Mexico City, Mexico

We’re back! It’s been a whirlwind few months, with maternity leave, the start of work, and a few smaller trips in between. I’d promised to myself that our fundamental interests wouldn’t change too much once kids came along, and travel was a huge part of that. We figured the more mom and dad got used to traveling, the more kids would as well. Now, S is 8 months old and so far she’s taken a ferry ride to Block Island, a train ride to New York City, many road trips to New Hampshire and Maine, and plane rides to Atlanta and Milwaukee to see family since our last big trip to Hawaii. This is S’s first international trip, squeezed in right before the crux of the new COVID wave (may it be our last), and was a great way to end 2021.

Traveling is not as easy as it was without a baby, of course, but we still almost did as much as we would’ve without baby. S had a little cold and then we thought she was going through a sleep regression, which made it harder – but it turned out to be the dreaded Hand Foot Mouth Disease, because she gave it to me the night before we left Mexico to come home. Also M got food poisoning in the middle of the trip. Even with all of that, we still had a grand time in the warmth and exploring a new city! All we really needed to bring for S was a pouch of baby food (she is still exclusively breastfed, and in the midst of starting solids), her clothes, a few small toys, and diapers/wipes (even though you can buy some once you get there. We just preferred to bring our own since we had room in our suitcase). We requested a crib in the hotel room, and just fed S on the floor rather than bringing in a high chair. We also gate checked our stroller and car seat, and brought a carrier. It was nice slowing a down a little while traveling, since we tried to do as many naps as possible in the hotel and generally stayed in after bedtime as well.

Our crib in hotel room
tired after a long flight; passed out in the taxi ride to the hotel

Who thought Mexico City was such a wonderful, cosmopolitan city? There are so many museums, so many cool places to walk around, and so much good food. Most people spoke Spanish exclusively (M is relatively fluent so we got by fine), but it was still easy enough to get around especially with Ubers. We were stressing about how to get around in Ubers with a car seat, but ended up just using a carrier with S on short trips (maybe not the safest, but that was the only way we could get around without hauling a stroller + car seat everywhere with us).

Day 1:

After flying in on a Monday afternoon, we took the day to get settled into our hotel (near the Angel of Independence, which is a great area) and explore the markets around our hotel. The next few days’ itinerary was much more packed.

Day 2:

After breakfast around our hotel and walking around, we headed to Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes. The line at 11 AM (when it opened) was already long, but it moves fast enough. We also went across the street to the Sears building to check out the view from above. The area is very busy (reminiscent of Times Square), so we didn’t spend too much time around here before heading to Chapultepec park.

We had some delicious food in the park from the many street vendors, then walked around and tried to go to the Castillo. Unfortunately they have a limit of 3800 people a day and we arrived there in the late afternoon after spending all day walking around the park, so we couldn’t get in (don’t worry – we came back a few days later when it opened at 9 AM and got in!).

We spent the rest of the day walking through Condesa and La Rome Norte, two beautiful tree-lined areas that are extremely walkable with a stroller. There were some beautiful parks and cafes along the way that we enjoyed, before calling it a night at our hotel!

Day 3:

This morning we returned to Chapultepec park to visit the Castillo. It was super interesting to learn about the history of Mexico City and the royalty that lived at the only castle in North America. The castle was beautiful and even though the line seems long, it moved quickly at least in the morning.

In the afternoon we visited Plaza de la Ciudadela, a beautiful artisan market, where we got a few souvenir and enjoyed strolling about (with a carrier).

At night, we met up with our good friends from bschool who are from Mexico City! They wined and dined us at Carmela y Sal, which was one of the best food experiences of our lives – and super cheap to boot (~$100 for each couple, with wine, liquor, and many delicious main dishes). We used minunu to book a babysitter to come to our hotel to watch S while we were at dinner – usually this would be no problem since S generally sleeps well, but she was going through HFM and was very cranky, so the babysitter had to help soothe her to sleep. It ended up being fine, and was only ~$40 for 4 hours.

Day 4:

Since M was recovering from food poisoning, S and I had a morning walking around Zocalo area and visiting the cathedral and Museo Temple Mayor. We also had the best tacos of the trip at Taqueria Orinoco, which was right by our hotel for lunch.

In the afternoon we took an Uber to San Angel. We should’ve just brought a carrier rather than the stroller, since the streets were cobblestone! You should generally pair San Angel with Coyoacan, since they are only a 10 min uber ride from each other, but we were running close to bedtime and decided to come back to Coyoacan the next day.

Day 5:

We hired a private car to take us to Teotihuacan, since the car ride was a little over an hour and that felt too long to just carry S in a baby carrier the whole time. This is one of the instances where we no longer can travel the most affordably with a baby, and have to opt for convenience instead. It was pretty nice being picked up at our hotel and getting picked up right where we needed though, without worrying about a timetable! We opted for not having a tour guide since we like going our own pace, arriving at the pyramids at around 9 AM (the hot air balloons were still flying – by the time we left they were gone).

Lunch after at La Gruta was great – touristy for sure but still a great experience. We even tried the “Mexican caviar” – escamoles, or ant larvae – on recommendation from our friends! After a huge day walking around the sites, we returned to the hotel and S had a great big nap.

In the afternoon we went to Coyoacan, where we walked around the cute plaza and Mercado de Coyoacán. Unfortunately we couldn’t get tickets to the Frida Kahlo museum ahead of time, so we missed out on one of the biggest attractions of the area – but it was still wonderful to walk around!

That night I suddenly got a super high fever, so I thought I’d contracted COVID…but took a few rapid tests and a test at the airport before our flight, and it was not. Just realized a few days later that I actually had HFMD after sores started popping up on my hands – so it was a terrible flight back, but at least we somehow made it back even amidst all the flight cancellations! It was a tiring return flight, and an eventful trip, but still so fun and completely worth it with baby. We have a few trips planned for 2022 – many weddings, Disney, and maybe even a Eurotrip depending on how COVID goes, so we’re excited to balance it all with both of us back full-time at work (with no paid childcare the first few months at least of 2022!)

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