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Is Getting A Tour Guide In Mexico City Worth The Money?

By Edited Jan 11, 2014 1 0

Tour Buses in Mexico City

Mexico City is a very large city so seeing it all is difficult if you are doing it on your own. That said it is only natural that you would like to visit DF (as the city is known), because there is so much to see and do. But with such a big city it is a good idea to use the services of a guide. You may be wondering however if such services are worth the money and if you want to not miss some of the Mexico City Highlights then they are.

The Price Is Not Bad

Money matters when we go on vacation and guide services in Mexico City are not something that should break the bank. You can get some great walking guide services for as little as 10 dollars for a couple of hours. Tour buses are also available and they are somewhere around 12 to 25 dollars for a day depending on the tour. The lower price walking services meet you at a certain part of the city or your hotel if it is nearby and show you around a specific area in a walking tour, but that is all that you need especially in the center of the city or museums. Other guides offer more services such as car pick up but those are a bit more expensive, and with the traffic in this metropolis time can go by fast.

For Shopping

A local tour guide can also help you when you are looking to shop for souvenirs. You can head into a store for your souvenir shopping needs, but if you want some of the hand-made crafts from the locals, then a tour guide is your best bet. Here is where you can actually make the money that you are spending on the guide back. Many tourists don't know this, but if a local sees you as a tourist they could give you the "tourist price". By just buying a couple of things you could be paying extra money needed to hire a guide that could do the shopping for you. Guides also know where to find the best things for a lower price, and some will even bargain the price down for you if necessary.

Balderas Crafts Market

Though most guides will take you to the Balderas market when shopping others can arrange a visit to Xochimilco which is another great place to shop and see the sights. Xochimilco an attraction to people who want to try the boat rides and while some of the tourists will also buy a few items there, shopping is not the main reason to go there and that means that the prices are usually lower than those at Balderas.


Safety is also very important, but a tourist taking pictures can become the victim of pickpocket thieves. The authorities take tourist safety very seriously so they make sure to keep the areas that you visit very well guarded, but a guide knows what areas are not considered the safest. Mexico City is not unsafe, but the bad neighborhoods are dicey to say the least. The problem is that some of those bad neighborhoods are not that far from the safe tourist areas. The Tepito neighborhood which is known as one of the roughest is just ten minutes away from Zona Rosa which is very tourist friendly. If you do not know the city as well or where the bad spots are you could get lost in the wrong place. Tour buses and guides will take you to the spots you need to see and are absolutely safe. 

Tour Buses

There are great things about tour buses and some that are not so great. Safety of course is one of the biggest benefits, but you also get to see more on a limited schedule. Turibus is a company that will take you to different parts of the city for a single price. you can get on and off the bus as you please in the tourist attractions. Some tour buses will take you to attractions outside of Mexico City like the Teotihuacan ruins, Puebla, and Cholula. 

The one problem with the tour buses in the city is that they have to deal with traffic. Driving in DF is not for the faint of heart, and every driver in the city knows that. Even when there is not much traffic a lot of the drivers are careless and take more chances than they have to; that said tour buses are rarely involved in accidents, but they still have to deal with thousands of other cars and constant traffic lights.

The best thing that you can do if you want to get the most out of a tour bus is to save it for the weekend, especially for a Sunday. traffic is a lot more tolerable on Saturdays and Sundays so you will have more time to see the sights if you choose to get off the bus for a bit. Night tours are available but a lot of the sights close at night and you will have less time in your tour so think of that before you book.

Get A Good Walking Guide

When you get to Zocalo you will find a few guides especially close to the Aztec ruins to the west of the cathedral. While they can give you a good idea of what to see in the area, you can also make an appointment with a bilingual guide at the tourist sites. The guides that you make appointments with have a lot more experience and knowledge of the places than those that stand outside waiting for tourists. They are also a lot more likely to speak different languages so you will get a better tour.

Other spots in the city also offer tour guide services for free. Bosque de Chapultepec has free tour guides by the entrance close to the Chapultepec station. They usually have megaphones and stand by tables  past the Lions Bridge just before you get to the "Niños Heroes" monument and the Museum of Modern Art. Some of those tour guides will speak english fluently, so make sure to ask for one that does.



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