Mexico City (also known as CDMX) is an amazing city that is less well known amongst digital nomads.
While it’s true that there are no beaches in Mexico City, it’s a really amazing place to visit and work remotely from!
Mexico City proper’s population is around 9.2 million people. However, the Greater Mexico City area which includes 60 adjacent municipalities has a population of 21.8 million people. That’s a lot of people!
In this article we’ll cover the good and the bad of Mexico City. Specifically we’ll give you the scoop on:
- Safety: Mexico is known for having dangerous parts and crime. How does this apply to Mexico City?
- Neighborhoods: What are the most interesting neighborhoods to spend time in for food, art, culture and fun? Which neighborhoods should you be sure to avoid?
- Food: Our Top Restaurant and Street Food Recommendations
- Work: Places To Work or Cowork From As A Digital Nomad
And other helpful tips to have a great time in Mexico City! Let’s dive in.
What we'll cover
- 1 Travelling Into and Out Of Mexico
- 2 Parks In Mexico City
- 3 Getting Around The City
- 4 Fun Things To Do In Mexico City
- 5 Best Food and Restaurants
- 6 Other Useful Tips
- 7 Wrapping It All Up
Travelling Into and Out Of Mexico
Before we get into the low down on Mexico City itself, if you’re flying into Mexico there are a few things you should know regarding immigration and visas.
The first is that you can stay a maximum of 180 consecutive days in Mexico. When you fly into Mexico and go through Immigration / Customs, you’ll fill out a form and also get a stamp from customs.
They give this form back to you and you have to keep this form with you for when you depart the country. When you leave the country, the airline will ask for it at the gate. If you have it with you when you’re leaving Mexico, you’ll have no problems and you can skip this section of the guide, but if you want to know what happens if you forget your form you should read the rest of this section.
Below I’ll explain what ensues if you don’t have your form…
If you don’t have it, and you’re flying out of the Mexico City airport internationally (you’re leaving now) they’ll send you back out the security clearance area to Door 10 which is where the Immigration office is. If you don’t realize that you need this customs paper, and your flight is close understand that you’ll have to walk extremely far to go from the Gate that you thought you were ready to fly out of, back to the public area of the airport, and then walk all the way to the end of the corridor as Door 10 is the VERY LAST DOOR.
The reason this is a problem is between the time actually getting to Door 10, talking to Immigration and then going back through security again, if you’re flight timing is tight you could miss it.
Once you get to Immigration, they’ll ask you to pay a small fine and give new a couple of forms of fill out. One of the forms asks you why you don’t have your original form. An answer that you forgot it at your hotel or lost it is fine, which is probably the case anyways.
Immigration at Door 10 only accepts cards – they won’t take cash (“efectivo” in Spanish), so you need to have a credit card you can use.
All this is to say that make sure you hold onto your Immigration forms and take them with you when you leave the country.
If you get to the airport to leave the country and realize you’ve forgotten the forms, or if during your travels you lose the forms, make sure you go to Immigration at Door 10 FIRST before going through security. That way you can fill out the two forms they give you, pay the fine, and get the stamp you need.
You then hold onto a smaller pieced of paper with a stamp that they’ll give you from the process discussed above, and you keep that with you and only THEN do you go through security. At the gate you give the airline the stamped paper and you are good to go. If you forget your Immigration papers and you don’t get this stamp you won’t be allowed to get on the flight.
Parks In Mexico City
One of the best things about Mexico City is the greenery. It feels like you’re still connected to the jungle forest while living in an Urban City. There are so many beautiful parks, and you’ll find lots of people there in the mornings taking dance / exercise classes, using the outdoor gyms, going for a run, walking dogs, or just hanging out on the benches!
Many of the parks also have soccer fields, and you can often find people playing soccer – people are super friendly and if you ask nicely they’ll always welcome you into their game.
Getting Around The City
Uber is probably the fastest and safest way to get around the city. While it is more expensive than taking the subway, North American’s will be amazed at how inexpensive long Uber rides to different neighborhoods in Mexico City are. For this reason it’s what we use most frequently and our top recommendation.
Beat is a really interesting app that we’ve only encountered in Mexico City. That have a fleet of cars that are only Tesla’s. Yes, you read that right! You can select the type of Tesla you want, and the standard is to ride in a Tesla Model 3. Beat isn’t available in certain neighborhoods (e.g. less affluent areas or when you get into the adjacent areas of Mexico city) but it’s a really fun experience! We recommend downloading the app to see if there are cars near you.
In our experience it has the same reliability as Uber, just is less available in certain areas.
I get that you want to ride in style, but you’re in Mexico! You have to ride the Subway at least once right? The Subway in Mexico City is your cheapest option and works well. We recommend riding the Subway at least once for the experience. There are people of different ages, families, people selling items, food, and even dancers. It’s a fun experience, and it runs quick well too.
Pro Tip – Check Out Viveros Subway Station: We recommend checking out the Viveros Subway station. Make it part of a day trip to Coyocan. It’s one stop after Coyocan on the subway line and it has beautiful artwork of animals and a forest on the steps and walls. Highly recommended!
Fun Things To Do In Mexico City
Play Soccer at Deportivo Oceanía
This is a fun place to play soccer / football (or fútbol) in Spanish. Soccer is the most popular team sport in Mexico followed by Baseball (#2) and then Basketball (#3).
There are multiple AstroTurf fields you can play on. If you see people playing you can ask the to join and they are usually very friendly. As a foreigner they’ll ask where you are from and are happy to include you.
Visit The Pyramids In Teotihuacan
The pyramids of Teotihuacan (meaning city of the gods) are only 50 minutes to 1 hour from the city via highway. You can hire a private driver or take a tour.
At the pyramids just across the street from the main parking lot there’s a restaurant called La Gruta which is in a cave which we highly recommend trying out!
Best Food and Restaurants
Mexican Street Food (Tacos)
The street food in Mexico is incredible. Make sure you eat at a taco stand where they cook the meat / prepare the taco in front of you. It’s delicious! You’ll be able to tell how high quality the meat is – the flavor is super yummy and you’ll also be able to tell how fresh it is!
The most famous type of taco in Mexico City is Tacos “Al Pastor ” which is pork cooked in a Lebanese Shawarma style and it’s a classic. If you’re feeling more adventurous you can get other types of tacos too.
- Suadero = Meat between the belly and leg of the cow (another popular choice)
If you’re the more adventurous type there is also:
- Ojos = Eyes
- Lengua = Tongue
- Sesos = Brain
Mexico City’s food scene is truly incredible. The local Mexican food is amazing, but there are also so many really, really high quality restaurants with other country’s cuisines including Japanese food / Sushi, Lebanese Food, Italian Food, and more. You can find so many amazing restaurants that it’s not possible to list them all here. Instead, we’ve selected our favorite few from our time in the city.
Ryoshi (Japanese, Sushi)
Ryoshi is a Japanese restaurant located in one of Mexico City’s fanciest neighborhoods – Polanco. It has a gorgeous interior with gorgeous indoor plants and greenery and a variety of seating options including a long bar, tables, and cozy booths. It also has outdoor seating.
We love the quality of sushi at Ryoshi. Basically everything on the menu here is very high quality and tastes delicious, but we’ll share some of our favorite items.
Truffle Sashimi: This is our favorite dish on the menu. It’s sashimi with a light ponzu flavor and truffle on top. Truly spectacular.
Rollito Wagyu: This is 1 piece of Japanese Wagyu piece served with truffle and is also spectacular.
Sake Sampler: The waiter will bring you a tray with 5 different types of sake and explain each type to you. They range in sweetness and are all wonderful. There’s also one that is served hot. It’s a lot of fun to try each one at a time with a friend or a date to start off the evening.
Spicy Tuna Roll: If you’re going to pick a roll with fish you should choose tuna. It’s the best tasting fish that they serve, and the Spicy Tuna Roll is amazing. We’ve had to order a second one – it’s that good.
Dessert: For dessert you have to try the Tres Leches chocolate cake. It’s moist and melts in your mouth in a way no other way any other chocolate cake we’ve had in our lives does. Highly recommended.
María Ciento38 (Italian)
María Ciento38 is located north of Juarez in a neighborhood in Mexico City called Santa María la Ribera.
The restaurant serves authentic Sicilian food. The food is fantastic and so is the ambience. There is outdoor seating in a backyard courtyard. It’s gorgeous and very lively. In fact, the entire restaurant is situated in a beautiful 19th century mansion!
After dinner, if you’d like to go for a walk the Kiosco Morisco is only 200m or a 2 minute walk away. It’s a plaza with beautiful Moorish Architecture similar to what you see when you visit Spain!
I’m not sure we could write a guide to Mexico City and it’s restaurants and not include Pujol. Pujol is an incredible dining experience. It’s also a very expensive fine dining experience but the tasting menu is superb. It lasts 2.5 hours usually, and you get a variety of different dishes.
Their Centro location makes fantastic Pizza – some of the best we’ve had in our lives – and our team has travelled to Italy 😉 For some reason when we ordered the exact same pizza on the menu, their location in Condesa wasn’t nearly as good. We’re not sure why, but let us know how it is if you try it!
Other Useful Tips
Getting A Covid Test (PCR or Antigen)
There is an app similar to Uber Eats that is very popular in Mexico City called Rappi. You can order a COVID antigen or PCR test on Rappi. Once you place the order, you can see the arrival ETA for a Health Worker, just like a food delivery app.
A health worker will come to your home and give you the test. You’ll know within around 10 minutes what the results are. You can ask them to register you electronically in the local health system and they’ll also suggest that you take a photo of the test results with yours and their signature. If they don’t suggest this make sure you ask for it! They should also hold the device used to administer the test in the photo which has a series of lines, to match the result on the piece of paper.
You’ll see multiple options for the type of test to take in Rappi. The antigen test works well and is far less expensive than the PCR test, but if you are getting a test for travel clearance make sure you check the country you are visiting to see if they will accept an antigen test or if you need a PCR test.
Wrapping It All Up
Hopefully by now you’re convinced how great of a place Mexico City is to visit and work remotely from as a digital nomad. Between the beautiful parks, kind people, great internet speeds, and incredible food, there are so many reasons to pay Mexico City a visit.