Mexico is the third most visited country in the world. Whether it is for its culture, cuisine or incredible beaches, this country has something to offer even for the most demanding tourist. Mexico is also committed to sustainable tourism and the protection of natural resources. For a couple of years now, it has stablished environmental standards to certify green hotels and ecotourism. Similarly, it has several destinations around the country certified as sustainable by Earth Check.
So, if among your plans for this year, 2019, is visiting Mexico City, in this article we talk about some options and recommendations to do it in a sustainable way.
Where to stay
El Patio #77
This Bed & Breakfast, located 10 minutes from the Zocalo of Mexico City, is the ideal place to rest. This old 19th century mansion is an intimate, luxurious and sustainable place that has solar heaters, as well as a water recovery and filtering system. Most of its decoration is made of recycled materials and salvaged furniture. The rooms have the names of different states of the Mexican Republic such as Suite Chiapas, Oaxaca, Chihuahua, Michoacán and the breakfast is made from seasonal products and 100% Mexican organic coffee, a delight that you must try.
Organico Hotel Boutique
This quiet hotel is surrounded by gardens and forests. Just 8 km from the forests and mountains of the Cumbres del Ajusco National Park, it allows you to experience nature in the city. Depending on your budget, you can choose the type of cabin but all in harmony with the ecosystem. It has gourmet restaurants of the highest quality (this place has been the host of Iron Chef) and activities such as reforestation. This is a unique space on the mountain to rest.
Where to eat
An excellent choice for vegans and vegetarians where you can find breakfast, dinner and their own version of the typical Mexican food such as: cabbage tinga, mushroom pozole or mushroom pancita. Located in Roma Norte and Anzures, this place is not only made of recycled material, but all the containers are biodegradable, they recycle, they separate waste and the cleaning materials are biodegradable. If you bring your own glass or cup, they give you free coffee.
When you come to Mexico, you must have a torta and this place is vegan heaven on wheels that offers these marvelous 15 cm creations. Located on Puebla Street, their tortas are made with a base of beans, vegan mayonnaise, avocado and lettuce. As “meat” they offer milanesa with sausage, carne al pastor, suadero, pibil soy and vegan chorizo. For a small extra amount, you can add vegan cheese and the best thing is that they also sell tacos.
La Casa del Pan Papalotl
There’s an old saying here in Mexico that says: all sorrows are better with bread. So, if you are looking for something sweet on a rainy afternoon in the city or to accompany your morning coffee, this handmade bakery located in Coyoacan is a paradise for vegetarians and vegans. All their breads are made with seeds and organic grains and they are delicious. You will become addicted to the cinnamon rolls, cuernitos, conchas and apple strudel.
Café ruta de la seda
This coffee shop in Coyoacan offers certified organic pastries, as well as vegan and gluten-free options. The recommendation is the cacao route cake, or the green tea cake accompanied by a delicious cup of Chiapas coffee.
How to get around
Mexico City has one of the worst traffic in the world. If walking is not an option and you do not want to take public transportation, there are other options.
One of the most popular is the EcoBici (or Eco Bike). However, it can be a bit complicated to register and if you are only in town for a few days, I recommend you the electric scooters, especially if you need to move between the neighborhoods of La Roma and La Condesa. All you have to do is download the App Grin and with a cost of $15 MXN (0.75 USD) you can use one.
If you are in the downtown area, you can take the famous Bici Taxis (Taxi Bike) or the Segway tour. Fun and different ways to move around Mexico City.
What to visit
Ecological Park of Xochimilco
Located to the south of the city, this place offers trekking, observation of the endemic flora and fauna of the place, temascal bath, fishing and kayak. Forget about the classic Xochimilco with its trajineras and beer; this place is better!
Viveros de Coyoacan
Maybe you already visited Frida Kahlo’s house or enjoyed some churros with hot chocolate in the plaza, but in Coyoacan you can also find one of the largest green areas of the city. This place not only has its own plants and seeds market, it also has reforestation activities, environmental education and a clay court for athletes. The Viveros de Coyoacan have many trails and the recommendation is to walk on the Acacias to find some wooden sculptures with unique designs.
Ejidal Park San Nicolás Totolapan
Driving through the Picacho-Ajusco road, there’s this place with an area of more than 2000 hectares, is the first social tourism project carried out on conservation land in Mexico City. In this park you can still see springs and small rivers that arise from among the pine forests, this park also helps the conservation of the teporingo and whitetail deer.
Where to shop
Hilos en Nogada
In Mexico, there are 12 million people artisans and despite its economic, social and cultural importance, this profession is often underestimated. For this reason, it is important to promote fair trade and value craft work. Thus, we can preserve this Mexican tradition. My recommendation is this store in Polanco because they work directly with the artisans. Here you will find craft work from Hidalgo, Guerrero, Puebla, Oaxaca, among others. Hilos en Nogada respects the cultural identity of each region, promotes fair trade and 65% of the profits go back to the artisans. The best thing? You can find something from $45 MXN ($2 USD) that will be a great souvenir or gift for someone back home.
This blog is penned by Valerie Hernandez. Valerie is a music journalist and photographer living in Mexico City. She also writes for different digital and printed media. She loves traveling and telling stories. Some of her proudest achievements are finishing her first novel and going on tour every summer on the Vans Warped Tour. She believes OPR is one of the best travel platforms she’s used because it’s not just another review on the internet or a complaint about poor service or experience. It is something more. It’s about making a difference. Right now, it is very trendy to travel and with everything that is happening with our planet and the environment, the best we can do is travel sustainably and without continuing the damage that being a simple tourist makes to the world.