can access similar features through Charles Schwab.
UNLOCK YOUR SMART PHONE:
Please make sure you unlock your smart phone prior to arrival. We will give you a Telcel sim card upon arrival, so you can access 2 GB data and unlimited phone service to Canada, the US and within Mexico. If you use Whatsapp, you can still phone home using your regular phone number, so long as you have internet access or remaining data. If you burn through your data quickly, it will cost you $200 pesos to renew 2 GB of data (approximately $15 CAD / $10 US)
If you have difficulty navigating technology, we can help you download the off-line version of google translate onto your smart phone, so you can easily communicate with store clerks, servers and taxi drivers. Our one warning is that you should not use this feature with just anyone in public, as it is common for thieves to snatch & grab (a global issue – not a Mexican one!)
Any other questions? Please let us know – we’d be happy to add them here!