Land in Mexico City International Airport for a layover and you'll be just one of around a hundred and forty thousand passengers who use the facility on any particular day. That's a lot of people toing and froing through the installation and no matter how efficient that installation's staff are, hold-ups are inevitable. That's a fact that can make any short layover in Mexico City disappear in a flash and a long layover a whole lot shorter than expected.
The good thing though is that the airport is only five kilometers outside of the city and has excellent public transport options that are both swift and economical to use. If you use taxis or the Metro Bus Line 4 you can be in the city in less than half an hour. Skip the metro train though as while it may be only a few pesos, it takes almost an hour. And don't forget to drop off your bags as a Bounce luggage storage in Mexico City to make your trip easier.
6 hour layover in Mexico City
If you're hell-bent on seeing something of Mexico City and are only on a short stopover, jump on the Line 4 bus ride the full route there and back. It won't be the most exciting of sightseeing tours, but at least you'll be back at the airport in time for checking in for your Mexico City connection. Another option would be to pre-arrange a private tour with the taxi company for a couple of hours or stay put in the airport, chill out in a VIP lounge, grab a bite to eat, go duty-free shopping or ride around the airport on the Aerotrén.
- If you plan on taking a taxi into Mexico City the journey must be prepaid prior to boarding your flight. Taxicab tickets can be purchased from official kiosks just outside of arrivals
- The two terminals at Mexico City Airport are on opposite sides of the runways. To get from one to the other you can use the Aerotren which takes about five minutes.
8 hour layover in Mexico City
In reality having an eight-hour layover in Mexico City doesn't give you a great deal more time than a six-hour layover does so plan wisely. Expecting to have between four to five hours free might be being just a little too hopeful so stick to thinking you'll have four hours spare to prevent unwanted surprises. You'll be able to go into the city on the bus though. Alight when it reaches the Paseo de la Reforma Boulevard to stretch your legs and snap a few photos of the Angel of Independence statue. And drop off your bags at a Mexico City suitcase storage to make things easier on your trip.
- When your layover is on a Sunday morning, hire a bicycle and join the rest of the city to ride down the Paseo de la Reforma while it's closed to traffic.
- If you're on a short evening layover, head for Plaza Garibaldi in Downtown and you'll be able to catch the nightly mariachi performances. Don't get too carried away by the party though or you'll miss your ongoing flight.
10 to 12 hour layover in Mexico City
Getting a breath of fresh air while on a layover in Mexico City may seem like an impossibility, but it's not. Chapultepec Park is around a twenty minute taxi ride from the airport and one of the city's more interesting green spaces. In the park you'll find Chapultepec Lake where you can hire a pedal boat and have a mess about on the water. It's a fun and refreshing way of passing a couple of hours of your layover.
- High on a hill above the park is the Chapultepec Castle, a magnificent 18th century fortress which houses the National Museum of History. It's worth a visit just to see the views of Mexico City from the battlements.
- If you like history or art then the Chapultepec park really is the best place to spend your Mexico City layover as there are many more museums and art galleries there than the NMH. The National Museum of Anthropology, the Papalote Children's Museum, the Chapultepec Zoo and the Studio of Luis Barragan are just a few other places you can visit while there.
- When you're too tired to explore the park on foot, try riding around on the mini-train instead. It runs at night too.
- Mexico City has a plethora of rooftop bars and restaurants which are the ideal place for a leisurely evening meal or drink while watching the sun go down.
- If you want to try local food on your layover and get to meet people too, try a walking food tour of the historic center. You'll learn about Mexican cuisine and eat street food as well as dishes in a typical cantina.
24 hour layover in Mexico City
On a twenty-four layover in Mexico City you'll be able to delve a little deeper into the Mexican history and culture. A great way of doing it is to take a tour to the Teotihuacan pyramids which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site to the northeast of the city. Different still is a sail down the Xochimilco waterways on a trajinera boat. If you prefer to stay in the city rather than go outside of it, the hop-on hop-off bus is a great way to do your sightseeing economically and at your own pace. If you need to check out early, don’t forget that there are plenty of luggage lockers in Mexico City where you can store your unneeded bags.
- Tickets for the hop-on hop-off bus are valid for twenty-four hours so it doesn't matter if you start your layover sightseeing late in the day as your ticket will continue to be valid the following morning.
- Do something so completely different on your Mexico City layover that it will live in your memory forever. Take a hot air balloon ride over the pyramids of Teotihuacan. It's an awe-inspiring experience that takes around five hours even though the flight is usually about forty-five minutes.
- Get rid of all your layover frustrations by going to watch a lucha libre wrestling match at La Arena Coliseo or the Arena Mexico. You'll feel a lot better after listening to all the grunting, panting and a couple of shots of tequila.