MEXICO CITY

Introduction

Info Mexico City

introduction

Mexico City (Spanish: Ciudad de México) is the capital city of Mexico, and the largest city in North America.

As an "alpha" global city Mexico City is one of the most important financial centers in the Americas. It is located in the Valley of Mexico (Valle de México), a large valley in the high plateaus at the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 metres (7,350 ft). The city consists of sixteen municipalities (previously called boroughs).

The 2009 estimated population for the city proper was around 8.84 million people, with a land area of 1,485 square kilometres (573 sq mi). According to the most recent definition agreed upon by the federal and state governments, the Greater Mexico City population is 21.2 million people, making it the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere, the eleventh-largest agglomeration, and the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world.

Mexico City is the country's largest city as well as its most important political, cultural, educational and financial center.

Mexico’s capital is both the oldest capital city in the Americas and one of two founded by Amerindians (Native Americans), the other being Quito. The city was originally built on an island of Lake Texcoco by the Aztecs in 1325 as Tenochtitlan, which was almost completely destroyed in the 1521 siege of Tenochtitlan, and subsequently redesigned and rebuilt in accordance with the Spanish urban standards. In 1524, the municipality of Mexico City was established, known as México Tenochtitlán, and as of 1585 it was officially known as Ciudad de México (Mexico City). Mexico City served as the political, administrative and financial center of a major part of the Spanish colonial empire. After independence from Spain was achieved, the Federal District was created in 1824.


Understand

The greater Mexico City metropolitan area is one of the world's largest and the largest city in North America, with a 20.1 million people living in the metropolitan area as of the 2010 census. It is situated in the Valley of Mexico and shaped roughly like an oval of about 60 km by 40 km with large parts of it built on the dry bed of Lake Texcoco, and surrounded on three sides by tall mountains and volcanoes such as the Ajusco, the Popocatepetl and the Iztaccihuatl. Mexico City proper (with an estimated population of between 8 to 9 million) is since 2016 a Mexican state which also acts as its capital. Confusingly, the rest of the metropolitan area extends beyond Mexico City into the State of Mexico, which surrounds Mexico City on the West, North and East, and Hidalgo further North. Legally and practically speaking, Mexico City refers to the city proper and is the area where tourists will spend all or most of their time.

Mexico City is divided up into 16 boroughs similar to those in New York, which in turn are divided into "colonias" (neighborhoods), of which there are about 2150. Knowing what colonia you're going to is essential to getting around, and almost all locals will know where the main colonias are (but note that there are some colonias with duplicate or very similar names). As with many very large cities, the structure is relatively decentralized, with several parts of the city having their own miniature "downtown areas." However, the real downtown areas are Centro, the old city center, and Zona Rosa, the new business and entertainment district.

The city center is located 2230 m above mean sea level, while some areas reach up to 3000 m. Some people have breathing difficulties at high places and have experienced difficulty when breathing. The altitude is equivalent to more than 7,200 ft. This is far higher than any metropolitan area in the United States. If you live closer to sea level, you may experience difficulty breathing due to altitude and pollution. Air quality has, however, been improved in the last few years.

Mexico City's night life is like all other aspects of the city; it is huge. There is an enormous selection of venues: clubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, and variations and combinations thereof to choose from. There is incredible variation, from ultramodern lounges in Santa Fe and Reforma, to centuries-old dance halls in Centro and Roma. There are also pubs in Tlalpan and Coyoacán and clubs of every stripe in Insurgentes, Polanco, Condesa and the Zona Rosa.

Also, when going out, check the date, since this is an important indicator of how full places will generally be and how long you might have to wait to get in. Salaries are usually paid twice per month: the 30th/31st-1st and the 14th-15th. On or soon after these dates is when most Mexicans will go out, especially if payday coincides with a weekend. In the more expensive places, people might leave for Acapulco or vacations farther afield during the summer and long weekends. Mexican weekends, in the sense of when it is common to go out drinking, are Thursday night to Sunday morning and sometimes throughout Sunday.

info
POPULATION :  City: 8,918,653       /     Metro: 20.4 million
FOUNDED :   March 13, 1325: Mexico-Tenochtitlan
August 13, 1521: Ciudad de México
November 18, 1824: Distrito Federal
January 29, 2016: Ciudad de México
TIME ZONE :  CST (UTC−6)     /     Summer: CDT (UTC−5)
LANGUAGE :  Spanish only 92.7%, Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7%, indigenous only 0.8%
RELIGION :  Roman Catholic 82%, Others 18%
AREA :  1,485 km2 (573 sq mi)
ELEVATION :  2,250 m (7,380 ft)
COORDINATES :  19°26′N 99°8′W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 48.45%  
 Female: 51.55%
ETHNIC :  mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1%
AREA CODE :  55
POSTAL CODE :  00–16
DIALING CODE :  +52 55
WEBSITE :  www.cdmx.gob.mx

Tourism

Landmarks

The Historic center of Mexico City (Centro Histórico) and the "floating gardens" of Xochimilco in the southern borough have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Famous landmarks in the Historic Center include the Plaza de la Constitución (Zócalo), the main central square with its epoch-contrasting Spanish-era Metropolitan Cathedral and National Palace, ancient Aztec temple ruins Templo Mayor ("Major Temple") and modern structures, all within a few steps of one another. (The Templo Mayor was discovered in 1978 while workers were digging to place underground electric cables).

The most recognizable icon of Mexico City is the golden Angel of Independence on the wide, elegant avenue Paseo de la Reforma, modeled by the order of the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico after the Champs-Élysées in Paris. This avenue was designed over the Americas' oldest known major roadway in the 19th century to connect the National Palace (seat of government) with the Castle of Chapultepec, the imperial residence. Today, this avenue is an important financial district in which the Mexican Stock Exchange and several corporate headquarters are located. Another important avenue is the Avenida de los Insurgentes, which extends 28.8 km (17.9 mi) and is one of the longest single avenues in the world.


Nightlife

Mexico City's night life is like all other aspects of the city; it is huge. There is an enormous selection of venues: clubs, bars, restaurants, cafes, and variations and combinations thereof to choose from. There is incredible variation, from ultramodern lounges in Santa Fe and Reforma, to centuries-old dance halls in Centro and Roma. There are also pubs in Tlalpan and Coyoacán and clubs of every stripe in Insurgentes, Polanco, Condesa and the Zona Rosa.

Also, when going out, check the date, since this is an important indicator of how full places will generally be and how long you might have to wait to get in. Salaries are usually paid twice per month: the 30th/31st-1st and the 14th-15th. On or soon after these dates is when most Mexicans will go out, especially if payday coincides with a weekend. In the more expensive places, people might leave for Acapulco or vacations farther afield during the summer and long weekends. Mexican weekends, in the sense of when it is common to go out drinking, are Thursday night to Sunday morning and sometimes throughout Sunday.


Shopping

Mexico City offers an immense and varied consumer retail market, ranging from basic foods to ultra high-end luxury goods. Consumers may buy in fixed indoor markets, mobile markets (tianguis), from street vendors, from downtown shops in a street dedicated to a certain type of good, in convenience stores and traditional neighborhood stores, in modern supermarkets, in warehouse and membership stores and the shopping centers that they anchor, in department stores, big-box stores and in modern shopping malls.


Art

Having been capital of a vast pre-Hispanic empire, and also the capital of richest viceroyalty within the Spanish Empire (ruling over a vast territory in the Americas and Spanish West Indies), and, finally, the capital of the United Mexican States, Mexico City has a rich history of artistic expression. Since the mesoamerican pre-Classical period the inhabitants of the settlements around Lake Texcoco produced many works of art and complex craftsmanship, some of which are today displayed at the world-renowned National Museum of Anthropology and the Templo Mayor museum. While many pieces of pottery and stone-engraving have survived, the great majority of the Amerindian iconography was destroyed during the Conquest of Mexico.


Museums

Mexico City has numerous museums dedicated to art, including Mexican colonial, modern and contemporary art, and international art. The Museo Tamayo was opened in the mid-1980s to house the collection of international contemporary art donated by famed Mexican (born in the state of Oaxaca) painter Rufino Tamayo. The collection includes pieces by Picasso, Klee, Kandinsky, Warhol and many others, though most of the collection is stored while visiting exhibits are shown. The Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art) is a repository of Mexican artists from the 20th century, including Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros, Kahlo, Gerzso, Carrington, Tamayo, among others, and also regularly hosts temporary exhibits of international modern art. In southern Mexico City, the Museo Carrillo Gil (Carrillo Gil Museum) showcases avant-garde artists, as does the University Museum/Contemporary Art (Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo – or MUAC), designed by famed Mexican architect Teodoro González de León, inaugurated in late 2008.


Parks and recreation

Chapultepec Park, the city's most iconic public park, has history back to the Aztec emperors who used the area as a retreat. It is south of Polanco district, and houses the city's zoo, several ponds, seven museums including the National Museum of Anthropology, and the oldest and most traditional amusement park, La Feria de Chapultepec Mágico, with its vintage Montaña Rusa rollercoaster.

Other iconic city parks include the Alameda Central, Mexico City historic center, a city park since colonial times and renovated in 2013; Parque México and Parque España in the hip Condesa district; Parque Hundido and Parque de los Venados in Colonia del Valle, and Parque Lincoln in Polanco. There are many smaller parks throughout the city. Most are small "squares" occupying two or three square blocks amid residential or commercial districts.

Mexico City has three zoos. Chapultepec Zoo, the San Juan de Aragon Zoo and Los Coyotes Zoo. Chapultepec Zoo is located in the first section of Chapultepec Park in the Miguel Hidalgo. It was opened in 1924. Visitors can see about 243 specimens of different species including kangaroos, giant panda, gorillas, caracal, hyena, hippos, jaguar, giraffe, lemur, lion, among others.


Music, theater and entertainment

Mexico City is home to a number of orchestras offering season programs. These include the Mexico City Philharmonic, which performs at the Sala Ollin Yoliztli; the National Symphony Orchestra, whose home base is the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of the Fine Arts), a masterpiece of art nouveau and art decó styles; the Philharmonic Orchestra of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (OFUNAM), and the Minería Symphony Orchestra, both of which perform at the Sala Nezahualcóyotl, which was the first wrap-around concert hall in the Western Hemisphere when inaugurated in 1976. There are also many smaller ensembles that enrich the city's musical scene, including the Carlos Chávez Youth Symphony, the New World Orchestra (Orquesta del Nuevo Mundo), the National Polytechnical Symphony and the Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra (Orquesta de Cámara de Bellas Artes).

The city is also a leading center of popular culture and music. There are a multitude of venues hosting Spanish and foreign-language performers. These include the 10,000-seat National Auditorium that regularly schedules the Spanish and English-language pop and rock artists, as well as many of the world's leading performing arts ensembles, the auditorium also broadcasts Grand Opera performances from New York's Metropolitan Opera on giant, high definition screens. In 2007 National Auditorium was selected world's best venue by multiple genre media.


Cuisine

Mexico City offers a variety of cuisines. Restaurants specializing in the regional cuisines of Mexico's 31 states are available in the city. Also available are an array of international cuisines, including Canadian, French, Italian, Croatian, Spanish (including many regional variations), Jewish, Lebanese, Chinese (again with regional variations), Indian, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese; and of course fellow Latin American cuisines such as Argentine, Brazilian, and Peruvian. Haute, fusion, kosher, vegetarian and vegan cuisines are also available, as are restaurants solely based on the concepts of local food and slow Food.

Mexico City is known for having some of the freshest fish and seafood in Mexico's interior. La Nueva Viga Market is the second largest seafood market in the world after the Tsukiji fish market in Japan.

The city also has several branches of renowned international restaurants and chefs. These include Paris' Au Pied de Cochon and Brasserie Lipp, Philippe (by Philippe Chow); Nobu, Morimoto; Pámpano, owned by Mexican-raised opera legend Plácido Domingo. There are branches of the exclusive Japanese restaurant Suntory, Rome's famed Alfredo, as well as New York steakhouses Morton's and The Palm, and Monte Carlo's BeefBar. Three of the most famous Lima-based Haute Peruvian restaurants, La Mar, Segundo Muelle and Astrid y Gastón have locations in Mexico City.


Sports

Association football is the country's most popular and most televised franchised sport. Its important venues in Mexico City include the Azteca Stadium, home to the Mexico national football team and giants América, which can seat 105,000 fans, making it the biggest stadium in Latin America. The Olympic Stadium in Ciudad Universitaria is home to the football club giants Universidad Nacional, with a seating capacity of over 63,000. The Estadio Azul, which seats 35,000 fans, is near the World Trade Center Mexico City in the Nochebuena neighborhood, and is home to the giants Cruz Azul. The three teams are based in Mexico City and play in the First Division; they are also part, with Guadalajara-based giants Club Deportivo Guadalajara, of Mexico's traditional "Big Four" (though recent years have tended to erode the teams' leading status at least in standings). The country hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1970 and 1986, and Azteca Stadium is the first stadium in World Cup history to host the final twice.

Mexico City remains the only Latin American city to host the Olympic Games, having held the Summer Olympics in 1968, winning bids against Buenos Aires, Lyon and Detroit. (This too will change thanks to Rio, 2016 Summer Games host). The city hosted the 1955 and 1975 Pan American Games, the last after Santiago and São Paulo withdrew. The ICF Flatwater Racing World Championships were hosted here in 1974 and 1994. Lucha libre is a Mexican style of wrestling, and is one of the more popular sports throughout the country. The main venues in the city are Arena México and Arena Coliseo.

History

Aztec period

The city of Mexico-Tenochtitlan was founded by the Mexica people in 1325. The old Mexica city that is now simply referred to as Tenochtitlan was built on an island in the center of the inland lake system of the Valley of Mexico, which it shared with a smaller city-state called Tlatelolco. According to legend, the Mexicas' principal god, Huitzilopochtli indicated the site where they were to build their home by presenting an eagle perched on a nopal cactus with a snake in its beak.

Between 1325 and 1521, Tenochtitlan grew in size and strength, eventually dominating the other city-states around Lake Texcoco and in the Valley of Mexico. When the Spaniards arrived, the Aztec Empire had reached much of Mesoamerica, touching both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.


Spanish conquest

After landing in Veracruz, Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés advanced upon Tenochtitlán with the aid of many of the other native peoples, arriving there on November 8, 1519. Cortés and his men marched along the causeway leading into the city from Iztapalapa, and the city's ruler, Moctezuma II, greeted the Spaniards; they exchanged gifts, but the camaraderie did not last long. Cortés put Moctezuma under house arrest, hoping to rule through him.

Tensions increased until, on the night of June 30, 1520 – during a struggle known as "La Noche Triste" – the Azteca rose up against the Spanish intrusion and managed to capture or drive out the Europeans and their Tlaxcalan allies. Cortés regrouped at Tlaxcala. The Aztecs thought the Spaniards were permanently gone, and they elected a new king, Cuitláhuac, but he soon died; the next king was Cuauhtémoc.

Cortés began a siege of Tenochtitlán in May 1521. For three months, the city suffered from the lack of food and water as well as the spread of smallpox brought by the Europeans.Cortés and his allies landed their forces in the south of the island and slowly fought their way through the city. Cuauhtémoc surrendered in August 1521. The Spaniards practically razed Tenochtitlán during the final siege of the conquest.


Rebuilding

Cortés first settled in Coyoacán, but decided to rebuild the Aztec site to erase all traces of the old order. He did not establish a territory under his own personal rule, but remained loyal to the Spanish crown. The first Spanish viceroy arrived in Mexico City fourteen years later. By that time, the city had again become a city-state, having power that extended far beyond its borders.

Although the Spanish preserved Tenochtitlán's basic layout, they built Catholic churches over the old Aztec temples and claimed the imperial palaces for themselves.Tenochtitlán was renamed "Mexico" because the Spanish found the word easier to pronounce.


Growth of colonial Mexico City

The city had been the capital of the Aztec empire and in the colonial era, Mexico City became the capital of New Spain. The viceroy of Mexico or vice-king lived in the viceregal palace on the main square or Zócalo. The Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishopric of New Spain, was constructed on another side of the Zócalo, as was the archbishop's palace, and across from it the building housing the City Council or ayuntamiento of the city.

A famous late seventeenth-century painting of the Zócalo by Cristóbal de Villalpando depicts the main square, which had been the old Aztec ceremonial center. The existing central place of the Aztecs was effectively and permanently transformed to the ceremonial center and seat of power during the colonial period, and remains to this day in modern Mexico, the central place of the nation.

The 16th century saw a proliferation of churches, many of which can still be seen today in the historic center. Economically, Mexico City prospered as a result of trade. Unlike Brazil or Peru, Mexico had easy contact with both the Atlantic and Pacific worlds. Although the Spanish crown tried to completely regulate all commerce in the city, it had only partial success.

The Grito de Dolores ("Cry of Dolores") also known as El Grito de la Independencia ("Cry of Independence"), uttered from the small town of Dolores near Guanajuato on September 16, 1810, is the event that marks the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence and is the most important national holiday observed in Mexico. The "Grito" was the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Roman Catholic priest. Hidalgo and several criollos were involved in a planned revolt against the Spanish colonial government, and the plotters were betrayed. Fearing his arrest, Hidalgo commanded his brother Mauricio as well as Ignacio Allende and Mariano Abasolo to go with a number of other armed men to make the sheriff release the pro-independence inmates there on the night of September 15. They managed to set eighty free. Around 6:00 am September 16, 1810, Hidalgo ordered the church bells to be rung and gathered his congregation. Flanked by Allende and Juan Aldama, he addressed the people in front of his church, encouraging them to revolt. The Battle of Guanajuato, the first major engagement of the insurgency, occurred four days later. Mexico's independence from Spain was effectively declared in the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire on September 27, 1821, after a decade of war. Unrest followed for the next several decades, as different factions fought for control of Mexico.

The Mexican Federal District was established by the new government and by the signing of their new constitution, where the concept of a federal district was adapted from The U.S. constitution. Before this designation, Mexico City had served as the seat of government for both the State of Mexico and the nation as a whole. Texcoco and then Toluca became the capital of the state of Mexico.


Porfirian era (1876–1911)

Events such as the Mexican–American War, the French Intervention and the Reform War left the city relatively untouched and it continued to grow, especially during the rule of President Porfirio Díaz. During this time, the city developed a modern infrastructure, such as roads, schools, transportation, and communication systems. However, the regime concentrated resources and wealth into the city while the rest languished in poverty.

Under the rule of Porfirio Díaz, Mexico City experienced a massive transformation. Díaz's goal was to create a city which could rival the great European cities. He and his government came to the conclusion that they would use Paris as a model, while still containing remnants of Amerindian and Hispanic elements. This style of Mexican-French fusion architecture became colloquially known as Porfirian Architecture. Porfirian architecture became very influenced in Paris' Haussmannization.


Mexican Revolution (1910–1920)

Fast modern development eventually led to the Mexican Revolution. The most significant episode of this period for the city was the La decena trágica ("The Ten Tragic Days"), a 1913 coup against President Francisco I. Madero and his vice president, José María Pino Suárez. Victoriano Huerta, chief general of the Federal Army, saw a chance to take power, forcing Madero and Pino Suarez to sign resignations. The two were murdered later while on their way to prison.

Zapatist forces, which were based in neighboring Morelos had strengths in the southern edge of the Federal District, which included Xochimilco, Tlalpan, Tláhuac and Milpa Alta to fight against the regimes of Victoriano Huerta and Venustiano Carranza. After the assassination of Carranza and a short mandate by Adolfo de la Huerta, Álvaro Obregón took power. After willing to be re-elected, he was killed by José de León Toral, a devout Catholic, in a restaurant near La Bombilla Park in San Ángel in 1928. Plutarco Elias Calles replaced Obregón and culminated the Mexican Revolution.


20th century to present

The history of the rest of the 20th century to the present focuses on the phenomenal growth of the city and its environmental and political consequences. In 1900, the population of Mexico City was about 500,000. The city began to grow rapidly westward in the early part of the 20th century and then began to grow upwards in the 1950s, with the Torre Latinoamericana becoming the city's first skyscraper. The 1968 Olympic Games brought about the construction of large sporting facilities.

In 1969, the Metro system was inaugurated.Explosive growth in the population of the city started from the 1960s, with the population overflowing the boundaries of the Federal District into the neighboring state of Mexico, especially to the north, northwest and northeast. Between 1960 and 1980 the city's population more than doubled to nearly 9 million.

In 1980, half of all the industrial jobs in Mexico were located in Mexico City. Under relentless growth, the Mexico City government could barely keep up with services. Villagers from the countryside who continued to pour into the city to escape poverty only compounded the city's problems. With no housing available, they took over lands surrounding the city, creating huge shantytowns that extended for many miles. This caused serious air pollution in Mexico City and water pollution problems, as well as a sinking city due to overextraction of groundwater, groundwater-related subsidence. Air and water pollution has been contained and improved in several areas due to government programs, the renovation of vehicles and the modernization of public transportation.

On Thursday, September 19, 1985, at 7:19 am local time, Mexico City was struck by an earthquake of magnitude 8.1 on the Richter scale.

Geography

Mexico City is located in the Valley of Mexico, sometimes called the Basin of Mexico. This valley is located in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in the high plateaus of south-central Mexico. It has a minimum altitude of 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) above sea level and is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes that reach elevations of over 5,000 meters. This valley has no natural drainage outlet for the waters that flow from the mountainsides, making the city vulnerable to flooding. Drainage was engineered through the use of canals and tunnels starting in the 17th century.

Mexico city primarily rests on what was Lake Texcoco. Seismic activity is frequent here. Lake Texcoco was drained starting from the 17th century. Although none of the lake waters remain, the city rests on the lake bed's heavily saturated clay. This soft base is collapsing due to the over-extraction of groundwater, called groundwater-related subsidence. Since the beginning of the 20th century the city has sunk as much as nine meters in some areas. This sinking is causing problems with runoff and wastewater management, leading to flooding problems, especially during the rainy season. The entire lake bed is now paved over and most of the city's remaining forested areas lie in the southern boroughs of Milpa Alta, Tlalpan and Xochimilco.

Economy

Mexico City is one of the most important economic hubs in Latin America. The city proper (Federal District) produces 15.8% of the country's gross domestic product.

According to a study conducted by PwC, Mexico City had a GDP of $390 billion, ranking it as the eighth richest city in the world after the greater metropolitan areas of Tokyo, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Paris, London and Osaka/Kobe (and the richest in the whole of Latin America).

The economic reforms of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari had a tremendous effect on the city, as a number of businesses, including banks and airlines, were privatized. He also signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This led to decentralization and a shift in Mexico City's economic base, from manufacturing to services, as most factories moved away to either the State of Mexico, or more commonly to the northern border. By contrast, corporate office buildings set their base in the city.

Internet, Comunication

Internet

Mexico City has good access to the internet. There are some internet cafes throughout the city, many of them in Zona Rosa, but their number is rapidly dwindling as many people now have internet access on their smartphones. Price varies from 10 to 20 pesos an hour. Look for the word 'Cyber' or 'CiberCafe' in order to find a place with internet access.

Free hot spots for wi-fi connection to the internet are available in several places around the city, particularly in public squares, along Reforma, and inside shopping malls, cafés and restaurants. Other hot spots around the city (such as at the airport and Sanborns restaurants) are not free, usually operated by the Mexican phone company Telmex through their Internet division Prodigy Móvil. In order to be able to connect in those places, the user must be subscribed to the service, or buy a prepaid card known as "Tarjeta Multifon"; visitors coming from the US can access the service using their AT&T or T-Mobile Internet accounts. Cards can be bought at the Sanborns restaurant chain, Telmex stores and many stores that offer telephony related products.

Mobile Telephones

There are four main cell phone operators in Mexico.

  • Telcel The largest coverage in Mexico, using 3.5G, 3G and GSM (HSPA+, HSDPA & EDGE) and 4G (LTE)
  • Movistar A GSM & 3G (HSDPA) network with decent coverage in most of the country
  • Iusacell (includes former Unefon network) A CDMA (EVDO) and GSM-based 3G (HSDPA) and 3.5G (HSPA+) network with an average coverage in most cities and large towns.
  • Nextel (iDEN push to talk, similar to Nextel offered in the U.S. by Sprint Nextel and Boost Mobile but has different owner)

Phone

If someone is calling you the country code is +52 then the area code is 55 then the 8 digit phone number. For a mobile phone, you might need to add a 1 between the +52 and 55. If you want to make a long distance call in Mexico from a landline, you should dial the prefix 01 for national calls followed by the area code. From a mobile phone, start from the area code. If you are making an international long distance call, you must dial 00 followed by the country code, for example, if you're calling the U.S. you should dial 00+1 and the area code, if you're calling the U.K, dial 00+44 and the area code, and so on.

If you want to use your cellular phone you can get your phone unlocked before you go. When you arrive in Mexico City, you can purchase a Telcel or Movistar SIM card, locally known as a "chip". This will get you a Mexican cell phone number. Remember this is a prepaid cellular option. You get free incoming calls. People calling you from long distance will need to dial in this format: +52 1 plus the area code 8 or 7 digit phone number. Mexico city (55), Guadalajara (33) and Monterrey (81) have 8 digit numbers, and 2 digit area codes. The rest of the country has 7 digit numbers and 3 digit area codes. There are no longer long distance charges within the country.

Calling from a Mexican phone (either land or mobile) to a Mexican cell phone is called ¨El Que Llama Paga¨ meaning only the person making the call pays for the air time. From a landline, you should dial the 044 prefix before the 10 digit number composed of the area code and the mobile number to be dialled, such as 044 55 12345678. From a mobile phone, just start from the area code.

Another option is to buy a prepaid Mexican phone kit, they frequently include more air time worth than the kit actually costs, air time is called ¨Tiempo Aire¨. For Telcel these kits are called ¨Amigo Kit¨ for Movistar they are called ¨Movistar Prepago¨ and for Iusacell ¨Viva Kit¨ the you can just keep the phone as a spare for whenever you are in Mexico; there are no costs in between uses. These kits start at around 30 USD and can be purchased at the thousands of mobile phone dealerships, or at OXXO convinence stores, and even supermarkets.

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