The Bosque de Chapultepec, in the heart of Mexico City, is the largest urban park in Latin America and almost double the size of New York’s Central Park. Meaning “hill of the grasshopper,” this vast 1,695-acre green expanse is a pleasant place in which to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. And because the trees in Chapultepec continuously produce oxygen, they help to mitigate the city’s chronic pollution. The park encompasses nine museums, two amusement parks, a cemetery, lakeside restaurants, a zoo famous for its successful breeding program for pandas, the official presidential residence Los Pinos and two artificial lakes, where rowboats and paddleboats can be rented by the hour.
Bosque de Chapultepec
For me, the highlight of the park is the Museo Nacional de Historia, set in the 18th-century Chapultepec castle built by the Spanish. Adapted to different uses over time, the building was once the imperial palace of Prince Maximilian I of Habsburg, then the first palace for the Mexican president. The hilltop castle was eventually converted into a museum in 1940. Passing the Baths of Montezuma — a system of waterways constructed by the Aztecs — the leisurely climb to the top offers views of lush forest, composed primarily of native ahuehuete, cedar and pine trees. The museum houses a large collection of armaments, furnishings, antique carriages, oil paintings and items of jewelry and clothing of past residents. Visitors are allowed to wander through the sumptuous bedrooms and living areas of former president Porfirio Díaz. The panoramic city views alone would make the trip worthwhile.
Museo Nacional de Historia
Chapultepec Castle. Tel.  55-4040-5217