I took a tour from my hotel, which cost US$30. I am anti-tour anyway, and this just re-enforced my bias. We were carted to a total of 5 destinations on the way there and back. Ok, I wasn't too appalled by the church of the Guadalupe (it is one of the city's largest attractions apparently - Mexico is a HUGELY catholic country thanks to the Spanish proselytizing and the continuing poverty). But the next stop was the 'shopping' stop, where no doubt our guide was getting a cut of whatever purchases we made. We then got to the pyramids (which were astounding), but only had approximately an hour and a half there as we were being 'rushed' back to another 'rip off the tourist' venue - a lunch, where our guide recommended we eat a particular dish specific to the area .... um ... and it was the most expensive dish on the menu ... !
Unique Suggestions: I'm not sure if it's possible to travel to the pyramids independantly (they are some miles outside the city), but if it is, I recommend you do it.
When we arrived at the airport, for the first time, someone from the university was waiting for us. And this was a good idea. Normally you can take a cab (an authorized one) just in front of the airport. They have their office with yellow windows everywhere in the airport. This is another good thing, because you will pay there a ticket (for instance, from the Airport to Coyoacan it will cost you 190 pesos) and for the taxi driver, a tip of 20 pesos, will be enough. But the problem is with the boys, which carry the suitcases to the cab. If you have a lot of baggage, no problem… a tip (propina) is ok, but if you have no luggage…then, this is a problem, because the boy will insist in ask for the tip (actually every time when we need to take a cab from the airport, we meet the same boy who asked for tip, even if he actually did nothing for this…hahaha…the same discussion all the time: “no seas cabron!” and the rest).
Unique Suggestions: So, I do not think that you will have an alternative, unless you go to the national arrivals (on the left hand as you go out the Duane services). This time, you will meet another boy with a normal behavior. But as you probably are too dizzy after your trip (an intercontinental one, maybe) learning some basic Spanish before your trip seems to be a good idea.
Fun Alternatives: Actually always it is very funny and my advice is: relax yourself and enjoy your arrival and Mexico City.
Actually they are not only tourist traps but traps for everyone... Around zocalo you will find streets and streets of flea markets selling about everything (and get ready to find lots of pirate cd's, computer programs and movies)... As you may guess, you will be exposed to get robbed so take care of your stuff.. AND if you will buy something, (and as everywere) when the people listen to your outer accent they will rise the prices... So dont buy at the first price, always try to take down the price (altough the prices at flea markets and even more to tourist are extremely cheap)...
Unique Suggestions: Go!!!! just take care and dont be fooled!
Should your stomach bother you, ask for guayaba tea. Guayaba tea has immediate effect but I learned it is best to keep on using it for at least two days. When having stomach problems it is essential to avoid any milkproducts for the next three days. And although it might be hard in a country that has a tradition in alcoholic beverages - yes, you guessed right - alcohol should be avoided as well. Although an instant cure, this tea has not yet made it to many other parts of the world, and is not to be confused with Guarana, which is an energy booster with origins in Brazil.
La Ciudadella. This is the central craft market near The Zocalo. Even though its a tourist trap -- and, therfore, also a bit of a pick-pocket destination -- it's interesting to walk around and see the various crafts for sale. Moreover, you can, in fact, find some nice bargains on the generally lower quality items in this market. Indeed, you do not go to the Ciudadella for fine quality, rather it is a good location for blown glass swizzle sticks, paper mache fruits and vegetables, leather bags, etc. For really high quality products, you need to find the one-of-a-kind stores around and outside the city.
Do not rent a mobile phone in the airport or at the Nikko hotel unless you have a large account in a Swiss bank! My last bill for one month of regular usage was US$800 - there are better solutions (as I have learned at my own expense). At the Nikko, they will charge you MXP 7.00 per minute on incoming calls, in addition to MXP 30.00 per day rental.
Instead, just go to your nearest Unefon or Pegaso phone store. You will need to speak some Spanish of course. Just buy a prepaid phone from either company, prices start around MXP 700.00 for a decent phone and some inclusive airtime.
Unefon phone calls within Mexico City are the cheapest at just MXP 1.00 per minute. Pegaso is slightly more expensive at MXP 3.00 per minute, but their all-digital network guarantees a high quality for all your calls.
Long distance phone calls from Mexico City to the USA or to Europe cost an arm and a leg, especially if calling from a hotel. If you don't want to make Telmex any richer, you need to find an alternative.
I suggest trying out Kallback, the original call-back service. Their rates oscillate between US$0.21 and US$0.88 per minute from Mexico to the USA. This is significantly cheaper than Telmex.
The problem with call back services in general is that they are no good if you stay in a hotel and don't have a direct phone line. In this case, your options are quite limited. Getting an international calling card from AT&T, MCI or your local telecom company might be the only choice.
If you get shaken down by the traffic cops, they will offer to write you a ticket that you have to pay tomorrow at the police station. Or, you can pay off the policeman on the spot. Generally, they shake down the locals for 100 pesos, but gouge the gringos for 500 - 800 pesos. The best tactic to use is to say that you don't have enough cash and will just take the ticket and pay at the station tomorrow. The policeman obviously wants you to pay him, not the government, so will often reduce the amount he is asking so he can get some money from you. This can all take quite a while and he may call other officers to help him persuade you, so you may just want to pay him off, but if you feel like trying to bargain your way out of it, that's the scoop. Good luck
This is a beautiful nice travel with boats , their you can meet a lot of mexican familes at the weekend .