A Mexicable ride through Ecatepec and its colorful houses on the hills was an experience to remember. It was also an interesting trip from the very start to the very end of our half-day excursion.
Photos of Ecatepec’s colorful houses are all over the internet. Even before we arrived the Mexico City, Ecatepec was already in our itinerary. We just didn’t know how to get there yet. However, on our way to the Teotihuacan Pyramids, we passed along these colorful houses on the hills.
We asked our tour driver (to the Pyramids) on how we could go to Ecatepec. All we wanted was to ride the MexiCable, passing through those multi-colored houses. However, the look on his face perplexed us. He never had that question before, and as a tour bus driver, he never met anyone who was interested in visiting Ecatepec. Also, he warned us that it’s dangerous to visit the place for tourists. He strongly advised us not to go with our plan.
But, of course, we didn’t listen to him. We also asked our hotel receptionist on how to get there, but he was very adamant about letting us go there. Instead, he recommended a trusty driver to accompany us. We totally understood their worries – news of Ecatepec’s violence is not hidden online. “It is a slum where the poorest of the poor lives,” says the receptionist. The slum is also dubbed as one of “Mexico City’s most dangerous cities.” We read and knew all of these, of course. And it piqued our curiosity.
Our driver arrived at 8:00 in the morning. He was a middle-aged man in his 40’s. We knew his age because he told us without even asking. 😀 He asked us why we were so interested in visiting Ecatepec de Morelos. Plain and simple – we said, “All we want is to ride the Mexicable and see those colorful houses up close ourselves.” Those reasons, we reckon, were not enough to convince him. 😀
It was a smooth 50 minutes ride outside of Mexico City. When we were almost there, he informed us that he called his friend who was an Ecatepec local. My friend and I were kind of suspicious. We had many questions. “Are we gonna be kidnapped now?”, “Is this a set-up?”, “Are we gonna die now?”
Having seen our suspicious reactions and a series of questions to him, he assured us that there’s nothing to worry about. He just wanted his friend to accompany us because he doesn’t know where to start and that he’s not a local. His friend, he said, “Can tell you more about Ecatepec.” The friend arrived and guided us to Santa Clara station where we started our Mexicable journey.
We started at Santa Clara Station where a huge mural portrait of Frida is plastered. At the station’s facade, two statues of a mother and baby elephants stand side by side. We don’t know their significance why they’re there. No descriptive plaque to read on sight.
Our driver stayed in his car while the new guy we met was the one who accompanied us. He helped us bought our tickets – and he always stayed close to us. During the whole ride, there were only three of us in the car – no other passengers. He was literally very watchful behind us and kept reminding us to be careful with our cellphones.
A friend and I were very excited inside the cable car. We couldn’t stop giggling.
As we ascended, the views below us changed little by little.
We could see the farthest houses on the hills and we were in awe!
We forgot it was a slum and we forgot it’s dangerous.
But, honestly, we didn’t feel it was a slum nor it was dangerous.
Ok, our experience was limited on riding the Mexicable only. We only saw Ecatepec from above. We had zero experience walking on the streets of Ecatepec. But from above, this colorful city doesn’t fit into what a slum should be. At least, for me. I’ve been to India – and I know what a slum looks like.
On our way to the last stop, we got off once (4th stop I think) because the cars would go back to the first station.
We were told to transfer to another station that will bring us all the way to La Cañada, the terminal station.
Before reaching La Cañada station, our guide asked us if we wanted to get off or continue taking the same car going back. We chose to get off and took more photos – but only briefly. Then, we hopped on again.
At the end of our journey, our driver asked us to give his friend “something” for helping us. We easily understood what we meant, so we gave him “something.” That was very unexpected. It was never included in our budget. But, we didn’t anymore argue – we were safe. That was all that mattered.
My friend and I stayed at NH Collection Mexico City Reforma in Zona Rosa. We love this area because it is close to bars, restaurants, groceries, shops, public transport, and some interesting places to see. Police officers are ubiquitous in this are, too. The hotel itself is nice and we were given a room with a good view. We can see the Angel of Independence Statue from our room. It takes about 40 minutes on foot to the historic downtown. The staff can also arrange a tour for you if that’s your kind of thing, including going to the Frida Kahlo Museum (aka, The Blue House).