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Time to visit the Basilica

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Lafayette, Indiana
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Time to visit the Basilica

Hi, my wife and I will be flying from Costa Rica this summer into Mexico City (through AeroMexico, with the final destination being Chicago), we arrive on a Sunday at 11:10 AM and are scheduled to depart at 7:05 PM. That makes for about an 8 hour layover. We'd really love to go to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which we understand to be reasonably close to the airport. We'd plan to check our baggage with our airline so that we would not need to lug it around anywhere.

Is the nearly 8 hours enough to do everything necessary at the airport (customs, etc.), take a taxi to the basilica, attend Mass (which I'd guess is normally around an hour, unless Mexico Masses run longer), and return to catch the outgoing flight? If it is plenty of time, are there any nice restaurants in the immediate area of the basilica we could catch a late lunch at? Also, assuming we take the certified taxis from the airport (and back? I'm not sure how to arrange the return trip), would the trip to the basilica be reasonably safe? Thanks.

Mexico City
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1. Re: Time to visit the Basilica

It is plenty of time to do what you want to do. You can take an authorized airport taxi from the airport to the Basilica, but they won't be at the Basilica. Ask a police official to direct you to a sitio (see tee oh) which is an official taxi base or just take a regular taxi that you see dropping people off. There is very low chance of taxi crime today. Most are hard working people. The only change I would suggest is to eat lunch at the airport. There really are no good places at the Basilica. Visit the Basilica, attend mass, walk to see some of the other churches on the complex, maybe even climb the hill and then return. You should get into your taxi two hours prior to your departure flight and on a Sunday, you will likley be at the airport in 15 minutes, 30 maximun in traffic.

Lewiston, California
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2. Re: Time to visit the Basilica

"Happy" info is right on spot.

Joliet, Il
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3. Re: Time to visit the Basilica

Restaurants; there is one I liked about a block in front of the Shrine entrance on that strip, it is next to McDonalds (you will see it), they served a whole fish it was good, and not pricey. Don't expect to get salsa and chips to start you off, it's nothing like the Mex restaurants in US, if you want beans & rice, it's usually a separate order. The tortillas r thicker and made fresh there. Before the shrine entrance, to your right is a street, walk a bit and on your right is market with food stalls. Check them out first, there are many options being prepared, looks good, smells good, maybe something will apeal to you there first, and you get exactly what you order. Polish up on your Spanish if you need to cause it will come in handy and all shrine related info are in Spanish. The shrine has tourist booths should you need it. As for the taxis, ask the driver "Quanto questa para aeropuerto" and pick the one w/ the answer you like or one with a meter (usually on the passenger side of the windshield). FYI the chapel on the top is where She first apeared, and later gave the roses. Be sure to get a closer view of the Virgin from the pedway below. Good Luck and njoy.

Edited: 12 April 2013, 07:31
Lafayette, Indiana
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4. Re: Time to visit the Basilica

Thanks for the very helpful information! Does anyone know if we will need to go through customs and re-check our baggage, coming from Costa Rica and eventually going to the US? Also, how long do Masses usually run in Mexico?

Mexico City
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5. Re: Time to visit the Basilica

Yes, will be enterring Mexico and thus have to clear immigration and Customs and recheck your luggage onwards. It is like the US, you have to collect your bags when you arrive in Mexico. Masses are around an hour in Mexico, just like everywhere else. There are lots of people helping to give communion in the Basilica. It does get to be standing room only and is in Spanish.

Washington, DC
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6. Re: Time to visit the Basilica

There are a number of cheap restaurants and a market of food stalls immediately surrounding the Basilica. You don't have to go more than 1 or 2 blocks away from the Basilica in any direction. If you are interested in eating kind of food that the average Mexico City resident eats when going out on the weekend (what you would think of as "authentic" Mexican food), you're better off around the Basilica than at the airport. I would only warn you to be aware of the hygienic quality of the food -- the only time I've ever gotten food poisoning in Mexico was at one of the dingy, cheap restaurants next to the Basilica. A potentially safer option is the two outdoor restaurants on the Basilica grounds proper (and the airport is always safe).

I will only warn you that, on a Sunday, the Basilica may be EXTREMELY crowded. Do not be surprised if the Basilica is filled beyond capacity (aisles filled with standees during Mass), and shoving is the norm as it's the only way to move through the building. It is possible to get close to the image and see it, but try not to get crushed by the crowd too badly in that area. Obviously, you will not want to carry any luggage when moving through this environment.

Other than the main Basilica, the grounds are full of smaller museums and churches to explore which are much less crowded in any event.

7. Re: Time to visit the Basilica

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