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WordReference is essential for easy translation | © olilynch/Pixabay
WordReference is essential for easy translation | © olilynch/Pixabay

8 Essential Expat Apps for Living in Mexico City

Picture of Lauren Cocking
Updated: 29 May 2017

Moving to a new country is stressful for anyone, what with all the packing, the possible language problems and the screaming out of your depth feeling that washes over you as you try and hunt for flats, bus routes and your closest supermarkets. However, if you’re thinking of moving to Mexico City in the near future, you’re in luck – these are the best apps that anyone living in the capital needs to have.

Rappi

Food. It’s all about the food when you move to a new place, let’s be honest. If you’ve just touched down in your new adopted home of Mexico City though, you might be too tired or too overwhelmed to go out and explore, stumbling across a cool restaurant or street food stall on your way. That’s where Rappi comes in. You can order literally anything (legal) through this app, from supermarket essentials to Ibuprofen from the closest pharmacy, and have it dropped at your door within the hour.

© Rappi Screenshots

Mexico City Metro Map & Route Planner App

The Mexico City Metro Map & Route Planner App is essential for anyone in Mexico City, regardless of whether they’re an immigrant, resident or simply a traveller passing through. It gives you an intuitive, detailed offline map of the metro network and allows you to plan the easiest or fastest route to wherever you need to be at the click of a button. If you want to make your commute less of a hassle, especially when you first arrive, this free Apple or Android app is a godsend.

Moovit

Alternatively, if you want another free app that more comprehensively covers the public transport network of Mexico City, then Moovit is possibly the best option for you. Although it doesn’t work offline unfortunately, meaning you’ll already need to have invested in a cell phone plan or dropped some of your pesos on a top up, Moovit details routes which take into consideration both the bus, metro and MetroBus systems. You don’t even have to do anything, as the app will automatically figure out your location – perfect for when you inevitably get lost!

Uber

We imagine the chances are you already have Uber on your phone, but it really is an essential app to have for anyone living in Mexico City, as you can get around efficiently and at a fair price, qualities which taxis often don’t offer unfortunately. Although the company has weathered some controversy lately, Uber really does remain the king of private transport apps and is incredibly handy when you need to get home in the middle of the night and public transport isn’t an option.

WhatsApp

Sure, WhatsApp is another one of those ubiquitous global apps that pretty much everyone has, but if you haven’t already downloaded it, make sure you do before moving to Mexico City. When you meet people, the first thing they’ll want to know is your WhatsApp number, it’s often used in place of email for arranging work functions and it’s generally just the best way to stay in touch with friends both old and new.

Vampiritos

Socialising is often the first thing you find yourself doing when moving to a new place, and there’s nothing worse than when you’re at a party and the alcohol runs out. This goes doubly in places like Mexico City, where the sale of alcohol from corner shops and supermarkets is banned after 12am/1am. However, Vampiritos is the solution to this – they’ll deliver whatever alcohol you need to your door whatever the time, and while they don’t officially have an app just yet, you can still order online with your phone.

© Vampiritos Screenshots

Spanish Dict & WordReference

If you’re not fluent in Spanish before you move to Mexico City, then both SpanishDict and WordReference will be lifesavers to have on your phone in app form. The former is great for checking those tricky bits of vocabulary you’re just not sure about, but it only works with English and Spanish, while the latter is a great resource for idiom and slang terms too, as well as for those who speak other languages.

SkyAlert

Finally, SkyAlert is arguably the most practical app to have to hand while you’re living in Mexico City. As a capital prone to earthquakes, there is a citywide alarm system in place; however, SkyAlert works by (often) warning you before this sounds, and therefore gives you some precious extra seconds to get out of the house or away from the danger of possible falling debris. Plus, when you download it (either the paid or free version) you’ll be supporting Mexican ingenuity as it was designed and developed in the country.