Group tours to the Frida Kahlo Museum & Coyoacan can range anywhere between $59-$100 and will last anywhere between 5-8 hours. The price of these guided tours doesn’t usually include food, drinks or tips. What it does include is a guide and transportation to each destination. But there’s a way to get the whole experience on your own, in less time and for far less money. Here’s how:
Book your tickets for the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City ahead of time.
The first step in the DIY Tour of the Frida Kahlo Museum & Coyoacan, Mexico, for less than $20 is to book your tickets on the Frida Kahlo Museum website ahead of time in the United States and under a secure connection. The website is in Spanish, so have Google translate handy. I booked tickets on my phone on the plane before we departed and had no issues. Our friends who tried to book in Mexico through their hotel’s wifi didn’t have such luck.
Note that because it’s a Mexican website, the price of the tickets is in pesos, not dollars. So you’re not spending $130 on one ticket, it’s 130 pesos, which translates to about $6.50 right now. Don’t forget to print your tickets. The instructions on the tickets say to print them, so be sure you do. You’ll also have to reserve a time, so try to book as early as possible. It opens at 10 a.m., but a line starts to form at about 9:30 a.m. and gets longer as the day progresses.
9am. $13.50 left to spend.
The best way to get to the Frida Kahlo Museum is not only the cheapest route, but the fastest one, too.
Due to the amount of traffic and road work going on in Mexico City on any given day, it takes at least 30 minutes in taxi just to get to the Frida Kahlo Museum from the Zona Rosa, more if you’re staying around historical downtown. It might be smarter to take the subway, called the Metro. For 5 pesos, or .25 cents, you can take the Metro to almost any destination in the city. It’s underground, so it’s a faster and more efficient way to get around. The Metro stop that you want to get off at is Viveros. About a mile from Frida Kahlo’s house, the scenic walk from the metro stop will take about 20 minutes through beautiful, tree-lined neighborhoods.
This map would have been great when we went, but if you don’t have a map on hand, ask for directions. It’s so easy to get lost, and it’s very likely you’ll end up walking in circles if you don’t ask. There is one sign that I saw that directed you to the house, otherwise it’s anyone’s guess. Also note that in Mexico City and other Latin American countries, street signs are hard to come by. Even though you see streets on a map, in real life, there are no signs. You’re directed by hand gestures and landmarks.
9: 30 a.m. $13.25 left to spend.
Your first stop: the Frida Kahlo Museum
Whether you’ve pre-purchased a ticket or not, you’ll have to wait in line. We purchased our tickets for 10 am. We were about 5-10 minutes late, and our wait in line was about 30 minutes. Those who don’t have tickets can plan to wait about 3 hours. Yes, you read right, THREE hours.
Once inside the front entrance, you have to pay extra to take pictures. At 20 pesos, or $1, it’s worth it. We also bought the audio guide, which was 80 pesos, or about $4. This is a great option for those doing it alone. You can go through the whole museum at your own pace and get the same valuable information on the paintings, surroundings and personal items as you would from a tour guide.
11 a.m. $8.50 left to spend.
On to the Coyoacan plaza, Jardin del Centenario
To tour the whole Frida Kahlo Museum at a leisurely pace will take about an hour. From there, it’s an easy and short walk to the Coyoacan plaza called the Jardin del Centenario. On one side of the plaza sits the Parish of San Juan Bautista, built between 1520 and 1552 and one of the three oldest parish churches in Mexico City. The center of the plaza features a fountain with bronze coyotes. It’s a nod to the borough’s name, Coyoacan, which means “place of coyotes” in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs.
On any given weekend, you’ll find the park crowded with people and street vendors selling everything from balloons, to flowers and food. You’re likely to catch a random play or performance taking place in the center of the jardin.
Take a seat at the Antiguo Palacio de Coyoacan restaurant for lunch. A Coke and guacamole con chapulines, also known as grasshoppers, will run you about 130 pesos, or $6.50. A bit expensive for Mexico, it’s worth it to spend a little more for a culinary adventure. Commonly eaten in regions around Mexico, you’re most likely to see grasshoppers on the menu in Oaxaca and Mexico City. Covered in salt and lime juice and toasted on a comal, they’re actually not bad. They’re crunchy and tasty, and while you’ll usually see them served with eggs, soups, queso fundido and guacamole, they can also be found bagged up as a snack.
1 p.m. $2 left to spend.
Frida Kahlo Museum done and Coyoacan, Mexico, done. Time to head back.
From the Coyoacan Plaza to the Metro station Viveros is a bit far. And you can totally walk it—we did. But for a faster commute, take the bus to the Metro station for 5 pesos, .25 cents. Once you get to the Metro station, it’ll be another .25 cents for a ticket back. That leaves you with $1.50 in your pocket, a full belly and an invaluable learning experience.
A DIY tour of the Frida Kahlo Museum & Coyoacan, Mexico, for less than $20 is so doable. And furthermore, it’s an authentic experience where you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the culture, commute like a local and enjoy the same cuisine that’s so popular in the region. Try it for yourself, and let me know how it goes!