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Posted by on Oct 25, 2012 | 4 comments

Mexico City from a Big, Red Bus – Center Circuit

I just returned from a 9 day trip to Mexico (Tlaxcala, Puebla, Oaxaca).  I can use all the existent praise words to describe the experience.  Wonderful. Magnificent. Awesome. Incredible.  Without doubt, those type of words can be used to explain the overdose of colors, food, traditions and history I went thru in that short amount of time. I can’t wait to share all the details with you.

But first, let’s start by the end.  The day before our flight back to Los Angeles, we took a night bus from Oaxaca to Mexico City (6 hours).  We arrived to our destination bright early (4:00 a.m.) ready to discover more of the capital during the day (the flight was scheduled to depart at 7:00 p.m.).  A transfer from the TAPO bus terminal to the airport allowed us to get our boarding passes and check our luggage (we did this intentionally since we didn’t want to carry suitcases during the day, we always travel with carryon luggage).

We sipped Starbucks coffee while waiting for the day light to come out.  When the sum showed its face, we took the Metrobus to Downtown.  Excitement started to build up when the Latin American Tower and the Palace of Fine Arts started to peek thru the windows.

A cold breeze made me shiver when I stopped to read the newspaper headlines.

21 million tourists have arrived to Mexico this year.

The body of Lazca (a drug cartel leader) was found.

We walked thru the pedestrian street towards the Zocalo.  Our goal was to find a good place to eat breakfast.  The streets were still desolated (a rarity in Mexico City).  Drivers were taking advantage of the fact to race their cars thru the narrow streets.  About three dozens of police officers were walking towards their daily patrolling bases.

In some way, we are creatures of habit.  We ate at Potzollcalli, a restaurant we discovered last year when we visited the city.  I ordered green enchiladas (maybe my favorite Mexican dish) and my husband chilaquiles covered with arrachera (a type of meat).  The food was as good as we remember it.  I guess we will continue visiting this place if possible.

Green Enchiladas




Since we didn’t have a lot of time to explore (plus we were super tired from the previous 8 days), we decided to buy Turibus tickets to tour the city.  Turibus is a touristic service where you buy a ticket to hop on and off from a big red bus all day long (you have probably seen it in other cities).  I know this sounds horribly touristic and there are a lot of stereotypes about the people who use these services.



However, these services exist for a reason.  In this case, it was what I needed.  Last year, we only had time to see a little bit of the historic center.  This year we wanted to see more. And, you know what?  This short tour opened my eyes to a lot of what Mexico City has to offer.  I understand better why it is one of the greatest cities in the world.  It is very interesting to discover how modernity, progress and coolness coexist with colonialism, tradition and history. The only problem? The list of places I want to visit became very long.

We boarded in the Zocalo and passed by places such as the Plaza Manuel Tarso and the San Hipolito Church (one of the few places where mass is given for deaf-mute people).

Manuel Tolsa Plaza


Colonial Building


Dome of San Hipolito Church


Then, we moved on to Paseo La Reforma, the most famous street in the city.  This is where you can find a high dose of modern and tall buildings.  This street blew my mind.  I used my best paparazzi moves to photography interesting details from a high point.

Caballito Tower


Modern Buildings in Paseo Reforma


We also passed by two of the most famous monuments in the city.  The first one was the Monument to the Revolution of 1910.  The second one was the Monument to Independence better known as the Independence Angel. Ok, I jumped up and down when I saw this last one.  Do you know how many times this monument is presented in Mexican soap operas?  It felt unbelievable to be in front of it.

Revolution Monument


Independence Monument (or Independence Angel)


Being the main artery of the city, Paseo La Reforma is full of permanent and temporal art exhibits.  I witnessed blackjack cards standing straight in the air, benches with curvy forms and statues made with cups of different colors.  There was a temporal exhibit of alebrijes, brightly colored fantastical creatures made of cardboard and paper mache in this part of Mexico.

Alebrije in Paseo La Reforma


Alebrijes in Paseo La Reforma


We entered the Chapultepec Forest, home of the zoo, the Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of Contemporary Art and many more cultural facilities.

I stood in awe when I saw the Museo Soumaya.  Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, gave the economic resources to build up the place.

Museo Soumaya


The chic areas of Polanco, Condessa and Roma made me want to get out of the bus and walk by their boulevards full of trees.

Shopping Center in Polanco


We visited the National Auditorium before arriving to the point where we changed buses to do the South Circuit.  I will describe this other experience in another post.

National Auditorium


I really enjoyed learning more about the different areas of Mexico City.  However, I appreciated this opportunity because I was able to see locals living their daily routines. Take a look.

Eating from a Street Vendor


Traffic Jam


Buying breakfast from street vendors




Shining Shoes


Boxing Practice


How much do you know about Mexico City?  Is this the Mexico City you had in your mind?  Let me know in the comments section below.


  1. Great blog! Thank you for sharing your trip. Your photos are just exquisite!

  2. This is what you call one in all package. I am sure that any person there must had a lot of fun. The bus looks amazing with all the features to make sure that all of the passengers just rock.

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