General Warning Info, Mexico City
Was there in 83. Stuck there a week as med student b/c of student Visa BS. LOTS of Rats!! Cabbies tried to rip people off go to cheap hotel in rathole hoods. Charge too much for fare. Use sitios ONLY! I almost got kidnapped by two teen thugs b/c I was out clubbing too late. Go with lots of friends and do not stay out too late.
BEING SAFE IN MEXICO CITY CAN BE DIFFICULT, BUT HERES ONE TIP TO KEEP YOU SAFE. WHEN TRYING TO FIND A TAXI CAB. DONT GET INTO THE LITTLE GREEN VW BUGS, LOOK FOR A CERTIFIED MEXICO CITY TAXI. CERTIFIED TAXIS ARE GOLD COLOURED WITH MAROON LINES ON THEM. ALSO MAKE SURE TO ASK YOUR DRIVER BEFORE GETTING IN IF HE BELONGS TO A "SITIO" WHICH MEANS IF THEY ARE A PART OF A TAXI COMPANY.
Un chercheur français attaqué à l'aéroport de Mexico, grievement blessé
Des voleurs qui ciblaient des personnes changeant de l'argent à l'aéroport de Mexico ont tiré sur un Français mardi, le blessant grièvement à la tête. Lire la suite l'article
Le chercheur en biotechonologie, âgé de 55 ans, travaille à l'université de Mexico. Les voleurs lui ont dérobé 4.800 euros dans une rue proche du terminal international, ont précisé le procureur adjoint de la ville, Luis Vasquez, et la police. Il a été transporté à l'hôpita l local.
L'ambassade de France n'a pas pu confirmer l'identité de la victime ni sa ville d'origine. Le chef de la police de Mexico Manuel Mondragon a rappelé que les gangs de criminels ont des vigies placées près des bureaux de change de l'aéroport qui alertent les agresseurs. Ceux-ci attendent les clients à l'extérieur. Les gangs n'hésitent pas à employer une extrême violence.
Le chauffeur de la victime a témoigné que deux voitures paraissaient les suivre après qu'ils aient quitté l'aéroport. Les assaillants ont coupé la route à son véhicule, et tiré sur le chercheur français qui refusait de donner le sac contenant l'argent, a précisé la police. AP
Many things have been said about Mexico City's security. When I was living in Canada I read about it in local newspapers and believe me, it's not the way the media abroad publishes. I mean, it is as dangerous as any other major city like New York or LA. Of course you have to be careful with your money, when taking a cab, not to show valuable things in public sites, not being alone at night, etc. Be careful but don't panic! It certainly is not the most dangerous city in the world!
Mexico City has often been painted as a dangerous place to be with frequent kidnappings and daytime robbery and assaults. I just want to say that although this might be true to certain degree but believe me it is not as common as movies or people make it out to be. Staying safe in Mexico City means that you need to exercise some common sense when you are traveling. These are some of the advice that I have which made me feel safe traveling in Mexico City. 1) Avoid traveling by yourself at night time. During the daytime it is pretty safe. 2) Don't dress too much apart from the people. Basically, don't show people that you have a lot of money and don't carry too much cash with you. 3) Learn the railroad system/avoid taxis. If you fear of being kidnapped then stay away from taxis. The railroad system is easy to use, cheap, and safe during the daytime. I don't recommend it after 9pm.
I probably spent the first few days tense from having read so much on the dangers of Mexico. I didn't see a single thing that made me feel like the city was dangerous, but I'm from Chicago and vacation in NY and DC several times per year every year. I know how to act in large, metro cities. I stayed in a safe neighborhood, but it was not a tourist neighborhood. I rented a condo in La Condesa Hippodroma where there were only middle class native Mexicans. We took the subway every morning and night during rush hour and had no problems with pick pockets, strange men trying to be helpful, or the like. We learned how to use the subway, so we never had to worry about the safety of taxis. We stayed out late, walked the streets and felt like natives since our local neighborhood vendors would recognize us and say "hola". Jerry and I have a tendency not to speak loudly and frequently don't speak English in public. I'm asian and Jerry is your typical, big and tall German, so we didn't blend in, but we didn't attract attention to ourselves either. Jerry felt like most people didn't approach us because we don't really look like your stereotypical happy, bouncy, friendly, wide-eyed American. We usually looked beat-up and tired after a day of running raged from museums to historical sites to markets. We wear long, black trench coats, no flashy jewelry, and I carry a messenger bag, not a purse. We offered no one an opportunity to get close or take anything from us.
The sidewalk infrastructure in the capital is in a league all its own. A litigation-happy lawyer would have an absolute field day with the state of sidewalks in Mexico City. I've seen hazards from sectional heaving to metal plate overlays with gaps large enough to swallow a small child.
If you find yourself moving outside of the touristy areas in the DF, I can't stress enough how important it is wear quality, sturdy shoes, keep your eyes on the pavement ahead of you and lastly, walk with a measured pace- fast walking will only heighten the chance for injury
And if you should fall victim to one of these ankle-twisters in-waiting, don't expect any sympathy from local authorities, their response will be "well, the hole was here before you were".
if you're traveling by yourself and don't want to be handle, pinched or followed by creepy guys. Try to avoid using skirt, specially short and tide skirts and don't use the subway at rush hours or get on the train when it's full. Wait for the next train.
Europeans and North Americans stand out in the crowd and can be spotted quite easily, particulalry around the Zocalo square and the historic center of the city. The backpack and the map only makes things worse for you, not to mention the use of a language other than Spanish. Pick pocketers may be a danger and so can be other individuals who can approach and start talking to you particulalry if you are female. Same old advice applies here: avoid eye-contact, mingle with the crowd, check frequently your surroundings, do not isolate yourself and try to conceal your tourist identity. Try asking instead of opening a map in the middle of the street. If you really need to consult your map/travel guide -a map can be useful particularly for non speakers of spanish- try to do so in a store or a cafe. In addition hide valuable objects that may attract the attention of thieves- this is not to be limited to expensive stuff: your glittery hair accessory may cost 3 euros/dollars in reality but in the eyes of someone else may seem a fortune just because the sun makes it shine!
Mexico City has one of the highest rate of kidnapping amongst foreign nationals. Always for money. Americans (specifically rich Americans) are sometimes specifically targeted.
No matter where you are traveling, best bet is to always keep a low profile. Blend in as much as possible with the locals. Don't flash cash or were substantial amounts of jewelry. Women: use a cheap purse for travelling. Leave the Coach bag back home in the states. Men: keep a small wad of small bills in your front pocket to pay for incidentals. That way you aren't pulling out your wallet (with the bulk of your cash and cards) everytime you want a soda. At the minimum this will keep you from getting pick-pocketed. Or it could potentially keep you from being hog-tied in the trunk of a old Ford.
As a in a big city is normal that you get lost, if you get lost in a non touristic area and need assistance, don't panic and don't take out any map, go to a store or a place where you can take out your map and maybe if you feel like to ask for any directions do it. This is only a gernal precaution that you would take in any other city. I have to add that people tend to be very friendly and if they see you in problems they can help, ibut if you dont need any help and feel treded just thank and go to any store or a place where you can see people.
Real Mexican food is a problem to many foreigners... why? Food tend to be spicy and sometimes if you eat more than two different dishes in one day, you can have a boom in your stomach. This is beacuse many people is not used to eat this kind of food, and I need to tell you that even if you tried ever some mexican food before, it's not the same, so, I warn that you should bring with you some stomach medicine just in case.
Also there are plenty of places where you can eat food, be aware that the place looks clean and is not a place in the middle of the street, this places aren't clean enough and it's almost a guarantee you can be sick - So be careful, the best thing is to eat in a normal restaurant. Trust my mexican tips.
Don't give your passport or personal info out when you're changing over you money! They'll ask for your phone number, address, passport, etc. There's no need!! Also people (i.e. bus drivers) will randomly ask for your passport. You don't need to show it and there's no reason to be asking for it. Just say you don' t have it and they'll let you go. I think they ask for your passport just for curioiusity's sake.
A clueless friend of mine (who changed her money several times before) gave out her personal info to guy at the bus station when she was changing mone and gave our phone # out. A couple days later the guy was callling to ask her out on a date! Just be aware!
It's a good idea to take it easy on your first day or two in Mexico City because of the combination of the high altitude and the pollution problem. The city sits at 2240 meters above sea level (Denver, Colorado - "the Mile High City" - is only about 1600 meters), so the altitude is a reality, however, I did a fair bit of walking on my first day and didn't feel any effects. I think the key is to be aware of it and to walk a little more slowly than usual.
The pollution is also a real problem, however, I found that it wasn't as bad as the awful stories I had heard. During my time here, there was almost always a blue sky above. The smog sits farther on the horizon and usually is very visible near the base of the mountains where it tends to get trapped.
Be very careful on taxis on the street. You can be buying a trip to goodbye wallet.
At your hotel ask for a taxi company number and don't forget to buy a telephone card as coin tels are not very common anymore.