Don’t Pay $30 for Tacos

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The Mexico City Travel Guide is part of the Trip Report: The Greatest Diamond Challenge of All Time. Check out how I planned my Hyatt Diamond Challenge and how it cost next to nothing here.

In this report, I will cover:


We all travel enough to know there are tourist traps everywhere. It begins at the airport with the ATM that charges a less than friendly rate and continues with the taxi driver who exploits the unfamiliar traveler. To combat these usual occurrences we know to use Uber and keep a Charles Schwab checking account for international travel. These precautions are a must. But even with years of travel knowledge panning the entire globe there will still be instances when you aren’t on your game. It is during these vulnerable times that the savvy local will exploit your absent-mindedness

Today while visiting the city center of Mexico City, I had the foolish idea of going to a rooftop restaurant that overlooked the cathedral. Past experiences in Cartagena should have told me to stay clear of such places as they are proving grounds for banditos looking to exploit extranjeros. A bit slow from an evening out that lasted past five in the morning, I went up to the restaurant and had a few beers and ordered some tacos. Like a true idiot, I didn’t bother checking the prices. The food sucked so I asked for my bill.

Of course it was an outrageous 300 pesos for 4 shitty tacos. Moments earlier I had 5 amazing street tacos and a Coke for 40 pesos and now I was paying almost 8 times the price for basura.

The takeaways of this rambling are as follows:

1. Never eat in the city center whether you are in Rome by the Pantheon, Seattle by the Public Market, or Mexico City by the Metropolitan Cathedral.

2. The price for food and drink should not include a premium charge because of the view. For example, while in Hong Kong I went up to the Ozone bar at the Ritz to see what it would be like to drink at the world’s tallest bar, though I wasn’t dumb enough to buy an overpriced drink.

3. Don’t pay restaurant prices for street food. That includes kebap in Istanbul, dumplings in Shanghai, and tacos in Mexico City.

4. Don’t spend bargain hung over. You aren’t on your game and everyone can see it.

5. Do keep a travel lessons memo in your phone. Well before TPOL was getting ripped off for tacos, I used to document all the instances where I made mistakes or was robbed abroad. These should be reviewed as you make your descent into a foreign city.

6. Don’t think that you won’t get robbed again. As tuned in as you are there will always be times when they are better than you. It happens. Hustle to get back what was taken from you, learn from your mistake, and try not to let it happen again.

Having said all that how the bleep did I get robbed so badly? I must still be drunk.

If you would like to take pity on me then feel free to send donations.

I hope this helps.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Mmmmmm. What year are you living in the current exchange rate is 17 pesos to dollar not the 10 it would have to be for 300 pesos to equal 30 dollars. I figured a blogger would at least know the exchange rate. But I guess saying don’t pay 18 bucks for tacos isn’t as sexy.

    I do agree that regardless it was still a rip off

    • Actually ended up being $33, 570 pesos for beers and disgraceful nachos. The true low light was the shit tacos. Do you feel more sympathetic now?

  2. Never eat in the city center whether you are in .. Seattle by the Public Market

    That statement couldn’t be any further from the truth….and I live a half mile from market and have for 15 years now.

    There are many great and resonably priced restaurants at the market.

    • Actually it has some truth because I got ripped off for the worst halibut at a waterfront Public Market restaurant.

      You have lived there for 15 years so you know where to go. As a tourist, I listened to yelp and it didn’t work. Perhaps ‘never’ is harsh but I’d rather get away from the tourist trap area and search for better value and quality than feel like a fool paying for junk (as I’ve done too many times).

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