JULY 12-21, 2002
How to take a first-class bus from Mexico City to Veracruz

Mexico's first-class busses are roomy and clean. For about $22 you can get from Mexico City to Veracruz in 5 hours, with a bit of adventure thrown in.

To get to the bus station from the Airport in Mexico City you need to find, inside the airport, the booth (caseta) that sells tickets (boletos) for taxis. The taxi ticket booth is right by one of the exit doors from the airport near where you exit customs in the international arrivals area. There is another in the domestic arrivals area. Once you locate this booth make it known that you want a taxi to La TAPO bus station (Central Camionera La TAPO. There are 3 other bus stations in the city, be sure you go to La TAPO). He'll sell you a ticket- might cost $10 or 15- and then someone will lead you to, or indicate where you need to go to catch the taxi. These taxis are usually yellow and sometimes you have to wait your turn to get the next available taxi. The driver will take half your ticket, you keep the other half.

About 20 minutes of Mexico City traffic and you'll be at the edge of the bus station. It is a round building, like a donut, and you need to get yourself into the center, or hole, of the donut. Follow the flow of people towards the center. You will go through a long, wide passageway that opens into the center of the bus station. Here you will see a dozen or more bus lines. The ones you are interested in are either Uno or ADO. Both of these offer first class service to Veracruz. They list the departure times on boards above the ticket windows. Check both before buying tickets, as you will want to the line with the next leaving bus. You shouldn't have to spend more than an hour waiting in the bus station. Departures are frequent (from 6AM-1PM). Alternately, if these buses are full, look at AU, a second class carrier with frequent service to Veracruz.

Your ticket will cost about $200 pesos- about $22 US. Regarding money, you should exchange at least enough money for the taxi, bus and one day in Veracruz while you are still in the Mexico city airport (there are many exchange booths there -casa de cambio). The airport has the best exchange rate in the country, and it's convenient. Just don't flash your money around there, or anywhere else for that matter.

At the airport and bus station there will be men with dollies who can lug your luggage if you wish. They are usually content with a tip of 20-30 pesos.

A final note, while in Mexico City, in the airport or the bus station, you should always use the taxi ticket booths to arrange your taxi. There are many taxis on the street that you can just walk out and flag down. But there have been many muggings associated with these taxis in the last 5 years. So don't use street taxis. If you aren't in the airport or bus station, perhaps your hotel, or a hotel nearby can call a taxi for you (offer to pay for the call). Also, if you don't have luggage, the best way to get around Mexico City to see the sights is via the Metro (subway).

Once your bus gets to Veracruz, 5 hours later, you will find many taxis in front of the bus station. In Veracruz taxis are safe. Tell them you want a ride to the Hotel Colonial or to the Zocalo (central park where hotel is located).