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Initial Impressions of Tlahuac & Iztapalapa in Mexico City

Published August 3, 2022 in Mexico - 0 Comments

Starting July 14th, 2022, I moved to Tlahuac of Mexico City.

I'll probably be here for just one month until August 15th but I could potentially see myself last here until at latest September 15th.

Though two months is pushing it.

I've done my homework as to what to see in this area and don't think I'll need more than one month.

Anyway, I moved here mostly because "why not."

Traveling around Mexico City and moving to new areas just to see what they are like before I leave Mexico City temporarily to begin traveling again through Latin America.

Now I'm covering the eastern side of the city.

To be honest, I do miss a little bit the last neighborhood I lived in: Pedregal de Santo Domingo.

That place is genuinely one of my favorite neighborhoods of Mexico City.

And Coyoacan in general where Santo Domingo is happens to be one of my favorite areas of CDMX also.

Really any part of Coyoacan I vibe well with.

But I don't want to get too comfortable and sometimes feel the need to "rock the boat."

On top of that, I truly do need to get off my ass and check out other areas.

Of course, I could just visit them but I feel you get a different experience by living somewhere instead of just visiting.

Get more of a feel for what the place is really like.

So I moved to Tlahuac.

Final Day in Pedregal de Santo Domingo

On the day I was moving out, I still was not exactly sure where to move to: Tlahuac or Iztapalapa?

But, as I wrote recently, I chose Tlahuac for a few reasons.

Mostly just to "knock this area out of places seen" and move onto areas I am more excited about living in like Iztapalapa.

Among a few other reasons.

Anyway, after I finally made up my mind, I went to get a quick bite to eat.

While sitting down eating, I made small talk with the woman making my food and it somehow got onto the topic of political parties buying votes in Mexico.

I forgot how we got there but I was curious as I heard this happens but never had a local explain it to me.

From what I understood, apparently political parties will offer people things like food or whatever for their vote. They'll try to get you to get your family members or friends to vote for benefits also. So on and so on.

Anyway, after I got the food, I carried on back home.

Then I began moving all of my stuff outside.

Normally, I always don't pay the last month's rent on a place and just tell the landlord that "sorry, my debit card stopped working. Someone stole my money. I need a month to get a new debit card to pay you."

They always go along with it.

Once the month is over, I have my deposit back and ditch.

And I was the last person in that building because all the other people living there had moved out and the landlord basically won't have anyone interested until August when UNAM students start moving into the area.

Anyway, my UBER arrived.

And I had so much stuff that there was literally no space left in the vehicle for anything else.

Not even a pencil.

I've always gotten lucky with getting UBER drivers to just go along with it.

But I am at the point where, if I buy one more thing, I'll basically just need a small moving van.

Anyway, UBER driver was friendly. He was very flabbergasted though as to why I chose to move to the area we are going to.

He apparently lives nearby the area I chose and was telling me "that's a very fucked up neighborhood. Very dangerous" in Spanish.

And he wasn't talking about Tlahuac but the very specific neighborhood I chose in near Tlahuac.

Apparently, it is dangerous!

Once we arrived though at around 9 PM, I didn't feel it was overly dangerous.

Did see a few sketchy looking characters walk by but nothing out of the ordinary.

No screams of innocent women being chainsawed in half in nearby buildings.

Nothing at all!

Except the landlord was taking her sweet time to get to us.

In typical fashion in Mexico, she was late!

Leaving us stranded outside in supposedly some fucked up neighborhood with all my shit at 9 PM.

I knocked on the door. Nobody answered.

I had the Uber driver call her. She answered on the second attempt and said she was almost here.

I gave the Uber driver a 100 peso tip (for a ride that costed about 160 pesos) because of how helpful he was: carrying all of my shit from Santo Domingo to here, calling her up twice, waiting an easy 10 minutes or more for her to show up, carrying some of my shit inside, etc.

Very nice dude.

Just confused as to why a gringo is moving over here.

Anyway, I was pretty happy with the place when I moved in.

Having not seen it in person before and given it was only 1800 pesos or 90 bucks in rent with no deposit needed, I did not have high expectations.

But it has hot water (first hot shower I've had in 7 months), decent neighbors, clean place with no bugs whatsoever (that's a first in a long time for me in Mexico City) and a few other benefits.

Wifi is shit but nothing is perfect huh?

Especially for 90 bucks and no deposit needed.

Seriously -- who the hell only charges 90 bucks for rent for an entire month in Mexico City?

This area in general known as Tlahuac seems to be very fucking cheap all around.

I even saw one place for rent at 70 bucks or 1400 pesos a month.

I didn't check it out in person but the room appeared to be closet sized and not enough space for everything I have.

....Had to splurge a little with an extra 20 bucks.

Anyway, what is Tlahuac like after my first week here?

Impressions of the New Area of CDMX

Like I said, it's actually better to say I'm in both Tlahuac and Iztapalapa.

I'm literally right on the border between the two areas of CDMX.

Not actually sure which side my apartment technically falls on but you get the idea.

Well, there's a few initial impressions.

First, the specific neighborhood I am in was a tiny bit confusing at first to navigate.

It's like a literal block of grey, destitute looking buildings where every building looks exactly the same.

It can be easy to get lost trying to figure out which direction to go to get where.

On top of that, given there is no functional metro near me, I was worried I would get lost easier down here than anywhere else.

But I got the hang of the specific area I am in now and how to get back to my apartment if I ever get lost.

Just show up to Metro Tezonco, try to find the mural of the flower lady, head south until you find an OXXO, turn right and keep going until you find the street with a yellow door on the building by the corner.

Write that down! Write that down!

Though, to be fair, this area (and the rest of Tlahuac and Iztapalapa) do seem to have one advantage: they have these little "moto taxis" that I haven't seen in the rest of CDMX.

Here's a picture of one driving me around. 

They are very cheap and know their way around so, if you ever get lost without a metro, I guess they can come in handy.

...Not sure until what hour they operate though.

Second, is it dangerous as they say?

Actually, this area does feel a little more dangerous than any other neighborhood I have lived in Mexico City.

In my first week here, I've heard numerous gunshots on several different occasions on every single night (and sometimes the afternoon) for the first four days.

After that, I didn't hear any gunshots until some odd days later and I can't remember the exact day I heard a gunshot as I edit this article now almost 3 weeks living here (though I did hear one late last week).

Seems to be I got a few neighbors who were gun happy. 

Especially around 11 PM to 4 AM.

But everything seems a bit calmer for now.

Personally, I don't mind it too much as the afternoons do seem chill for the most part.

And I'm on the second floor so I think my chances of catching a stray are lower.

Third, when it comes to the outside, the area is very ugly. I probably should've done a better job trying to find an apartment on Avenida Tlahuac instead of some street 10 minutes away from it.

In my experience, areas with a worse reputation are a little nicer when you live on a main avenue for obvious reasons.

The "third world stray dogs" are less aggressive (the street I am on has a few I've seen attack others walking by), there's more commercial activity, feels safer, more foot traffic, feels more alive, etc.

And that's really the main reason: feels more alive.

I can tolerate a more dangerous area -- like Santo Domingo -- if I'm on a street that feels alive with a lot of foot traffic, activity, etc.

Less fun being on a street with nothing happening outside except the noise of gunshots.

Still, I am close to two main avenues.

One of them is Avenue Tlahuac that is about a 10 minute walk away.

Even on the parts of Avenue Tlahuac that I have seen so far, it's not really as exciting as some other avenues I have seen.

Like Calle Ahuanusco or Escuinapa in Santo Domingo was more fun, exciting and had a more "alive" feeling to it. Soul to the area.

Avenue Tlahuac, from what I have seen so far, doesn't really have that energy to it.

In contrast, what I saw in certain other parts of Iztapalapa did.

Outside of that, you have some other mini avenue I have found that is about 5 minutes from me.

It has a market (tianguis) that runs down it.

Looks relatively run down though.

Compared to any other part of CDMX I have seen maybe outside of La Merced, it by far has the most amount of trash that I have seen on the streets.

Smells like piss.

Absolute shit looking and no vibe to speak of.

Another issue with the area too is that there isn't a lot of street food or restaurants in general.

You'd think that would be obvious given the area is poorer but poorer areas can sometimes have a lot of food options.

I noticed plenty of food options in the pockets of Iztapalapa I saw and especially back in Santo Domingo where there's so many street food options and restaurants.

In fact, I felt no need to cook for 7 months because you just had so many places to eat in Santo Domingo.

Here where I am right now on the border of Tlahuac, the amount of food options outside is very limited compared to what I normally enjoy.

On top of that, Uber Eats won't deliver to my area for some reason.

Haven't been able to use it for my entire time here.

So now I'm back to cooking again.

Finally, in terms of things to see, it's really what you see on Google Maps.

Beyond nearby Xochimlico, you got other lakes, parks and hiking spots in the area that I'm interested in checking out.

There's also supposedly some neighborhood called Mixquic that has some cultural importance.

Will check it out.

One thing that does intrigue me also about this area is that supposedly it has some more rural spots on the southeastern edge and wherever else.

Always interesting to think of any rural spots being in Mexico City given how urban the place is.

Might check out some of those rural spots but they do look pretty run down from what I've seen online.

We'll see.

Anyway, above all, I don't think I'll need more than a month to get what I want from Tlahuac.

Two months at most but I'm not sure I want to live for more than a month without access to the metro and with the shitty wifi this place has.

But I am glad I finally landed in the area to just check it out briefly.

We'll see how long I am here exactly but you get the idea.

More articles coming up on the area in the coming week or so as I visit places of interest in Tlahuac, Iztapalapa and also a few articles on some spots in Tlalpan and Milpa Alta that I already visited but haven't posted photos of yet. 

At any rate, enjoy some pictures I took of my surrounding area below here.

I paid one of those moto taxis I mentioned before and paid the dude literally just 100 pesos or 5 bucks for him to drive me around for an hour and a half taking pictures of whatever.

Random streets and all.

Including some pictures of where the metro collapse occurred, progress being made on repairing it and something dedicated to the victims of the incident. 


Thanks for reading.

And follow my Twitter here.

Best regards,


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