Saturday, October 15, 2016

To tour group or not to tour group?

I rarely participate in tours of any kind when I'm traveling, whether it's big-bus escorted excursions, cruise ships or small guided groups of local sites. Part of the fun of a trip is the research, planning and negotiating of local buses and subways to make my way around a new destination. I am definitely the Queen of Public Transport. But as I get older, and as the world's top spots make it onto everyone's bucket list thereby becoming more and more crowded, I'm rethinking my aversion to relying on someone else's expertise when I'm in a new place. Wisely chosen and done early, a guided tour can relieve some of travel's inevitable stress and lay the groundwork for the rest of a visit.

The top thing I want to experience in Mexico City besides a visit to Teotihuacán and the Anthropology Museum is the famous street food. I plan to eat most of my meals from carts and markets rather than sit-down restaurants. To that end, I've booked a tour with Eat Mexico on my first full day in the city to that I can scope out all the best and most reliable sources of good eats. The tour covers the Cuauhtémoc neighborhood of my hotel, Casa Gonzalez, and promises the following:

"On this tour you’ll gain an overview of one of the most vibrant street food scenes in the world, spread out across a neighborhood full of hungry office workers. Moving from stand to stand,
we’ll sample fresh tamales, squash flower burritos, carnitas (pork simmering for several hours in lard) and more. You’ll understand why the tacos de canasta can sell out before 11 a.m., and
bite into a cemita sandwich that packs an incredible punch."

Yum. That should set me up for the rest of the week. And for a touristy splurge, I might grab breakfast-with-a-view at El Balcón del Zócalo before hitting the Cathedral and the Templo Mayor.

El Balcón del Zócalo

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