Embracing the Mexico City Altitude: A Solo Female Traveler’s Journey

Hola, fellow wanderlusters! If you’re reading this, you’re probably planning your epic adventure to Mexico City, or as I like to call it, the “City of Perpetual Surprise.” Let me tell you, one of the biggest surprises might just be the altitude! At a whopping 7,350 feet above sea level, this city’s elevation can make even the most seasoned traveler feel like they’ve never walked a mile in their life. Here’s my tale of high-altitude hijinks and how to make the most of it.

mexico city altitude

First Impressions: Why Am I So Winded?

I remember stepping off the plane, feeling like an intrepid explorer ready to conquer the world—or at least eat my weight in tacos. But then, reality hit. I found myself gasping for air after a short stroll to the luggage claim. “Am I out of shape? Did I eat too many churros?” Nope, it’s just the altitude reminding me who’s boss.

Understanding the Altitude in Mexico city: What’s Happening to My Body?

When you ascend to high altitudes, the air pressure decreases, and there’s less oxygen available. In Mexico City, this can lead to altitude sickness, which includes symptoms like headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Your body needs time to adjust to the thinner air, which can feel like you’re constantly trying to catch your breath.

Altitude Sickness: The Uninvited Travel Companion

Symptoms to Watch Out For

Altitude sickness, or “soroche” as the locals call it, can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness level. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Headaches: A persistent, throbbing headache is one of the first signs.
  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, especially when standing up quickly.
  • Fatigue: Unusual tiredness or feeling like you’ve run a marathon after just a short walk.
  • Nausea: A queasy stomach or even vomiting in severe cases.
  • Shortness of Breath: Difficulty catching your breath, especially when exerting yourself.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night.

Xochimilco Mexican Fiesta with unlimited drinks

Why It Happens

At higher altitudes, the air is thinner, meaning there’s less oxygen. Your body has to work harder to get the oxygen it needs, which can lead to these symptoms as it adapts to the new environment. This adjustment period is what causes altitude sickness.

Tips to Handle the Altitude in Mexico city: Surviving and Thriving

Hydrate Like a Camel

First things first, drink water. Lots of it. The dry air at this altitude can sneak up on you faster than a street vendor selling sombreros. Carry a water bottle everywhere and sip continuously. Pro tip: avoid alcohol and caffeine—they’re sneaky dehydrators.

Take It Easy

Mexico City is brimming with vibrant life and endless activities, but take it slow, amiga. The museums, markets, and monuments will still be there tomorrow. On my first day, I ambitiously planned to explore the entire historic center. Halfway through, I found myself lounging in a park, contemplating life and my lack of stamina. Pace yourself and listen to your body.

Read more: La Huasteca Potosina Mexico: An Enchanting Journey

Sleep Like a Baby

Altitude can mess with your sleep schedule. You might feel more tired than usual, so don’t fight it. Embrace those afternoon siestas. Find a cozy spot, like Chapultepec Park, and let yourself drift off. Trust me, your body will thank you.

Eating Your Way Through the Altitude: Culinary Delights

One of the best ways to acclimate is through the local cuisine. Mexican food is not just delicious; it’s an experience. Street food is where it’s at. From tacos al pastor to churros con chocolate, eating in Mexico City is a cultural adventure. However, start with light meals until your stomach adjusts.

Tickets to the Frida Kahlo Museum

In a nutshell: Laughter is the Best Medicine

You’ll find yourself in some funny situations due to the altitude. I once tried dancing salsa at Mama Rumba. Let’s just say my moves were less salsa, more slow-motion interpretive dance. Embrace the laughter and the occasional embarrassment. It’s all part of the adventure.

Read more: Discovering Paradise: Las Grutas Tolantongo Hot Springs, Mexico

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