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Where Having a Car in Mexico City is Ideal: Milpa Alta

Published December 30, 2022 in Mexico - 0 Comments

When speaking about driving in Latin America, a lot of expats agree that not needing a car in life again is again when living south of the border. 

A lot of them seem to have some hostile relationship to cars as I wrote here.

Mostly because they don't like all the expenses with it and also because they have those old stress from commuting so much back home.

I generally kinda disagree with them in that I miss having a truck.

Being able to just drive down nice speeds with good music playing on the radio.

Would be nice to have a vehicle again.

But, on the flip side, I never had to commute to work really because I left the US at a young age and only had a few years of driving and owning a vehicle under my belt.

So I can't really relate to all this stress people talk about with commuting long hours to work or whatever else.

When it comes to living in Mexico City anyhow, I generally agree with other expats and local Mexicans that having a car in this specific city is kinda shit.

If we were talking about other parts of Latin America, it'd be something to consider when it comes to getting a car.

While Uber and taxis will always be cheap for us and probably cheaper than a car generally, I could imagine some scenarios where we'd want to get a car.

Specifically if we were living in one of the few Latin American cities that are not car friendly and if we had kids that we had to pick up from school every so often.

Under those circumstances, I'd definitely not be considering taking my kids to and from school in a taxi, uber, metro or public bus.

No, by that point I'm looking at getting my own vehicle.

Well, and obviously living close to the school so it's not that much of a pain in the ass to handle.

Outside of that, one could wonder then: why ever get a car?

But there are some other areas where maybe a car would be worth getting.

Putting aside my love for being in a vehicle and going fast, there's one other practical and obvious reason.

And that is if you are living in an area that isn't very friendly when it comes to public transportation.

It might seem crazy to think that such an area could exist in Mexico City.

While most people complain about public transportation here -- be it the metro or robberies on the combi or whatever else -- it is generally not the worst in the world.

I've seen worse in places like Bogota of Colombia.

And, with traffic being so bad, why the fuck would you want a car anywhere in Mexico City?

Every Mexican agrees that driving within the city is shit.

From terrible drivers to aggressive hustlers wanting money to park.

But not all of Mexico City is the same.

And, like I said, there's a specific part of Mexico City where getting a car might be useful: the southern "original towns" of areas like Milpa Alta and Tlalpan.

The Case for a Car in the Far South of Mexico City

I'm sitting in my apartment in the town of Santa Ana.

I want to go to the other town of Milpa Alta known as San Salvador to see some barbacoa event.

With no buses that will take me out of Santa Ana, I need a taxi to at least take me to San Salvador.

Having trouble just getting an Uber, I go outside to find a taxi and the few taxi driver won't take me.

"Too far" he says despite San Salvador being in Milpa Alta also.

Same experience on other occasions when I tried going to San Pablo.

Taxi drivers here in Milpa Alta seem to only like driving from one end of the town to the other end of the same town.

Maybe drive to the next town over.

But a majority seem to scoff at the idea of working any harder than that.

Perhaps later on you find yourself in the town of San Antonio Tecomitl late at night.

And you want to return home to Santa Ana.

But the first taxi driver sees your gringo ass and wants to charge you 500 pesos.

Most other taxi drivers also conveniently forget that they have a meter they are to use when driving passengers around because it's night time and, for whatever reason, night time in Milpa Alta means the meter doesn't exist.

Perhaps, on other days, you just want to drive around and see the nopal fields.

Perhaps check out a volcano like Teuhtli but no public transportation would take you when you finish your hike back into town.

So either pay more to have a taxi wait for you or, if ideally you could, get your own car and park it by the volcano.

For rural countryside viewing, having your own car would be nice.

For not getting scammed at night by taxi drivers who forgot there is meter, that would be nice.

To be able to drive to a few towns over and not have to go through several taxis to get there would be nice.

To, if you ever want to leave Milpa Alta, not having to spend four fucking hours as I wrote here to get a ride out would be nice.

In fact, over my month living there, there were A LOT of things that would've been nicer if I had my own truck.

In comparison to most other areas of Mexico City where having a vehicle would be more annoying at worst and completely unnecessary at best.

And, in my experience, some of the original towns of Tlalpan are very similar.

The main areas of Mexico City then where having a car is actually not the worst idea when compared to the rest of the capital.  

Anything to Add?

Anyway, that's all I got for now.

Just a quick opinion I've had over the last month when spending time in Milpa Alta.

From my time there, I generally found that having a car would be really nice.

Not only because I could drive myself without needing a taxi or Uber to drive me around and get that thrill from driving again (though it's also relaxing to let a driver handle that and deal with idiot drivers)....

But also because Milpa Alta is one area of Mexico City -- with such shit public transportation -- that having a car really would've been nicer when living there.

Anyway, that's all I got to say.

Enjoy this photo I took of Milpa Alta here.

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

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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