Getting to your hotel
 
 

Before exiting the airport and after the glass sliding doors, when you clear customs, there are several sale windows for authorized taxis. These are safe and fair in price, so please use them.

If you are staying at the host hotel (Hotel Radisson Paraiso Perisur) a standard taxi should be about $325 pesos (about or 18 USD or 16 Euros) or if you arrive in group you can hire a van for up to 7 people, which should be about $500 pesos. Rates may vary depending on the company and on the time of the day.

Be sure you mention the correct Radisson, as there are several in Mexico city. To be sure, you must go to “Zona 8, Jardines del Pedregal
 
 
 
Money
 
 

The Mexican currency is “peso” and the exchange rate varies every day, but it is around 19.5 pesos per US dollar or around 22.5 pesos per Euro. To find out what the official exchange rate is, you can check http://www.anterior.banxico.org.mx/portal-mercado-cambiario/

Banks AND Money Exchange (Casas de Cambio) are common at the Mexico City airport - exchange rates vary among them about 2%. Travelers checks are not accepted everywhere, so, to be safe if you like to use them it is advisable to change at least some at the airport. Credit cards are accepted in most business, but not in regular taxis, buses or subway. If you like to travel light, exchange some money at airport and then you can use cash machines (ATMs or in Spanish “Cajero Automático”) located in many points near the Conference venue. Many cash machines in Mexico have the option of an English dialog. As elsewhere, be careful when you use them, do not trust strangers and try not to use one at night if it is isolated or not well illuminated.

Bills are easy to distinguish among them, but be aware that there is a new bill of 500 pesos that looks a bit similar to the 20 pesos bills. The back of the bill is very different, though.

 
 
 
 
 
September 15 and 16th
     
"Independence day”
 
 

For those of you arriving before the meeting, you will get to enjoy one of the Mexican popular parties: the celebration of the Independence Day on September 15 & 16.

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla called for the independence movement against the Spanish on the night of September 15, 1810.

Traditionally the main square on each Delegación (district) in Mexico City has a recreation of this call at 10 PM, when the delegate (the president of Mexico in the main old square: Centro Histórico de México) uses a bell from the municipal palace to call the names of the main actors of our Independence, culminated by a series of “Viva Mexico” (Long Life to Mexico) goose bumping calls. This is culminated by a long period of fireworks.

 

Before this official event takes place, towards the early afternoon on the 15th, each district in Mexico city has a kermes with popular music groups, often including Mariachi, traditional food and lots of Mexican flags. The square will be certainly decorated with the colors of the Mexican flag (green, white and red) and many ornaments, such as bells and the faces of Hidalgo and others.

If you do not mind crowds, you will most likely enjoy watching the kids dressed as Independence heroes, or the old couples dancing in the relatively empty spaces of the square. As in any crowded place, pick pocketing can happen, so, do not carry valuables (like your passport), but it is normally a safe and enjoyable atmosphere.

If you plan to visit Mexico city main square on the morning of September 16th, be aware that there is a military parade (the airport will be close for a few hours when air planes are displaying power and acrobatics.

 
 
 
Food & Drink
 

“Montezuma's revenge”

is worldwide known as part of traveling in Mexico. Nevertheless, in many cases stomach problems are caused by the big diet changes. In Mexico it is common to eat spicy, to drink water prepared with tropical fruits, to consume fresh fruits and to drink tequila. A moderate diet should not cause many troubles.

Now a days, it is not too common to get really sick, especially if you consume food in well-established restaurants.

If you take some precautions you can avoid stomach infections. As a rule of thumb, it is always better to avoid drinking tap water, unless it is safely boiled or filtered. As well, it is not safe to eat raw leafy greens or drink prepared soft drinks (“aguas frescas”) on the streets. This can be done safely only at good restaurants. Anything raw should be peeled, or washed with bottled water. All restaurants serve excellent lemonade ("limonada mineral” or “limonada preparada") made with sparkling water ("agua mineral"), lime juice, and sugar from cane. Unless you are in a good restaurant, avoid "limonada natural" (lacking bubbles). For the same reason, in lower end places it is better to order drinks without ice ("sin hielo").

   
As you will be in Mexico during/close to the Independence cellebrations, there will be many restaurants offering traditional dishes from this periode including the common “Noche mexicana” (Mexican night) for dinners at almost all the restaurants. Among the classic dishes, two are a must:
   
Pozole (white huminy)

Is like a chicken soup, but it can be prepared with pork (just the meat, “Maciza” or including fat or even sometimes the pigs eirs and nose); it includes onion, finelly slided radish, lettus, mexican origanum (Lippia sp.), and tortilla toast with cream. If you do not dear to take spicy food the first days of your trip, you can order it white (pozole blanco), which completelly lacks chili, and then you can add to your taste the powder chili that is always provided. This dish, as you can see, has the colors of the Mexican flag (green, white and red), being then very appropiate for the occasion.

   
Chiles en nogada
 


(Feeled pepers with walnut sauce) are a delicious sweet and souer dish that you can only get around September. This are poblano peper normally mild to moderatelly spicy (if they are too spicy for you it is possible to open them and remove their veins and seeds) feeled with grounded meet, almonds, rasins, fruits, etc, covered with sometimes pure walnute sauce (if they are cheep the sauce has more cream than walnut) topped with pome granade. This dish, as you can see, has the colors of the Mexican flag (green, white and red) and due to the walnut and pome granade seasson, it is best served during September.

   
   
A little time off?
   
   

Museums dependent on the Instituto Nacional de Antropología (INA),
which are most of the museums in Mexico, open from 9 to 5 hrs and are closed on Mondays

   

If you have a little time to spend and do not want to go far, we recommend you to visit the pyramid of Cuicuilco, which is very nearby the host hotel.

The only thing to have in mind when trying to get from your hotel to Cuicuilco is that you will have to cross a very busy street. Please be safe and have an little extra walk towards the North so you can use a pedestrian bridge.

Cuicuilco is a very interesting site, dated from 800 b.C. to 600 a.C. It is unique in Mesoamerica for its circular shape. The site has a very small but interesting museum and it is surrounded by the local flora that was established after the eruption around 1670± 35 years ago of a small volcano (Xitle) nearby  the mountain chain right in the South of the city (sierra del Ajusco). This is the same vegetation that you will see around the Instituto de Biología, UNAM.