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Tips for first-time tourists to Mexico City

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• As with many countries located near the equator, Mexico has only two seasons: dry and rainy. Present-day Mexico City, while situated in a valley, is located in the northern part of the country, which means the weather is a bit cooler. Visiting the metropolis during the traditional summer months of March to May means experiencing temperatures of around 10-30 degrees Celsius, with light to moderate rain at night.

• Mexicans start and end their days late. Lunch at 3 p.m. is not uncommon, as with dinner at 9 p.m. They also take long meals (although this practice is slowly waning as more and more foreign companies set up shop there, with regular work hours), and offers of tequila or cerveza at lunchtime are almost customary.

• A repeated tip from locals is to adjust your itinerary to traffic. Mexico is no stranger to traffic jams, especially in the larger cities. What could be a 30-minute drive on a good day will, on an especially busy evening, turn into a two-hour trip, with vehicles advancing by just mere inches for long stretches of time.

• Lines at tourist spots can get long. For museums, in particular, as this is not Europe where there are special passes, it’s best to schedule these visits earlier in the day.

• Being careful and aware of your surroundings will go a long way. Petty street crimes usually target tourists, so act the way you normally would in an unfamiliar place. Women may also need to take extra precautions when traveling alone, as express kidnappings — where a person is abducted and forced to pay a small ransom, usually via bank withdrawals — are rampant in Latin American countries.

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