All you need to know about Iberian America

The Colonias & Pueblos of Mexico City

Published October 1, 2022 in Mexico - 0 Comments

Before coming to Mexico City, I was used to calling everything "barrio."

Meaning neighborhood.

Now, to be fair, you do have people who use the word "barrio" in Mexico City.

However, in my experience, it seems like a lot more people prefer the word "colonia."

Regardless of the word in question, we're just talking about large, urban neighborhoods.

And, for the longest time, I always saw all of Mexico City as just one, never ending urban jungle of colonias or barrios.

Be it the barrios populares or the colonias.

Just endless amount of buildings that you see when you fly into the city.

Like what you see here.

However, that's not the reality for all of Mexico City.

In fact, there's quite a few areas that -- even if they use the word "colonia" to describe their area -- have more of a small town feel to them.

You'll more often see that though in the south of the city.

Anywhere in the south.

You don't feel that as much in the north of the city.

Nor the west nor the east.

And definitely not the center.

But somewhere along the south.

And not all of the south.

If you go to Santa Fe, that isn't really a "pueblo."

Or, at the very least, I've never heard anyone call Santa Fe a "pueblo."

To be more precise, I'm talking specifically areas you can find in Tlalpan, Xochimilco and Tlahuac.

There are some areas in the rest of the city -- south or not -- that also have a community feel to them despite having more of a urban feel to them.

An urban community.

Like Pedregal de Santo Domingo in Coyoacan as you can see photos I took of here.

In the exact area of Iztapalapa where I live now, it has some feeling of community also but not as strong as what I saw in Santo Domingo.

Granted, Santo Domingo is in Coyoacan and I believe Coyoacan at large is one of the better areas to be in if you want more of a "urban community" feel to where you live.

A lot of gringos will come to Mexico City and say that Coyoacan at large has that feeling to it which they like (though rarely do they talk about colonias like Santo Domingo for obvious reasons as it is more dangerous and less touristy).

Regardless, I don't remember too many people using the term "pueblo" to describe areas in Coyoacan.

Maybe in some area in Coapa.

Though I've never heard that (but I'm not from here).

Truthfully, if you want more of that "small town" vibe that you like Coyoacan for, I'd recommend you go even farther south.

Granted, if you wish to be near the metro for public travel to the rest of the city, then Coyoacan is better than Xochimilco, Tlalpan and Milpa Alta for obvious reasons if you looked at a map.

Having said that, there are "pueblos" in Xochimilco, Tlalpan and Milpa Alta that simply feel more like real pueblos and almost detached from the rest of the city.

They just feel different.

Almost as if they were not part of the urban jungle of Mexico City even though they technically are.

In my opinion, if you don't mind being away from the metro, these areas are where you truly will get more of that pueblo vibe that gringos talk about when living in Coyoacan.

That's a certain irony anyhow.

So many gringos go to Coyoacan because they heard on the internet from other blogs or on Facebook that Coyoacan is the place to be for those "more community feel" vibes when there are much better areas for that while still being in Mexico City.

As I said, they are in Xochimilco, Tlalpan and Milpa Alta.

Be it the pueblos originarios of Tlalpan.

A classic example being San Miguel Topilejo.

Perhaps San Pedro Atocpan or San Pablo Oztotepec of Milpa Alta.

If you want Xochimilco, then try Santiago Tepalcatlalpan.

Maybe you want that vibe in Tlahuac, then you should go to Mixquic.

And that is where you will start to get more of a true "small town" or "pueblo" vibe to your area.

Especially if you are in Milpa Alta.

And I say especially because that is the most rural part of Mexico City.

There's no contest.

You want that rural "pueblo" vibe and no longer the urban "colonia" vibe, you go to Milpa Alta.

Get away from Coyoacan for a few months and just try it out.

For photos and some info on Xochimilco, Tlalpan and Milpa Alta, check out this article I wrote here.

For more photos of some of the spots in Xochimilco with photos, check out this article here.

For some far away spots in Tlahuac, check out this article here.

Above all, it's another world once you get to the very far southern edges of Mexico City and more of those in the far southwestern edges.

They will have a different vibe from what you are seeing in a good deal of the city.

Be it your upper class Polanco.

Or your northern Mexico City like by Gustavo A. Madero.

Agricola Oriental in the west also.

Just feels less urban and, quite frankly, more pleasant.

Outside of the extra friendliness of the people, I also just love how it feels "a little more" countryside when driving around in some parts.

More green scenery.

Maybe not as much as what you'd see in Iowa.

Definitely not.

But, being raised in Iowa, I do miss that sometimes and having some extra green scenery and more of a rural vibe is something I miss and enjoyed about specific routes driving through Milpa Alta for example.

Above all, you are no longer in the "colonias" and now in the "pueblos."

It has its own benefits and, to be fair, its own negatives.

Like being far away from literally everything else in Mexico City.

But nothing is perfect.

You go where the place fits best what you want in life.

Anyway, if you got anything to say, drop a comment below.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


No comments yet

Leave a Reply: