Mexico City/Coyoacán

Fuente de los Coyotes (Coyote Fountain), in the Jardín Centenario

This relatively large area in the southwest of Mexico City has always been a counterculture hotbed. This is where Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera lived, a few blocks away from Leon Trotsky (their houses are now the Frida Kahlo Museum and the Leon Trotsky Museum, respectively), and the tranquil residential area, with parks, squares, and cobblestone streets, is now a favourite spot for the bohemia set.

Understand

Coyoacán (from Nahuatl: place of coyotes) has been populated since pre-Hispanic times, when it was a settlement on the southern shore of Lake Texcoco. During and after the conquest it was Spain's headquarters for several years; some of the oldest Spanish buildings still standing in Mexico are located here. The city was independent until well into the mid-20th century, when it was subsumed into Mexico City. Even today the district has retained its colonial charm, and when strolling in the old town center it is easy to forget that one is immersed in the megalopolis of greater Mexico City.

Coyoacán is also the seat of UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), the oldest university in North America and the largest in Latin America, which has itself been declared a UNESCO site. The active student body contributes to the bohemian and liberal atmosphere of the district.

Get in

By metro

Metro stations are not conveniently located to the Coyoacán center – don't let the existence of a Coyoacán station (Line 3) fool you. Be prepared for at least a twenty minute walk from any of the nearest stations:   Coyoacán,   Viveros, and   Miguel Ángel de Quevedo (all on Line 3). The neighborhood is safe, so you shouldn't have a problem if you decide to walk from the metro. You may also approach from   General Anaya station (Line 2); take the Calle 20 de Agosto exit for a picturesque twenty minute walk to the Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky museums.

By microbus

If you don't fancy a 20 minute walk from Metro Coyoacan to the main square Plaza Hidalgo, you can take a microbus also known as a pesero. These are the small green and grey buses that can be seen breaking road rules all over the city. As you leave either exit of Metro Coyoacan, cross the to the other side of the large road directly outside the metro (Avenida Universidad). Peseros will stop outside all metro stations, and all display their destinations in the front windscreen. Look for a sign saying Plaza Hidalgo, or ask the driver.

See

Landmarks

Capilla de la Purísima Concepción
Mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros on the rectory building of UNAM

In the general center of Coyoacán there is a pair of large squares,   Plaza Hidalgo and   Jardín Centenario, which together are the center for a lot of the activity in the area. On Saturdays and Sundays, there's an open-air market in the squares, mostly focusing on arts and crafts, clothes (a lot of tie-dye and t-shirts), piercings and tattoos. With a bit of selectivity, and some haggling, you can pick up a lot of interesting things here, and none of them are horribly touristy or tacky. There are also impromptu African dance performances, Aztec dancers, fortune tellers, and lots more to see. The market square is surrounded by cafes and restaurants, as well as a small 16th century church and a small public library. In the smaller streets nearby are even more cafes and restaurants, as well as stores selling antiques, clothes, crafts, and so on.

The small neighborhood around the Anahuacalli Museum has several nice cafes and a quiet charm; it is popular with university students and creative bohemian types.

Museums

Museo Frida Kahlo
Trotsky's personal office in the Museo Leon Trotsky

Do

Cineteca Nacional

Buy

Cheese counter at the Mercado de Coyoacán

Eat

Cafes

Restaurants

Oyster and shrimp ceviche from El Jardin del Pulpo

Grab-a-bite places

Barbacoa Flautas from Taquería Aguayo 1
Chicharron and churros stands

Drink

Sleep

There are not many hotels and hostels in Coyoacan, but do try the following:

Go next

A   taxi sitio (taxi stand) is located on the corner of Caballocalco and Higuera, near the Plaza Hidalgo.


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, July 14, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.