September 26, 2023
TRANSPORTATION IN GENERAL
- For your personal security, it is not recommended that you hail taxis in the street at any time during your stay in Mexico. It is preferable to hire hotel taxis or taxis parked at authorized cab ranks or “sitios.”
- Uber also operates in Mexico City and is available through the same app on your smartphone.
TRANSPORTATION FROM AIRPORT TO HOTEL
- For airport transfer to your hotel, purchase a pre-paid ticket from an authorized airport taxi booth located within the airport. The booths are labeled “Transportación Terrestre.”
- You can buy your ticket inside the baggage claim area while waiting for your luggage. Tell the vendor, “Four Seasons Hotel” to get the proper fare (approx. $18 USD). The fare is per cab, not per person.
- You may also arrange transportation services with the Four Seasons Hotel here.
- The drive to the hotel should take approximately 20-45 minutes depending on traffic and the time of the day.
- United States dollars are generally not accepted in Mexico City. It’s recommended to exchange USD to MXN while you’re in the States, as the MXN value will likely fluctuate.
- Credit cards are widely accepted. Advise your bank of your travels.
- ATM machines give you pesos and are located at our hotel. (Remember the Mexican peso also uses the $ sign. Be wary as this can cause confusion).
- Airport porters: 20-30 pesos (approx. $1.50 USD) is sufficient. You do not need to hire an airport porter, but they will guide you efficiently to the authorized taxi rank and to your cab.
- Taxis and transportation services: It is not necessary to tip cab drivers in Mexico.
- Hotel: 20-30 pesos (approx. $1.50 USD) per person is a good tip. It is considered a courtesy to tip the maid who services your hotel room. Sometimes the hotel will include this tip in your final bill.“Propina no incluida” means tip not included.
- “IVA incluido” means that tax (VAT) is included.
- The water in the hotel is drinkable. However, if you drink bottled water at home, you will probably wish to do the same here in Mexico City.
WHAT TO WEAR
- Mexico City is dressy and rather formal. Business attire is appropriate for all meetings and events on our agenda.
- Business casual – “sport coat and slacks with no tie” – is fine for the Welcome Reception.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as there may be some walking from the motorcoach to ministries and restaurants.
- Like other large cosmopolitan cities such as New York or Paris, you should watch your belongings and not exhibit or expose expensive jewelry in public.
- October marks the end of rain season in Mexico City. Although heavy rain is not expected, light showers may occur. A trench coat or light coat is recommended.
CELL PHONE USE
- Cellular telephones work throughout Mexico. Call your cell phone provider to add a Mexico plan for the week in order to avoid roaming charges.
- To make calls to the U.S. while in Mexico, dial 001 then the area code and number.
- To call Tijuana or elsewhere in Mexico dial 01 then the area code and number. It is less expensive to use your cellular phone than the telephone in your room.
- Los Pinos
(Former Residence and Office of the President): Colloquially known as “Los Pinos”, the property became the official presidential residence in 1935 after President Lazaro Cardenasrefused to live in Chapultepec Castle (prior official residence) and was inhabited by successive leaders. Upon taking office, President Lopez Obrador opened Los Pinos to the public. The entrance is free of charge.
- Auditorio Nacional
(The National Auditorium): This auditorium is situated on Reforma Avenue, at the artistic and cultural section of Chapultepec Park. It also includes some theaters: El Granero, Orientacion, and El Bosque.
- Bosque de Chapultepec
Willow trees, ash trees, evergreen oaks, and Mexican coniferous trees make this green area the largest one in the city. Historic and cultural places of interest in addition to recreational areas are all found here.
- Casa del Lago
Several cultural activities sponsored by the Autonomous University of Mexico take place here.
- Castillo de Chapultepec
This splendid neoclassic castle has been the stage for such historic events as the United States Army invasion in 1847. It served as the residence for EmperorMaximiliano and his wife Carlota in 1866 and later for President Porfirio Diaz.
- Monumento a Los Niños Heroes
This monument is to honor the Niños Heroes (Heroic Children)who defended the Castle against the United States invasion. It is located in one of the entrances of Chapultepec Park.
- Museo Nacional de Antropologia
The National Museum of Anthropology): This museum is located on Paseo de la Reforma Avenue and Gandhi Street in the first section of Chapultepec Park.
- Museo Nacional de Historia
(The National Museum of History): This museum is found on the top of the Chapultepec Hill, inside the Chapultepec Castle in the old park. It was built in the XVIIIcentury and is surrounded by a wall. It has 20 halls.
- Parque Zoologico de Chapultepec
(The Chapultepec Zoo): The zoo was founded in 1923. It has an area of 14 hectares where animals from all the continents are exhibited. It is said that zoo and botanic gardens already existed in Tenochtitlan and Chapultepec before they were known in Europe. Among its attractions is a panoramic train that runs around the zoo.*Museums in Mexico City are free on Sunday (and more crowded), and closed on Monday.
Avenida Presidente Masaryk in Polanco is lined with international shopping. It’s the Rodeo Drive of Mexico. Mexico’s two most important department stores, Palacio de Hierro and Liverpool, have facilities in Polanco and anchor their respective shopping malls. It’s a bit of a long walk from the hotel, so ask the doorman to call a cab if you wish to shop at either mall.
Antara Polanco is an upscale outdoor mall a block north of the Palacio de Hierro across EjercitoNacional on Calle Moliere. Further north is Plaza Corso shopping and office complex with the iconicSoumaya Museum as its centerpiece.
The Ciudadela complex on Balderas, also in the Centro Historico, is the place to bargain for what many call “arts and crap.” Nevertheless, there are treasures to be found in Talavera, mirrors, silver, leather, tablecloths, and art objects. Various stalls cover the entire area. Prices are low, but you still can bargain. Elsewhere on Balderas, sidewalk stalls sell bargains clothing, ties, and pirated CDs/DVDs.
Reforma 222 is a modern complex that opened in 2007. The two towers of the complex became some of the tallest buildings in Reforma, and hold a glass-covered shopping center where you can find a great variety of stores, entertainment, and restaurants.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON MEXICO’S GOVERNMENT
- Mexico (official name Estados Unidos Mexicanos—or United Mexican States) has a Presidential form of government with a bi-cameral legislature.
- The country is divided into 32 states. The states are divided into municipalities. Mexico City, formerly known as the Federal District, became the country’s 32nd state in 2016 with a population of 8.9 million people. The metropolitan area, however, is much larger with a population of 21.2 million people, making Mexico City the most populous metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere.
- The President, Senate, and Governors are elected for one six-year term.
- Members of the lower house of Congress and Mayors (Presidentes Municipales) are elected for a three-year term.
- Members of the state legislature and Mayors can run for re-election. Members of the elected legislature will be the first allowed to run for re-election in subsequent elections. The Constitution prevents incumbent President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador from seeking reelection.
- In 2018, Lopez Obrador from the MORENA party was elected President of Mexico with over 50 percent of the vote and won in 31 of Mexico’s 32 states. Prior to his election, Lopez Obrador was the president of MORENA (National Regeneration Movement), having previously led the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), and ran for President in 2006 and 2012. Lopez Obrador also served as Mayor of Mexico City from 2000 to 2005.
- MORENA’s ideology is left-wing oriented, often compared to nationalism and socialism. President Lopez Obrador’s campaign proposals included increasing equality between men and women, eliminating corruption and reducing crime, upgrading refining sectors and reducing crude oil exports, as well as doubling the minimum wage in the northern border region.
- MORENA holds 22 governor seats including Baja California, where the party also won all municipal elections in 2021 (Tijuana, Mexicali, Ensenada, Rosarito, and Tecate).
- In addition, MORENA gained a majority in the Chamber of Deputies and the Mexican Senate in 2018 but lost it after the 2021 elections. However, it could still achieve a majority through partnerships with other political parties.
2024 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
- General elections will take place in 2024, where voters will elect a new president, 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies and 128 members of the Senate.
- Baja California will also elect 25 state representatives and 7 local Mayors. San Quintin and San Felipe will vote to elect their first Mayor.
- MORENA has designated former Mexico City Head of Government Claudia Sheinbaum as its candidate for next year’s Presidential election.
- If successful, the party committed leading roles in Congress and a cabinet-level position to the three other candidates that ran during the primaries.
- Former Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard submitted a complain to electoral authorities citing irregularities during the internal process. Uncertain about his future with MORENA, Ebrard founded the “El Camino de Mexico” movement and is currently traveling across the country seeking support from elected officials and community members.
- The opposition includes a coalition comprised by the PAN, PRI, and PRD political parties, “Frente Amplio por Mexico”, which designated former Senator and businesswoman Xochitl Galvez as their candidate.
- Other officials that have expressed interested in running for President include Senator Indira Kempis and Nuevo Leon Governor Samuel Garcia (Movimiento Ciudadano).