Monday, September 26, 2016


The Museo Nacional de Arquitectura is an often overlooked treasure inside the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

Googling Museum of Architecture Mexico City produces no information.
There is no sign in the lobby or on the elevator you must take up to the third floor exhibition space.
But even those without an interest in architecture will be impressed by the views of the lobby offered from this hidden upper perch. 

The current show follows the career of Mexican architect Javier Senosiain, whose organic architecture harks back to the 1960's with its alluring forms, joining the aesthetics of the Flinstones with that of the Jetsons. The show has original drawings, scale models, plans and photos of various projects, mostly in and around Mexico City.

By chance the architect himself was present that day, being interviewd about the tomb he had created for the great Mexican composer José Alfredo Jiménez (his father-in-law as it turns out).

The museum is open every day except Monday from 10am to 5:30pm. Entry costs 45 pesos.
For Google map location, click HERE.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Favorite Saying

It's was a grey, chilly Sunday in Mexico City, perfect for lolling around the house in pajamas with a good book. As we dropped our friend Vivian off after lunch, she shared with us one of her favorite Mexican dichos (sayings):

"Que bonito es hacer nada...y luego descansar."

("How beautiful it is to do nothing...and then to rest.")

Viva Mexico!

Do you have a favorite Mexican dicho (saying)?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Gotterdammerung, Mexican style

Is this sudden surge of public self-immolation caused by a virus like Zika, or just a fad fed by the flames of social media? Anthony Weiner leads the pack with three separate attempts to destroy himself in front of the world with his sati of sexting. Donald Trump hold the record for total amount of news coverage of his self annihilation, only knocked briefly from the headlines by Ryan Lochte. And now we have Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, making what has been called an 'historical mistake' and a 'national humiliation' by agreeing to meet to with the Republican contender. Peña Nieto has managed to add Trump's insults to the injury of his inept, corrupt government.
What's going on out there?

Friday, August 5, 2016

Cost of Living in Mexico: fruits and vegetables

I'm taking a break from urban life this summer and spending several weeks in Malinalco in the Estado de Mexico. I arrived yesterday from Mexico City and stopped in the market to pick up some supplies. There is no market building here. Produce is sold from tables, or just on the ground, on the streets surrounding the main plaza. Much of it is grown locally. None of it is pre-wrapped in plastic.

One week ago I was in New York City and stopped at Trader Joe's to get a few things. I was overwhelmed by the astounding variety of products--and the prices! So I was doubly impressed by the tab for my shopping in the market in Malinalco. I bought everything in the photo above for a grand total of 85 pesos (about $4.50 US). Almost a quarter of that was for the 'luxury' item, pomegranate seeds, which cost 20 pesos.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


(For Part 2 click HERE)

This is a compilation of information useful to anyone planning a move to Mexico City. I first posted this in 2011 and have been repeating it every year, with the addition of new information I've found. I invite readers to send any tips they think relevant to the post.

First, if you don't own a Guia Roji map book of Mexico City, go to Sanborn's and buy one--I use it all the time. You can get the maps on line for free as well at

The website has a wealth of information about moving to and living in Mexico.

Finding a place to live:

Check out the website for short term rentals. You might consider this as you look for something more permanent--that way you can get a feel for the city before making a final decision.

VRBO (stands for Vacation Rentals BOwner) is a website that has places for rent (short-term) all over the world--a great resource for any traveler.

It's important to consider transportation in your choice of where to live. Being able to walk to work/school, or having a short ride on public transportation, can make a huge difference in your quality of life. A long commute by car will be living hell. 

Living near a park will also improve quality of life. Use google maps to search around for those green spaces.

Visit your chosen area both during the day and at night time--you might find some drastic changes.

A good way to find an apartment is just to walk the streets in the area you'd like to live. Many apartments are rented/sold directly by owners by putting signs in the window. Listed below are a number of on-line sites for house/apartment hunting.

Check these pages on Facebook for rentals & roommates:  

--> is a Spanish-only website with real estate for sale/rent all over Mexico. You can put an 'alert' on this site and be notified by e-mail of anything new that shows up according to your criteria. It also has a useful chart of 'price-per-square-meter' according to location. Many of the listings are agents, but that's a good way to find one. is similar. Check out for real estate in the centro historico.

are the two Mexico City craigslist sites (English and Spanish--in Spanish look under 'Viviendas'). Keep checking this site as things change constantly. and also have listings for Mexico City as well as the entire country.

Another on-line real estate site: and have listings of shared apartments all over the country

The Hostal Virreyes in the centro draws a hip, young crowd on weekends. They offer cheap rooms by the month-- is another site offering furnished rental apartments.

Buy a copy of 'Segundamano' at any newsstand--this weekly paper lists all sorts of things for sale or rent (cars, apartments, houses). Look for real estate agents here, too. You can also find them online at

One of my readers wrote to say that she found her apartment by speaking to the doormen (porteros) of various buildings and leaving her number--a little tip will help. 

Beware of scams! If you see an apartment advertised that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If anyone asks for a fee or deposit BEFORE showing you the apartment, that's a likely sign that you are dealing with a crook. NEVER send money in advance of seeing a property.  


This blog post lists average rental prices by delegation:

Less expensive areas of the city:

This moving company was recommended by a friend: is a website for buying and selling all sorts of stuff (like furniture, e.g.)

For renovation work, Alberto and Eduardo Álvarez can be reached at
044-55-2283-9330 or 044-55-2020-3312

Looking for wood furniture? The address is: Insurgentes Sur 100, corner with Camino a Santa Teresa. The market is also called Mercado de Vasco de Quiroga. It's in Tlalpan. Hundreds of skilled carpenters show off their wares. Anything made to order.

See Michael Parker's informative article in Inside Mexico about shipping your personal property to Mexico. is the website for the Mexico City Newcomers Club, which has all sorts of programs for ex-pats. has lots to offer, including this post about how to meet new friends in the city:

Here is the website for a moving company in Ajijic that can help get your stuff across the border. I have no personal experience with this company, but found it recommended on another blog. Check out the comments on this blog for more helpful information on moving household goods into Mexico.

Mexico City's own government website has a wealth of information in over 60 languages, including brief descriptions of each delegation and what there is to see. (Spanish only) is for more purely governmental information.

I add to her comments about the fiador: I rented my first apartment here without a fiador by offering to pay the first year's rent up-front (with a small discount). Since the monthly rent was only 3000 pesos this was possible.

A number of Facebook pages are directed toward ex-pats in Mexico City, e.g.:
Foreigners in DF (Mexico City)
Americans in Mexico City
Roomies D.F

Aztec Explorers Mexico is a FB page that offers interesting tours in and around the city. offers all kinds of information about events around the city

Part 2 of this blog post offers a brief introduction to some of the more desirable areas to live in the city:

P.S. Buy my book! It will definitely help unravel the city for you.

(The map shown is by Emily Edwards from 1932)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Architect Luís Barragán

Fans of Mexican architecture will surely be familiar with the name Luis Barragán, whose famous 'floating staircase' (photo below) has taken on iconic status in the world of design.

His home/studio is now a museum that can be visited by appointment:( It is definitely a highlight for any design-oriented visitor to Mexico City.

And I've written previously (click HERE) about the convent Barragán designed in Tlalapan, at the southern end of Mexico City, another sublime architectural experience.

Die-hard fans of this great architect will be please to find two of his early works right in the middle of Colonia Condesa. These somewhat unassuming small apartment buildings lack the saturated colors he later became famous for, but do offer a satifsying sense of geometry. They are located at Avenida Mexico 141 and 142, between Michoacán and Teotihuacán, facing Parque Mexico.
Google map link HERE.


Monday, May 2, 2016

Sunday Drive: Real del Monte

Many years ago when I lived in San Miguel de Allende, friends returned from a weekend visit to Real del Monte in the state of Hidalgo, claiming they were ready to move there. So it's been on my bucket list for a while, but I only managed to get there yesterday.

Leaving Mexico City via Insurgentes, you pass by some of its most depressing outskirts. When the urban sprawl finally gives way to open countryside, the landscape seems to be nature's response to what came before--flat, dry, barren.

With help from WAZE, we reached Real del Monte, left the car in a huge parking area lined with tourist buses, and climbed our way to the center of town. There are lots of twists and turns, stairways and narrow cobblestone streets in this hilltop town. It reminded me a bit of Taxco, with less jewelry.

The small centro histórico has several lovely plazas with colorfully painted buildings, most of which house restaurants, souvenir shops or other businesses catering to tourists. On the plaza in front of the attractive central market building is a tourist kiosk, where a rather grim young woman just shook her head 'no' when I asked if there was a map. Next to that several speakers broadcast music--a corrida which listed the charms of the town: "it's usually cold here (don't forget your sweater), there's often fog and snow, and it's the hometown of futbol." I'm sure there was another verse about the local delicacy pastes (like empanadas), which are on sale everywhere, but we didn't stick around long enough to hear it.

Heading to the main square, we passed by several 'living statues', a woman dressed as Frida, a diorama of miners at work, and more pastes. We looked into several restaurants hoping to find one without multiple TV screens broadcasting a futbol game, but without luck (we eventually ate barbacoa at one of the numerous stalls that line the road to Pachuca).

Real del Monte is one of Mexico's acclaimed Pueblos Magicos. The Pueblo Magico initiative, like UNESCO's World Heritage Site program, can be both a blessing and a curse. It likely provided the money to colorfully paint the town's buildings and keep the plants in the town's plazas carefully manicured, but it often attracts the kind of development that can turn a town into a Disney-like version of Mexico (have you been to San Miguel lately?).

We went on a Sunday, so the tourism factor was in full display, although as the photos indicate, if you point the camera in the right direction you can still capture the charm of the place. Perhaps during the week, it would be more evident, but I don't plan to go back to find out. I've never regretted visiting any place--I'm happy to fill in the map of the world no matter what I find--so my visit to Real del Monte was not in vain. But I think my final verdict would be: been there, done that.

For another (more successful) Sunday drive click HERE.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Luxury Hotels in Mexico City

                                                     (Photo: Hotel Carlota lobby)

Many people have the idea that travel writers have lives filed with free airline tickets, luxury hotels and gourmet meals. And guess what? Sometimes it's true!

Over the last few years I've had the opportunity to write five hotel reviews for the website Luxury Latin America which specializes in high-end travel.

Here are the two places I've stayed recently:

You can see all the of luxury hotels reviews in Mexico City here:

One of the hotels I'd previously reviewed (the Brick in Colonia Roma) has since mysteriously gone out of business. The hotel Downtown Mexico is your best bet for luxury digs in the Centro Histórico, but the St. Regis wins my vote for overall plush comfort.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Racism in Mexico?

The other day as I was walking along Avenida Insurgentes near Colonia Roma, I noticed this large billboard promoting awareness of the Mexico City's Constitution.

"The future of YOUR city is in you. We are all the constitution"it proclaims.

I admire the city's efforts to educate the public about the changes from DF to CDMX and all that it entails. But what struck me most about this announcement was the five young white faces that supposedly represent 'todos'. Although there are times in Colonia Roma where one might think everyone in Mexico is white and under 30, that is far from the city-wide reality. I found this billboard instructive, but offensive. 

For more information on Mexico City's constitution, look here:


(Unfortunately, after looking over the photos of the 30 people who make up the Grupo de Trabajo del Proyecto de Constitución, the lingering feeling of exclusion was not diminished.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Museo Nacional de Arte--Upstairs/Downstairs

                                  Sometimes the architecture overwhelms the art.

Monday, March 7, 2016

A SUNDAY DRIVE: Xochicalco and beyond

Although I'd heard of the pre-Hispanic settlement at Xochicalco years ago, it was only last Sunday that I finally made it there. About two hours south of Mexico City in the state of Morelos, this stunning site on a terraced mountaintop has 360 degree views of surrounding (mostly empty) countryside. A smartly designed museum has a small collection of sculptures and objects from the site, whose heyday was from 700 to 900 A.D., long before the founding of Tenochtitlán (aka Mexico City).  Last Sunday there were probably less than 50 people there, so I'd guess during the week you'd have the place to yourself. It was a surprising, magical place, well worth a visit.
The other big surprise happened when we took a wrong turn on the way home and ended up in the middle of the annual fiesta in the town of Miacatlán, which features the exuberantly colorful outfits of the Chinelos de Morelos (see photos below).

Google Map link HERE



Friday, January 29, 2016

The Five Most Useful Blog Posts of 2015

I started the new year with a touch of jet lag after travels to Spain, Turkey and Thailand, and since have been devoting much of my energy to my 'other' career as a painter (click HERE to see). So belated Happy 2016 to all my readers, and thanks to all of you who have helped to keep my guide book #1 on Amazon's list of Mexico City Guide Books.

As a recap of last year's blog posts, here's a list of five that will be useful to anyone visiting, or moving to, Mexico City.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


No, I'm not leaving town. But our town is changing its name. Mexico City is changing its official name from 'Distrito Federal' to 'Ciudad de Mexico', and in the process becoming the nation's 32nd state. I'm not sure what this will mean for most of us here, other than the confusion that comes with trying to change old habits.

Still Amazon's #1 Best Selling Mexico City Guide: