Yesterday I arrived in Mexico City with no set return date. Well, according to my return ticket it was February fifth, but that has since been canceled and was more of a safeguard should American Airlines have asked questions. They did not ask questions.
This marks my first time south of the boarder. I have done quite a bit of research before deciding to come here and most of the research centers around the criteria I am looking for in a new place to live and explore.
The biggest box to check is the country had to speak Spanish. This is one of the most important goals for me right now and I’ve really had an itch to move somewhere and finally commit to learning.
The next box is the specific city within the country has to be considerably cheaper than where I was living (Columbus, Ohio). This is important as I am not currently earning any income but rather strictly living off a few years of savings.
Just after affordability, I want a fairly large city—something over two or three million would work. I’ve never lived in a city with over a million people and after recently visiting Berlin, I really like the energy of a city that is constantly “on”.
Mexico City has almost nine million people in the city and more than 20 million in the immediate urban area. I’ll probably grow tired of the noise and the crowded feeling, but until then I plan to enjoy the options that come with such a populous and vibrant city.
BONUS: An “afterthought” criteria was the weather. Over the years I’ve really enjoyed the middle months of Spring and the middle of Autumn in Ohio and Michigan. Usually that puts the temperature around a very comfortable 65 degrees for both times—ignoring the off days when it’s 25 degrees in April and 85 in October. Midwest madness I tell ya.
65 degrees is my sweet spot. It’s pretty close to my perfect temperature. 65 degrees means I can walk outside with a t-shirt or a jacket, shorts or long pants and be comfortable. It also means I’m not sweating on a sizzling Phoenix street or frozen with frostbite somewhere in Fairbanks. I’ll plan a long weekend if I want warmth at the beach or cold conditions for skiing in the mountains.
So how does Mexico City fair? It offers a pretty mild climate year-round. Averages in the hottest month of May are 64 degrees and 55 in the coldest month of December. Yeah, right in that sweet spot.
Other bonuses I’m looking forward to in Mexico City include…
The people! I’ve been here less than 24 hours, asked lots of questions, fumbled through semi-forgotten Spanish and haven’t encountered anyone unfriendly or unwilling to help.
The metro. It’s one of the cheapest in the world with a single fare costing just over USD $0.25. Yes, that’s twenty-five cents and it was recently raised to that level. Government subsidies help keep the cost low as millions of people rely on this service every day.
The biking ecosystem. The bikeshare here is the largest in North America. The official ECOBICI website statistics lists the number of bikes at 6,000 and the cumulative rides at over 45 million. Bike lanes abound and coverage is about 13 square miles which makes it a breeze to pick up or hop off. Perfect for short-time tourists and residents alike. I’m always an advocate of ditching a taxi or Uber in favor of something self-powered.
The seemingly infinite places to eat at a reasonable price (from a U.S. perspective). My first dive into the cuisine was three tacos; so original, I know. But, it came with ALL the garnishing, black beans and a Mexican Coke (they taste different) for around USD $4. This was in one of the most touristy areas too (La Condesa), so I expect other spots outside this neighborhood to be less expensive.
Finally, the options for coffee. Cafes are abundant since Mexico is one of the largest coffee producers in the world. They rank number nine in terms of volume through 2016. This should somewhat helps to reduce the price and bring it in line with the large supply. My first cappuccino was just at USD $2. and it was also in the touristy neighborhood of Roma.
I plan on doing a more detailed look into the “bonus categories” in order to make a sort of quick guide for anyone staying in Mexico City for any length of time.