Metropolitan Population: 120,965,000
City Population: 8,656,800.
Location: south central Mexico
Time Zone: Central Standard Time. Daylight Saving Time is observed from the first Sunday in May to the last Saturday in September.
Elevation: 7,350 feet.
Voltage Requirements: The country's electric voltage is 125 volts at 60 hertz. You don't need a voltage adapter unless your equipment is 220 volts. Most hotels have universal plugs, or you can purchase them at a hardware or department store.
Telephone Codes: 52, country code; 55, city code.
Currency: The monetary unit is the peso.
When to Visit: Because of its high altitude in a tropical latitude, Mexico City has a mild climate much of the year. The rainy season is June-October. The afternoon rain showers may leave the streets flooded for a few hours. Smog is worse in winter from December-February, and you may also see some frost. Summers are warm, but not oppressively so. Popular times to visit are during Easter week and the Christmas holidays. Many residents leave the city and head to Mexico's beaches at that time, making the city seem less crowded. There is also less smog during those three weeks. Always take along a sweater and a light jacket. Shorts are not considered appropriate for men or women. Remember, even though Mexico City is in a tropical latitude, the weather is not tropical because the high altitude has a canceling effect: though it gets warm at midday, it is cool at night year-round.
January 1 New Year's Day
February 5 Constitution Day
March 21 Birthday of Benito Juarez
Good Friday-Easter Sunday Semana Santa (Holy Week)
May 1 Labor Day
May 5 Battle of Puebla (Cinco de Mayo)
September 16 Independence Day
October 12 Day of the Race (Columbus Day)
December 25 Christmas Day
Passport/Visa Requirements: Proof of citizenship and photo ID are needed for U.S. and Canadian citizens. Reconfirm travel document requirements with your carrier before departure.
Taxis are the most efficient way to get around, but it is not wise to hail a taxi from the street or take a cab from a taxi stand (even those parked in front of hotels.) Violent assaults on tourists and businesspeople have occurred in taxis and are increasing. The safest plan is to have your hotel's doorman or concierge arrange for a cab. The hotel can also arrange for you to engage a car and driver for several hours or by the day. There is a also stand inside the airport from which a taxi can be engaged.
Mexico City's metro, or subway, is an excellent system: clean, well run, on time and cheap. As in any crowded facility in the world, watch out for pickpockets in crowded subway cars and stations.
Buses can also be good options, especially on the long avenues such as Reforma and Insurgentes, and if you know where you want to get off.
Peseros (also called Colectivos)
These green and white vehicles travel along established routes and charge fixed rates. Route designations are posted on the windshield. They are an alternative to the often packed city buses.
Take an official Transportacion Terrestre taxi: Purchase a ticket from the booth inside the arrivals area of the terminal, next to the baggage-claim area. A ticket to most downtown areas will cost about M$130. You won't be able to mistake the yellow-and-white official taxis. These are the only ones permitted to park outside the airport exit.
Hotel courtesy vans and rental cars are available. The metro has a station within easy walking distance from baggage claim, if you have very little luggage.
The bus terminals include Terminal Central del Norte, which serves northern destinations including Queretaro, Guanajuato, Zacatecas and border states; Terminal Central del Poniente, also known as Central Observatorio, serving destinations to the west such as Guadalajara and Michoacan; Terminal Central del Sur, with service to southern destinations including Oaxaca, Chiapas, Acapulco and Taxco; and Terminal del Oriente, also known as Terminal Tapo, which has service to Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Veracruz and the Yucatan peninsula.
For most bus lines, reservations can be made in advance or can be purchased over the phone with a credit card. Book early on holiday weekends, when tickets sell out quickly.