Mexico City hasn’t always had the eco-friendliest reputation, although it does look like times are changing in this heavily polluted North American capital. From the construction of what is set to be the world’s greenest airport, to the implementation of government backed schemes like ‘Hoy No Circula’ (which bans certain cars from entering the city centre one day a week), the green agenda is growing. Here’s an introduction to Mexico City’s eco-friendly eats and attractions.
Is a bike sharing scheme an attraction? We think so, and a genius one at that. The city-wide Ecobici scheme works to get both locals and tourists alike out of their cars and off the oversubscribed public transport services, instead encouraging them to travel around Mexico City and take in the sights and sounds on a bike. After paying for a subscription, you simply grab an Ecobici and go, leaving it in the nearest Ecobici stand to you when you’re finished. The great thing is that it works in tandem with an app that tells you where there are available bikes and spaces.
The introduction of vertical gardens on the heavily traversed roads and dual-carriageways of Mexico City was an inspired addition to the capital. The idea was that the plant life would help suck up the dangerous carbon dioxide emissions, all the while adding a splash of greenery and vibrancy to the otherwise dull, grey highways. Funded by the non-profit initiative VERDMX, you can catch a glimpse of these vertical gardens on Sevilla and Tamarindos.
Mexico City’s Roma neighbourhood has often been at the forefront of new initiatives, especially in the eco-friendly field. Filled with vegan restaurants, and burger joints that pride themselves on no-waste policies, there’s also an underrated green attraction to be found tucked away there – Huerto Roma Verde. These gardens are beautifully put together and run by volunteers, with the aim to promote the idea of community togetherness and sustainability, amongst other objectives.
Another fantastic free activity you can take part in while in Mexico City is the weekly bike ride down the Paseo de la Reforma. Take advantage of the aforementioned Ecobici scheme, pull on a pair of rollerblades, or simply jog the route. As well being an incredibly eco-friendly activity, this is also one of the best ways to see some of Mexico City’s coolest and most famous attractions, such as Diana Cazadora and the Ángel de Independencia.
Bosque de Chapultepec, Viveros Coyoacán, Parque México
The final green attraction(s) in Mexico City are the three ‘lungs’ of the capital: the Bosque de Chapultepec, a sprawling city centre park filled with tucked away gems and numerous popular museums; Viveros Coyoacán, the perfect place to take a stroll and buy some succulents; and Parque México, one of Mexico City’s Art Deco favourites that’s lined on all sides by restaurants and cafés. Any of these parks would make a great spot to visit, grab a coffee and just relax.
It’s hard to define Mexico City’s markets as entirely eco-friendly, simply for the sheer volume of rubbish that they generate on a daily basis. However, if we consider the fact that they’re selling local produce on a vast scale and deterring people from spending their money in large corporate supermarket chains, then they can definitely be considered green. No market in all of Mexico is larger than the wholesale Central de Abastos, which shifts a massive $9,000,000,000+ worth of stock on an annual basis, selling up to 25,000 tons of food daily.
As one of the top restaurants in the Roma neighbourhood, and one of the eco-friendliest dining options in the city, the Eduardo García led Máximo Bistrot is definitely somewhere any green or socially-conscious traveller should try to have lunch at, at least once. As well as dishing up undeniably delicious dishes, this restaurant is founded on environmentally-friendly policies; all the food is seasonal, fresh and locally grown (with some exceptions that still travel less than 24 hours), and even the cutlery, crockery and furniture are fair trade, made by local artisans.
Los Loosers is an innovative vegan lunch service that relies on bike couriers to get their food to hungry customers. They started in 2011 and have since gone from strength to strength, capturing the attention of international media outlets, due to their deceptively simple, eco-friendly core concept – each dish is totally vegan, and they announce the day’s menu (consisting of an agua fresca, main and choice of dessert) on their social medias in the morning, before taking orders and sending the couriers out with your food. You can also find them in Roma.
Another Roma option for eco-friendly eats (although they also have a second branch in Colonia Anzures), Pan Comido is one of the city’s most established green and vegan options for socially responsible travellers in the Mexican capital. Both the Anzures and Roma branches are decked out in recycled materials and upcycled furniture – like the doors-turned-tables, for example – and they each promote the innovative coffee-jar scheme. Anyone who brings in old jars to be reused as storage and glasses receives a free coffee in return.
Finally, if you really want to go all out on your eco-friendly visit to Mexico City, then there’s literally no better place to stay than the only green hotel in the capital – El Patio 77. It’s been going strong for just over seven years now and has a firmly established reputation for top-notch service and comfort, as well as caring for the environment. Situated in a 19th-century mansion furnished with vintage pieces, El Patio 77 uses solar panels, recycled water, LED light bulbs (which work on sensors) and filtered (not bottled) water to accompany their 100% organic breakfasts.