What Is Life Like in Mexico City?

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Mexico City is the capital and largest city in Mexico. It's the heart of the country and rich in history, culture and tradition. Mexico City is home to friendly people, delicious food, colorful markets and unique festivals. Mexico City is a major center of arts and culture in Latin America, and a modern city with a cosmopolitan mix of restaurants, bars, museums and nightlife.

Geography

  • Mexico is located in North America and shares a border with the U.S. in the north and Guatemala in the south. Mexico City is located in the center of the country on what was once an ancient lake in the Valley of Mexico. The city is situated at an elevation of 7,800 feet above sea level. Mexico City is relatively flat, home to numerous parks and green spaces, and surrounded by mountains and volcanoes.

Climate

  • The high altitude in Mexico City results in cooler temperatures during the winter months. Summers are hot during the day and comfortable in the evenings. Days are mostly sunny throughout the year, even during the rainy season. Rainy season in Mexico City lasts from May through October, when residents can expect a heavy storm in the late afternoon, evening or overnight hours. Mexico City is known for having high levels of pollution and overall poor air quality.

Cost of Living

  • The cost of living in Mexico is significantly less than the cost of living in the U.S., Canada or Europe. Daily necessities such as food and clothing can be purchased very inexpensively, especially in the open-air markets and weekly tianguis. Utilities are generally inexpensive, though rent and housing costs can vary significantly depending on the neighborhood. Most people will find that their daily expenses in Mexico City are much less than what they might expect to pay living in their home country.

Language and Culture

  • Spanish is the official language spoken throughout Mexico. Unlike many of the popular resort areas, English is not widely spoken in Mexico City. Contemporary life in Mexico City resembles life in many of the major cities throughout the world. Mexican traditions are most often visible in smaller towns and villages as well as at local festivals and celebrations. Traditional Mexican food and music are widely popular throughout the capital, as are soccer and bullfighting, which attract tens of thousands of spectators.

Transportation

  • Mexico City has an excellent and inexpensive network of public transportation that makes getting around the city quick and easy. Local buses travel all of the main routes. However, traffic is a major problem in Mexico City and one of the best ways to avoid getting held up in traffic jams is to use the Metro. The Metro is easy to use and stops at nearly all of the major points of interest throughout the city. Taxis are another option for getting through the city. It's best to take a radio taxi, and many restaurants, hotels and businesses will call and request one for their customers.

Safety

  • Mexico City is frequently in the headlines as a dangerous place to visit. However, with a little bit of common sense, it's entirely possible to have a pleasant and incident-free visit to the city. Take the normal precautions that would be expected in any major city, and be especially careful In popular tourist spots, as foreigners are generally perceived as wealthy and targeted by petty thieves. Don't wear expensive jewelry or flash large amounts of cash, and keep an eye on all belongings, especially on crowded buses or subway cars.

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  • Photo Credit mexico city general view image by apeschi from Fotolia.com
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