Miguel Hidalgo, Ciudad de México, México
55 5271 1939
Mexico City has its own similar green refuge in the middle of its metropolitan area, similar to Central Park in New York, Showa Memorial Park in Tokyo, and Bois de Boulogne in Paris; this massive piece of land of some 1700 acres, lush with green vegetation, serves as the city’s main “lung” and is filled with rich history, as well as 9 museums and a never-ending list of activities to do. Oh, and not to mention one real castle that sits at the top of a hill and is open for visitors. The Bosque de Chapultepec (“Chapultepec Forest”, and also called by locals the Parque de Chapultepec is one of the city’s most cherished landmarks and is open year-round for the whole family to enjoy.
The whole “Forest of Chapultepec” is divided into 3 sections; section 1 is the most concurred by tourists and locals and features most of its most popular attractions. It’s pretty accessible too, as it sits right on the Avenida Reforma and is bordered by Polanco and Colonia Cuauhtemoc, while the Roma and Condesa neighborhoods are close by as well. The Turibus and Metrobus Línea 7 service the location, while there’s a couple of metro stations, “Chapultepec” from Línea 1, and “Auditorio” from Línea 7, that are both a stone throws away from the main entrance.
Once inside there’s so much to do you might want to plan your day accordingly, there’s the Zoológico de Chapultepec, which is one of the main attractions and which houses a cute and cuddly (if you could only touch it) panda bear; currently, Xin Xin is the resident panda, and she’s the only panda in the world at this moment that wasn’t born in China; that’s right, a Mexican panda. The man-made Lago Mayor (“Major Lake”) sits at the center of the first section of the park and can be enjoyed by practicing kayak, rowing, or manouvering those typical romantic pedal boats that allow you to glide through the lake on a sunny day. Both lakes of the first section, Major and Minor, have incredible restaurants right on their edges, worth mentioning is “lago” (lake, that’s the name of the restaurant) which has an incredible Sunday buffet. The cost per person might reach between $750 to $900 pesos.
Around the park, there’s the many vendors and the commotion of tourists and locals wandering through the stalls, here in Chapultepec might be your only opportunity to try chito, a once popular Mexico City snack that consists of donkey meat with hot sauce. Other more memorable attractions include the Papalote Museo del Niño; and in the future: Parque Aztlán, a theme park centered on the culture of Mexico that offers rides and other attractions to visitors.
But the crown jewel of the whole park is no doubt the Castillo de Chapultepec, a real castle built in 1785 as a military academy and starting in 1864 it became the oficial residence of Emperor Maximiliano, when he arrived from Austria to rule Mexico, and then of subsequent presidents until 1939, when a new residence was built for the president and the castle was turned into a Museum. Access costs $80 pesos per adult (kids enter for free!) and the castle’s rich historical offering is unparalleled, plus it offers some amazing views of Paseo de la Reforma from its elegant terraces. A visit to the castle, and to the Parque de Chapultepec as a whole, remains one of the most unforgettable experiences in the whole city.
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