Tag Archives: Mexico travel

Mexico City Airport: Getting from International Terminal 2 to Domestic Terminal 1

When Erica and I bought these tickets to Oaxaca last November 2009 for this February 2010 trip, the RT cost direct to Oaxaca was over $800 USD.   So we decided to buy at RT to Mexico City for $344 USD and then a domestic flight on Mexicana as a separate ticket for $200 USD.  That meant when we got through immigration (imigracion) and customs (aduana) in Mexico City, we needed to get from the new international terminal on the far side of the airport to the domestic terminal.  Here’s how we did it!

When you arrive in Mexico City you’ll go through immigration (imigracion), then you’ll be led to the baggage claim area where you’ll get your baggage in order to go through customs (aduana).  First, get a rolling cart $1USD) to put your bags on.  Much easier.  You’ll have to give the woman there your baggage claim ticket in order to proceed through aduana and then exit the area.

After you get your bags, do NOT go towards “connecting flights.” (Erica almost did that, and I said, that’s if you have booked a connecting flight and you just go right into the terminal without going through aduana.) You are going to exit out the glass doors into the terminal, where a crowd of people are waiting for arriving passengers behind a roped area.  Turn right in front of them and go down the end of the hallway (you can stop and get pesos at one of the many ATMs lining the opposite side of the hall).  Your destination is the set of elevators at the far end of the hall near the bus terminal to Puebla. Take the elevator to the second floor where there is the AeroTren (air train) to Terminal One.

Follow the signs to the Aero Tren.  You will have to have a document that says you have a ticket for a flight leaving from Terminal One (or so I understood from the security guards at the entrance to the train).  The train is sleek, new, with compartments for ample people and lots of luggage.  It’s a slow ride, so make sure you have plenty of time to make this connection.  By the time we exited our flight, got through customs and immigration, and got on the train, it was 35 minutes.  Another ten minutes to get to Terminal One.  When you exit the train you will come to a bridge.  Turn left to the terminal.  If you have a lot of luggage, hire a porter for 50 pesos (I pay 10 pesos a bag) to help you.  It is a LONG walk to the Mexicana counter at Terminal One.

The Mexicana counter is on the ground floor, so you have to go down a flight of stairs to the check-in counter.  Because we order and paid for our tickets online, we were directed to a special check-in area on the right for prepaid tickets.  There is a longer counter area and that is for people who need to buy their tickets.

You’ll check your bags there and get a boarding pass. Then go through security and then upstairs to the gate– there are lots of restaurants if you want to eat or drink something. Phew! It’s not as hard as it sounds — but an adventure!  Walk to the far end of the concourse across from McDonalds and you’ll find a great restaurant.  I heartily recommend the Agua de Sandia y Jamaica, 47 pesos.

From Oaxaca to Raleigh: 24 Hours Door to Door

This was no accident!  No delays!  We planned it this way, hoping to sleep on the overnight bus from Oaxaca to Mexico City.  No such luck.  We boarded the ADO GL at 12:45 a.m. on Wednesday morning and arrived home in Pittsboro at 1 a.m. on Thursday morning.  I’m thinking that these overnight buses where one “sleeps and wakes up refreshed” at his/her destination is overrated.  Or, perhaps only suitable for those under 40 (or maybe 30).  Since our round trip flight was RDU to MEX there didn’t seem to be many other options.  With earplugs, my pillow, and a soft hat to go over my eyes, I still heard the guy across the aisle snoring.  Each time the bus wheels crossed over the median (either because the driver was swerving around the curves or was in passing mode) and hit those highway bumps that warn drivers they are straying into the other lane, I woke up.  I calculate that I may have dozed in intermittent 10 minute intervals throughout the 6 hour trip along the two lane winding highway through the Sierra Madre del Sur heading north toward Mexico City.  I have dreamed of taking the 12-hour bus from Oaxaca to San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas.  Perhaps I will reconsider, or make a midway, day-long stop over in Juchitan, and travel by day.

The ADO GL has curtains that cover the windows and reclining seats, (and if it’s a day trip–non-stop movies).  Stephen thinks that the UNO is the superior bus for overnights because there is a footrest that comes up to seat level, creating a bed-like extension for your body.

When we arrived at the huge TAPO bus station in Mexico City it was still dark outside.  Bleary-eyed travelers lined up for the washroom to comb their hair and brush their teeth.  Mothers with toddlers in hand, business men and women in suits carrying laptops, students traveling during summer vacation, families coming to visit relatives poured out of buses from all corners of Mexico.  Bus travel is efficient and relatively inexpensive.  Our one way (sencilla) ticket from OAX to MEX was 1120 pesos for two.  Luggage is tagged and every piece is checked for ownership.

We hauled our luggage past independent taxi drivers prowling the terminal to the “secure taxi” ticket office.  Here, for 85 pesos we bought tickets for a licensed, authorized taxi to take us to the airport across town.  It was easy, other than we were sleepless and I was hauling a giant suitcase packed with Talavera ceramics and Juchitan huipiles.  Big, but still a tad under 50 lbs. weight limit.

After checking in and going through security (a breeze), we went up to the second floor of the International Terminal and bought two day-passes ($35 USD each) to get into the VIP Lounge.  It was 8:30 a.m. and our flight didn’t leave until 12:05 p.m.  This was well-worth the price because this “club” is cushy — with lots of great food, chicken sandwiches, fresh veggies (carrot, jicama, celery) with picante chili dip, fruit, pastries, and unlimited supplies of juices, sodas, and inexpensive beer and wine.  If you think of what you would spend on restaurant meal in the airport, the cost diminishes considerably.  And, there’s wi-fi for Internet addicts like me!

In Houston, we had a 4-1/2 hour layover and we used passes to get into the Continental President’s Club, the food a disappointment compared to Mexico City, but a welcome respite nevertheless.  I have learned that I do not book flights with less than 1-1/2 hour layovers when returning into the POE.  It’s a bummer to worry about getting through immigration, then customs and then security to make a flight with minutes to spare.  It’s not a pretty sight to be running through the concourse sweating and hoping they haven’t closed the gate, and then you’re stuck because the next flight out is overbooked.  Summer, Thanksgiving and Christmas is especially brutal for airport travel.  Give yourself a breather and get home a little later.  It’s worth it.

All our flights departed and arrived on time.  When we landed at 10:45 p.m., Stephen went to parking lot to get the car while I waited for the luggage.  When I walked outside, it was a steambath, typical North Carolina summer weather, hot, humid, and reminiscent of Juchitan and the southern Pacific coast of Oaxaca.  Thinking about that made my re-entry a little easier.

CDC Lifts Travel Ban to Mexico, Effective May 15, 2009

“Despite the spread in the United States, the CDC lifted its warning against unnecessary travel to Mexico. So far that country has experienced the most severe outbreak, but officials in Mexico predicted Friday that they would bring it under control by the end of the month. The CDC said individuals with other health conditions should consult with their doctors before traveling to Mexico,” according to an article published in the Tacoma, Washington newspaper excerpted from a story that was syndicated by the Washington Post, May 16, 2009. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/15/AR2009051503533.html?hpid%3Dmoreheadlines&sub=AR

Time to buy your ticket?  We did two weeks ago 🙂  Good deals still to be found, I’m certain!