Against all odds, Mexico City is green!
As I mentioned in my blog post, Mexico City is far from being the concrete jungle I thought it was going to be. Follow my tips on how to escape the chaos and breathe fresh air without even leaving the city. Don’t forget to check out my video poston the topic if you can’t wait to see the places in person!
Bosque de Chapultepec
- The largest city park in Latin America, twice the size of Central Park in New York. Located within walking distance of most of the most popular tourist neighbourhoods
- The park is divided into three sections
- For a map of the whole park, see here
- For a detailed guide to the three sections in English, see this Wikipedia article
- Closest metro stop: Metro Constituyentes (Orange Line 7)
- See here for a map of the Second Section. Attractions listed below.
- A large lake, the Lago Mayor
- 4km of jogging paths
- Outdoor exercise facilities
- The Feria de Chapultepec theme park
- The El Papalote interactive children’s museum
- The Museo Tecnologico de la CFE technology museum.
- You’ll also find Diego Rivera’s fountain to the Aztec rain god Tlaloc.
- Closest metro stop: Metro Constituyentes (Orange Line 7). Note that it is quite a distance from the metro station (See location on Google maps).
- Section 3 is the least developed of the three sections. See here for a map of the Third Section.
- Serves as a wildlife protection area although you will see people walking or on horseback.
Desierto de los Leones National Park
- National Park located entirely within the limits of Mexico City in the Sierra de las Cruces mountain range west of the city centre with an area of 1,867 hectares.
- If you can afford it, a taxi from your hotel is the easiest way to get there. If your budget is tight take the metro to Barranca del Muerto and go by taxi from there.
- For a detailed guide to the area, see this Wikipedia article.
- Park opens 9am – 5pm. Closed on Mondays.
- Altitude varies between 2,600 and 3,700 meters above sea level giving the area a relatively cold and damp climate so dress accordingly.
- Hikers and bikers beware: There are no trail maps. Go with someone who knows the area if at all possible.
- Webpage (in Spanish only) with park events listings available here.
- Open Tuesday to Sunday 9am-5pm.
- We had to pay a fee of about $10 MXN entering the park but I am not sure how official that payment was.
- The park offers activities such as day camping, overnight camping, hiking and mountain biking.
- Facilities include picnic tables, grills, and children’s playgrounds.
- There are also shops selling wood handcrafts and restaurants selling typical Mexican dishes near the ex-monastery.
- The Exconvento del Desierto de los Leones is a 17th century monastery once inhabited by Carmelite monks
- Entrance fee into the monastery: $10 MXN.
- Guided tours of the monastery available on Saturdays and Sundays.
- You’ll find the “El Restaurante de los Monjes” inside the monastery. It is a bit pricey but the courtyard surroundings are stunning. Make sure to pick a table outside.
- Take the time to visit the spooky underground tunnels and the Chapel of Secrets.
Large city parks
- Viveros de Coyoacan – a combination tree nursery and public park which covers 38.9 hectares in the Coyoacán borough of Mexico City.
- Bosque de Tlalpan – a forest with hiking and jogging trails south of the city centre.
- Parque Mexico, Condesa – a beautiful park right in the heart of the popular La Condesa neighbourhood, perfect for jogging, walking, reading on a bench. Outdoor exercise equipment and free WIFI available.
National parks and forests
I have heard various stories regarding safety issues when visiting more remote areas of Mexico City and advise you to do your own research beforehand and to visit with someone who knows the area when possible. I have only visited the first two places on the following list and therefore cannot give an opinion on the rest.
- Cumbres del Ajusco is a national park known for its high elevations reaching 3,900 meters (12,795 ft) above sea level and is visible from any part of Mexico City. Excellent hiking. Horseback riding available. Climbing to it’s second-highest peak, El Pico del Aguila at 3,880 m (12,730 ft.) above sea level was one of the best experiences of my life. We hadn’t planned to climb that day and I ended up doing it in Converse. It was doable but I highly recommend proper hiking gear in case of adverse weather as it did get tricky at times. See here for a New York Time’s article on hiking in Ajusco.
- Parque Nacional Los Dinamos offers the best rock climbing in Mexico City. You’ll also find streams to paddle in, picnic areas and food stalls as well as hiking trails. Staff told us off for wearing shorts during rattlesnake breeding season! Be careful and do your research first.
Below are the locations I have not yet visited. Please research any safety issues before visiting the places mentioned: