Mexico City is huge, really huge. The entire urban area of Mexico City, or D.F. for short, has a population of just over 21 million people making it the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world and the largest city in the Western Hemisphere.
Driving into the city was dramatically different than all the other driving we had done so far. Luckily Matt is comfortable with city-driving. I had the fun task of navigating. Mexico City has an incredible amount of congestion and air pollution. In an attempt to alleviate this, in 1989, the city government instituted a system called “Hoy No Circula” or no-drive days. Who can drive on what days depends on the license plate number. We had a vehicle from outside of Mexico, so our no-drive day was Thursday. Of course, we didn’t know this until we had already arranged our schedule and booked our hotel. Since we were not residents of the city with out of state plates, we were able to secure a permit to put in our window that would give us permission to drive any day of the week for up to two weeks. We found the website and got some help with the translation. It was not too difficult to fill out. They then sent us the form in an email and we posted the permits in the rear driver’s side window. On our way out of town on a Thursday, we were stopped by a police officer. He saw the permit and then wished us a pleasant journey and got back into his car.