Tag Archives: D.F.

How safe is Mexico City for a single female traveler?

This question just came in: How safe is Mexico City for a single female traveler?

This is my experience.  I have been flying from the USA directly to Mexico City for the last several years. I do this to know Mexico better.  Usually I travel solo, alone, single, without a companion.  The Mexico City airport is very safe and secure.  I always buy a taxi ticket from the Taxi Seguro ticket stand in the airport after you exit from baggage claim.  This secure taxi service is licensed and registered by the Distrito Federal (D.F.) officials.  The cost from the airport to the historic center is about 200 pesos.

Mexico City is filled with culture, art treasures, stunning architecture, great restaurants and street food.  It is where Diego Rivera murals adorn public spaces to visually convey the history of Mexico from pre-Conquest to the socialist ideals of Communism.  It is filled with energy and beauty.  It is clean and overall safe. Definitely worth a stopover, in my opinion.

In the historic center I walk everywhere with my BIG Nikon camera and small purse (long straps crisscrossed over the my body) — to FONART, to Palacio Bellas Artes, to Mercado de San Juan, to Museo de Arte Popular, and to Palacio Nacional.  You need a taxi to the anthropology museum in Chapultepec Park.

If I’m there on the weekend, I will call a friend to go with me to Lagunilla flea market.  This is an all-day adventure.  There is a Saturday and Sunday Plaza del Angel antiques market in the Zona Rosa that is safe and accessible, and perfect for solo traveling.

I have taken the Metro with friends, but not yet solo.  Taxis are reasonable and plentiful.  Your hotel can call you a taxi they know to be secure and safe.  One Australian friend who has lived in D.F. for four years says to only take the white radio taxis that are available at marked corner stands.  I’ve used red and gold city taxis with no problem.

On past visits, I have asked my hotels or B&Bs to arrange a car and driver for a full day of sightseeing at about 100-120 pesos an hour.  We’ve gone to Casa Azul, the Dolores Olmeda Pineda Museum, and Xochimilco. The driver stays with us.

Two nights in Mexico City only gives you one full day, so I recommend at least three nights minimum to really get a flavor for the city.

As with all travel anywhere — in the USA or any foreign country — be mindful of your surroundings, only take cash out of an ATM during the day, keep your camera slung across your chest, don’t walk and use your SmartPhone at the same time (someone can easily grab it), check the taxi seat and floor before departing to make sure you don’t leave anything behind, stay alert, move away from people you think are suspicious.  I always carry my Passport with me for identification, but I’ve heard advice to the contrary.

I’m in Chicago this weekend and a platoon of policemen were heading toward Water Tower Place on the Magnificent Mile this morning for patrol duty.  Locals say there are a lot of iPhone thefts in that neighborhood, so there you go!

What else would you like to know?





In-Between, Let It Rain, and Murex Sea Snail Purple Dye

August 26, 2013–In Mexico City it’s raining, it’s pouring.   I left Oaxaca this morning to a full-tilt drizzle that went on through the night.  The maize fields are almost saturated.  Whew!

My Zapotec friends told me about the mysteries of the ancients. Don’t worry, they said a few days ago.  It will start raining on August 26.  I didn’t believe them.  Yes, they said, the ancient Zapotecs know.   It’s part of the natural cycle in time for the Calendula. It will rain throughout September, they said. Ah, hah, I discovered the rain will produce the wild marigolds so essential for Day of the Dead celebrations.  The rhythms of nature.  When we move too fast, we don’t have time to put our ear to the earth and remember our history.   This has been a wonderful part of my learning experience living in a small Mexican village.

A friend sent me an email that I read during the six-and-a-half-hour bus ride to Mexico City.  I am in-between leaving Oaxaca and arriving in the USA.  We are in-between two tropical storms, Ivo and Fernand, bringing rain on two fronts, east and west, one from Baja, the other from Veracruz.  I am now sitting in the shelter of historic Downtown Hotel, sipping a tequila (they offered it gratis, though I prefer mezcal) and listening to the deluge pouring on the soft roof of the courtyard just beyond my door.  It is a wonderful sound. The earth in Mexico is thirsty.

Mexico City has become another stopover favorite, in addition to Puebla.  It’s why I like to take the bus and take a few extra days between Oaxaca and the USA.  I can stay over a night or two and discover another part of Mexican culture.  Tomorrow morning I’m meeting a writer friend for breakfast.  Then, rain or shine, I will make a beeline to see more Diego Rivera murals and revisit the street food vendors I met in July.  What I like about this hotel location is that it’s two blocks from the Zocalo, walkable to everything, in a restored colonial house with great restaurants and textile shops.  Very convenient.

On Wednesday, I leave D.F. on a very early flight to Chicago for a reunion with friends and the Grant Park Jazz Festival.  Then, briefly back to North Carolina, before going on to North Africa.

When I retired from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, where I raised $23 million, for endowments, student scholarships and faculty support, the Foundation Board of the school gifted me with a surprise.  A trip to anywhere!  I am SO grateful.  Now, almost two years later, I’m going to use that gift to travel to Marrakech and Essaouira, Morocco, for three weeks in September-October, with a very brief stopover on the way back in Madrid.  I’ve never been to either of these places and I’m traveling with a friend who knows Morocco well.

My question is:  Are you interested in hearing about my experiences in a part of the world far from Oaxaca?  The connection, of course, is the history of weaving, textiles, and natural dyes.  I plan on investigating whether the purple dye once used to distinguish the togas of Roman senators is still in existence on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.  The murex sea snail is at risk of extinction on Oaxaca’s Pacific coast and is guarded carefully, under governmental regulation.  The rocky shoals of Essaouira, Morocco produced some of the finest purple in the world.  And, I understand the textiles there are magnificent.

Let me know your thoughts.  If I write about it, will I be digressing too far from your interests?

Thanks for the feedback!