Answers to Frequent Questions

Is Mexico City really the biggest city in the world ?
How serious is the pollution in Mexico City ?
Why visit Mexico City ?
How do you get to Mexico City ?
What does Mexico City offer out of the ordinary?
How much does it cost to visit in Mexico City ?
Is the Mexico City airport a hassle ?
Is it difficult to move around in the City ?
Is the Popocatepetl volcano a danger to Mexico City ?
Why has Mexico City grown so much ?

  • Is Mexico City really the biggest city in the world ?

It´s difficult to know for sure. Statistics vary from country to country as to how exactly the metropolitan area should be measured. There is certainly no doubt, however, that it is a huge city. It has a diameter of 40 kilometers and it takes over an hour to cross from one side to the other. Many of the hills which surround the valley -in itself of huge proportions- are covered with houses, and the city grows continuously, despite the frequent census which would seem to indicate otherwise.


The Principal Agglomerations of the World (2004-08-17)

  Name English Name Country Population Remarks
1 Tōkyō Tokyo Japan 33,900,000 incl. Yokohama, Kawasaki
2 Ciudad de México Mexico City Mexico 22,150,000 incl. Nezahualcóyotl, Ecatepec, Naucalpan
3 Seoul (Sŏul) Seoul South Korea 21,950,000 incl. Bucheon, Goyang, Incheon, Seongnam, Suweon
4 New York New York USA 21,750,000 incl. Newark, Paterson
5 São Paulo Sao Paulo Brazil 19,900,000 incl. Guarulhos
6 Mumbai Bombay India 19,200,000 incl. Kalyan, Thane, Ulhasnagar
7 Delhi Delhi India 18,700,000 incl. Faridabad, Ghaziabad
8 Los Angeles Los Angeles USA 17,600,000 incl. Riverside, Anaheim
9 Ōsaka Osaka Japan 16,750,000 incl. Kobe, Kyoto
10 Jakarta Jakarta Indonesia 16,650,000 incl. Bekasi, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang
11 Kolkata Calcutta India 15,200,000 incl. Haora
12 Al-Qāhirah Cairo Egypt 15,100,000 incl. Al-Jizah, Shubra al-Khaymah
13 Manila Manila Philippines 14,350,000 incl. Kalookan, Quezon City
14 Karāchi Karachi Pakistan 13,550,000  
15 Moskva Moscow Russia 13,550,000  
16 Shanghai Shanghai China 13,250,000  
17 Buenos Aires Buenos Aires Argentina 12,600,000 incl. San Justo, La Plata
18 Dhaka Dacca Bangladesh 12,500,000  
19 London London Great Britain and Northern Ireland 11,950,000  
20 Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro Brazil 11,950,000 incl. Nova Iguaçu, São Gonçalo
21 Tehrān Tehran Iran 11,550,000 incl. Karaj
22 İstanbul Istanbul Turkey 11,100,000  
23 Lagos Lagos Nigeria 10,650,000  
24 Beijing Beijing China 10,600,000  
25 Paris Paris France 9,900,000  
26 Chicago Chicago USA 9,650,000  

Th. Brinkhoff: The Principal Agglomerations of the World,
 http://www.citypopulation.de, 2004-08-17

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  • How serious is the pollution in Mexico City ?

It is serious but, fortunately, decreasing. During two thirds of the year the pollution index exceeds the limits proposed by international organizations. Notwithstanding, these levels have been reduced year after year thanks to the measures taken by the government, although certain specialists still consider these to be insufficient. It should be noted that the effects of this pollution are not normally felt during a visit of a few days; in fact, sporting events are frequently held in the City with no noticeable effects for the participants.

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  • Why visit Mexico City ?

During the 16th Century, as Tenochtitlan, Mexico City witnessed the encounter between two of the most highly developed civilizations of the time, both profoundly different and equally unique empires which, amazingly, had had no previous contact.

Monumental vestiges of the culture which flourished here before the Spanish Conquest, after which the merger between these two mighty civilizations occurred, are still to be seen in the City. Suffice to mention just a few sites that are today world famous: the Templo Mayor, The Museum of Anthropology, the Metropolitan Cathedral, Teotihuacan. . .

The cultural wealth of Mexico City is not merely limited to its ancient buildings and museums; it can be seen and felt in its streets, in its celebrations, in its works of art. In short, in every aspect of life in the City.

Mexican popular art and cuisine have gained a justified place of honor around the world and there is no better place than Mexico City to experience them.

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  • How do you get to Mexico City ?

Mexico City lies almost at the geographical center of the country, due south of the United States, with which it shares a common border of many thousands of kilometers.

The approximate distances from selected cities are:

Acapulco, Gro.


Cancún, Q.R.

1 651

Cd. Cuauhtémoc, Chis.1

1 231

Cd. Juárez, Chih.2

1 840

Cuernavaca, Mor.


Chetumal, Q.R.

1 360

Ensenada, B.C.

2 900

Gudalajara, Jal.


Guanajuato, Gto.


Merida, Yuc.

1 332

Mexicali, B.C.2

2 644

Morelia, Mich.


Monterrey, N.L.


Nogales, Son.

2 333

Nuevo Laredo, Tamps.2

1 149

Oaxaca, Oax.


Puebla, Pue.


Reynosa, Tamps,

1 018

San Luis Potosí, S.L.P.


Tijuana, B.C.

2 814

Veracruz, Ver.


1. Frontier with Guatemala.
2. Frontier with USA.

Overland access is also possible via modern highways.

Distances from some cities are:

Nueva York


Los Angeles








Buenos Aires


Sao Paulo












The major international airlines offer non-stop or connecting flights to Mexico City from virtually every large city in the world. Prices of trip tickets are:

US dollars

Hong Kong




Los Angeles


Nueva York






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  • What does Mexico City offer out of the ordinary ?
  1. One of the most visited scientific museums in the world - the Papalote children´s museum.
  2. Broadway stage productions presented in Spanish with quality and style comparable to the original New York shows.
  3. An intense night life, with shows and restaurants equal to those found in any great metropolis around the world.

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  • How much does it cost to visit or to live in Mexico City ?

Among the world´s greatest cities, Mexico City is one of the cheapest: comparable prices are far less than those to be found in New York or Tokyo, and are even more accessible than those in Lima or Buenos Aires.


US dollars

Hotel ***


Hotel ****


Hotel *****










Taxi cab (10 km)






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  • Is the Popocatepetl volcano a danger to Mexico City ?

The distance between the volcano and the City is sufficient to preclude any chance of volcanic activity affecting it, unless an enormous eruption were to occur. This is highly unlikely, especially when we take into account that recent plumes of steam and ash from the volcano have found harmless outlets.

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  • Is the Mexico City airport a hassle ?

The airport is of a larger size and handles a smaller amount of traffic than those in other major cities around the world. The terminal design and adequate sign-posting ensure that all procedures run smoothly.

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  • Is it difficult to move around in the City ?

The enormous size of the City and some not-so-clear traffic signs
can make it difficult at times to move about the City (even for the Cityís permanent residents). Consequently, it is advisable to use public taxis or the tourist services that are available at hotels (fare is 1.50 US dollars for 5 kilometers).

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  • Why has Mexico City grown so much ?

Since its early beginnings Mexico has been a very centralized country. Economic, political, and social activities are concentrated in the City. This has encouraged, from Colonial times onwards, a constant immigration of people to the City in search of opportunity. Infrastructure was developed in response to this, including major lines of transport, all of which converge on Mexico City.

For a long time the City offered the only alternative in Mexico for a good education, adequate medical attention, a well-paid job with a future, or inevitable official paperwork. Although this situation is changing, as other regional cities grow and develop, Mexico City continues to attract new residents in addition to the millions who already live here.
The City´s favorable climate and the wealth of recreational offerings have also contributed to this growth.

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