Tips for Solo Travel in Mexico City
IS IT SAFE?
What I heard repeatedly before I left was, "is it safe?" Mexico City has a reputation for being dangerous despite the fact that the crime rate is lower than in many American cities. However, Mexico City is also gigantic and sprawling. Some neighborhoods are going to be safer to be in as a woman than others. If you’re going alone, it’s probably best to stay in an area that has other younger people who will be out and about in both the day and evening. Condesa, Roma Norte, Coyoacan, and the main Central area all fall into that category.
What I found both difficult and refreshing is that outside of the Central zone, Mexico City is a place that caters to Mexicans, not to foreign tourists. People don’t necessarily speak English, and they assume you know all the local customs. That being said, no one ever got annoyed at me for my limited Spanish. If you don’t speak it, have your Google translate available and make sure you write down addresses. Uber can be your friend if you’re unsure about communicating with the driver!
TAKE THE METRO!
It’s cheap and easy to navigate. Fun fact: When the Metro was being built in the 60's, they specifically designed pictures for each station to aid those who couldn't read. It is foreigner friendly. Avoid it during rush hours or late at night (after 10:30 or so) when the trains are either a little too full or a little too empty.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, HOW TO GET STREET TACOS
If you’re nervous about visiting some of the hard-to-get-to areas, or about ordering street tacos and beer (street tacos are the best), Airbnb experiences offer a wide variety of food and culture tours that will introduce you to fellow travelers and take some of the pressure off your directional and Spanish skills. As far as ordering street food, I always follow Anthony Bourdain's advice - find the street vendor who is the busiest and order form them. The other people probably know what they're doing, and the demand means the food has likely not sat long enough to develop any nasty bacteria. Don't be worried about street tacos - it's some of the most delicious food I had in Mexico City.