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The Iztapalapa-Milpa Alta Contrast of Mexico City

Published December 29, 2022 in Mexico - 0 Comments

There's something crazy about going from Iztapalapa to Milpa Alta of Mexico City.

The Contrast is amazing.

When you first fly into Mexico City, you might go spend a nice month or two in Condesa or Roma Norte.

Just a small corner of Mexico City.

But, before you land in the airport, you see this.

And that initial view gives you just a taste of the great diversity of the city.

The diversity in culture, scenery and so much more from borough to borough.

It's when you leave Roma Norte and Condesa where you get a greater appreciation on the ground what you saw from the air.

And one such way to get that appreciation is to spend time in a place like Iztapalapa and then go straight to Milpa Alta.

Truly feels like you are no longer even in the same city.

But, with an understanding of both areas, you can also simultaneously understand how they interconnect despite being so different from each other.

The Ride from Iztapalapa to Milpa Alta

I was living in Colonia El Manto of Iztapalapa for 3 months and seen Iztapalapa for about 4 months total.

By the time I was finished with Iztapalapa, I had an Uber ride over to Milpa Alta.

In those months before moving, I saw many views like this from the rooftop of the building.

Nice morning views of that with some vodka in hand, birds flying in the distance over ghetto looking buildings but with nice people living inside and some mountains in the distance.

Very urban despite the mountains anyhow.

Very high population density.

And then a move soon after to a place called Milpa Alta.

In the south of Mexico City.

Known for, in part, producing so much agriculture for Mexico City.

Including Iztapalapa.

Those nopales you see in Central de Abasto?

From Milpa Alta.

And, when you are in Milpa Alta, who gets blamed in part for the rising crime in the area?

Those from Iztapalapa and Tlahuac.

To go from an area with supermarkets to an area where they reject supermarkets.

An area with a poor urban environment to one that is rural.

And all the typical characteristics that you'd find in each type of environment anywhere in the world and not just Mexico City.

During the ride over from Iztapalapa to Milpa Alta, this was the view I got from the Uber ride.

And it was something -- as cheesy as it sounds -- "magical."

*and every envious Mexican making only 7000 MXN a month died inside from the sight of a gringo enjoying more of his country than they can and calling it magical*

The Point

Of course, you don't have to spend 3 to 4 months in Iztapalapa and then move to Milpa Alta to get the same effect.

When I did though, there really was something "magical" or just crazy about it.

To go from such a ghetto environment to such a rural environment.

Even if you were not spending time in a place like Iztapalapa and instead some place like Condesa, you'd still see the noticeable difference.

I've known of gringos who say shit like "Mexico City has no good hiking opportunities" but their gringo ass only knows Condesa and NOTHING of what the south of the city has to offer.

Not just Milpa Alta but Magdalena Contreras or Tlalpan or anything south that has good hiking.

That is VERY different from Condesa.

And you can find this Contrast in so many other ways.

Moving from Chimalistac to Cuautepec for example.

Lomas de Sotelo to the center of Coyoacan.

Colonia la Federal to the general neighborhood around Lago de los Reyes Aztecas.

San Gregorio of Xochimilco to Tepito.

Roma Norte to the Historic Center. 

San Miguel Teotongo to the neighborhood outside the Basilicia in the north.

And, to be honest, the Contrast really is bigger than most Latin American cities I've been to.

Granted, to be fair, I've never been all over the place in other cities as much as I have in Mexico City.

But I have at times gone out of the "gringo zone" in other cities also.

And Mexico City obviously is bigger than most Latin American cities so one can easily imagine that the Contrast is bigger here than most cities anyhow due to that alone.

It really is one of the greater benefits that comes with Mexico City that most people -- even most Mexicans -- don't truly appreciate.

Be it the gringos who are too limp dick to leave Condesa or Roma Norte.

Or the Mexicans who don't appreciate it because 1) some don't live in Mexico City, 2) don't have as much money as we gringos to go out of the way to appreciate as much, 3) stick to their own areas of CDMX without ever leaving them like GAM and 4) perhaps don't find it as interesting because a foreigner who is new to it all naturally finds certain things more interesting than a person born with it.

But it truly is one of the underappreciated values of Mexico City.

That Contrast of area to area.

All within one city.

Especially if you can find something to appreciate even in an area like Iztapalapa.

Which, in all seriousness, I truly can.

I like Iztapalapa.

I wouldn't mind living there again if it wasn't for the fact that there are more corners of Mexico City I want to spend a month in.

And, after some months there, I have an even better idea of which specific parts of Iztapalapa that I would live in.

Or Milpa Alta.

Same thing!

I could see myself living for a year in very specific pockets of both boroughs.

But, like I said, you don't have to go to either of those areas to appreciate the Contrast.

There's so much to this city that you could easily see what I'm talking about by Contrasting other areas to each other.

Just leave Condesa.

If you got anything to add anyhow, drop a comment below.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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