The crazy journey to South America…and our short hiatus in Mexico!

The long journey to Peru started with a 4am wake up to catch our 7 am flight from San Jose to Mexico City. For all those leaving from San Jose airport be aware of the departure tax ($26 USD at time of writing) payable prior to baggage and security check. The flight to Mexico city via Air Mexico was easy. The movie and complimentary breakfast helped the three hours pass quickly and before we knew it we were approaching Mexico City – one of the world’s most populous cities and it shows. Urban sprawl has transformed the rolling hills of the Mexican countryside into a massive demonstration in suburban development. Even at altitude the city seemed to expand forever and as we touched down with 14 hours to kill before our next flight, we knew that exploring all of Mexico City in that time would be nearly impossible.

Woah! Neverending!

The plan all along was to exit the airport and explore the capital city so we could pile on another country to our growing list. No lines at immigration, thanks to a smooth process by Mexican authorities helped put

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our minds at ease. The only minor inconvenience was that we had to collect our bags and pass through customs, but again, an easy process. After pacing back and forth between money changers finding the best rate and one to exchange our aussie dollars we stashed our bags with the left luggage service and boarded the commuter bus to the metro,

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and on to the city center.

Street Art!

We found Mexico City had an extensive, cheap, and userfriendly metro system. In no time we were walking the downtown streets taking in the bright colors and wonderful smells of the street vendors lining the roadsides. It didn’t take long for us to find some cheap goods, a must for every US citizen visiting Mexico; a new pair of sunnies for Chels that came with a whopping price tag of $1.75USD. Not even five minutes later, we were sampling the local fare, a trend that continued throughout the day.

yummy! First sampling of the street food

We set out for Zocalo, one of the largest city squares in the world. Although the sheer size of it was impressive, and it housed one of the most massive flags

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I’ve ever seen flying… there was NOTHING there! No vendors, no street food, no art or street performers. So we walked across it, and that was that. On the other side of the square stood the Metropolitan Cathedral, which boasts the title of being the largest cathedral in the Americas! It was very impressive both inside and out, and worth a quick peak!

Zocalo Square

Next we headed for the main pedestrian strip which had an overload of jewelry and gold shops, and not enough cafes. We did find a super local spot to eat in that was PACKED with Mexicans… tacos served out of a huge bucket. We had no idea what we were ordering, but this man that spoke a bit of English ordered for us! It was delicious but a bit unsettling on the tummy!

Local taco shop!

We started walking again and soon found ourselves wandering around Alameda Central Park, which was full of vendors! Finally, we found the fun stuff! Anything you could possibly want, you could find at these markets, whether it be food, souvenirs, art, or everyday supplies like batteries and razors. Of course, Brad and I had to avoid any urge to purchase something, so made our way to one of the other free museums in the city..which happened to be very cool.. the National Cultural Museum. It houses artifacts and information about past and present cultures of the human race!


When 5pm came around, we decided we should head back to avoid “the dangers of Mexico city”, although we actually felt safer walking around there than many places in Central America. Only 6 more hours to kill in the airport before our flight to Lima, Peru. By the time it came to board the plane, we were ready to PASS out! Before we knew it, we had landed in Lima and were on our way to the Cruz del Sur bus station for another 7 hour wait before our ride.

Fun in the Airport!

A few episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” later, and we were boarding the nicest bus we’ve ever been on! The leather seats reclined almost all the way, with a pillow, blanket, headphones, movies and food service! Like a plane, but roomier, which made the 24-hours we were about to spend on it go by much smoother! :)

Cruz del Sur

So after a 4am taxi ride ->plane ride -> 15 hour layover in Mexico City with metro/bus/taxis -> plane ride -> taxi ride with 6 hour layover in Lima ->24 hour bus ride to Cusco -> taxi ride to another bus terminal -> shared van to Urubamba! FINALLY…we arrived at our couchsurfers in the beautiful Sacred Valley :) I think we beat our Honduras/Nicaraguan border crossing experience with multiple modes of travel!

This entry was posted in Airport, Central America, Cruz del Sur, Mexico, Mexico City, South America, Street Food, Transportation, Travel Tips and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The crazy journey to South America…and our short hiatus in Mexico!

  1. Nanny Rochfort says:

    and so ready for your next adventure. you are certainly having a wonderful experience’good on you guys

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