What Are So-Called Tourist Traps?

What do you see? What do you hear? If you look to your right when you visit Mexico City, you might see a mural like this. Whether you see the mural or hear the booming voices of crowds, it is just one of many tourist traps in Mexico City. Think of it as somebody telling you need to pay for access to the best casino bonus for online gaming, when in actual fact all you really need to do is apply some kind of promo code to benefit from something like that.

There are a few things to keep in mind when viewing these displays. A. Tourists often do not read the descriptions on the murals and miss out on art. B. Art in these places is often deliberately embellished and exaggerated. Often the murals are riddled with numerous holes and extra garish colours. C. People generally stand in front of the murals looking up and taking photos. This makes them far from authentic. There are no strong lines, no spacing and no real realism to the art. More often than not, tourists are standing in front of these murals waiting for a photo to snap rather than exploring the art as intended. It is an unfair criticism to say the art is too commercialized. At least some people are trying to promote local artists and their work.

If you get stuck next to a tourist trap in Mexico City, you can take out your smart phone and take a photo that is real but less commercialized. If you get stuck next to a tourist trap in Tulum, however, you should get out of the city and to a place that is authentic. If you see some sunbathers or people taking photos, do not take out your smart phone and snap a picture for yourself. Instead, use a camera with a regular lens that captures what you actually see without adding a tourist or photo-taking filter.

If you can do all of these things and the art and place are great, then you might consider it a real tourist trap. In these cases, you just might be getting better art, making more art and experiencing something authentic.

What Are So-Called Tourist Traps? (If You See Them)

The following are some real tourist traps in Mexico City that are supposed to draw tourists. Whether you actually find these places to be attractions or not depends entirely on what you are looking for.


The painted tiled floors of the Casa del Sol and the entire area around it are tourist traps. There are souvenirs and tourists everywhere. If you do see the painted tiled floors, you can try to climb over the buildings with a few friends and take a selfie standing in the middle of the mural. If you do not see the painted tiled floors, you can stand outside and take pictures of the full length wall. You can also stand in the middle of the mural and take a photo of yourself as an entrant.

El Vino

Similar to Montezuma, El Vino, the gallery and restaurant, is not a tourist trap, but the crowds are usually made up of tourists.

This gallery, cafe and bar has been refurbished many times. Many times they take down the murals and paint over them. Each time, they get another layer of paint and a new scene. Some of the scenes are very colorful and there are actual characters you can take photos of.