I am often sceptical about walking tours, preferring to wander around a city by myself at my own pace. However, when I was invited by Estación Mexico to join their free walking tour of Mexico City, how could I turn them down?!
The tours meet at every day at 11am in front of the Cathedral, and the guides are easy to spot wearing bright pink t-shirts & holding a pink umbrella. They run separate tours in Spanish and English – all the guides are Mexican but speak really good English. Now is the time to ask your guides everything you want to know about Mexico City, and Mexican history!
There was quite a big group gathered for the tour, so after the obligatory photo for Facebook we split into 3 groups – one Spanish tour & two English tours. Our guide was Ari, and she was full of information about the city and Mexico in general. The tour obviously covered the key sites in the Centro Historico (Historic Centre), like the cathedral, Palacio de Bellas Artes and Palacio Nacional, but also more unusual sites like the first cinema in Mexico, and some beautiful hidden treasures that even Mexicans don’t know about!
The tour lasted around 2 and a half hours, and the time passed quickly. There is so much varied history in Mexico City, and we were given a good introduction as a starting point, although visiting the museums in the city will you give you a more complete view. It’s hard to imagine the city as it was for the Mexica people who founded it, proud pyramids surrounded by water – the capital of the Aztec empire. Nowadays there are remnants of the pre-colonial past everywhere, from the Templo Mayor behind the cathedral, to newly opened ‘windows’ looking below the city. There is even an archaeological site at an underground metro station if you keep your eyes peeled!
One thing that really surprised me was the fact that the city is sinking. I had no idea, but Ari explained that Mexico City is built over a series of lakes, and some areas are noticeably sinking into the mud below the surface. Check out the Sears building opposite Bellas Artes for example to see the widening split between the buildings!
I really enjoyed the tour, it wasn’t too long so I didn’t get bored following someone around, and I was pleased to visit more unusual places that I wouldn’t have found by myself. If you are short on time too, the walking tour is the perfect way to get a snapshot of the city and see the key sites in just a couple of hours. Many people seem to spend a short time in the city, or even just a few hours here on a layover, and although I recommend at least 4 or 5 days here these tours are perfect if you don’t have much time!
You can get more information about the free walking tour of Mexico City on Estación Mexico’s website, and sign up to reserve your place. Estación Mexico also offer a free walking tour of Coyoacán, and other paid tours such as a tour to the Chapultepec Castle, Teotihuacan Pyramids and the infamous Lucha Libre Wrestling, so take a look & see what you fancy!
Thank you to the Mexico City Tourism Trust for arranging my tour as part of my visit to Mexico City.
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