Coyoacan – A town within a city: TIPS

coyoacan_tips

Visitors to the historic centre of the bohemian Coyoacan neighbourhood could be forgiven for thinking that they have been transported to medieval Europe due to its narrow cobbled streets, picturesque plazas and colonial architecture.  Throw into the mix some fine craft markets, hip bars and excellent museums and you’ve found the perfect place to unwind, far from the maddening chaos of Mexico City, without actually leaving the city.   Check out my blog postfor more info on the neighbourhood.  Meanwhile, here are my tips to make the most of your day.

Getting there:

  • By metro:  Be prepared to walk for around 20 minutes from any of the metro stations to the centre of Coyoacan.  The nearest stations are: Coyoacán, Viveros, and Miguel Ángel de Quevedo (all on Line 3).
  • As I mentioned in my blog post, I like to get off at Viveros metro station so I can take in some fresh air while cutting through the beautiful tree-filled park of the same name.  For more info on Viveros park, see here.
  • You can also get off at metro station General Anaya (Line 2); taking the Calle 20 de Agosto exit for a picturesque 20 minute walk to the Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky museums.
  • If you prefer not to walk, flag down any pesero (minibus) with a sign saying Plaza Hidalgo in the window.
  • The hop-on, hop-off turibus stops right in the centre.
  • It is perfectly safe to walk around this neighbourhood so relax and enjoy!

Help and assistance

  • Look out for the neighbourhood assistants wearing official vests.  They can give you information, directions etc.
  • Coyoacan is home to Mexico’s only polyglot police officer, Juan Orozco Alvarez.  As well as Spanish, he speaks English, French, German, Korean and Japanese.  See my blog postfor more information and a picture to help you recognise him.

Getting around

  • You’ll find a great map of Coyoacan centre here.
  • National Geographic have a self-guided walking tour.
  • You can take the tranvía, a little red tourist tram with guided tours of the neighbourhood.  More info here.

Markets

  • Visit the Mercado Coyoacan to see how locals shop and to marvel at the array of colourful displays and the range of products on offer.
  • At the little known Mercado de Antojitos mexicanos behind the main Plaza Hidalgo you’ll find about a dozen stalls, each serving traditional Mexican street food.  It opens to 10pm on week nights and 2am on weekends.
  • You’ll find a great plant and flower market in Viveros park.
  • Be tempted by the wonderful array of crafts at the 2-story handicraft bazar on Carillo Puerto 25.

Eating out

There are too many options to mention but below I’ve noted a few of my favourites:

  • Merendero Las Lupitas, Plaza Santa Catarina 4, Coyoacan, on the corner with Francisco Sosa.  Typical dishes from Northern Mexico.
  • Entrevero, Jardin Centenario 14, Coyoacan.  Uruguayan steakhouse/pizza place.
  • Los Danzantes, Jardin Centenario 12, Coyoacan.  Contemporary Mexican cuisine.  They also bottle and sell their own mezcal. Good review here.
  • Centenario 107, Centenario 107, between Viena and Berlin, Colonia del Carmen.  Wine bar, beer bar and champagne bar each with its own pairing menu all under one roof.  Great live music.
  • Café Avellaneda, Higuera 40, Arturo Ibáñez, Coyoacán.  Named after Laura Avellaneda, the character in the book La Tregua by Uruguayan write Mario Benedetti, this must-see coffee shop serves real Mexican coffee from various coffee-producing states, prepared using your choice of a number of methods including a delicious 24 hours cold brew system.

Things to do

  • Wander around the picturesque plazas and churches.
  • Visit the 16th century San Juan Bautista church on Plaza Hidalgo and its side chapel to the left of the altar.  As you approach the altar on the left hand wall, you’ll see a frame filled with lots of little medals left my people whose prayers have been answered.
  • Buy an ice cream and/or a churro relleno (fried sticks of dough stuffed with delicious sweet sauces)
  • Walk along Calle Francisco Sosa, known as the pearl of Coyoacan due to its fantastically preserved colonial architecture.
  • Walk around the lush gardens of the Casa de Cultura Jesús Reyes Heroes and have a coffee among the tropical plants.
  • Stop off for coffee at Coyoacan institution, El Jarocho.

Museums (info taken from Wikitravel)

  • Museo Frida Kahlo, Londres 247, Col. Del Carmen, ☎ +52 55 5554 5999, +52 55 5658 5778, [1]. Tu 11AM-5:45PM, We-Su 10AM-5:45PM. Also known as La Casa Azul, this walled hacienda painted brilliant indigo blue, is where the much-revered Mexican artist spent the last years of her life. Admission includes access to the courtyard, a small series of galleries with ever-changing displays, and the historical portion of the house, which has been preserved from the days when Kahlo was alive. A small snack bar and museum shop are also on the premises, and lectures are given periodically. An iPod tour can be taken for an extra fee. $75; $35 for student ticket; $15 for senior ticket (60+); one ticket good at both here and Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli
  • Museo Diego Rivera-Anahuacalli, Museo 150, Col. San Pablo Tepetlapa, ☎ +52 55 5617 4310, +52 55 5617 3797, [2].Tu-Su 10:30AM-5PM (last tour on Friday at 4:15PM). Artist and muralist Diego Rivera built this structure to serve both as his studio and a museum to hold his collection of pre-Columbian art. The imposing neo-Aztec building sits in a parklike environment that is one of the few wildlife refuges in Mexico City. Guided tours of the main structure (in Spanish only) are given every hour or so. There is also a small gallery where art, music, and dance lessons, lectures, and concerts are held; check the placard at the entrance for details on what is being offered for the month. Secondary school groups make frequent outings. $45; $20 for student ticket; one ticket good at both here and Museo Frida Kahlo.
  • Museo Leon Trotsky, Viena 45, Col. Del Carmen, ☎ +52 55 5554 0687. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. Marxist theorist Leon Trotsky was granted asylum in Mexico after being expelled from the Soviet Union, where he settled in Coyoacán in 1936. He continued to be vocally critical of Stalin’s policies, however, and four years later he was assassinated in his home. The museum preserves the house in much the condition as it was in Trotsky’s last days. MXN$40
  • Museo Nacional de las Culturas Populares, Av. Hidalgo No. 289, Col. Del Carmen, ☎ 41 55 09 20, [3]. Tu-Su 10AM-6PM. This museum offers homage to the many different indigenous cultures of Mexico, celebrating folk art, music, gastronomy, and more. They also have an impressive bookshop with art for sale from skilled artisans from all over the country.

As always, don’t forget to check out my blog postandvideo for a more detailed guide to what I did in Coyoacan!