Currency is the Mexican peso. Time is six hours behind the UK. Flight time from London is about 12 hours. The cost to carbonoffset is £19.25. For more details, visit climatecare.org
British Airways operates a route from Heathrow to Mexico City, via Madrid, seven days a week (six in winter). ba.com Aeromexico has five direct flights from Heathrow. aeromexico.com
Visit Mexico The official tourist board website has useful tips, advice and itineraries for seeing the capital. visitmexico.com
Down and Delirious in Mexico City by Daniel Hernandez (Simon & Schuster, £9.99). Tales from the city, taking in snapshots of its youth culture, exciting cultural scene and natural history.
A sense of promise fills Mexico City, with its world-class architecture, museums, cuisine and culture. The historic centre has had a major facelift in recent years, and creatives from home and abroad are enlivening formerly rundown neighbourhoods. The year-round spring-like weather makes December perfect for a visit.
What to do
Start by visiting the Zocalo, the world’s third largest plaza (after Tianamen and Red Squares) and the biggest in Latin America. Taking pride of place is the Metropolitan Cathedral, and next door the National Palace with its colourful murals by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo’s husband. From here, walk along Avenida Cinco de Mayo to Alameda Central, an 18th-century park modelled on the Tuileries Gardens in Paris. At the eastern end is the Palacio de Bellas Artes, one of the country’s foremost performing arts centres. Its neoclassical exterior conceals an art deco interior complete with spectacular murals. A mile down the grand boulevard Paseo de la Reforma – built to resemble the Champs-Elysées – lies Chapultepec Park, the city’s largest green area. While away the hours here amid several great institutions, including the National Museum of Anthropology, with its array of pre-Columbian art. Arsty, chic and filled with art nouveau and art deco architecture, the districts of Roma and Condesa are known for their galleries, shops, bars and restaurants. Coyoacán neighbourhood in the south of the city is home to the Frida Kahlo Museum, daubed in blue, and home to numerous artistic treasures.
Where to stay
A restored palace close to all the action, hotel Downtown 00 52 55 5130 6830, downtownmexico.com blends period charm with industrial chic, including a central forged stone staircase and colonial facade. Just 17 rooms and suites make up the boutique address, all with high ceilings and a minimal aesthetic. Escape to the rooftop for a dip in the pool, or cocktail at the bar with views of the surrounding churches and historic buildings. For dining, there is award-winning Azul, with the creative dishes of chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita. The Red Tree House 00 52 55 5584 3829, theredtreehouse.com in residential Condesa is a quiet and homely B&B; service is friendly and there are many good restaurants within walking distance. For those who prefer high-rise posh, the St Regis 00 52 55 5228 1818, stregishotelmexicocity.com offers a bird’s eye view of Paseo de la Reforma from the 31-storey Torre Libertad. Not only can you land your helicopter on the roof, but there’s a state-of-the-art spa and several top restaurants, including Candela Romero, too.
Where to eat and drink
See the Rite of the Voladores (Museum of Anthropology), a daily ritual where men in traditional dress ‘fly’ from a tall pole.
Mexico City has an enviable food scene,
mixing traditional with cutting-edge. It has three of The World’s
50 Best Restaurants, including Pujol 00 52 55 5545 4111,
pujol.com.mx located in the upscale Polanco neighbourhood. It was here that acclaimed chef Enrique Olvera changed the way the world looks at Mexican cuisine, using contemporary cooking techniques. Biko, 00 52 55 5282 2064 biko.com.mx is ranked number 37 and offers a fusion of Spanish and Mexican cooking by chef Mikel Alonso. At Quintonil 00 52 55 5280 2680, quintonil.com chef Jorge Vallejo explores exotic local ingredients, creating exciting new combinations. Eduardo García prepares refined, French-influenced Mexican cooking at Máximo Bistrot Local 00 52 55 5264 4291, maximobistrot.com.mx in a superb, casual setting. Nicos restaurant 00 52 55 5396 7090, nicosmexico.mx delves into the recipe books of yore, rescuing long-forgotten dishes. Try the tongue with wine and herbs, or pork in adobo sauce, pepped up with chilli and chocolate. Riviera del Sur 00 52 55 5264 1552 was one of the few old-school cantinas left in Roma, but following a makeover it has been reborn as a restaurant/ bar. Also in Roma, cocktail bar Limantour 00 52 55 5264 4122, limantour.tv is a leader in mixology.
Time running out?
Take a taco tour with eatmexico.com – these edible rambles can be tailored for every taste, quite literally.
Average daily temperatures and rainfall
This article was published on 14th December 2015 so certain details may not be up to date.