Cuernavaca

There's always been a formidable glamour surrounding Cuernavaca (kwehr-nah-ra -kah), the high-society capital of Morelos State. With its vast gated haciendas, year-round warmth, clean air and attractive architecture, it has in the past attracted everyone from the Shah of Iran to Charles Mingus. Today this tradition continues, even though urban sprawl has put a decisive end to the clean air and you're less likely to meet international royalty and great artists in the street, and far more likely...

Top picks

French Les Moustaches (left) Japanese Sushi Shalala (pi49) Korean U Rae Ok (opposite) Lebanese Al-Andalus (p136) Spanish Tierra de Vinos (p151) Mappp74-5 Traditional Mexican 5525-8128 Liverpool 166 dishes M 110 M Insurgentes The Fonda was founded 50 years ago by the late Judith Martinez Ortega, whose folkloric collection of copper pots, colorful paintings and whimsical ceramic ornaments still decorate the dining rooms. Fortunately, she also collected recipes, which her family continues to...

Planc

Polanco is the Beverly Hills of Mexico City so, together with designer shops and miniature poodles, you can expect to find some fine dining among the inevitable rip-off establishments. Note that it is wise to reserve ahead at all the top-end restaurants located here. Map p84 Contemporary Mexican 5281-8354 Emilio Castelar 127 dishes M 250-375 S1-11pm Mon-Sat Polanco (P) A modern temple of somewhat stark decor coupled with exciting updated Mexican flavors, Martha Ortiz is something of a culinary...

Cell Phones

Like other Mexican phone numbers, every Mexican tel fono celular (cell phone) has an area code (usually the code of the city it was bought in). The area code and the phone's number total 10 digits. When calling a cell phone from a landline, you dial 044 before the 10 digits if the cell phone's area code is the same as the area code you are dialing from and 045 if the cell phone has a different area code. From cell phone to cell phone, just dial the 10-digit number. To call a Mexican cell phone...

Practical Question Words

Lugares para comer antros bars lugares para gays Spice up your chat with some slang expressions You'll hear many of these words and phrases around Mexico City. V monos de antro. - Let's go to a dub bar. B jale - Don't exaggerate Come on chingar - literally 'to fuck' it has a wide range of colloquial usages in Mexican Spanish equivalent to those in English ching n - crude way to say something is very good, great Fue un reven bien ching n - It was a fantastic party Te gust el conaerto S , estuvo...

Alameda Central Around

Shopping p122 Eating p139 Sleeping p203 Emblematic of the downtown renaissance, the green rectangle just west of the Centro Hist rico holds a vital place in Mexico City's cultural life. Surrounded by historically significant buildings, the Alameda Central has been a leisurely strolling ground for the capital's denizens for over four centuries. Indelibly linked with the city's long, tumultuous history, the park became the stage for one of Diego Rivera's most imaginative tableaux, a mural...

Roma

Bohemian Colonia Roma has traditionally been known for its caf society rather than its restaurants. Several longstanding coffee shops along Avenida Alvaro Obreg n reinforce that image. But Roma has increasingly become the place to go for an evening glass of wine and quiet conversation accompanied by pasta or salad, particularly at some of the sidewalk bistros along Calle Orizaba and around the delightful Parque Luis Cabrera. Another area to investigate is the Plaza Villa de Madrid (aka Plaza de...

Opening Moves

When National Action Party (PAN) candidate Vicente Fox was elected president of Mexico in 2000, breaking the PRI's hold on the presidency after an uninterrupted 70 years in power, it seemed to herald a new era of openness in the country. To a great extent, that promise went unfulfilled - mainly due to Fox's ineffectiveness as a leader and his inability to enact reforms in an opposition-dominated Congress - but the country was unquestionably moving in a more democratic direction. Three years...

Zona Rosa Cuauhtmoc Juarez

The Pink Zone, the capital's international party center, boasts the highest concentration of bars and clubs in town, and prices at the numerous venues along Londres and Florencia reflect its tourist orientation. Male pedestrians in this area should be prepared for aggressive invitations from numerous street-corner hustlers to 'ladies' bars' and 'table dance clubs.' Calle Amberes has become the hub of the gay and lesbian-oriented bar scene p196 . CAF LA HABANA Map pp74-5 Caf This grand...

Detour Tula

The probable capital of the ancient Toltec civilization is best known for its fearsome 4.5m-high stone warrior figures. Though less spectacular and far smaller than Teotihuac n, Tula is still a fascinating site and well worth the effort of a day trip. The modern town of Tula de Allende is surrounded bya PEMEX refineryand an odoriferous petrochemical plant, but the center is pleasant enough for an overnight stay. Tula was an important city from about AD 900 to 1150, reaching a peak population of...

Transportation Polanco

Metro - Metro Polanco Linea 7 , on Horacio, is smack in the center of the neighborhood. To reach the Zona Hotelera, the hotel zone on Polanco's south side, use the Auditorio station on the same line. Bus - 'Metro Auditorio' peseros traveling west from the Alameda access Polanco from the south Bosque de Chapultepec side of the neighborhood - get off at Verne, just past the Auditorio, and walk north. Another convenient pesero, labeled 'Metro Sevilla-P Masaryk', travels between Colonia Roma Av...

Plaza De La Repblica San Rafael

Farther from the Z calo, the area around the Monument to the Revolution is awash in hotels of every category, with a number of by-the-hour dives interspersed amid the business-class establishments. Unaffected by the wave of development sweeping the Centro and Reforma corridor, the semiresidential zone offers glimpses of Chilango neighborhood life. Schoolchildren and office workers share the streets with hookers, troubadours and visitors from the provinces - add the strains of an organ grinder...

Art Galleries

5311-7965 www.arroniz-arte.com Plaza R o de Janeiro 53, Roma M Insurgentes Despite its location on an elegant leafy square, this gallery has a raw urban energy, with its Soho-style space and basic concrete floors. This is the only gallery in the country specializing in limited-edition engravings and prints. Artists include the new and the emerging as well as the established. A modest number of paintings and photography is generally on show here, too. Exhibitions change every three months....

Polanco

The bars of upscale Polanco can be more democratic than you might expect. Everyone seems to want to bask in the exclusive, electronica-fueled aura exuded by the hotel bars in the Zona Hotelera and along Presidente Masaryk, and they're willing to pay the price for the sexy cocktails dispensed therein. and they're willing to pay the price for the sexy cocktails dispensed therein. 5255-5277 Presidente Masaryk 101 8 30am-2am Mon-Sat M Polanco Big Red is a volume dealer. Drinks are priced by the...

Bus

Mexico City's thousands of buses and peseros also called microbuses or combis operate from around 5am until 8pm or 9pm daily electric trolleybuses run until 11 30pm. Only a few routes run all night, notably those along Paseo de la Reforma and the metrobus along Av Insurgentes. This means you'll get anywhere by bus and or metro during the day but will probably have to take a few taxis after hours. Peseros are generally gray-and-green minibuses operated by private firms. They follow fixed routes,...

Organized Tours

Journeys Beyond the Surface 5922-0123 www .travelmexicocity.com.mx Offers personalized walking tours on aspects of the DF experience, with a get-off-the-beaten track attitude. Enhanced by expert commentary, tours may cover pre-Hispanic architecture, the muralist movement, or life in low-income neighborhoods, depending on participants' interests. Mexico Soul amp Essence 5564-8457 www.mexicosoul andessence.com Culinary-cultural excursions by articulate bicultural guides with a passionate interest...

Trova Traditional

Situated well outside the commercial mainstream, Mexico's trovadores - more singer-songwriters than troubadours - perform in a number of casual caf s around town. Taking their cue from such Cuban artists as Pablo Milan s and Silvio Rodriguez, they write songs that are deeper and more poetic than the usual pop fare, with lyrics that touch on political and personal themes. The website www.trovamex.com does a good job of compiling events, venues and artists. If you're looking for traditional...