North America · 18 Days · 47 Moments · March 2018

Mexico City and Tulum


16 April 2018

Recs from a water of places In Mexico City

6 April 2018

Afternoon flight got delayed. Hopefully will make my Houston connection. But at least got to swim and soak up the sun beforehand.

5 April 2018

One day in Cancun to make flying out easier for all of us. Took the bus from Tulum to Cancun (2.5 hours and about 230 pesos pp). Stayed at an air B and B on the “hotel strip” but let’s be honest what is not tjw hotel strip in Cancun? There are resorts and hotels EVERYWHERE. Drinks and early dinner at James, a gimmicky yet surprisingly good restaurant then in bed by 11pm. #travelinginyour30s
Final breakfast at el cielo, super yuppie restaurant. Saw a crazy fight between two dogs and one of them got taken away by police. How were the bystanders not scared?? They all jumped in to help? No way. 🙅🏻‍♀️🙅🏻‍♀️. Had the fruit plate and mango ginger smoothie which were both good. Salmon tartine was good but not amazing.
Tulum. Mayan ruins by the sea (70p entrance) , seaport meant for trading. Two twice of sea turtles come to lay eggs twice a year on the shores. Go first thing in the am (open 8a-430p) because we went right at opening and there was already a line for tickets. W stayed for about 1.5 hours and the place was already FULL of tour groups. You can hire a tour guide in the front. We were just all hot and dehydrated and not that into it. Had a beach by the ruins too. Think there was a public one but we didn’t get to see it.

4 April 2018

Dinner at Hartwood, lamb tacos (super good), ceviche for apps and two types of fish, pork ribs and octopus. Finally got to see the bougie resort area of Tulum since we were staying in downtown. Lot of upscale resorts and restaurants that were pretty expensive, stuff closed down pretty early though there supposedly around 10-11p. Had to book reservations at hartwood 1 Mo in advance. Food was good but not amazing. Heard food at arca was better from Natalia and Mia, two girls we met. Had cocktails there after dinner. About 1400 pesos pp after food and drinks. Tejals food sucked. 😞😞
Cenote tortuga (350 peso entrance with “snorkel” tour included. 4 cenotes: 2 open, 2 closed; Freshwater sinkholes. About 2 miles away from town and 200 pesos taxi. Slightly further away from grand Cenote (250 pesos entrance with no included snorkel) but grand cenote is supposedly one big cenote. On the way back we walked to the front of the park and happened to get picked up by the Colectivo, a van that took us back to Tulum for 30p each. Apparently there was a big international EDM party at tortuga that night but we were so old and tired
Breakfast at ki’bok. Freshly pressed juice and good iced coffee. Salad was refreshing. Chilaquiles was pretty soggy and not flavorful. Quaint and sunny back patio

3 April 2018

Batey, mojito bar at a busy street in downtown Tulum. Live music with drummers and dancers. Great mix of tourists and locals. Several bars on that street
Somewhat upscale but great food at Unico. Tuna steak with avocado cream was amazing. Also had the papas Fritas and fried goat cheese balls. Pretty inexpensive. Entrees for about $20
Playa paraiso, beach bars and restaurants. Chill vibe at the public beach. Free umbrellas and chairs @ Pancho Villa if you buy drinks. Pina colada in a pineapple. Lots of mix of locals and tourists. 100 pesos for taxi from downtown
Lunch at don cafeto, on the main street with relatively cheap but authentic food. Started with chips and salsa and pickled vegetables. The jalapeño was so hot i literally cried for 10 mins and had recurrent gastritis for the rest of the day. Had the fish with garlic whch was pretty food. And the fried plantains.
Tulum air B and B in downtown Tulum. About 2 miles (taxi about 100p) from beach and cenotes but walkable to everything else like bars and restaurants. Modern and somewhat upscale downtown but still half the people are locals. Lot of street food and local events. Will probably be much different in a few years as influx of tourists continues.

2 April 2018

Last dinner in CDMX. La casa de tono in condesa. Authentic restaurant with lots of locals. Had molletes (bread with beans and cheese, not good), tostada with cochinita (braised pork, good) pozole with pork head (gross), enchiladas with chicken (🤷🏻‍♀️). Tostada was the best overall.
Xochimilco, 45 mins south of the city. Rent boats and float along the canals. Many docks in the city. Average cost was 350 pesos but we didn’t haggle much and it was 1000. We also didn’t ask how much beers were and it ended up being 200p/4 beers. Very touristy but nice. Supposed to go on weekdays because weekends are very crowded. Mexicans wove juniper rafts and planted crops on them, tethering it to a juniper tree. They would eventually sink and they would build one top, eventually stacking them up. There’s a tourist path or an ecological, we chose ecological. There’s an island of the dolls (1 hour from the dock) legend was a Mexican man found the body of a young girl and hung up a doll on a tree for her. He heard her voice and began to hang up hundreds of dolls for her. When he died others began to also. Many floating gardens.
Lunch at Quintero: amyrynth blossom dish tasted like Campbell’s soup with mini broccoli. Duck tacos were braised and very flavorful. Pork with apples was pretty bland. Pork tacos, pretty but not flavorful and kind of mushy. Fish was very fishy tasting. Cactus ice cream was very tart but the salt was nice. Complimentary bday flan was very light and smooth. Couldn’t get a reservation at pujols, the restaurant of the chef table guy. Need to book 1-2 mos in advance. Quinteros main chef was mentored by the chef from pujols.
Lunch at Quintero, where the head chef was mentored by the chef of Pujol (couldn’t get reservations there). Mango ice ceviche. Complimentary Beet and ginger juice pairing for the cactus ceviche. Fish of the day similar to striped bass. Rice with fungus that grows on corn with abalone was very good. Favorite dish was duck
Meanwhile in the apt, Chang was getting ready to meet us in the apartment and a man just walked in saying he was doing maintenance. Air B and B host ended up giving us a bottle of mezcal (about $15usd) that we gave to the doorman.
Then we met Officer Juan Benitez, who approached us as we waited for our Uber. He kept asking why we were there, nicely mentioning that 3 people were mugged this morning and telling us to put our jewelry away. We said that we were just going there to eat and he immediately sternly shook his head No. He mentioned that no one was dressed like us as we were all in short dresses(look around, you’re 4 girls. No one around here is dressed like you) with Tejal in a Panama hat and Polaroid. We all had Starbucks and 5 waters in hand. We had been so excited that the weather was finally nice and we could wear dresses. He told us we need to read up and ask questions before you go somewhere. That there are gangs that control the streets. He waited with us until our Uber arrived and Gowri even had him talk to our driver to give direction. Off to Polanco, the Beverly Hills of Mexico City.
Mercado Merced. Don’t go here alone. There were zero tourists and very crowded. We found out a man walked into the apartment and were trying to get back. We couldn’t find our way out so we went to a metro station and an extremely sweet old man insisted on helping us. He warned us that we had too many things out and warned us not to have money out. He then paid for each of us to get through the station (5pesos) and wouldn’t let us pay him back. Then we talked to a guard who wasn’t helpful and ishu looked back and the old man was frantically waving us through. TripAdvisor said that a tourist saw someone get shot and killed there. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

1 April 2018

Drinks at licorera Limantour (two locations, we went to the one in Roma). Good cocktails. Upstairs area had “art” which as the light shining through the window with shadows of the trees. I tried to take a pic and the flash went off so it was just a blank wall with exit sign.
Left tour early and Took Uber’s to Frida kahlo museum to stand in queue (presale sold out). bShe got polio when she was 6yo and had a short smaller leg. She was in a bus accident in college where she was kmpaled in the pelvis with a handrail and dropped iut of premed. She married Diego Rivera and was mostly considered just his wife but her work was appreciated much later. She wore indigenous clothing because she was anti colonialism and pro communism. She was born, raised and later died in casa Azul and Diego Rivera made it into a museum dedicated to her after her death ate age 47. They had many affairs including one with her little sister. They divorced but got back together less than a year later. He was “the elephant to her dove” because he was so fat and she was small and fragile. Her spine was crooked after the accident and she got a bone graft that later gor infected. Her right leg was later amputated above the knee. She had chronic pain and either died of pneumonia or OD
Skipped the second tour of village with agave and crystals to uber to Frida kahlos house to make it-book weeks ahead of time
tenochtitlan $50 for 8 hour 730am tour on viator. Met at pickup point and took bus 1 hour to ruins. Had English speaking tour guide who was an “archeologist.”

31 March 2018

Balta cocktail bar in Condesa
Churros at Mercado Roma Norte, many food vendors with a beer garden on the second floor.
Tenochtitlán exhibit
Tenochtitlán exhibit, capital of Aztec empire. Outdoor sculptures of Aztec ruins.
Museo de archeologica in Chapultepec Park. Huge museum, people suggest half a day there. I’d recommend plotting out exhibits you want to see otherwise you’d tire out.
Elote at Chapultepec Park
El Turix in Polanco. The salsa that looked like medium salsa from chipotle but had an extremely high score on the Scoville scale. Gowri and I had tears in our eyes from the amount of heat we endured.
Plaza de la constitution. Third largest after tienamen square and red square in Moscow
Palacio de Bellas Artes, same Italian artist as the post office. President porfilio was a dictator who paid Mexicans in food and shelter that was slavery. President for 30 years. Pancho Villa in north and Zapata in south met in Mexico City and ran him out.
Correa mayor, European style post office built in 1540. Still an operating post office. High tech at the time with phones and elevators
Madero steeet. Very crowded streets of shops. Latin American building built in the 1940s. Withstood many earthquakes. Dia de los muertes, dead are guided back by yellow flowers. One day for the dead children and one for the dead adults. Festivals in the graveyards. The dead live through the living. Death is when you are forgotten.
Metropolitan cathedral. Legend says someone made the Jesus and soaked feet in poison to kill someone. But when he came the statue lifted his feet away from the person and the statue absorbed the poison and the skin turned black. Indigenous peasant collecting wood, and had vision of Guadeloupe to make a shrine. He went to bishop and got denied. Vision came back and was told to pick beautiful flowers and bring to bishop. The image of the virgin was made into the mantle. He made a saint by PJP2. Guadalupe is standing on an angel and a crescent moon. Cathedral has a pendulum to measure the sinking and tilting of the cathedral. Inserted concrete underneath but couldn’t do it much because of ruins underneath.
PJP 2 came to Mexico City and 8 million keys were donated and melted to make this statue and one in basilica de Guadalupe.
Agave plants, tequila is made from one type of agave whereas mescal is made from many.
Mexico means belly button of the moon. Mexico City is built on the bottom of a lake and sinks 1cm a year and some buildings are crooked
Temple mayor, found when digging for metro. Most important temple because it houses temples for 2 main gods. When Spanish came, Cortez married a menchista (now term for people who like people of other nations) who became their translator. Spanish took over Aztecs because rallied with smaller villages who paid taxes to Aztecs. Montezuma, ?king of Aztecs were drawn out and stoned to death. Villagers came back and drove Spanish out. Diseases from Spanish like small pox killed the locals. Spanish brought rats. They had a ballgame where you had two stone hoops and you would use hips and things to make baskets. Winners got the high prize of being sacrificed, had the heart torn from their living body, then was dismembered and head was eaten for knowledge and made into a pozole. Mayans predated 1400BC TO 900 AD. They were scientists and philosophers so pyramids are higher.
Mexico free walking tour (book online). Start at Downtown temple mayor, Aztec ruins within the city. Aztecs mean from azteclan which is like a mythical Atlantis. In 1500s, They followed signs to the city of the gods which became Their capital city. Bird eating a snake. But it was in the valley in middle of the lake. Built on canals. Strong warriors who conquered surrounding villages. Aztecs found ruins of Teotihuacán people who predated then. They thought it was a city of gods and then they moved in.
Breakfast before free walking tour at Pasillo de humo. Quesadilitas of chicken and mushroom, huevos, and chilaquiles (soooo good). Traditional chocolate drink with cinnamon

30 March 2018

Late dinner at La Capital, highlights were the tuna and white fish flautas.
Rooftop drinks at hotel condesa
Exploring our neighborhood, La Condesa. So many cute hipster restaurants and bars. Parque Mexico, near our air B and B. Has lots of live music and people watching. 15 peso tacos at super taco chupacabre. Soooo good.
Air B and B destination condesa. $70/night. “Free breakfast of Frosted Flakes and boxed milk/juice.” Across the street from a club who’s base pounded our eardrums til 5am. Exchange rate:1USD to 18 pesos.