Mexico City Airport to Downtown.

How To Get From Mexico City Airport To Downtown & Other Neighbourhoods

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We know that getting from the baggage claim carousel to the hotel/Air BnB is one of the things people worry about most when they’re preparing to go on holiday. However, travelling from CDMX’s airport to downtown Mexico City really couldn’t be easier. In fact, there are a bunch of affordable options to choose from, with buses from Mexico City Airport to downtown costing as little as $30 pesos ($2 US)!

We’ve lived part-time in Mexico City for a few years now. Although we have our preferred method of getting from the airport to our accommodation (spoiler alert: it’s Uber), we’ve tried almost every other possible way to go from Mexico City Airport to the centre of town. Here, we’ve distilled our experiences into a handy guide to help first-time visitors navigate the various alternatives.

It’s worth mentioning upfront that not all transportation runs 24 hours a day, but if your flight is scheduled to arrive/leave very early in the morning or very late in the evening, you can always stay at one of the hotels near the airport, which range from a capsule motel to a well-equipped Courtyard by Marriott.

So, what are the six best ways to get from the airport to the heart of the capital?

⚠️ 10 Survival Tips For Your Trip To Mexico City. We live here and know both the amazing and the ugly sides of the city. ➡️ ➡️ Get your FREE Guide here.

At A Glance

Option TypeMain AdvantageCostHow To Book
Private TransferSafe, hassle-free, generous waiting timeFrom $120Book through Viator
UberCheap & safeFrom $9Uber app
TaxiEasy to book, no waiting timeFrom $17Official taxi stand (Arrivals)
BusCheapFrom $2Gate 7 of T1, Gate 2 of T2 
MetroCheapestLess than a 1$Line 5, T1
Rental carFlexibility & convenienceFrom $30 per dayVia Discover Cars

#1 🚙 Book A Private Transfer

A private transfer is almost always the most convenient choice for getting from a city’s airport to its downtown area, no matter where you are in the world. From the comfort of your chauffeured vehicle, you can calmly observe the world pass by as you are escorted straight from the arrivals hall all the way to the door of your hotel or Air BnB.

For first-time visitors to CDMX – especially anybody who’s an anxious traveller – a private transfer can help ensure a trip to Mexico City gets off to a smooth start. This is especially true if your flight arrives late or you have a ton of luggage. Of all the options we’ll discuss in this post, this is the one most likely to put you at ease.

There are several companies that can arrange private transfers for you, but we were very happy with our driver, whom we booked through Viator. We actually chose this one because it offered pretty generous wait times in the case of delays – up to two hours. Even though we didn’t end up needing that, the service was stellar, and the whole experience was so relaxing.

The downside to booking a private transfer is that it’s far and away the most expensive option. Our trip, for example, cost $120. Although you can find cheaper deals than that, any private transfer is inevitably going to be pricier than a taxi, bus, or Metro journey.

#2 🚖Take An Uber From Mexico City Airport To Downtown

Uber Mexico City Airport

We’ve written a more in-depth guide to using Uber in Mexico City, but in this post, we’ll focus specifically on hailing an Uber in Mexico City Airport. 

Uber vehicles may not be as luxe as a private transfer, but the service is definitely more reliable than a taxi. For instance, you don’t need to worry about the drivers trying to con you since the whole journey is tracked, creating a level of accountability. 

While there have been some protests in CDMX by taxi operators against Uber in recent years, that doesn’t seem to have affected the number of Uber drivers, and there has always been a good availability of cars every time we’ve made a trip. 

Make sure you check where the Uber is picking you up from at the airport. It will normally be outside the arrivals floor, but there are multiple potential doors and pickup zones.

Other than that, the most important thing to note is that you will need either a Mexican SIM card or an international SIM card with roaming capabilities. 

In our experience, it’s usually better to go for the Mexican SIM. While a number of networks, especially American but also some UK and EU ones, will allow you to use your data allowance in Mexico at no additional cost, the connection seems to be way weaker compared to a local SIM. 

It’s easy to pick up a SIM card online before you get to Mexico, and there are also places within the airport where you can buy one when you land. You don’t need to present ID or anything, which makes the whole process really convenient. Just pick a pay-as-you-go package, and you’re off! 

💲Estimated Cost 

While the exact price will depend on the time of day and the availability of cars, here are some rough estimates about how much to budget for a Mexico City Airport Uber. Prices are based on a standard UberX. (*Prices in $ rounded up to the nearest dollar.)

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Downtown: $180 pesos (*$11 US)

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Roma: $200 pesos ($12 US)

➡️ Mexico City Airport To La Condesa: $160 pesos ($9 US)

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Polanco: $230 pesos ($13 US)

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Zona Rosa: $200 pesos ($12 US)

#3 🚕 Get A Taxi From Mexico City Airport To City Centre

Getting a taxi Mexico City Airport to Downtown is easy.

On the whole, we don’t recommend taxis as the best way to get around Mexico City.  Unfortunately, most drivers will try to take advantage of tourists by charging much more than the standard fare – and even the standard fare tends to be higher than the cost of ordering an Uber.

Having said that, if you must take a taxi while in CDMX, the best place to do so is at the airport, where you can at least be guaranteed a safe ride and an upfront price, provided you follow the correct protocol.

Here’s how getting a taxi in Mexico City Airport works. First, you need to find an official taxi ride stand located inside the arrivals area of the terminal. Tell the person manning the desk your destination, and they’ll quote you a fare. Once you’ve paid, you will receive a taxi ticket, which you can then take outside to the official taxi attendant, who will usher you into a vehicle.

You should not pay anything directly to the driver unless you want to hand over a gratuity of 10 or 20 pesos to thank them for helping you with your bags or being just generally a cheerful human being.

Although the price of a taxi at Mexico City Airport to various destinations is meant to be somewhat standardised, our experience has shown that even this process is a bit murky. On one occasion, when we decided to try a taxi instead of an Uber, the guy at the first stand seemed to be making up a figure on the fly. We politely declined his offer and went to another stand, which quoted us a much lower price.

Thanks to this kind of funny business, we usually avoid getting taxis in Mexico City Airport. The only time we would recommend it as an option is if you want to travel by car on the fly (as opposed to pre-booking a private transfer) and don’t have a working SIM to hail an Uber.

💲Estimates Cost 

As with an Uber, the taxi cost from Mexico City Airport to downtown areas will vary, but here’s a general guide. (*Prices in $ rounded up to the nearest dollar.)

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Downtown: $290 pesos (*$17 US)

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Roma: $300 pesos ($17 US)

➡️ Mexico City Airport To La Condesa: $300 pesos ($17 US)

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Polanco: $320 pesos ($19 US)

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Zona Rosa: $300 pesos ($18 US)

#4 🚍Getting By Bus From Mexico City Airport To City Center

Mexico City Airport bus station is situated at Gate 7 T1.

Mexico City has various types of buses, but the only service we really use is the Metrobus. These modern, rapid transit vehicles operate along many of the most common tourist routes.

For people arriving at the airport, you’ll be looking out for Metrobus Line 4, which departs from the Mexico City Airport bus station located outside Gate 7 of Terminal 1 and Gate 2 of Terminal 2. 

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the bus is a lot cheaper than private transfer, taxi, or Uber at a mere $30 pesos ($1.75 US) for a single trip. This will get you from the bus station in Mexico City Airport to San Lazaro station, from where you can transfer to another Metrobus or the Metro. 

The main downside to the bus is that it takes longer than an Uber or private transfer. It also usually involves some walking, as it won’t drop you off right outside your accommodation. 

When making your plans, don’t forget that the Metrobus stops running between midnight and about 5 am, so if your flight arrives super late, you’re out of luck.

There are a couple of other things to note. First, even if your final destination is somewhere along Metrobus Line 4, you will first have to go to San Lazaro station, then change to a different Line 4 bus. Second, even though the price is extremely cheap, it is still more expensive than the standard Metrobus ride, which is a fantastically good value at $6 pesos (that’s 35 cents US).

The most important thing to remember is that you need a Metro card to use the service. It costs $15 pesos (85 cents US) for the card itself, which you then load with as much cash as you want to cover your fares. We’ve only used the card on the Metro and the bus, but you can apparently also use it to access the public bike-sharing system as well. 

At this point, you’re probably wondering how safe the Metrobus is. Well, all the buses have security cameras, plus we’ve never encountered any problems. Just bear in mind that all public transport can get busy during rush hours, so try to avoid travelling at these times if possible.

If you want more details about staying safe in CDMX, you can check out our more detailed post.

Bus Lines to The Neighbourhoods:

From the bus station at Mexico City Airport, you can utilise a combination of Metrobus lines to get to many of the most popular neighbourhoods. The routes below assume you will travel solely by Metrobus, but bear in mind that the best option is often a combination of bus and Metro.

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Downtown: Take Metrobus Line 4 to San Lazaro, then transfer to Line 4’s Ruta Norte (North Route) to Buenavista, alighting at the Republica de Argentina.

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Roma: Take Metrobus Line 4 to San Lazaro, then transfer to Line 4’s Ruta Norte to Buenavista. Ride the line until the end, then change to Metrobus Line 1, heading south to El Caminero. Alight at Durango station.

➡️ Mexico City Airport To La Condesa: Take Metrobus Line 4 to San Lazaro, then transfer to Line 4’s Ruta Sur (South Route). Transfer at the Hidalgo station to a Line 7 train heading towards Campo Marte and alight at Chapultepec.

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Polanco: Polanco really isn’t feasible to reach using just the Metrobus. Instead, we recommend a Metro route (see below).

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Zona Rosa: Take Metrobus Line 4 to San Lazaro, then transfer to Line 4’s Ruta Norte to Buenavista. Get off at Hidalgo and catch Line 7 towards La Diana, alighting at Ahuehuete.

#5 🚇Take The Metro From Mexico City Airport To Downtown

Metro from Mexico City Airport to downtown.
Tickets machines at a metro station.

Mexico City’s Metro system has largely the same pros and cons as the Metrobus, although it does cover more of the capital. In fact, there are a total of 12 Metro lines currently running through CDMX, though we have to admit we’ve probably only utilised about half of them. 

The Metro tends to be slightly faster than the Metrobus, plus it’s a bit cheaper at $5 pesos (30 cents US) a trip. The biggest downside for us, however, is that you don’t get to see any of the city as you travel.

As with the Metrobus, you’ll need to purchase a Metro card to ride the underground, which shuts down from midnight until about 5 am

There are CCTV cameras installed throughout the network for safety, plus a special carriage for women and children that adds that extra level of security if you are a single female or a group of females travelling together. Keep an eye on your belongings, as pickpockets are rife, particularly during rush hours.

At the airport, there’s a Line 5 Metro station located right outside Terminal 1, which will connect you with downtown – and beyond! 

Metro Lines & Stations To The Neighbourhoods:

To be honest, Line 5 isn’t the most useful route for tourists, but hey, it’s easy to transfer to the other lines to get to the must-see neighbourhoods.

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Downtown: Ride two stops south on Line 5 to Pantitlan, then transfer onto a Line 1 train heading for Observatorio, alighting at Pino Suarez. 

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Roma: Ride two stops south on Line 5 to Pantitlan, then transfer onto a Line 1 train heading for Observatorio, alighting at either Cuauhtemoc or Insurgentes, depending on your hotel address.

➡️ Mexico City Airport To La Condesa: Ride two stops south on Line 5 to Pantitlan, then transfer onto a Line 1 train heading for Observatorio, alighting at either Chapultepec or Juanacatlan, depending on your hotel address.

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Polanco: Ride two stops south on Line 5 to Pantitlan, then transfer onto a Line 1 train heading for Observatorio. At Tacubaya station, hop on a Line 7 train heading towards El Rosario, alighting at Audtiorio station if your hotel is towards the southern end of Polanco or Polanco station itself if your accommodation is in the centre of the district.

➡️ Mexico City Airport To Zona Rosa: Ride two stops south on Line 5 to Pantitlan, then transfer onto a Line 1 train heading for Observatorio, alighting at Insurgentes.

#6 🚘Rent A Car At Mexico City Airport

San Miguel de Allende

Renting a car might be a good option if you value your independence and plan to travel outside of Mexico City for at least part of your trip. Rather than relying on public transport and tour groups, you’ll be able to make your own way in the world.

We’ve written a detailed account of our experience of renting cars in Mexico, but we’ll keep things brief in this post with a few essential pieces of advice.

First, if you do plan to hire a vehicle, try to find accommodation that comes with parking, such as the Mondrian Mexico City Condesa. Finding a parking space downtown can be a real headache, so save yourself some aggro with a bit of simple planning ahead.

Second, Discover Cars is a great comparison site for the various vehicle options. It’s become our go-to when travelling abroad because it’s reliable, easy to navigate, and offers free cancellation.

Finally, don’t forget that CDMX is a very congested city. Driving about here means a fair bit of sitting in traffic, which isn’t the most pleasant experience, especially when you have short-tempered locals breathing down your neck. 

Overall, if your itinerary is limited to exploring the many sights of the capital, we’d say don’t bother with a rental and just rely on either Uber or public transport. On the other hand, if you plan to make some detours to the beach, countryside, or nearby towns, go for it!

Getting From Mexico City Airport To Downtown: FAQs

How do I get from Mexico City Airport to town?

If you want to go down the public transport route, you can catch the Metro or the Metrobus from Mexico City Airport to downtown. For greater comfort, we recommend organising a private transfer or calling an Uber. In a pinch, you can also arrange for a taxi at the official taxi stands inside the airport terminals. 

Is Uber allowed at Mexico City Airport?

There is Uber at Mexico City Airport, both from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. The easiest way to order an Uber is to make sure you have a local Mexican SIM in your phone, as international SIMs and the airport Wi-Fi can be very spotty. 

How far is downtown Mexico City from the airport?

The distance from Mexico City Airport to downtown (around the Zocalo) is just over 7 kilometres (4.35 miles). It’s a little bit further to Roma Norte, Zona Rosa, and La Condesa (about 13 to 14 kilometres or 8 to 9 miles), while Polanco is the greatest distance away at over 16 kilometres (about 10 miles).

What is the safest transportation in Mexico City?

A well-reviewed private transfer service is always going to be the safest and most comfortable option for getting you from the airport to your accommodation. However, it’s also the priciest method. We’ve found Uber to be very safe to use in Mexico City, while public transportation has a reassuring amount of police presence and security cameras.

How much is a taxi from the airport to Mexico City?

The taxi fare from Mexico City Airport to downtown varies depending on your exact destination, but a good rule of thumb is to expect to pay around $300 pesos (about $17 US). Having said that, anything plus or minus 50 pesos ($3 US) is pretty normal in our experience.

From Mexico City Airport To Downtown: The Wrap-Up

Mexico City Airport is overall a very well-connected airport. In the grand scheme of things, it’s actually not very far from the downtown areas, with good, cheap public transport links and a nice choice of car options at your disposal, from deluxe private transfers to Ubers that cost less than $15 US – how’s that for a bargain!

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