Estacion Mexico can be spotted by their pink shirts and umbrellas.

The BEST Free Mexico City Walking Tour – An HONEST Take On Estacion Mexico

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Ashlea J. Russell

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Most travel professionals and avid travellers alike, will agree that the best way to kick off a city stay is with an orientation tour. Naturally, when I booked my trip to Mexico City, that’s the first thing I looked for. After plenty of research I found the best free Mexico City walking tour and this article will tell you everything you need to know about it.

About Estacion Mexico

Quick Facts

  • Locally owned and operated
  • All local tour guides
  • Each tour runs twice daily rain or shine
  • Free walking tours last 2-2.5 hours with frequent stops
  • Small group sizes are capped, book online in advance
  • All tours are offered in fully English and fully Spanish groups
  • Free Walking Tours include Roma-Condesa, Coyoacan, Chapultepec and Centro Historico
  • Paid Tours include Teotihuacan and Lucha Libre
  • Private groups of 10+ are available upon request
  • Excellent online reviews

I have lived in and travelled many of the world’s largest and liveliest cities so believe me when I say there is a right way and a wrong way to experience every city. One of my favourite ways to start off on the right foot is by taking a walking tour guided by locals.

Most major cities around the world will offer something like this in various forms such as private guided tours, foodie tours, bar crawls, etc., but my recommendation to get started is to find free walking tours.

When I began my hunt for a Mexico City walking tour I was looking for a few criteria:

  • Available in English
  • Excellent Customer Reviews
  • Interesting Itineraries
  • Small Group Size
  • Affordable or Free

After reading countless reviews and watching loads of videos I decided that the best Mexico City walking tour company for me was Estacion Mexico. They ticked off everything on my list of wants and they did not disappoint! I ended up taking three of their tours during my time in Mexico City.

Because Mexico City is sprawling it’s not possible to find a walking tour that covers the whole city. Estacion Mexico offers tours in several areas of the city so I recommend starting with the area you’re staying in.

Estacion Mexico can be spotted by their pink shirts and umbrellas.

About The Free Walking Tour

Estacion Mexico offer a number of free walking tours in different areas on the city. Of the four free Mexico City walking tour options that Estacion Mexico offer, I took three during my time there: Roma-Condesa, Centro Historico and Coyoacan.

But, to give you an idea of what to expect I’m going to deep dive into Roma-Condesa. This tour is particularly good if you are staying near Roma and Condesa. It’s a great way to get to grips with the area, where to eat, where to go and what to do.

I love these tours because it gives you a chance to chat with a local guide and get recommendations on things like where to eat, where to find the best coffee and other local tips that may be buried deep in the internet. It’s the perfect way to kick off any Mexico City itinerary.

What Does The Walking Tour Cover

Our two and a half hour Mexico City walking tour of Roma and Condesa covered:

  • History of Roma and Condesa
  • Romita
  • Iglesia de la Sagrada Familia
  • Plaza Rio de Janeiro
  • Fountain of David
  • Parque Mexico
  • Plaza Luis Cabrera
  • Safety In Mexico City
  • Museo del Objecto
  • Mercado Roma
  • Where To Get The Best Churros
  • The Best Cafes To Work Remotely
  • Casa del libro UNAM
  • Casa de las Brujas
  • Art Deco and Porfirian [a mix of French, Roman, Gothic and Moorish] Architecture
  • Filming Locations For Oscar Winning Film Roma

What To Expect On The Tour

Admittedly, I was somewhat apprehensive about exploring Mexico City as a solo female traveler. Mexico has an unfair and inaccurate reputation for danger and violence and I wasn’t sure what to expect for safety in Mexico City.

The first Mexico City walking tour I did was of Roma-Condesa and it allayed all of those fears. As it is one of the safest neighbourhoods in Mexico City, I was staying in Roma and wanted to explore this area first.

The tour meets at the north-west corner of Avenida Cuahtemoc and Puebla. I was greeted by two friendly locals in hard-to-miss hot pinks t-shirts holding even harder to miss hot pink umbrellas.

This Mexico City walking tour is guided by locals who are passionate about the city.

We waited a few minutes and then divided off into our English-speaking group of four. Our tour guide was Javier, a Mexico City local with an infectious passion for his hometown.

Having lived in the US on and off since childhood, Javier’s English was near perfect, clear and easy to understand. He had a warm ease about him that encouraged conversation throughout the group and dispelled any of the awkwardness that comes with being thrust into a group setting with strangers.

We headed off down an unsuspecting laneway with Javier at the helm until we came upon our first stop, a historic church tucked away off a busy thoroughfare.

Roma is the safest neighbourhood in Mexico City and the perfect place to take a walking tour.
Rectoria San Francisco Javier, La Romita, Mexico City

It was here that Javier explained the barrio we were in, why it was unique and gave context to some of the history of the area. Then we embarked on a meandering trail through the beautiful neighbourhoods of Roma and Condesa.

The tour offers something for everyone. As we wandered trustingly through the streets of Roma and Condesa Javier made a point to get to know each member of the group.

I am a foodie so he made sure to point out the best places to eat, another member of the group wanted to know where the best clubs were, another enjoyed street food, and another liked architecture.

Effortlessly, our trusty guide catered to each of our individual interests. He taught us about the culture we were experiencing and helped plan how we should spend our remaining time in Mexico City. After around two and a half hours we found ourselves at the Parque Mexico, a large and lively community space.

one of the best areas to stay in Mexico City is Condesa, similar to Roma but with a livelier vibe.
Parque Mexico

To call Parque Mexico a “park” would be a gross understatement. It features towering palm trees, hanging egg chairs for reading, space to roller skate and play games, food vendors and WiFi.

I slipped a generous tip in the woven bag and turned to look at Mexico City with new eyes. No longer daunting, I was seeing the city for what it truly was, historic, diverse, surprising, and full of possibility.

Javier and Estacion Mexico had made me feel not only safe, but welcome here. My experience was so good I went on to book two more Mexico City walking tours in other parts of the city.

Is It Really Free?

Representing any business as offering a service for free always sounds a bit too good to be true. This is why I want to explain why a company would choose to do this and why it’s so great for travellers when they do.

The business model for a free walking tour is really simple:

Offer the tour for free to entice people to book. Then do such a great job they’ll want to pay for your service anyway! It’s a win-win!

It is important to realize that free walking tours are not charitable enterprises. These are cash businesses that allow the customer to determine the value of the tour for themselves, rather than paying a set ticket amount.

Because of this, guides typically go above and beyond to provide an outstanding experience and earn the best possible tip from each tour.

This Mexico City walking tour includes recommendations for restaurants and cafes.

Do I Really Need A Walking Tour Of Mexico City?

Mexico City, known locally as CDMX, is actually the largest city in North America. It has a population of around nine million people as of 2021 and a history dating back almost 700 years.

Trying to blindly explore a city of this scale, on your own without prior experience is just not a good use of time.

In fact, the most common mistake people make when visiting Mexico City is that they don’t allow enough time. Not realizing the expansiveness of the city geographically, the traffic factor and the fact that there is such an array of things to do and see in Mexico City, can leave travellers wishing they had planned better.

A walking tour of Mexico City is a great way to fast-track orientation and get local opinions on how best to spend your time.

Take a walking tour to familiarize yourself with your surroundings.

What Other Tours Do Estacion Mexico Offer?

In addition to the free walking tours of Mexico City, Estacion Mexico also offer a couple of great value paid tours. One of the highlights of my time in Mexico City was undoubtedly going to a Lucha Libre wrestling match.

Lucha Libre Experience

Whether you’re into wrestling or not Lucha Libre is an unmissable experience that makes Mexico City worth visiting. Lucha Libre is professional wrestling and in recent years was designated an intangible cultural heritage in Mexico City, dating back to the late 1800s.

The wrestlers known as Luchadores wear masks and are usually divided into two groups, the rudos and the técnicos, or the bad guys and the good guys.

The atmosphere is electric with the crowd being very vocal about who they are rooting for. The match I saw was highly dramatized with some luchadores riding in on fire-breathing motorcycles and flipping into the ring.

Lucha Libre is a truly Mexican experience that is worth visiting.

Although you can purchase tickets on your own it is best to take an organized Lucha Libre tour as the Arena Mexico can be very busy and overwhelming. Taking a tour will get you a great seat, a guide, your own Lucha Libre mask to keep, a pulque tasting [sort of like a fermented tequila] and live music.

This is a major part of Mexican culture and a really fun experience for fans and novices alike.

Teotihuacan Pyramids

The pyramids at Teotihuacan just outside of Mexico City are some of the most impressive and important in the country. Taking a guided tour with Estacion Mexico will help you make sense of the enormous structures.

You’ll learn about how they were built, who lived there and even how this advanced civilization were able to operate a trade system with Monte Alban in Oaxaca, located almost 500km/310 miles away.

Estacion Mexico are one of the more economic options for a tour to Teotihuacan as they use comfortable public transport and an early start to beat the crowds.

Mexico City FAQs

Is Mexico City Safe?

I can honestly say that in all the time I have spent in Mexico City I have never once felt watched, threatened, stood too close to or unwelcome.

When visiting any city around the world travellers should operate with a certain amount of caution. Sticking to the right neighbourhoods and practicing regular travel safety in Mexico City is all anyone needs to have a hassle-free trip.

One of the reasons Mexico City feels so safe is because it actually is. You can read more about the safety in Mexico City here.

How Many Days Should I Spend In Mexico City?

There is so much to do and see in Mexico City that I would recommend visiting for at least three full days but I would give it more time if you have it.

Travellers will often add on a trip to Mexico City as a stopover. If this is your plan, remember that you will likely only have time to explore one part of the city so choose wisely!

Mexico City is also a top notch digital nomad destination and there is easily enough here to keep you entertained for at least a couple of weeks.

Do They Speak English In Mexico City?

As a rule, no, people don’t speak English in Mexico City. Other than tour guides and some customer service positions at popular hotels and restaurants it is not common to find English speakers in Mexico City.

Mexicans speak Spanish, so if you find yourself off the tourist path and in local establishment you are sure to encounter a language barrier.

It is helpful to download Spanish Offline using the Google Translate app to have access to translations without internet. You can also download my Useful Mexican Words and Phrases Cheatsheet at the bottom of this page.

Can I Use US Dollars In Mexico City?

It is a common misconception that you should bring US Dollars to Mexico. It is possible to use US Dollars in some highly touristic areas such as Cancún, however this is never advised. US Dollars are subject to price gouging and harsh exchange rates.

It is always best to use the local currency. For the best exchange rates, withdraw directly from a local bank using an ATM inside. Avoid stand alone ATMs inside or outside of stores as they tend to have high fees.

Should I Buy Travel Insurance For Mexico City?

Yes, everyone traveling internationally should purchase travel insurance. Travel can be unpredictable so it is a good idea to purchase a comprehensive plan.

When shopping for a plan make sure it covers emergency medical, emergency transportation and trip cancellation and interruption, at a minimum.

Can I Drink The Tap Water In Mexico City?

For the rest of Mexico the answer is no, but for Mexico City, it depends. Mexico does not have a universal clean water program across the country. Drinking from the water supply can cause what Mexicans call “Montezuma’s Revenge”. This illness has symptoms like vomiting and severe diarrhoea.

Although Mexico City is not a typically hot destination, temperatures can soar during the day and the sun can be hot. Staying hydrated is extremely important but the good news is, finding drinking water in Mexico City is very easy.

Mexico City has a fantastic restaurant scene and many of these restaurants have water purification systems. So instead of needing to purchase bottled water, restaurants may have pitchers of clean drinking water available for free. Don’t be alarmed if you’re not served a bottle!

Bottled water is available in most restaurants and shops and is also often available for purchase from street vendors.

There are products like water purification powders and straws that can purify tap water in Mexico but finding drinking water in Mexico City is easy to do.

Can I Brush Your Teeth With The Tap Water In Mexico City?

The rule for testing brushing your teeth in Mexico is the same rule you should use for testing street food: Try once and see how it goes.

How your body reacts to the bacteria in Mexico is unpredictable. It is best practice to brush with bottled water however I have spent months in Mexico using tap water to brush my teeth and didn’t experience any adverse affects.

Summary: The Best Free Mexico City Walking Tour

A walking tour is the undoubtedly best way to start exploring Mexico City and the king of tours is Estacion Mexico. These tours will give you top local tips and advice you’re not going to find anywhere else.

Even if you aren’t staying in Roma or Condesa I recommend checking out this tour. The area is one of the best in the city and has a very cool, European vibe you won’t want to miss.

The Centro Historico tour is often the busiest option but covers all the major highlights of the historic zone surrounding the Zocalo. This tour is must for any first time visitors.

Finally, if time permits a visit to the artsy barrio of Coyoacán is enhanced by the Estacion Mexico walking tour. This part of the city has a fascinating history and is best explored with a local guide.

And remember! These are professionals. Although the tour is free, the guides work hard to provide an excellent experience so if you think they’ve earned it, make sure to tip.