Mexico City is huge and chaotic (it’s one of the biggest metropoleis in the world), so it’s natural to feel overwhelmed by it, especially for first-time visitors.
This quick guide will help you master the art of transportation in CDMX so that you’ll soon be able to get around with your eyes closed (almost).
Mexico City has three main options for public transportation:
This is the best way to move around the city. Its network is large enough to get you to the areas visitors need to explore. It is fast, cheap, well connected and easy to use. You can buy single tickets ($5 pesos) in any train station, or a rechargeable card for $10 pesos extra (this card can also be used in the Metrobús).
Subway cars and stations are safe, although you have to be aware of pickpockets.
Subway stops are regular (check out the network map here).
- Monday to Friday: 5 AM – 12 AM
- Saturday: 6 AM – 12 AM
- Sunday and Holidays: 7 AM – 12 AM
For more information, visit the official website of the CDMX metro: metro.cdmx.gob.mx
The Metrobús is nothing more than a fast bus (it has its own circulation lane). It is found only in the following areas of the city:
- The historic center
- The trendy neighborhoods of Condesa and Roma
- The south of the city — including the fascinating area of Ciudad Universitaria, the main campus of UNAM, the biggest and most important public college in Mexico.
- The airport
Get the Metrobús system map here.
This service works exclusively with a rechargeable card that you can buy directly in the stations. It costs $16 pesos and includes the first ride. Afterwards, you can recharge it in any station. A single ride costs $6 pesos. The same card can be used in the Metro.
There are six lines of Metrobús and each one has different operation hours, but all of them run from around 5 AM to 10 PM. For the complete schedules of all the lines click here.
3. Regular buses
Best-known as “peceros”, they are all over the city but are the last option I recommend for getting around CDMX. They are old, operators drive very poorly, and they change their routes as they please (this is not that common, but it happens). Even locals get lost, so it’s not an advisable mean of transportation if you’re a first-time visitor. If you still want to give “peceros” a try, download the Citymapper mobile app where you’ll get accurate information on which bus to take, where to get off, etc. Regular buses in Mexico City only accept cash, and some of them don’t give change, so be sure to have coins with you.
Uber and Cabify
If you’re a woman and feel unsafe using Uber or Cabify, try Laudrive — it provides service exclusively to women.
Unfortunately, taxis circulating on the street are not a safe option to get around CDMX. Instead, use “taxis de sitio” — they are very safe. There are dozens of companies serving different areas of the city, if you want to call one of them, you should ask the hotel or to a local friend for the phone number, or you can try calling “Global Rent Taxi” (5803 2888).
Ecobici is Mexico City’s bicycle loan service. It works very well and has stations (where you can take or leave bicycles) in the main areas of the city such as:
- The historic center
- Roma and Condesa neighborhoods
As a visitor, you can easily register for a temporary service of one, three, or seven days. It has a handy mobile app for iOS and Android where you can locate the stations, see if there are available bikes, and report any incident.
See the full map of Ecobici stations here.
Transportation from the airport
Mexico City’s airport is located just 20 minutes away by car from the historic city center. There are several transportation options to move from the airport to other areas of the city.
The easiest and most comfortable ones are:
- Airport taxis (note that they can be quite expensive)
For budget travelers, both Metro and Metrobús have stations in the airport. “Terminal Aérea” metro station is located just steps away from Terminal 1. Metrobús stations can be found in both Terminal 1 and 2.