While I am often quick to criticize Mexico City for all of its faults…
If I’m being honest, I love it here.
It’s perfect for me in terms of what I want out of life right now.
Compared to all of the other places I’ve seen in Latin America…
Mexico City really does it.
It’s not as poor as some place in Bolivia or Nicaragua.
The people don’t try to scam me anywhere near as much as in a place like Colombia or the Dominican Republic.
Not as expensive as a city like Rio de Janeiro.
And not as far away to get to as a place like Buenos Aires.
That’s a rough summary of what I like so much about Mexico City.
But there’s a lot more to say.
So let’s expand out my thoughts on why I recommend Mexico City for those who prefer a very large metropolitan city in Latin America.
Reason 1: Good Bang For Your Buck
Mexico City has the perfect combination of offering you a more modern place to live with plenty of entertainment for a very reasonable price.
If you were to compare Mexico City to other great cities of Latin America like Santiago in Chile or Rio de Janeiro in Brazil…
Or maybe Buenos Aires of Argentina back when I lived there years ago and the Argentine peso hadn’t crashed yet…
Or perhaps Panama city in Panama…
It has a lot going for it.
Plenty of great nightlife, restaurants, etc…
All relatively modern compared to other cities in Latin America…
But at a very reasonable price when it comes to cost of living.
Reason 2: Favorable Visa Rules
Next, you have favorable visa rules.
It’s easy to live in Mexico long term without ever having to get residency.
All you have to do is a visa run out of the country for a few days and that’s it.
You can read more about my experience doing a visa run to Guatemala here.
And the thing is that the visa runs can be done every 6 months.
That’s even nicer!
Compare that to Costa Rica for example or Argentina where, if I remember right, you have to do a visa run every 90 days for both countries.
And every 6 months then for Mexico City?
That’s more than reasonable.
You’d be going back every 6 months more than likely anyhow to visit family back home.
So no problem!
Reason 3: Close to the US
When I fly into Latin America, it’s always from Chicago.
Well, first I have to fly into Chicago from a small town in Iowa.
Then to Latin America!
Even then, I can still get to Mexico City or back home in the same day.
Sometimes I get to Mexico City fairly quickly!
Like in the middle of the afternoon and not even during the night time.
Whereas, from what I remember, I’d usually have to do a layover somewhere if I’m going anywhere south of Chiapas.
Hell, even when I went to Chiapas as you can read here, I had to stay overnight in Villahermosa.
The fact that I don’t have to do any layover is so nice.
I hate having to get up in the morning in some hotel after I probably didn’t sleep very well the night before my initial flight to wherever.
Then having to travel all that day.
Only to have to do a layover and wake up again in the morning while being paranoid that I won’t wake up in time for the next flight.
And you can’t always trust those hotels to call your room to wake you up – they fail to do so half the time in my experience.
So it’s nice to not have to do a layover…
Nor travel long distances in general.
Want to hear the worse of it?
The last time I flew in from Buenos Aires, Argentina back to Chicago…
I must’ve had bad luck or something.
Because the flight was from Buenos Aires to Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Then Santa Cruz to Miami.
Miami to Orlando.
Orlando to Chicago.
Then a train back home.
Did I have to hike any mountains or cross any rivers or fight through an army of guerrillas to get home also?!
Granted, I’m sure not all flights to and from Buenos Aires are that bad.
Maybe the airline decided to fuck with me – who knows.
Anyway, that’s a nice thing about Mexico City – easy to get back and forth.
And you know there might come a day when governments put more limits or price increases on airline travel due to climate change concerns….
If that ever happens, imagine how much more a flight to Buenos Aires would be compared to Mexico City….
The price difference is already noticeable as it is.
Anyway, let’s move on…
Reason 4: Not Too Dangerous
I’ve lived in relatively more dangerous neighborhoods in Mexico City like Pedregal de Santo Domingo.
Honestly, it wasn’t that bad.
I’d move back without problem though I like the place I have now.
When I moved last time…
I actually thought of moving back to that same neighborhood that I cited to above.
But the apartment I checked out, while it was pretty dope, wasn’t in the nicest street of the neighborhood.
It had the words something like “women deserve to die” or whatever the fuck it was spray painted across a wall across the apartment I was looking at.
Suffice to say, it didn’t seem like the ideal location to be a bachelor bringing women back home.
I can only imagine bringing chicks back to that place and maybe some getting uncomfortable when seeing a message like that…
Wouldn’t work very well if you are trying to get laid….
“Ni una menos!” or something like that mind flash across her head.
Well shit, maybe that makes the worse neighborhoods look bad…
But I promise they are OK!
I’m just saying…
Compared to bad neighborhoods in other cities I’ve been to, the ones in Mexico City aren’t that bad.
And also it’s not hard to find a neighborhood in Mexico City where you’d feel comfortable walking outside late at night…
To having maybe your phone in your hand.
Not saying you can walk around looking like a millionaire…
But it does generally feel safer to be outsider and have something as simple as a phone in your hand.
Whereas, when compared to some other cities like Barranquilla, I’d feel less safe about something as simple as having a phone in my hand.
And on the topic of neighborhoods…
Reason 5: Variety of Neighborhoods
And so even when the more dangerous areas are OK to live in based on my opinion only…
Well, compared to shitty areas in other cities anyway…
And given the fact you have an abundance of neigborhoods that don’t have a bad reputation…
Suffice to say, you have plenty of areas you can move into.
Not just Roma Norte or Condesa.
The same can’t be said for every city in Latin America where maybe only a small handful or a few specific neighborhoods would be sufficient enough.
Over my time in Mexico City, I’ve moved across the city to so many different neighborhoods all the time.
And it’s always like being a kid in a candy store…
So many new places to check out in the new neighborhood.
It almost feels like each neighborhood is like its own city to be honest.
You don’t even have to leave your own neighborhood usually to find what you want.
All around, it’s nice.
Reason 6: Hard to Get Around?
Some few years ago, I was talking with a German chick named Andrea about Mexico City.
She had been to Mexico City herself though she prefers the Southern Cone area of Latin America like Argentina or Chile.
Anyway, though she thinks Mexico City is a fine place, she thought it was too hectic for her.
Too difficult to get around.
Very confusing place.
I’ve heard this complaint before about Mexico City.
I remember my first days in Mexico City…
Back then, I’d agree.
Though for a few reasons…
First, I never had much experience using a metro before outside of one time in NYC and also in Buenos Aires when I spent time there.
I still wasn’t comfortable knowing how to get around on a metro yet – especially being from a small town originally.
So that has nothing to do with Mexico City and more my inexperience.
Second, I was new to the city!
And yes, it is big.
I remember when I had to check out this apartment in my first week in Mexico City almost 4 years ago…
I happened to have a date on that same day with a Mexican chick whose name I forgot.
But she showed up to the date bringing along her friend uninvited without my consent.
So I knew right there that we weren’t going to fuck.
Basically I figured this would be a waste of time…
But then I realized that actually she could be helpful to me since I needed to find where this apartment was since I was going to check it out.
I told her something like “oh there is this great café we can try some food at in Roma Norte area!”
Being a chick, she thought “oh free food?!? Of course!”
So she became my personal guide to how to arrive to Roma Norte from El Centro…
Showing me where the apartment was.
Then I had her call the landlord to tell him I arrived as I didn’t have my phone on me.
He shows up while I leave them outside to check the apartment.
And signed the contract!
It looked good and became my very first apartment in Mexico City.
Suffice to say, they didn’t wait outside long enough to check out this imaginary café that I made up.
But, in those days, I did find Mexico City to be hard to navigate.
For a week.
I think Mexico City is extremely easy to get around.
I got used to it after the first week.
As long as you aren’t too much of a fucking pussy to use the metro, it’ll be fine.
Granted, if you are using UBER, it should be easier but still…
It’s not difficult to get around.
Unless you are driving and traffic is holding you up…
But compared to other cities like Barranquilla?
Where a little bit of rain can fuck the city up and cause flash floods in most of the city that I saw years ago?
Or how there is no metro but the public bus system is fucked and it’s hard to walk around?
Granted, some cities like Pachuca are easier to get around because they are small enough to walk around anywhere you go…
But they are boring!
Anyway, for a city of this size, it’s relatively easy to get around.
So I think this criticism is a little bit overemphasized.
Reason 7: Hiking Opportunities
Are you a fan of hiking?
Mexico City will be alright for you.
I just joined some group recently of folks who hike mountains close enough to Mexico City.
You can’t say this about every major city in Latin America…
Take Buenos Aires for example in Argentina.
When I lived there, I was disappointed at the hiking opportunities nearby.
So if you like hiking, Mexico City will be alright.
It’s not as nice as Santiago perhaps..
Or some city in Peru with plenty of Andes mountains nearby.
But it works well enough.
Reason 8: Jazz Clubs & Other Venues?
Granted, Mexico City doesn’t have the best jazz scene in Latin America.
Buenos Aires is better.
And cities in Brazil have a bigger jazz scene also in general from what I’ve heard about.
But you do have a decent enough jazz scene in Mexico City to work with.
One of my favorite bars in this city is a place called Zinco Jazz Club.
Outside of jazz…
You also have other special bars like cigar lounges and other spots that work well if you are looking for something specific like that.
And since we are talking nightlife here…
It’s not hard either to find bars selling a liter of beer for 50 pesos in some parts or cheap shots also.
All around, nightlife is pretty good here.
The only thing I’d change is to have more sketchy clubs that have a certain vibe to them.
I have Mexican friends telling me they exist and trying to show me…
And it’s nothing like what I’m looking for.
So Mexico City seems to lack in that.
But otherwise the nightlife is very affordable and pretty solid here.
For those looking for cheap places or special venues that cater towards specific niches like jazz clubs and so on.
Reason 9: Very Comfortable & Relatively Americanized
I won’t go on too much about this since it is similar to the “good bang for your buck” topic.
But it’s a little bit different in what I mean here.
It’s not just that the city is very modern….
But also it’s relatively americanized compared to other cities in Latin America.
Mostly because of all of the businesses from the US that have set up shop here.
In most Latin cities, you won’t find as many American businesses running around – especially outside of Mexico.
You can easy enough in other large capital cities though.
Either way, I like this aspect of Mexico City.
I know not everyone is looking for a city like this though…
We all have different tastes.
I like it anyhow.
Reason 10: Chicks?
So we talked about nightlife briefly…
What about the women?
Well, to be fair, this is probably one of the bigger negatives of Mexico City.
Mexican women in Mexico City are not going to be the nicest women you have seen in Latin America.
A lot more fat chicks here than elsewhere with uglier faces.
Fairly similar to the US in terms of obesity in general.
Having said that, it’s not Bolivia.
It could be worse.
Plus, you have like 20 million people to work with.
Not counting the nearby cities that you can swipe in on Tinder and convince a few to stop by and visit you in Mexico City.
Cities like Pachuca or those in Estado.
Or Puebla as I’ve done a few times.
Plus, it’s an international city with women from all over.
So you got options.
No, it’s not going to be as nice as maybe a city in Brazil like Rio de Janeiro or Medellin in Colombia.
Far from it.
But because of the amount of options you got…
It works alright enough.
Reason 11: International City
And so on that topic of how many women from all over the world you got living here…
Yes, Mexico City is an international city.
It has people from all over.
Not just women to meet up with.
Good folks in general that you can be friends with.
In that sense, you can have a lot of interesting stories meeting lots of people and doing cool shit with.
But let’s say you don’t want to be around other foreigners….
Reason 12: In or Out of the Gringo Bubble
As I said, Mexico City is a very huge city with so many different neighborhoods.
Don’t like being near other foreigners?
They remind you of how much of a loser you were back home?
Or they speak English too much when you are full on obsessed about wanting to practice your Spanish?
It’s cool bro!
Just move to another neighborhood.
A lot of the foreigners here tend to stick to certain areas like Roma Norte, Condesa, Polanco, El Centro and some parts of Coyoacan.
But Mexico City in that regard satisifes both groups.
Those who want to be in the gringo bubble and out of it with all of the neighborhoods to choose from.
Just go to one without too many gringos.
Where I am at now, I haven’t seen too many gringos.
I only started seeing them when I walked like two hours away from me towards Parque Hundido.
Outside of that?
Haven’t seen too many really.
Or if you want to see them?
Stick to Roma Norte or something.
Mexico City can satisfy both groups easily enough with plenty of options.
And if you are one of those gringos without any Spanish and you need to be in the bubble….
Reason 13: Good for Non-Spanish Speakers
Now I always argue you should learn the language if you are going to live here…
But I’m not going to judge you if you don’t want to.
You do whatever you want.
And if you don’t want to learn Spanish…
Well, Mexico City is more generous than other Latin cities.
In that it’s an international city with plenty of tourism…
Plenty of other foreigners who speak English…
To enough tourism infrastructure to find easily enough locals who speak English for their jobs…
And also an abundance of upper class fresa folks with a stick up their ass to show the whole world how impressive their English is.
So don’t worry!
Reason 14: Relative Lack of Scammers
Generally speaking, Mexico City isn’t that bad when it comes to people trying to scam you.
Now, in my experience, the worst part of Mexico City when it comes to people trying to scam you is El Centro.
That place was really fucking annoying when I moved there for a few months.
Couldn’t stand it.
Had to get the fuck out.
Way too many aggressive panhandlers and scammers and they were a shit ton more aggressive than anywhere else I’ve seen in Mexico City.
Having said that…
In my experience, Mexicans generally tend to be much more honest than certain other nationalities like Colombians, Dominicans, Venezuelans, etc.
It’s just the fucking truth.
OK, OK, not all Dominicans are bad.
Nor are all Colombians or Venezuelans bad.
But it’s the truth in that there are more people looking to scam you in those countries than in Mexico City.
Granted, it depends on what part of those countries too.
I know Barranquilla more and found people there to be very dishonest.
But I’ve known Colombians from parts like Pasto or Pereira and they were the opposite.
Either way, other parts of Latin America have had more scammers in my experience like Guatemala for example also.
And in Mexico City, in my experience, I found the average person to be much more honest and easy to work with.
Even though, yes, you have bad people here also just like in any other city.
Don’t be naïve but also appreciate how much worse it could be.
You could be in Barranquilla after all….
Reason 15: Abundance of Parks
Honestly, the best city I’ve been to when it came to parks was Buenos Aires a long time ago.
But Mexico City is pretty up there in my opinion.
The abundance of parks is impressive but also how nice they are.
I found a few new parks I never seen before as you can see in this article here.
And have many more to see as I continue to run around this city.
Anyway, it’s one thing I like a lot about Mexico City.
The only way it could be better is if they kicked out all the panhandlers in the parks so people can enjoy their time outside in peace without being harassed.
But no city I’ve been to does that so it is what it is.
The parks anyway are a nice touch to this city.
Reason 16: Pretty Good if You Work Online
Relative to other areas of Latin America, Mexico City isn’t too bad when it comes to working online.
The wifi generally works well enough and I haven’t had the power cut off.
Unlike in other parts of Latin America like Barranquilla or Xela where I had the power cut out randomly.
Had weird experiences in my brief time in Managua also.
And I’ve heard bad things about this when it comes to other cities on the coast in Mexico.
So all around, at least relatively speaking, Mexico City seems favorable enough for those who work online.
Reason 17: It Gets Worse
Look, as I said, I have things I could talk all day about when it comes to the negatives of Mexico City.
Some of those issues like the amount of homeless people is worse here than in any other Latin city I’ve been to.
Having said that…
Most of the usual negatives I have with Mexico City…
Like how people show up late to things, the inefficiency of how things are done, the gringo pricing, how public transportation isn’t always the best, etc…
I’m just saying that it could be a lot worse if you were in other parts of Latin America.
Granted, some parts of Latin America do it better than Mexico City.
Like the public transportation system was nicer in Buenos Aires for example.
And less gringo pricing as well!
Though Buenos Aires does have its own problems like snobbier people, being far away, higher airline tickets, etc.
Either way, compared to a lot of the places I visited in Latin America before I came to Mexico City…
Well, Mexico City could be worse.
All around, the “usual issues” that gringos always bring up no matter where they are in Latin America…
Those same issues brought up before about transportation or inefficiency…
In my experience, it was worse in almost all of the places I had been to elsewhere.
So that’s one thing I always have appreciated about Mexico City.
I remember my first year here…
My first months…
I was amazed at how nice it was compared to everywhere else in Latin America.
It was like heaven.
Granted, the honeymoon phase is over and I see the negative for where and how it is…
Get annoyed at it at times…
But when I think to myself about it all….
Relatively speaking, I realize easily enough that it could be worse.
I could be in Guate fucking mala.
Reason 18: Street Food
Compared to other parts of Latin America, street food here is much better than anywhere else I’ve been.
As I wrote in this article here, I never had good experience with street food in other countries.
It usually tasted like shit.
Mexico City by far has a lot more abundance of street food and most of it tastes just fine.
Reason 19: Museums
OK, I don’t really care about museums.
Never really been into them.
Except when I went to cities like Paris across the pond and they had a few cool ones.
So did London.
And also Greece.
If you like museums, Mexico City will do it for you.
We have a shit ton all over this city.
More than most cities in Latin America.
So there you go.
Reason 20: Tolerable Weather
Compared to other parts of Latin America, Mexico City has tolerable weather.
Granted, it's not the best you are going to find.
Other expats will often talk about the "altiplano" weather of Guatemala maybe...
To the "eternal spring" weather of Medellin.
So I'm not going to say it's the best you will find in Latin America.
The worse thing about the weather here, in my opinion, is the heavy rain during the summer months.
Let's say you get on the metro when it isn't raining...
Then you get off the metro many stations later...
And you got to get home so you can get to work...
But as you approach the exit of the metro, you see it is raining very heavily.
You wait it out.
And keeping waiting...
And it never fucking quits raining.
Until the point you decide "fuck it, I'll tough it out I guess."
Outside of the rain anyway...
It really isn't that bad here.
Some days it can be a little bit hot outside...
But it's never too hot in my opinion.
It's not hot like Iowa summers that I remember.
Growing up, Iowa would be a bit more hot and humid from how I remember it.
Plus, you don't have the insane winters with all the snow that Iowa or Ohio get.
So, from my experience, Mexico City weather is all around tolerable to my tastes.
I like it.
Could be better?
But it's not terrible by any means.
Anyway, let’s wrap this up.
There were other things I could’ve mentioned but I’ll keep it at the number of reasons I got listed here because this article is long enough.
Maybe I’ll edit it later with more points.
Either way, here’s some things to keep in mind…
First, Mexico City isn’t perfect.
I tried to keep this article as positive as I could for the city.
But it’s not perfect.
It has problems like anywhere else.
And if you read my other articles, you’ll very clearly get a sense of what annoys me about life in Mexico.
But I wanted to dedicate an article as to why, from my opinion, Mexico City is one of the best deals you can get for life in Latin America if you prefer life in a large metropolitan city.
And I emphasize the words “from my opinion” in that sense.
Which is the second point to keep in mind…
As I wrote in this article here, all of our experiences are relative.
As I said a bit back, I had experience for 2 years traveling around other parts of Latin America.
My very first trip to Latin America was some little village area in Chiapas.
And it carried on from there.
So I compare my experiences in Mexico City to my previous experiences.
And that forms my opinion about why Mexico City is one of the best deals for those who want a life in a large metropolitan city in Latin America.
So just keep that in mind.
Not everyone would agree with my take for various reasons…
Perhaps they never experienced other areas of Latin America or only some specific areas…
Perhaps what they want in life is different from me and Mexico City doesn’t satisfy that.
So on and so on…
Either way, just keep that in mind.
These are all just my opinions and nothing more.
One last reason for why I like Mexico City more than others is probably because of all the time I have spent here also.
All of the friends I've made.
Nostalgia I have for the city after the time spent here so far.
Either way, that’s all I got to say.
Got any opinions yourself of Mexico City or other areas of Latin America?
Drop them in the comment section below.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.