Park Chapultepec in Mexico City or (Bosque de Chapultepec) is one of the most visited places in the Mexican capital not only by tourists, but also by locals. According to statistics, about 15 million people vacation in it every year. The green area is considered one of the largest parks in Latin America.
History of Chapultepec Park
The area of the modern park has been inhabited by Toltec tribes since the eighth century. The name of the area comes from an Indian phrase translated as “Hill of Grasshoppers. Then the city of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire, was founded on the site.
On the hill of the same name, considered sacred, tribal leaders were first buried. During the reign of Montezuma I, a royal palace was built on it, and swimming pools and aqueducts were arranged.
The ruler also ordered the planting of many trees, which were brought in from all over the country. During his reign, Montezuma’s portrait was carved into the rock and survives to this day. The Spanish conquistadors left the right to the land to the city. The park gradually expanded until the XX century.
Structure of the park area
The area of the park is more than 650 hectares. According to the historical development of the area, the recreation area is divided into 3 zones.
Sector One: Historical Part
The oldest part of the park contains the most historical monuments and landmarks. There are two lakes, a botanical and zoological garden, theaters and dance schools.
The area of the sector is 274 hectares. The area is fenced with a wrought iron fence, the gates are locked by guards at night, and visitors are not allowed to visit this part of the park.
In 1964, Chapultepec Park was expanded with the addition of 160 hectares of land formerly owned by local farmers. On the territory organized recreational attractions, equipped cafes and restaurants. The paths of the park zone are used by lovers of active recreation for morning jogs and bicycle rides.
Ten years later, the authorities decided to develop a quiet area with picturesque nature in the center of Mexico’s most populous city. On 243 hectares of land more than 5 thousand trees were planted, which is more than half of the green spaces of the metropolis. In the “lungs of Mexico City,” as the locals call this sector of Chapultepec, there are sequoias, cedars, eucalyptus, palm trees, pines, etc.
The main attractions of Chapultepec Park
Many of Mexico City’s landmarks are located in the park. The green area has themed alleys and zones with sculptures and busts of famous cultural figures of the country.
At the main entrance, visitors are greeted by a monument to the Motherland. Nearby are six white columns, the tops of which are crowned with bronze figures of eagles.
The park is characterized by a large number of patriotic symbols.
Monument to heroic cadets
A monument to the cadet heroes, made in the form of figures of young men, is dedicated to the students of the military academy who died defending the palace during the U.S.-Mexican War. The monument has an observation deck with a panoramic view of the surrounding area.
Memorial to the Mexican Airmen
An improvised Roman amphitheater was built in honor of the pilots who died in World War II. On the main wall of the structure are commemorative plaques with the names of heroes.
The gazebo-like structure known as the “People’s Kiosk” became part of the park’s infrastructure more than 100 years ago. Musicians often perform here and art lovers gather.
The hill, where Chapultepec Castle is located, can be climbed on foot or by minibus. The building itself was built in 1785 as the residence of the Viceroy of New Spain. In the 19th century, the palace was rebuilt and a botanical garden was laid out on its roof. Today it houses a historical museum.
Fountains of Chapultepec Park
The park is equipped with many fountains. The most famous of them include:
- Fuente de la Templanza. The fountain is known as a gathering place for local artists. Tourists and locals can order a portrait for a small fee.
- The fountain of frogs is located in the center of the square, where the longest street of the park ends.
- Fountain of Nesaualkojotl. The 2-level composition is crowned by a large stone statue of one of the Aztec rulers.
Museums in the park
There are eight museums on the grounds of Chapultepec. They are all open six days a week and are only closed on Mondays. The average cost of admission is $3.
National Museum of Anthropology
The Museum of Anthropology has 26 halls. There are ethnographic and archaeological finds related to the indigenous people of the country.
Castillo de Chapultepec National Historical Museum
The Historical Museum, located in the castle on the hill, presents 4 centuries of Mexican history. In particular, the collection includes medieval cannons, swords, armor, etc.
Museum of Modern Art exhibit
The Museum of Modern Art has a collection of works by 20th century artists and sculptors. Among the exhibits are works by Frida Kahlo, Jose Morado, David Siqueiras and many others. others. A separate room is dedicated to the works and collection of Rufino Tamayo.
“Snail” or Karakol Museum got its name because of the bizarre spiral shape in which the building is built. The public can see photographs, paintings, and sculptures that tell the story of the country.
Papalote Children’s Museum
The Papalote museum for children organizes interactive exhibitions, shows educational films, and organizes fun activities for young visitors. It is equipped with playgrounds and an activity area “Mayan Garden”.
Other available activities at Chapultepec Park in Mexico City
In addition to tours of the most famous museums of the Mexican capital, in Chapultepec you can visit the zoo or have fun at amusement rides. In the artificial lakes of the park, visitors to the recreational area can take a ride on one of the water vehicles.
The Chapultepec Zoological Garden differs from its counterparts in that it lacks the usual cages. The animals are separated from the people by thick glass partitions, which gives a better view of the fauna or arrange a photo shoot. Small groups of visitors are even allowed to enter the aviary with the animals.
The city zoo has more than 2,000 mammals, birds and reptiles belonging to more than 200 species.
Employees of the garden implement programs to restore populations of endangered animals.
La Feria de Chapultepec can accommodate up to 15,000 guests at a time, and the annual number of visitors is more than 2 million. One of the most popular attractions are considered a roller coaster, the track that encircles the dolphinarium.
For children in this area built a 2-story merry-go-round. The park has 50 rides for the whole family all the time.
Rental of bicycles, boats and catamarans
The area is so large that it is very difficult to get around even in a few days. To try to see as much of Chapultepec as possible, bike rentals are available.
There are several two-wheeler rentals in the area.
In addition, visitors to the recreational area can rent a boat, kayak or catamaran. The cost of renting water transport is from $ 2 per hour. More spacious boats – for 3, 4 or 5 people will cost more.
Where to eat in Chapultepec Park
A long trip through the green zone of the Mexican capital is bound to make you hungry. You can eat in the park in one of the many cafes and restaurants. The average bill for a small lunch at a place with local cuisine is $15-20, at bistros starting at $10.
You can also have lunch in Chapultepec in one of the streets that surround the area. There are often stalls or vans with fast food or ice cream.
Location of the park on the map and how to get there
Chapultepec Park is located at the end of Reforma Avenue in the heart of the Mexican capital. Therefore, you can get to the recreational area from anywhere in the city. The quickest way to your destination is to take the Metro, getting off at Chapultepec or Auditorio stations.
You can also use one of the cab services. But there are often traffic jams in the city center, so public transport is more reliable in this case.