Mexico City and Puebla at Easter
April 5, 2007 11:53 AM   Subscribe

My mom and I are going to Mexico City and Puebla for the rest of this week and next and we're curious about a few (small!) things.

We'd love to know, if you can spare a few kind words:

- what's open (and where to eat!) on Easter Sunday
- tips for a nice cup of coffee and a sit down after doing the museums/churches/etc in the Bosque de Chapultepec and the Zocalo
- the best times of day to hit up the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Teotihuacan, as they're a bit further out of the center

We're staying a few blocks north of Reforma in the Zona Rosa in DF and in the colonial center of Puebla. We've got a guidebook or two and we can speak some Spanish.

posted by mdonley to Travel & Transportation around Mexico City, Mexico (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We got to Teotihuacan before it opened, a few hours after sunrise, because we had taken the night-bus from Guanjuato. Not only was it amazing to take in the breathtaking early-morning hazy views of the pyramids, but there was NO ONE THERE. Literally a ghost town. It's hard to describe what that felt like, having the grand pyramids of Mexico all to yourself for a few hours. "Serene" is a good word. I don't think I've ever been at more peace with the world than at that moment. I'd definitely recommend getting there early. Hop on the first bus of the day out of D.F. to Teotihuacan.

But damn, those bus drivers are fucking crazy!! Be prepared for the ride of your life...
posted by afx114 at 12:07 PM on April 5, 2007

Café Tacuba (the restaurant, not the band) is in the centro, an easy walk from the Zocolo, very pleasant, with good hot chocolate and drinkable coffee. We sat there for ages one afternoon over hot chocolate and maybe some snacks, and they didn't have a problem with us occupying a table. Just a block or two away are a set of candy shops that will cause insulin shock just looking into the display windows -- worth visiting if you have a sweet tooth.

In Puebla, the restaurant Fonda de Santa Clara is really nice, with seasonal specialties, etc. (Their seasonal specialty ("Platillos de Temporada") for late March / early April is "Deliciosos escamoles (hueva de hormiga)" -- ant egg tacos, which are much yummier than they sound. If you aren't feeling so brave, their moles poblanos are really lovely examples of the food Puebla is known for.)

A lot of people in Puebla are really religious, and in one hole-in-the-wall restaurant the woman running it got really upset when I ordered meat on Good Friday. Once I understood the problem I switched my order to something else, and she was happy. It was pretty funny at the time. But even so, there were places open on Easter -- we just asked at the hotel desk, and they knew what was open.
posted by Forktine at 12:53 PM on April 5, 2007

I was in Mexico city with my parents this past Christmas. We stayed in the Zocalo. We also did the Virgin of Guadalupe and Teotihuacan bus trip.

In the Zocalo, we really liked Cafe taCuba as a place to sit and relax near the Zocalo. Or, if you want a fancier place, I'd reccomend a place that I believe was called Cafe L'Opera (or something close to that), also in the same general area. That restaurant had a bullet hole that Ponch Villa shot in the ceiling.

I'd go as early as possible to Teotihuacan. We were there on Christmas day, we took the earliest bus we could (which, granted was about 10 am) and it was absolutely packed when we got there. Also, try to avoid tours that take you on a million touristy stops, it gets tiresome.
posted by piratebowling at 12:55 PM on April 5, 2007

If you are in Puebla, Cholula is a town next to it that the busses will go to -- the pyramid of Cholula is actually the largest pyramid in central America, though most of it is underground. For a few pesos you can go inside -- it's pretty cool. I recommend it. There's a big church on top that is pretty and which is, I think, an excellent example of Mexican church decor. Also in Cholula (not Puebla), in the town center, Xocolatte is a nice little coffee place (churros + chocolate = a very good Saturday morning). Puebla itself has a few neat restaurants around the central town square, though I don't remember any in particular. Take taxis around Puebla; they're cheap, but have small bills/coins because the drivers like to cheat you by saying they don't have change.

Don't take cabs in DF that aren't hailed by a taxi stand. The Metro is fine, but during rush hour when the cars are packed, make sure your mom rides the women's car to avoid harassment. Teotihuacan is amazing. Beware the vendors trying to sell you kitsch.

La Zona Rosa is good fun-- there's kind of a main drag (a walking street) that has restaurants all along it. I remember I ate at some really good Italian place then had crepes at another place across the way. Basically, just find something that looks good, because it's all cool.
posted by olinerd at 12:55 PM on April 5, 2007

Oh, and a restaurant rec: la Universidad de las Americas - Puebla is in Cholula (I studied there a semester). It's "La Udla" (pronounced "oodla") to taxi drivers and busses. On one side of the campus is a restaurant called El Maguey. I still crave their queso fundido and chipotle salsa. Seriously. Most amazing salsa I've ever had. If for any reason you're over near the university, ask someone where it is, and go partake of the goodness.
posted by olinerd at 12:59 PM on April 5, 2007

You're in luck, Mexico City totally cleared out starting as of a couple of days ago and this evening is completely calm and relatively smog-free. Being here for Holy Week is almost like vacationing in a normal city. To your questions: On the Zocalo, especially around sunset, I think it's pleasant to have a coffee or cocktail on the top floor of the Hotel Majestic.

A lot of places are already closed, and I would hate to predict what will or won't be open on Sunday especially. But if you feel like getting out of the historic center and the Zona Rosa, you might head down to the Condesa. There's a host of restaurants right at the intersection of Michoacan and Tamaulipas, and some of them at least will stay open.

Just north of Chapultepec park, there's a lovely French cafe and restaurant in Polanco at the intersection of Emilio Castelar and Virgilio. Can't remember the name right now, but I'll ask my friend tonight at pool and post later.

Have fun, and wave hi if you see me around.
posted by donpedro at 6:14 PM on April 5, 2007

Response by poster: We're back! Turns out everyone's comments were super helpful. For future readers:


We took the Metro everywhere and at times it seemed like we never had to wait more than five seconds for a train - it was also much cleaner than, say, BART or the LA Red Line, and people stood up to give my dear mother a seat!

We stayed at Casa Gonzalez (Rio Sena 69, a few blocks north of Reforma, across the street from the British Embassy) with restaurants and things nearby and totally loved the great staff, our huge bathtub, the amazing cappuccino, the neat little garden-courtyard, and the very low prices for what amounted to a really great stay. It was a bit of a hike from the subway, but that was mostly our own desire to avoid the super-touristy pedestrianized stretch of Calle Geneva - especially at night, when it gets rather loud and sort of seedy-seeming - as our path to get to Insurgentes metro; we usually just ended up walking another 5-10 minutes to get to Sevilla instead.

Cafe Tacuba was awesome - we went back three times! There's also a restaurant called Mexico Viejo near the northwest corner of the Zocalo, sort of where Calle Tacuba starts heading west where I had the most amazing jamaica of my life.

The murals painted by Diego Rivera and the other Mexican mural all-stars everywhere were amazing, but those inside the Secretariat of Public Education, a few blocks north of the Zocalo, took up ALL of the interior walls of THREE STORIES of the building and were totally deserted, and admission was free, unlike the disappointing and totally crowded Antiguo Colegio del San Idelfonso nearby.

We went to see a lucha libre wrestling match at Arena Coliseo on Calle Republica de Chile and even though we were stopped from taking photos (!), we still had a fabulous time - both the craziest and the safest sporting event I've ever attended. And it's tiny in there!

Oh yeah - we headed down to donpedro's Michoacan/Tamaulipas intersection one night for dinner and had a fantastic meal at a place called Exacto or something like that.

Puebla was nice, but after DF we were kind of bored after a few days - we debated heading to Tlaxcala for a craft market on a Saturday but we wouldn't have made it back in time to get home.

Thanks again!

posted by mdonley at 2:22 AM on April 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

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