Dating In Mexico City: Everything You Need To Know

My husband, Miguel, and I on a date in Mercado del Carmen in San Angel, Mexico City.
I recently received a reader letter about dating in Mexico City and realized I really hadn't touched on the topic. Here's a snippet of the letter:

"...I feel like I’m a little out of touch with all the details of expat life...One of my big preoccupations now is finding a social circle, including a 45+ dating circle!  I know you are quite a bit younger, and married, but having lived in and written about Mexico for awhile, I thought I’d inquire about any insights/suggestions you may have."

Yes, it has been a while since old B dated her way through Mexico City. However, since I did manage to meet and marry a Mexican man while here, I guess you could say I'm a success story? Maybe?

Anyway, let get to it! Let's date some people!


Just like at home, work or school is a great place to meet people. If you're coming to DF for a job, chances are even if there's no one datable at your job, your new coworkers will know good people. If you're working at a language school, chances are there will be plenty of other single foreigners. Same deal if you're taking Spanish classes.

Classes or Groups

If you're freelancing and not taking classes, look for organizations in your industry (such as a group for software programmers) or language exchange groups on sites like Or sign up for Spanish classes at UNAM or International House. Or take other language classes. Alianza Francesa has a wide network of French language schools in the city.

Alternatively, take a dance class! You'll also find that if you go salsa dancing at places like Mama Rumba you'll find plenty of willing partners.

Teaching English

Slightly gross but possible. I know another teacher who dated her student and I've got "I would date you" vibes from countless male students, both cute and old/disgusting/married. I can totally see this working if you guys are the same age. After all, people only tend to take classes for a limited period of time and a lot of corporate places offer classes as a perk to younger employees (if you're looking for someone younger). 

Probably not a great idea if the age gap is wide--and there's a lot of 20-something teachers and 40-something students. You're probably going to be seen less as a serious dating prospect and more as a fun play toy to be picked up and then tossed aside. So even if you have daddy (or mommy) issues, please just don't go there.

Miguel and I prepare to go out dancing with friends in Mexico City.
Expat Organizations/Groups

For younger folk, Couchsurfing is a great option. When I first got to DF, I met tons of guys through Couchsurfing who had drinks with me and showed me the city. None of them were specifically dates, which was nice because I got to know them as friends first. And there was only one creepy guy out of the bunch!

Word to the wise, never ever get in anyone's car you just met (or have met only a couple of times). I did that once and while nothing bad happened, I got a seriously off vibe from this dude once I was shut up in his car. NEVER DO THIS.

Folks over thirty or forty might prefer InterNations since it seems to attract an older crowd, both expat and Mexican. Their big parties can be a bit overwhelming so I recommend finding smaller activities, like sightseeing tours or book clubs or language exchanges to start out--this advice works well for both friends/dating. also has plenty of different groups in Mexico City. Some of the expat groups seem to cater to a younger crowd that likes to drink but more specialized interest groups, specifically ones for locals (if your Spanish is good enough), might cater better to your dating needs. 

Friends of Friends

I think that the best dating pool comes from friends of friends. So if you make an effort to make friends through Meetup, Internations, Couchsurfing, work or whatever, these friends will inevitably introduce you to their friends and a more savoury dating pool.

Because honestly, a lot of Mexican guys on expat sites are just looking to hookup with foreigners. Can be a little gross. Guys, there are occasionally some Mexican ladies looking for the same thing. 

Dating Websites

I know that friends of mine have used the Plenty of Fish website and Tinder app to find dates here, with varying results. I have no personal experience with this but it can be a fast and easy way to start dating if you're new in the city.

Random People on the Street

Actually an option. The first guy I dated in Mexico City I met at a taco stand. He was not totally my type but he did take me to a couple of great parties, and for tacos, and to a recording session of his friend's band, which were fun experiences. Also, he was totally not creepy! Yay! If you're a foreigner, people will talk to you. Enjoy it.

**Do you have a hot tip for dating in Mexico City? Success story? 
Share in the comments below!**

The Best Bookstores in Mexico City

I'm a writer and a huge bookworm so you can BET I know the best bookstores (and English bookstores) in Mexico City. Well, my choices are heavily skewed towards the Coyoacán area but look at this way--I'm giving you permission to take a trip to the south!

Please note, new books are expensive in Mexico! If you're used to grabbing deals from Amazon or Barnes & Noble you will be in for sticker shock here.
The stunning Libreria Octavio Paz in Coyoacan.
English Books

Essential for those of us who can't read in Spanish yet or are just plain lazy. I keep meaning to read more in Spanish but I get frustrated because I hate reading like a fourth grader.

Anyway, the mecca for English books in Mexico City is Under the Volcano Books in Condesa. This little used bookstore tucked inside the second floor of the American Legion features mostly literary fiction and classics, though they have a decent selection of commercial paperbacks, biographies, and children's lit too. You can pick up used paperbacks for between 40 to 100 pesos ($2.50-$6 USD)!! Cash only.

If you want recently published English books, head over to El Pendulo but be forewarned: new English books here are crazy, ridiculously expensive. I saw the new Harper Lee book there for something like 500 pesos ($30 USD). Only if you're feeling spendy or desperate.

Condesa's gorgeous El Pendulo bookstore. Check out that staircase!
Gandhi, one of Mexico's most popular bookstore chains, has a decent number of English books--though some locations are better than others. They tend to have semi-recent commercial fiction releases, classics, and popular non-fiction titles only. I don't find their selection that inspiring.

The stores by Miguel Angel Quevado subway station and Bellas Artes station both have a decent selection of books in English.

Destination Bookstores

The aforementioned El Pendulo has huge locations in Roma and Condesa with patio/terrace cafes. Browse and then sip one of their excellent lattes.

The Centro Cultural Bella Época is in Condesa too. This massive store is an architectural marvel--you'll feel like you're in a giant spaceship. Comfy chairs for chilling and lots of Mexican classic and contemporary fiction (plus small sections for foreign languages like English and French). I've never bought anything but if you're looking for classic poetry or the latest local fiction, you can find it here.

The Octavio Paz bookstore is close to Miguel Angel Quevado subway station and WOW. Just WOW. It's a giant, multi-level glass box stuffed with classic Spanish-language literature. Tends to be pricey but fun for browsing. Plus there's a Starbucks, El Jarocho coffee shop, and TWO Ghandi bookstores smashed right against it so it makes for a nice outing.

The kids lit section at Educal in Coyoacan. Book lights!!
Educal's location in Coyoacán (Centro Cultural Elena Garro) is INSANE. This multi-level modern glass structure is perfect for browsing. There's a cafe with terrace too. The prices are definitely not budget-level but they have all sorts of artsy Mexican-made books plus a kids' section that's simply unreal.

Spanish-Language Bookstores Where You'd Actually Buy Something

My go-to bookstore for Spanish books is always El Sótano. The prices are decent and there's a good selection of all kinds of stuff from classic fiction, to contemporary fiction, to coloring books, to language books, to cookbooks to whatever. I frequent the store in downtown Coyoacán, mostly because it's close to me and has a good layout for browsing.

Ghandi is good too, but I find the prices better at Sotano.

Screw This, I Want To Just Sit in My PJs and Buy Something on Amazon

I hear you, friend! I too worship at the feet of the god that is Amazon, with its free shipping and vast selection.

First off, don't even bother ordering from the US Amazon store while in Mexico. The cost of shipping combined with customs fees are insane. I ordered once from there using a gift certificate, only to find a huge portion of my allowance gobbled up by the aforementioned fees. Cue crying.

The Mexican Amazon store is new and growing. Still, books on there tend to be expensive and the free shipping minimum is 599 pesos ($36 USD). Until they reduce the shipping minimum, increase their selection, and lower costs I wouldn't consider this an option. Sorry. Take off those PJs and get thee to an actual bookstore.
The Bella Epoca bookstore in Condesa feels like a giant spaceship.
What's your favorite bookstore in Mexico City? Have any hot tips for the bookworms on here?

Books That Will Help You Find Said Bookstores:

What To Do In Taxco, Mexico

Hi guys! So I went to Taxco, Mexico recently and wanted to share a couple of photos and tips.

Taxco is about two and a half hours outside of Mexico City (in Guerrero state). It's a smallish city and is known for its bargain silver jewelry and pretty mountainside setting.

This is the amazing cathedral in Taxco. Sorry, my camera was being dumb.

Where To Stay

I booked through AirB&B but somehow the place ended up being a hotel? Called the Casa Grande. Central enough but the shared bathrooms were gross. I definitely would stay somewhere else.

Click this link to go to AirBnB and get $25 USD in travel credit. Then use it to go to Taxco!

The view from Bar El Adobe. Close to the Casa Grande hotel.

Where To Eat

Oh maaannn. We went to Pozoleria Tia Calla twice it was so good! Definitely order the pozole. It comes with avocado and chicharron (friend pork skin) and is bargain-basement cheap. The enchiladas suizas also looked amazing.

Pozole from Tia Calla.

The Punto del Cielo cafe on the main square is a nice place to grab a cup of coffee. It has wi-fi and a little balcony that overlooks the square.

Pizza Pazza is a nice rooftop bar/restaurant that also overlooks the square. The pizza is soooo tasty. We had one with bacon and rajas (chili peppers) that was divine.

Hosteria Bar El Adobe has awful food (ugh) but it has the sweetest little balcony with a private table that overlooks a smaller square. Go for drinks.

Where To Go

Not having any budget for jewellery, I didn't go into any of the (many) silver shops and markets. I really enjoyed just sitting in the main square with an ice cream from Tepozneives or strolling around the pretty, windy cobblestone streets. On weekends, there's salsa/cumbia dancing in the square (we joined in on Sunday night!).

Also, don't miss the Parque Nacional Grutas de Cachuamilpa. It has a mind-boggling cave that's 2 kilometers long. Just ask at the terminal on Avenida de los Plateras for the right bus. It's about a half hour trip. You'll have an option to jump in a taxi when you get off but the park is SO close and the road is downhill, I really didn't think it was worth it.

I would really try to visit the cave during the week. We went on a Tuesday and our tour group was huge enough. I can't imagine going on a Saturday! There are tours every hour. The tour itself is kind of dumb but you get to walk back by yourself and enjoy the cave solo-ish. Be sure to order one of the epic micheladas (beer with salsa) when you're done. You can then take a bus back to Taxco or go onwards to Cuernavaca/Mexico City. The bus stop is by a torta stand/the coco loco stands.

That's it! Do you want to go to Taxco or have you been already? What did you think?


A Video of Rural Mexico (Puebla State). What It's Really Like!

I visited Coatzingo in May 2015 for the annual saint's fair. It's a hot place with desert-type terrain and a very traditional, old-Mexico feel. I'm sitting in the back of my in-laws' pick-up truck with my husband and one of my in-laws' employees (who somehow get coerced into coming with us).


Five Tips for Dating a Mexican Man

As a Canadian woman who married a Mexican man and stayed in Mexico City for him, I have a lot of opinions about dating Mexican men.

While Mexican men have a reputation for being super macho, this is not always the case. Canadian men are more politically correct on the outside perhaps, but not on the inside. A Mexican man may just up and say what a Canadian (or American or European) man is thinking. Traditional mindsets of inequality between men and women are global, my friends.

That said, here's my advice for non-Mexican women about what to expect.

1. Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

Foreign women might be delighted by the effusiveness of Mexican men. While Western men seem unable to utter one romantic word at times, Mexican men have books of them at the ready to fling at you.

This can be all very enjoyable as long as you don’t take it to mean anything. Yes, while a Mexican man may say he loves you, that he’s been waiting to meet someone like you, or that he’ll follow you anywhere, please be very skeptical if this kind of talk occurs within the first month or week of dating.

Be especially skeptical if this follows the first date, especially a date where you didn’t sleep with him. So here we hit the heart of the matter – all these words mean he’s very interested in having sex with you, not spending his life with you. Proceed as you will, but don’t expect him to stick around after the deed is done.

Kind of the same advice you'd hear anywhere.

 2. Actions, Not Words 

Mexican men who are actually interested in pursuing a relationship with you will follow up their effusive words with actions. This could include:
  • Inviting you to meet their family
  • Following up after dates (via text, phone call, whatever) with further plans
  • Not cancelling dates and showing up on time
  • Speaking Spanish with you and not just using you for English practice
  • Asking you about you and not just blathering on about themselves. They should be interested in your family, friends, work, and life at home.
  • Scheduling dates that don’t just start with late drinks and end in your bedroom. This means going to markets mid-afternoon, renting bikes in the morning, and taking day trips out of the city.

3. Beware the Macho Man 

Unless you’re into that kind of thing. Otherwise, I know I said that macho men are universal but Mexican men can be a special type of macho – a more obvious one, if you will.

Be aware that many Mexican men have been raised with macho attitudes – especially if they’re from outside of Mexico City, especially if they’re from the north of the country, especially if they’re from conservative states like Puebla.

Macho men in Mexico believe that:
  • Women cook for men and don’t sit down to eat until the men are finished. Then the women clean up.
  • Women do the laundry, cleaning, and ironing and that is what they are for.
  • Women need to be protected from every kind of danger (they shouldn’t go out alone at night, they shouldn’t take public transport, they shouldn’t go out just with female friends, they shouldn’t leave the house period).
  • Women should not spend time with other men if they are dating someone.
  • Women must accept men’s bad behavior without complaint. This definitely includes bouts of ridiculous drunkenness. The woman tends to the man as if he is a sick baby and waits for him to get sober.
  • Women get married and have children and spend plenty of time with their husband’s family. 
  • Men live with their parents until they get married. Then the wife takes the place of the mother's former role.
Be warned that macho behavior may not manifest itself until much further on in your relationship, such as when you begin to live together. Ask questions ahead of time.

4. Look for Signs of the Female-Friendly Mexican Man

I married a man who had no love of feminism and some engrained machismo. Why? He showed a willingness to learn about my beliefs and adapt to my expectations of an equal partnership. At the very least, you should see the following promising signs:
  • He doesn’t openly ridicule women
  • He has female friends that he regards as equals
  • He treats his sister(s) and mother with respect
  • He fundamentally believes women are equals, even if he still has some macho attitudes
  • He is interested in your beliefs and opinions and while he may challenge you, he doesn’t automatically shut you down
  • He is open to your cultural differences and willing to learn about them
  • He isn’t critical of how you dress and accepts that you have the right to wear what you want.
  • He doesn’t insist that you act a certain way around his family and friends (as long as you’re not being unfairly rude). 
5. Proceed Slowly 

Foreign women may be in Mexico for a short or long time. Have a fling by all means but if you find yourself falling for someone, ask yourself the following questions: Are you willing to stay in Mexico for a man? If so, is this the man worth staying for? 

Proceed slowly and analyze your date for signs of trustworthiness and good character. Looks fade, sweet words fade, but character lasts forever.

Staying in Mexico for someone is a major commitment, as I well know. You have to analyze if being apart from your family and friends and changing or altering your career is worth it. Compromise is inevitable.

Make sure your beloved is willing to compromise as well – you shouldn’t be the only one changing your life. This may mean going to couples therapy to iron out cultural differences etc. Or perhaps your boyfriend needs to pursue therapy of his own, commit to quitting drinking, or otherwise.

Be firm. You have needs too. Talk with him. Does he want a long-term relationship? Is he willing to move in with you, do fifty percent of the housework, pay his half of the bills, and support your dreams? If so my dear, you may have just found true love!

Post your questions and experiences in the comments section below!

By the way, if you're looking for somewhere to stay in Mexico then click this link to go to AirBnB and get $25 USD in travel credit -- my gift to you!


How To Rent or Buy a House in Mexico City

These houses in Coyoacan, Mexico City, are probably crazy expensive.
Hi fellow travellers! Another reader question today, this time from Ginnie on finding houses to buy or rent in Mexico City:

Thanks for your frank and humorous posts on living in DF! My husband's being interviewed for a job close to San Mateo Tlaltenango and I'm checking out costs, housing, etc... your link is brilliant for finding rooms, but do you recommend any links for finding a house? I speak reasonable Spanish so not dependent on Craig's List!

Real Estate Websites

My husband just started researching buying rental properties so you're in luck! He provided me with a great list of local websites you can use to find a house to rent or buy in Mexico City.

A popular website from Mexico that specializes in real estate. You can find houses to buy or rent, as well as other types of properties. Nice layout and functionality.

Another popular website from Mexico that's real-estate only.

Less popular but a viable option.

This massive website sells just about everything but they have a considerable real estate section too.

Same idea as the above. Very popular Craigslist-like website in Mexico.

This website has government properties you can buy with a credit available to Mexican citizens. An option for those of you with Mexican spouses.

What Neighborhoods to Consider:
  1. La Condesa is expat central and perfect for young folks who like to be close to the party and upmarket retail. Leafy and safe with a great running track but potentially loud at night and filled with drunks and crazy valet parking dudes driving like maniacs. Also the rent is expensive but probably still cheaper than you're used to paying at home.
  2. La Roma (Norte and Sur) is close to La Condesa. It also has a youth vibe with plenty of cafes and bars but it's more chill. Central but tranquil. Great access to transit and nice little parks and cheaper than Condesa.
  3. Polanco is for those who want to rent a tony condo and have access to top-notch malls in a safe, tranquil neighborhood. Better for those with a car since transit access is not great and it's a bit north of the center. Also, the traffic is crazy there at rush hour and prices are high.
  4. Escandon or Narvarte. These neighborhoods are different (the former is south of Condesa and the latter is sort of south and east of Roma). Both are cheaper and very tranquil and residential. Good access to transit and close to downtown. Downside is that you won't get a lot of exciting retail or nightlife in either.
  5. Coyoacan is my home and my favorite. It's quite south but has good access to transit. Those who want to be close to the party in Condesa/Roma won't like it as transit in DF closes after midnight and you'll pay quite a bit to get a taxi after that. That said, it has a growing nightlife, beautiful and tranquil colonial streets, lovely cafes and cultural offerings and it's safe. My pick of the litter.
**The above section on location was taken from my blog post on finding an apartment in Mexico City.

Legal Considerations has all the legal details and other specifics of buying a house in Mexico.

By the way, if you're looking to stay somewhere in Mexico City while you're looking for a house then click this link to go to AirBnB and get $25 USD in travel credit -- my gift to you!


Teaching English in Mexico: Can I Work Under a Tourist Visa?

The canals in Xochimilco. Another benefit of living and working in Mexico City!
Another reader question today. Claire asks:

We understand that its possible to work/find a job under the tourist visa, but some say permits are checked and you may be deported if you fail to present one. I am not sure how accurate this is, but we'd rather not take this chance as we may find we want to settle down permanently in Mexico.

I have NEVER heard of anyone being deported for teaching English with a tourist visa in Mexico. Many private English schools are sensitive to the fact that foreigners often don't have work visas, nor do the schools want to pay for you to get one. Instead, a small tax called recibos may be deducted from your paycheque in lieu of a proper visa.

More formal institutions like high schools and universities will need you to either have a work visa already or will help you get one. If you're confused about this process, contact your local Mexican embassy for information on how to get a work visa.

Or you could simply find private English students through Segundamano and Craigslist who will neither care if you have a visa nor deduct recibos.

Let me say this again: no one is going to be deported for teaching English on a tourist visa in Mexico. You may be deported for engaging in protest activities against the government but not for teaching on a tourist visa.

I've even known people to work in offices and other non-ESL activities on tourist visas with no problem whatsoever.

The moral of this story is that, at least right now, Mexican immigration is pretty lax regarding work permits. As long as you leave every six months on your tourist visa you'll be fine.

If anyone at the border asks what you've been up to, just say either you're backpacking or you work freelance. I've never received blowback from either of those responses. But then again, I'm a young blonde woman and a Canadian. Sadly, this goes a long way towards getting officials off my back.

Check out these resources that helped me when I moved to Mexico City:
Moving to Mexico and need a place to crash? Click here to get $25 USD credit with Air B&B.


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