Mexico City

Mexican immigration form

Prior to this trip, friends and colleagues, even my parents, have been discouraging me to travel to Mexico. Media reports make it seem like all of Mexico is at war. Yes, there's been an ongoing war between drug cartels. But I'm not even going up north. My destination is merely Central Mexico. Surprisingly, 2 of my friends Clint & Neil decided to "risk" their lives with me.

Hostal Centro Historico Regina
The hostel building is listed as a historical monument in Mexico City

So off we went on a Saturday morning. While I flew out of Newark, Clint flew out of La Guardia while Neil flew out directly from Miami via Aeromexico. I had the same connecting American Airlines flight with Clint in Dallas where we flew together into Mexico's Benito Juarez International Airport. Our two flights arrived within 30 minutes of each other, almost at 5 PM. Immigration lines weren't so long so we made it to customs in no time.

Mural near the hostel

Since we needed Mexican pesos for our transport to the city, we headed straight for the bank right before custom's exit. It turns out the exchange rate is less favorable than just a few steps away at the main arrival's hall where plenty of cambios offered 2 pesos more per dollar. Armed now with sufficient funds, we began looking for Neil.

However, we didn't expect multiple arrivals hall in this very big, modern airport terminal. We came out expecting to see Neil already waiting for us since his flight arrived first but he was nowhere in sight. Despite his phone being 'on roaming', we couldn't reach him. We walked the length of this massive terminal four times only to find strangers gawking at us - perhaps they thought we were another Hiroshi Nohara (who stayed at the airport for 117 days in 2008). Not wanting to linger much longer, we decided to just head for our hostel and hope Neil has already gone ahead.

Hostel 'suite' room

Besides taxis and buses, the city center can be conveniently reached via subway from the airport. However, big luggage, even carry-ons, are frowned upon at Mexico City's crowded subway trains.  We went to one of the authorized airport taxi booths, paid for a boleto to Centro Historico district (196 pesos or almost $15), gave it to one of the agents outside, and we were quickly ushered into a waiting car.

Balcony view

Half an hour later, we were outside Hostal Centro Historico Regina. Neil still wasn't around. We checked-in, got the "suite" room for 900 pesos, a 2-level room with one and a half bathroom and a balcony overlooking a pedestrian street. The hostel's housed in an old building that used to be a warehouse. It looks hip with very friendly staff at the front desk. What's more, brekkie is free and so is WiFi.


We almost decided to head back to the airport when Neil finally makes it to the hostel. As it turns out, his flight landed in Terminal 2 which was in another terminal building. Our mistake was that we never bothered to check what terminals our flights arrived at - all along, we thought we all will be arriving in the same airport terminal. Never mind, at least, no one among us stayed in the airport for the long haul like Hiroshi Nohara did.


  1. Yayayay! I can't wait for the next installment of your Mexico trip. Can I make a confession? I am dreaming of travelling to Mexico since I was a kiddo. Maybe because we have a strong connection with the place, you know with all the galleon trade stuffs.

    And at one point during my childhood life, I became a HUGE fan of Mexican soap operas.

  2. Hahaha, funny story and what a way to begin the trip! I loved my visit to Mexico City last year, and your photos of the Centro Historico just brought back memories. By the way, watch out for the intense make-out sessions. Of all the Latin American countries I have been to, Mexico seems to be the one who advocate it the most!

  3. the view from the balcony is so beautiful! i might end up writing more travel stories from there.

    i love mexico. do you know gay mitra emami? she also featured mexico and i believe they are still in south america.

  4. na-curious ako kay hiroshi nohara! i'll google more of him later. haha!

    i know exactly how it feels like being worried and waiting for someone on a trip particularly when he/she's out of reach. buti na lang your companion, neil arrived safely and still around the time you're about to enjoy your mexican adventure.

    it's a wonderful start of new series; i am excited much to read and view the succeeding posts!

    ps: dom/dong ho's comment was about gay of the blog pinaytraveljunkie.

  5. I've never been to this part of Mexico. I love to see this along with Taxco.

    I do have a bit of trepidation about the news of drugs and killing that's ongoing in Mexico. Maybe someday I'd go an enjoy tacos in sidewalks.

    Enjoy. Can't wait for your complete documentation.

  6. Is the air pollution still as bad (probably worse now) as it was when I visited a looong time ago?

  7. Hoobert the Awesome,
    I do remember the Mexican telenovelas that engulfed the Philippines. Thalia if I remember right, was one of those! Thanks for dropping by!

    I agree with your observations - there's too much PDA everywhere, even right in front of us while waiting to cross the street! And I thought I've seen a lot in NYC already :)

    dong ho,
    of course, I know Gay, been reading her blog too. Am aware of her escapades down south but she already left Mexico by the time we got there.

    the worrying part was really not what we wanted first thing when we arrived but we thank God our companion made it safely by himself.

    Photo Cache,
    Now that you mentioned Taxco, yes...we went there! It's good to see a part of Mexico that's beyond beaches - which is what most Americans think when they plan a Mexican getaway.

    I think it's not as bad as it used to be mostly because of current regulations being enforced - one of which involves emissions monitoring program every 6 months (this is what a guide told me).

  8. awesome teaser. i like the mural. ano yung dinner? anyway, despite the tension i'll probably decide to still go too - just like you.

    naawa ako kay neil. ang haggard maghanapan sa isang foreign place- specially after a flight.

  9. Chyng,
    honestly, I don't remember the name of our meal since the menu was all in Spanish - all I can recall was that it had strips of chicken, eggplant, sour cream and rice.


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