A gringo arrives to Mexico City after reading up on how "magical" it is and how great it is for digital nomads.
Mexico City residents cheer in happiness.
And said gringo starts a Youtube channel to document and monetize his travels.
But how does he stand out among the rest?
With "gringo digital nomad Youtubers" being a dime a dozen, he isn't exactly very unique here.
He posts his videos onto Facebook expat groups for Mexico City but every time he gets down syndrome retards shitting on him and nitpicking the living fuck out of his videos to feel better about themselves.
But, to be fair to the down syndrome retards, his Youtube content is fairly bland and typical.
With generic video titles such as:
"You won't believe how CHEAP these tacos are"
"Visiting the Frida Museum"
"Getting a handjob from Claudia Sheinbaum IS THIS FOR REAL?!?"
"Eating at Pujol Review"
"Trying the BEST mezcal in Condesa"
So of course he's not getting more views and followers!
His video topics have already been run through by dozens of other Gringo Digital Nomad Youtubers.
Sitting down at the nearby Starbucks, our unsuccessful gringo contemplates new video ideas.
And then it hits him.
He must go to THE most dangerous neighborhood of Mexico City and document his experience going there and not being killed.
The Love for Tepito
You have no shortage of videos on Youtube of gringos or other Latin American Youtubers even going to places like Tepito to document it for the views.
Here's some examples.
The same thing happens in other countries of Latin America where a Youtuber will go to a favela of Rio de Janeiro or any other dangerous place to document it.
I'm sure I've written about it before.
Personally, I like the content.
Those who read my blog know that I genuinely like going to dangerous areas of urban environments like Mexico City.
Though, in my personal situation, I'm not looking for attention so much since blogging in a dead dinosaur from the mid to late 2000s and Youtube videos would be a better way to get views (and actually monetize content).
For me, I'm simply more motivated to just visit every corner of a city that I've called him for almost 6 years now and also I do genuinely enjoy visiting certain shithole neighborhoods.
Not all of them.
And I imagine that, for some of the other content creators that visit such areas, it's not just about the views but also a similar thrill that they equally get from visiting areas like Tepito.
Someone like Bald n Bankrupt definitely comes across like that.
The broader point here though is that, when these content creators do come to Mexico City to document their time here, they always go to Tepito for the danger and views.
Sometimes they might go to Iztapalapa.
But Tepito seems to be their favorite.
Over the last few years though of really running around the entire city, I've have been finding it increasingly weird the fact that Tepito is the neighborhood that gets shit on the most for being the worst one of Mexico City.
We could look at the crime statistics to figure out if it is the most dangerous and I know the exact numbers change every year.
For one, we have this 2016 article that claims that, at least back then, there were 5 neighborhoods more dangerous than Tepito that you can see here: El Hoyo, El Barrio Norte, San Felipe de Jesus, Chimalhuacan and Desarrollo Urbano Quetzalcoatl.
Then we have this more recent source from 2022 here on the most dangerous zone of CDMX:
"La Agrícola Oriental, en Iztacalco, es la colonia con mayor incidencia delictiva en la Ciudad de México hasta el mes de agosto del 2022, de acuerdo con un diagnóstico de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (Sedena)."
"La Guerrero, en la alcaldía Cuauhtémoc, ocupa el segundo lugar del ranking elaborado por la Sedena."
After the first two spots, we finally get Morelos on the list as being #3.
Which, for those who don't know, Colonia Morelos is right next to Tepito as you can see here.
After that, you have the following areas listed: Desarrollo Urbano Quetzalcóatl of Iztapalapa, San Felipe de Jesus in GAM, Ramos Millan in Iztacalco and Colonia Centro.
So, even when it comes to being the most dangerous, Tepito isn't the most dangerous of the city.
But is it what worst neighborhood when all other factors for quality of living are taken into consideration?
From my experience having been all over the city, I'd say definitely not.
And it's from that experience that, as I said before, makes it increasingly weird to me how every year Tepito is the black sheep of a child that gets shown to the world by Youtubers and planted in the minds of expats in Mexico City as being this "place nobody comes out alive."
Tepito: Worst Colonia of Mexico City?
First, let's compare Tepito to Agricola Oriental.
I've been to both areas and Agricola Oriental is actually a 10 minute walk from where I currently live (maybe 5 minutes if I walk super fast).
I've had plenty of moments apartment hunting in the area and sometimes just walking the streets for other reasons that brought me there.
In my experience, even Agricola Oriental is not that bad.
There are some parts of that area that look kinda third world and some parts that are relatively nice for the area.
If you are living somewhere on or close to Avenida Sur 12, it's a bit better in my opinion with more activity outside and shit going on.
It does have a metro also so access to the rest of the city isn't terrible and it has a few supermarkets nearby also.
Compared to Tepito though, I'd personally live in Tepito over Agricola Oriental.
Mostly because it's more in the center of the city and closer to nicer areas to visit.
Plus you have a shit tone more activity on the street outside Metro Tepito and, if I'm going to live in a shithole neighborhood, I much prefer an area that feels alive outside with tons of people.
Tepito is better for that in some parts than Agricola Oriental.
Plus, you can more easily find a bunch of cheap shit in or in neighboring areas (though it might be stolen).
You also have a lot more bars in certain parts of Tepito (like outside the metro) that play old school reggaeton like Tego Calderon.
All around, I just enjoy my time in Tepito way more than Agricola Oriental because of the energy outside and being more in the center of the city would be nicer for longer time living.
Having said that, what about comparing other areas of CDMX to Tepito?
I've been to Desarollo Urbano Quetzalcoatl briefly but I can't comment on it because it was just a very brief ride through taking murals of everything.
I don't have any impressions of that area.
And some of the other areas described in that list before are spots I couldn't comment on either.
But there are some shithole areas of CDMX that I've been to that I personally think are worse than Tepito from a standard of living point of view.
For one, you have Agricola Pantitlan that is north of Agricola Oriental. I think Agricola Pantitlan is even worse than Agricola Oriental because it's more dead with literally nothing going on.
It's one of those "grey block zones."
Then you have certain parts of Iztapalapa like Jose Lopez Portillo, San Antonio and Valle de San Lorenzo.
All right next to each other and you can see them here.
Also a dead area.
Iztapalapa also has a few other neighborhoods that are like that where nothing is going on and the general neighborhood is just soul sucking with no life outside.
There's one area just slightly north of Metro UAM in an area called "Leyas de Reforma 1RA SECC" in parts like Calle 8 or Calle 10 that are just shit like that.
Though, to be fair to Iztapalapa, you also have areas that are shitholes but I find to be more fun and active outside with a certain energy to them.
Like San Miguel Teotongo or Pueblo Culhuacan.
And other neighborhoods that aren't super active outside but they aren't dead and are decent enough to live in as far as shitholes go like El Manto, Lomas Estrella or San Juan Xalpa.
Then you have Cuautepec in GAM.
Cuautepec, as a whole, would be worse to live in than Tepito if you want to be living long term somewhere closer to the center of the city.
For obvious reasons if you just look at a map.
But not all of Cuautepec is terrible despite the reputation it gets.
Barrio Bajo is OK and the nicer area from what I saw.
The general area surronding Cablebus Cuautepec is an area I actually quite liked and have my eyes on spending a month or two in (maybe more if I happen to enjoy it even more and if the wifi turns out to be OK).
Then you have select areas like La Brecha or the area around Plaza San Miguel in Lomas de Cuautepec that are not the nicest of Cuautepec but something I have my eyes on also for "shithole living."
Outside of all of that though, a good deal rest of Cuautepec can be on the shittier side and objectively worse for quality of living than Tepito.
Like if you set yourself up in Forestal, Malacates, etc.
The issues with these areas farther north than Cablebus Cuautepec in Barrio Alto is that:
A lot of them are just dead outside with no activity to speak of.
No nearby supermarkets obviously.
Public transportation is arguably some of the worst that you'll find compared to most of Mexico City.
It really starts to get a lot sketchier by that point and I think sketchier than even what Tepito offers.
Here's a video to show what some of it looks like.
There's a reason why they call it "the favelas" of Mexico City.
At any rate, for all of you Youtubers wanting to document a dangerous area, try going up there instead of Tepito.
I could see it now with some blonde chick speaking in loud English walking the streets up there.
"Hey guys, Sarah here, just in Cauutepec. I saw two gang members shoot each other today. The mom of one of them came out crying over her son's dead body. Really interesting. Anyway, I found this place here that offers tamales. Cuan -- cuanto cuesta? 500 pesos? OK. Wow guys, super cheap! This area isn't as bad as they say!"
In the end, while I'm not hating on those who visit areas like Tepito or any dangerous area as there's a part of me that is attracted to such areas also, the main point again is just the oddity of Tepito being the poster child for "all things dangerous" with Mexico City or as it's worst neighborhood in the eyes of many.
I guarantee you I could somehow trick a friend -- say a Mexican gal I know named Angie or a guy I know named Blayde -- into visiting me in Cuautepec because they probably don't know Cuautepec or heard about it but no way could I get them to visit me in Tepito most likely.
Though I did get Angie into Iztapalapa as you can read here.
Anyway, my best guess as to why Tepito gets the reputation but other areas don't is probably due to a mix of reasons:
1. Tepito is right next door to Centro Historico and so maybe the closer proximity to areas where gringos go helps out a little bit.
2. It's not as isolated and "up in the mountains" like Cuautepec or San Miguel Teotongo of Iztapalapa are. I imagine the geographical isolation helps keep certain areas "out of sight, out of mind" and so they don't get burned into the minds of many as being "the worst of CDMX" except for those familiar with the city (which a lot of Mexicans aren't either).
3. Tepito has a long history too of being known as a place with thieves and whatever else going back centuries. You can read about it here. In contrast, other shithole neighborhoods like San Miguel Teotongo or Pedregal de Santo Domingo are "young neighborhoods" that had some history going back centuries but not the same type of history that Tepito has.
4. I imagine that there's a feedback loop into all of this where people who already know about Tepito and talk about Tepito just feed into the narrative that it's the worst and help spread the idea to new people getting familiar with the city that it must be the worst.
Anyway, that's all I got for now.
Tepito definitely isn't the worst "shithole" neighborhood of Mexico City and, compared to other "shithole" neighborhoods, I would absolutely live in Tepito for a year versus other shithole neighborhoods already mentioned (even though, for some of them, I wouldn't mind living in them either as I said before).
If you got anything to add though, drop a comment below.
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Thanks for reading.