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The Traveller's Magazine
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While news reports concerning rises in drug trafficking and violence in Mexico’s northern regions are enough to put anyone off a holiday to Central America, don’t put this country on the back burner just yet. The beaches may be all the rage, let’s not forget about the capital!

Mexico City is is a city with character. It’s the NYC and Tokyo of Central America. If you’re planning on grabbing flights to Mexico for the beaches and “vida loca,” consider touching down in Mexico City for longer than your flight stopover before visiting the rest of the country. Here are 5 reasons why.

Home of the Flyers

Right in front of the Museum of Anthropology you’ll see a large 20m tall pole. On weekends crowds gather to see one of the city’s most unusual and curious spectacles: men dressed up like birds, clinging to the top of the mast, hanging only by a rope, swinging themselves thirteen times around. It’s a tradition that’s been practised for more than 500 years. You can find these bird-like dancers all over Mexico, not just in the capital.

It’s the second largest city in the world

This city sprawls as far as the eyes can see. Mexico City wasn’t built in an ideal location for its ever-growing population. It sits at 2250m altitude, surrounded by mountains reaching upwards of 5000m above sea level. The city itself stretches over a whopping 1500 square kilometres. Given that that landscape isn’t so dynamic, the feeling of infinity is impressive and is worth taking advantage of. Population: 20 million registered inhabitants but everyone will tell you there’s many more that that. Mexico is a city of neighbourhoods. You’ll find every style here, every way of living.

The most beautiful museum in the world…

….at least that’s what Andre Malraux would say. Did you know Mexico City houses some of the finest treasures in the entire world? Beautiful jewellery, ornaments and Aztec tools are on display in the Mexican Museum of Anthropology. The collection is so large and fascinating, it’s easy to spend hours inside. Most notable is the Aztec calendar (Sun Stone). This mystical and complex stone deserves more than a walk-by if you want to understand the secrets of the Aztec culture and civilization.

Check out the city’s “special” wrestlers

The lucha libre is a national sport in Mexico. It’s wrestling and it’s only for the big and the bold. It became famous in films and comic books because of the curious masks worn by the fighters. The sport is really about drama and creating a spectacle, but its not as violent as American wrestling. Funny and totally shameless, less vulgar… this type of entertainment attracts more than your typical fighting fan. The wrestlers themselves are considered national stars, professional actors and athletes at the same time. The luchadores are the best in Mexico and are an absolute must-see while you’re in Mexico.

Seduction in its purest form

Seduction is a national sport in Mexico. Latin culture says the city is a place where eyes meet, and eventually love. The warmth of human relationships is unbelievable for a city of this size. Mexicans laugh at everything, they slap you on the back and double over at bromas and tonerias (jokes and games). Life is light here, no one takes it too seriously, you dance with a stranger without even thinking twice… The beauty of latin culture is alive on the streets of even the biggest cities like Mexico City.

Mexican men are stereotypically portrayed as macho, but there’s only one place to check that out for sure: Mexico. In Mexican society, especially in the capital, you can see more and more men taking care of the small children in public either pushing the pram, taking them to the parks to play or cradling them to sleep while their wives are hard at work. Role reversal?

Have you already visited Mexico? What are some other sights in the capital that shouldn’t be overlooked?

Imgs: flyers: Mr. T in DC / cityscape: Andre Deak / stone: Anika Malone / fighter: ANGELOUX / Frida: public, Flickr cc.

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