Mexico City - 5 Things To See And Do by:Gary Sargent
Despite resting on the ancient Aztec capital, Mexico City is an example of a modern city that is pushing for progress. At roughly 23 million inhabitants, it is one of the biggest cities in the world, and visitors will be spoilt for choice with the wide range of activities and experiences that the city offers. To try and cover everything in Mexico's capital would be impossible, so here's 5 things to whet your appetite during the day, and something for the evening if you've still got some energy left.
5 Things For The Daytime...
1) Visit the floating gardens of Xochimilco
With Aztec farmland scare, the population developed a system of floating reed mats covered with soil to create gardens on the lake that surrounded their ancient capital. Visitors today can take a journey in a flat bottomed boat around Xochimilco, an area in the south of the city to see the impressive floating gardens where most of the city's flowers are grown. You'll also have the opportunity to get an understanding of the immense scale of the agrarian canal system that watered the Aztec capital.
2) Take a city tour
Plenty of tours exist to help you get an overview of the most engaging parts of Mexico City without getting overwhelmed by all the options of museums, architecture, sights and sounds. One of the options that could be included in your tour is the looming Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest church in Latin America, which houses many treasures from the colonial period of the city's history. It took a back-breaking 250 years to build, well demonstrated by the variety of architectural styles as new people took up the project over the years. Another option could be Chapultepec Park, home to 5 museums, 2 lakes, a zoo, tranquil botanical gardens and, on the other end of the scale, an amusement park with one of the world's largest roller coasters. For those with a desire to learn about 3000 years of human evolution, a visit to the world-class Anthropological Museum will satisfy you. Thousands of artifacts are displayed, including burial tombs, giant Olmec stone heads, the famous Aztec Calendar Stone and a reconstructed Mayan temple.
3) Visit the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan
The most impressive reminder of the Aztec order, the huge pyramid of Teotihuacan is an easy day trip from Mexico City. Walk the Avenue of the Dead and watch the sun set over the Pyramid of the Sun to get a feel for the once mighty capital that was said to have held a population of 200,000 at its peak.
4) Find some souvenirs
Bargain hunters can't do much better than the Ciudadela Market, Mexico City's arts and crafts bazaar. A buzzing hub of activity and trading, shoppers will find handmade artifacts from all over Mexico and are sure to bag a beautiful keepsake.
5) Get serenaded by a Mariachi band
If you enjoy the sight of a group of Mexicans wearing matching costumes and gigantic hats sidling up to you with instruments eagerly at the ready, pay a visit to the Garibaldi Mariachi Plaza. It's a site surrounded by cafes and restaurants, perfect or open air concerts and wandering musicians. Either receive the full personal treatment from a band or watch from a distance - either option is well worth it.
..And A Slice Of Nightlife
If you can't face heading out on the town to one of the countless bars or dance clubs after pounding the streets of the city all day long, Mexico City has the option of you. Hosted in the majestic Hidalgo Theatre, Amalia Hernandez' Folklorico Ballet of Mexico of has performed more than 12,000 presentations over the last 50 years and represents the preservation of traditional music and dance throughout Mexico. It's a wonderful assault on the senses of colour, sound and movement. The best part is that after a long day on your feet soaking up the wonders of Mexico City, you get to enjoy it sitting down.
About the author
Gary Sargent is the Managing Director of the tour companies Escaped to Peru and Escaped to Latin America and has lived in South America for over 10 years. Gary is passionate about life here, the people, customs and places. To learn more or to book your next adventure please visit http://www.escapedtolatinamerica.com