Published on June 13th, 2013 | by admin
My Mexico City: Travel Tips from Minister of Tourism Miguel Torruco
Considering that Mexico City is the largest city in Mexico and North America — and one of the largest cities in the world — it’s no surprise that there are an awful lot of attractions and activities. Miguel Torruco, who has served as the minister of tourism for this thriving metropolis since December 2012, has a unique viewpoint about the best things to do in Mexico City.
In this exclusive interview with LatinFlyer.com, this 42-year veteran of the tourism industry — he started as a bellman at the Hotel de Paseo in Mexico City and has since held several high-level tourism positions and authored nine books — spoke about the evolution of one of Mexico’s most exciting destinations (you can get more travel ideas in LatinFlyer’s previous article, Surprising City: 5 Unexpected Things to do in Mexico City).
How is Mexico City changing?
Mexico City is a fascinating destination capable of surprising even the well-traveled person. The metropolis continuously transforms itself and offers visitors rich history and culture with the vitality of any world-class city. Today, the City offers a wide range of accommodations, with everything from affordable hotels to high-end, five-star properties that combine luxurious accommodations and impeccable service with Mexican hospitality.
In Mexico City, there is every major internationally recognized hotel brand, with the most recent openings being the Hotel Live Aqua Bosques Mexico City in Santa Fe, a new JW Marriott Mexico City Santa Fe, and Le Méridien Mexico City in the city’s financial and cultural district. Hilton Hotels & Resorts recently announced they will open a Hilton Santa Fe Mexico City in 2014. The existing JW Marriott Mexico City in Polanco has also begun a $30 million renovation. New hotels continue to open every year.
What about the culinary scene?
Another sector that has evolved is the gastronomy experience. The city has many restaurants that offer traditional Mexican cuisine, which is listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. There are also many elegant Mexican-fusion restaurants. The city is a really a melting pot of cuisines where traditional foods from countries around the world can be savored in sophisticated and elegant restaurants and even rustic cafes to food markets and local taco shops or “taquerias,” which are more affordable but boast the same excellent quality and flavor.
What do luxury travelers look for in Mexico City?
Another area that continues to progress is the luxury travel segment. As I mentioned, there are many 5-star properties and two of the world’s best restaurants, but beyond that we have an elite art scene, where art enthusiast and collectors from around the world are now coming to Mexico to purchase pieces. We also have the Avenida Presidente Masaryk – a trendy street in the upscale Polanco neighborhood, one of the most expensive shopping districts in the world. The destination certainly caters to this market.
As a local, what do you personally like best about Mexico City?
I was born in Mexico City, and after many years, I can confirm that this is a magical city.
The people are welcoming. The mild climate is pleasant, and in the evenings the temperature drops just enough to allow those who don’t have air conditioning in their homes to enjoy a restful sleep.
There are a myriad of experiences here; the beauty of the city extends from the Historical Center, where one feels the influence of the New Spain – especially through the architectural and cultural heritage – as well as the oldest pyramid, the Cuicuilco Pyramid. There is also the contemporary area where there are busy avenues, fantastic universities, and more than 175 museums. Mexico City follows London when it comes to number of hotels. We have more than 1,300 restaurants for visitors and there are 606 hotels boasting 49,400 rooms. This is a city for those who want to rest, shop or have fun! It really is an incredible city and we invite travelers to visit.
For people interested in food, what are your “must-do” recommendations?
According to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Diners Club International’s list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Mexico City is home to two of the best restaurants in the world: Pujol (reinvented Mexican food) and Biko (Spanish and Mexican fusion food).
My favorite dishes include the mole poblano, chiles en nogada (stuffed with meat) and the tortilla soup, to name a few. As I mentioned previously, Mexico City offers many restaurants, including 1,300 eateries that cater to tourist providing the best quality of food and ambiance. Condesa, Roma and San Angel are neighborhoods that have become meeting places for artists and intellectuals. Polanco, Las Lomas and Santa Fe are areas more frequented by bankers, financiers and politicians. And for the younger crowd, there are many affordable options.
What types of travelers are you targeting with your marketing?
Due to Mexico City wide range of offerings, the City presents experiences for many markets. For those who enjoy culture, art, architecture and history, Mexico City is a playground where every corner has something to experience. Mexico City has more than 175 museums and 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites right here in the City, so travelers don’t have to go too far to see a lot. There are vibrant neighborhoods to visit offering great restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, architecture and more. With its many attractions and year-round calendar of events, Mexico City can be enjoyed by all ages from corporate travelers to leisure guests, families, couples and the LGBT community.
What about Mexico City for kids?
For families, Mexico City presents an alternative experience to the usual beach destination where children can learn about a culture through interaction and seeing historical sites. There are museums dedicated to children, such as the Interactive Museum of Economics, which showcases hands-on exhibits that present engaging and fun ways for children to learn about money. The Papalote Museum allows kids to learn through play with more than 300 different exhibitions grouped in five themes. In addition to this, there are endless options for live performances, historical sites, and also a zoo.
As a local, what’s your own personal idea of a perfect day in Mexico City?
A perfect day in Mexico City for me would start off with brunch in one of the restaurants, coffee shops or hotels in Condesa or Roma such as in the Hotel Condesa DF or the Hotel Brick. After brunch, I like to stroll around these neighborhoods and visit the parks like the Rio de Jainero, Spain Park or Mexico Park, where every Saturday and Sunday there is a lot of activity, since many people gather to exercise, walk with their families or meet friends. Then, I like to visit one of the many museums in the City; my favorite is the Museo de Antropología — the Museum of Anthropology — in Chapultepec, with its amazing architecture designed by Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and treasures of the great pre-Hispanic civilizations. I particularly love the Aztec solar calendar that can be admired there.
I also like to visit the Casa Museo Luis Barragán, where one can observe the amazing and unique style of this great Mexican architect, who had much influence on 20th century architecture worldwide. If I have friends or family over for dinner, I like to go to one of the many markets in Mexico City, especially the large market of San Juan, where fresh products arrive daily from all regions of the country, and where you can find absolutely everything you need to prepare delicious dishes for family and friends while you let yourself be inspired by the colors, smells and diversity of the city.
I would then finish my day Coyoacán, walking through the streets with its huge multicolored houses, remembering Mexican artists and intellectuals who lived there. Finally, I would dine outdoors on the terrace of one of the restaurants in the historic center of Coyoacán, while watching couples, young people and families enjoying Mexico City’s warm afternoons and evenings.
MORE MEXICO CITY TRAVEL TIPS & INSPIRATION:
• City of Surprises: 5 Unexpected Things to do in Mexico City
• A Traveler’s Guide to Santa Fe, Mexico City’s Business Travel Hub
• Madero Street: Mexico City’s Showplace for Live Street Art