Teotihuacan is a popular day trip from Mexico City, is a place that truly needs to be seen to be believed. Standing at the base of these colossal pyramids, I was transported back in time, imagining the once-thriving civilization that called this place home.

This ancient city, known as the ‘City of the Gods,’ was a significant cultural, religious, and economic center, home to nearly 200,000 people from various ancient cultures. 

The pyramids of Teotihuacan are a testament to the rich history and culture of Mexico and have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the towering Pyramid of the Sun to the intricate Temple of Quetzalcoatl, each monument, each stone, tells a story of the people who once walked these ancient streets.

In this guide, I’ll share everything you need to know about Teotihuacan, from the practicalities of getting there from Mexico City to the must-see attractions. Teotihuacan is one must-do activity during your stay in Mexico City.

I’ll also give you a glimpse into the rich history and culture that make Teotihuacan a must-visit destination. So, whether you’re a history buff, an adventure seeker, or just someone looking for a unique day trip, join me as we explore the wonders of Teotihuacan together.

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History Of Teotihuacan Pyramids

Teotihuacan, often called the “City of the Gods,” is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in the Basin of Central Mexico.

The city is known for its architectural marvels, including the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, which are among the largest structures of their kind in the Western Hemisphere.

The origins of Teotihuacan, nestled in the Teotihuacan Valley, are shrouded in mystery. It is believed to have been established around 400 BC. By 100 AD, it had blossomed into a thriving metropolis with a population of approximately 125,000, making it the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas.

The ancient Mexican city’s inhabitants, often called Teotihuacanos, were known for their advanced knowledge of astronomy, architecture, and urban planning. The city was meticulously planned with a grid layout, and its main avenue, the Street of the Dead, aligns with the setting sun on certain days of the year.

Teotihuacan’s influence extended far beyond its city limits, with evidence of its artistic and cultural impact found in other Mesoamerican sites. However, despite its grandeur and influence, the city declined around the 6th century AD.

The reasons for this decline remain a subject of debate among historians, with theories ranging from internal strife to environmental changes.

Today, Teotihuacan stands as a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of its ancient inhabitants. The site continues to be a place of research and discovery, offering valuable insights into one of Mesoamerica’s most influential civilizations.

Visitors can explore its vast complexes, climb its monumental pyramids, and marvel at the intricate Teotihuacan murals adorn its walls.

Pro Tip: When visiting Teotihuacan, it’s important to respect the archaeological sites and preserve their historical integrity for future generations.

Best Time To Visit Teotihuacan

When planning your visit to Teotihuacan, timing is key. The best periods to visit are during the winter, spring, or early summer seasons, specifically from November to May.

Despite its location in Mexico, Teotihuacan sits at an altitude of 2,300 meters (7,500 feet), which means winters can be quite chilly. However, visiting in winter has its advantages as it tends to be less crowded, except around Christmas, of course.

Remember, the best time to visit the pyramids is early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and the midday heat. Teotihuacan is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last entry at 3 pm. Entry to the pyramids costs 80 pesos (about $3.50).

Weekends at Teotihuacan can get quite busy, as can the period during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) from October 26th to November 2nd. If you’re looking to avoid large crowds, it’s best to plan your visit on a weekday.

One day to particularly avoid is Sunday. While it’s great that the site is free for locals on this day, it does mean that it’s often the busiest day of the week. If you’re looking for a quieter experience where you can take your time and soak in the history and majesty of the site, a weekday visit is your best bet.

The archaeological zone is open from 9 am – 5 pm, and while it is possible to see the site in one day, I recommend allowing yourself two days if you can. This will give you enough time to explore each area more deeply without feeling rushed.

From my personal experience, I visited Teotihuacan on a Tuesday, and it was quite peaceful. The crowds were manageable, which allowed me to explore the site at my own pace and truly appreciate the grandeur of the pyramids.

Remember, the best time to visit isn’t just about the weather and crowds. It’s also about what will give you the most enjoyable and memorable experience. So, consider your personal preferences and what you want from your visit when choosing when to go.

Getting to The Teotihuacan Pyramids

Teotihuacan is located in the State of Mexico in San Juan Teotihuacan, around 50 kilometers (nearly 32 miles) from Mexico City.

There are many ways to visit Teotihuacan from Mexico City, including public buses, taxis, guided tours, and car rentals. The journey typically takes about an hour. 

Bus from Mexico City to Teotihuacan

You can easily take a bus to Teotihuacan from Mexico City, which is economical and straightforward. The buses are a convenient way to reach the pyramids, departing every 15 minutes from Terminal de Autobuses del Norte. This terminal is accessible via the Yellow Line (Line 5) of Mexico City’s metro system.

Upon arriving at the terminal, there was a desk with a clear picture of the pyramids (it was hard to miss) to buy tickets from. There was a bit of a queue, but to be fair, it moved pretty quickly.

The round trip to Teotihuacan costs about 100 Pesos. The ride is comfortable and offers a chance to see the outskirts of Mexico City.

Guided Tour from Mexico City to Teotihuacan

If you prefer a more structured experience, consider booking a guided tour of Teotihuacan.  Day tours operate all day, every day, and are easy to book from the capital. You can choose to go with a group or to take a private tour of Mexico City. 

Some companies, such as ‘Musement,’ offer a range of packages that include transportation, entrance tickets, meals and guided tours. Historical Tours offers some great options, including tasting tours. Many tours include lunch, making for a hassle-free day out.

Uber from Mexico City to Teotihuacan

For a more direct and comfortable journey to get to Teotihuacan from Mexico City, you can book an Uber. It’s safe, easy to book on the app, and costs around 500 Pesos ($25 USD) from Mexico City to the Teotihuacan pyramids.

However, if you plan to take an Uber back to Mexico City, book before 3 pm as it can be challenging to find one after this time.

Car Hire from Mexico City to Teotihuacan

If you prefer the freedom of self-driving, you can rent a car and take a short drive from Mexico City. Take Highway 85D and follow the signs to San Juan Teotihuacán. There are five large car parks available for visitors. Please only rent a car if you feel extremely comfortable driving through intense traffic. 

Guide to the Teotihuacan Pyramids

As you step into the sprawling expanse of Teotihuacan, you’ll find yourself transported back in time, surrounded by towering pyramids, ancient temples, and grand palaces.

Each monument tells a story of the people who once inhabited this place, their beliefs, and their way of life. Here’s a closer look at some of the key attractions that await you in this archaeological wonderland:

Exploring the Teotihuacan Pyramid Complex

The Pyramid Complex at Teotihuacan is a sprawling ancient archaeological site that once belonged to a pre-Columbian civilization, the details of which remain shrouded in mystery.

The complex is a treasure trove of pyramids, temples, and palaces, each bearing witness to the architectural prowess of its ancient inhabitants. A museum within the complex offers a window into the site’s rich history, showcasing artifacts and providing detailed narratives.

Located a mere 50 km northeast of Mexico City, Teotihuacan is the most visited archaeological site in Mexico, drawing history buffs and tourists alike.

Visitors are encouraged to dedicate a day to exploring the site’s pre-Hispanic buildings, museums, traditional dance exhibitions, and various stalls selling local crafts and souvenirs.

Temple of Quetzalcoatl (Temple of the Feathered Serpent)


The Temple of Quetzalcoatl, also known as the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, is a standout structure within the Teotihuacan complex.

This temple is renowned for its detailed facades that depict the feathered serpent deity, a significant figure in Mesoamerican mythology.

The temple’s intricate design and the symbolism embedded in its architecture offer a glimpse into the religious beliefs and artistic sensibilities of the ancient civilization.

Avenue of the Dead

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View of the Avenue of the Dead and the Pyramid of the Sun, from the Pyramid of the Moon at the Teotihuacan in Mexico

The Avenue of the Dead serves as the central axis of the city, stretching from the Plaza of the Citadel to the Pyramid of the Moon.

This 2.5-kilometer-long avenue is lined with palaces, pyramids, and residential complexes, offering a panoramic view of the city’s layout and urban planning. Let me tell you, walking down this avenue is akin to stepping back in time, providing a tangible connection to the city’s vibrant past.

Pyramid of the Sun


The Pyramid of the Sun, standing tall at 65 meters, is the largest pyramid in Teotihuacan and a symbol of ancient Mexico’s architectural grandeur. Dating back to around 200 A.D., this pyramid is a testament to the city’s longevity and cultural significance.

You can climb to the top of the pyramid for a breathtaking view of the entire city. The discovery of a cave beneath the pyramid in 1971 suggests that the site held religious importance even before the pyramid was constructed.

Pyramid of the Moon

The Pyramid of the Moon, built around 150 A.D., is another iconic structure in Teotihuacan. Although smaller than the Pyramid of the Sun, standing at 43 meters, it is believed to have been a central location for ritual sacrifices and religious ceremonies.

The pyramid’s historical and religious significance adds to the city’s mystique and allure.

Palace of Quetzalpapalotl

The Palace of Quetzalpapalotl, situated southwest of the Pyramid of the Moon, is thought to have been the residence of a high-ranking priest.

The palace is distinguished by its murals and intricately decorated pillars in the inner courtyard, which reflect the aesthetic sensibilities of the ancient civilization.

Teotihuacan Museum

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The museum at Teotihuacan, located near the entrance of the archaeological site, offers a brief history of the Teotihuacan civilization that once thrived in this region. 

However, I recommend visiting the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City before visiting the pyramids, as the information provided at the site is limited. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts and provides detailed narratives, enriching your understanding of the city’s historical context.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

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Balloons above pyramid of the moon – Teotihuacan, Mexico

Once you’ve had time to see the pyramids, one of the best things to do is take part in an unforgettable hot air balloon ride. Floating above the ancient city of Teotihuacan, you are captivated by the sheer scale and beauty of the archaeological site beneath you.

This unique adventure offers a bird’s eye view of the ancient city, allowing you to grasp the grandeur and intricacy of this archaeological wonder fully.

Opting for a sunrise flight was a game-changer; seeing the first rays of sunlight casting a golden hue over the pyramids was nothing short of magical.

I can’t stress enough the importance of arranging these rides in advance, especially if you’re visiting during the peak tourist season.

Personally, I found GetYourGuide to be the most reliable platform for booking these rides. They have a variety of options, ensuring there’s something that fits everyone’s schedule and budget. Trust me; this is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Tips for Visiting Teotihuacan

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Visiting Teotihuacan is an unforgettable experience, but to ensure your visit is as enjoyable as possible, it’s important to come prepared. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your trip:

Sun Protection and Hat

From my personal experience visiting Teotihuacan, I can’t stress enough how vital sun protection is. Even outside of summer, the sun was incredibly intense, and with little to no shade on the site, it’s crucial to come prepared.

Be sure to apply good quality sunscreen generously and frequently throughout the day. Additionally, a hat with a wide brim was a real game-changer, providing much-needed protection for my face and neck.

Weather-Appropriate Clothing

When dressing for a day at Teotihuacan, I found that the weather can be as unpredictable as a telenovela plot twist! One moment it’s scorching hot, and the next, you could be caught in a sudden downpour.

Before you set out, do yourself a favor and check the weather forecast. If it predicts rain, pack a raincoat or umbrella. Trust me; nothing dampens the spirit of exploration faster than getting soaked to the bone while standing in the middle of an ancient city.

On hot days, I recommend opting for lightweight, breathable clothing. Think Indiana Jones chic – functional yet stylish. Remember, you’ll be doing a lot of walking and climbing, so comfort is key.

And if you’re visiting in the winter, don’t be fooled by the ‘winter’ label – it can still get pretty warm during the day, so layering is your best bet. In short, when packing for Teotihuacan, expect the unexpected.

Stay Hydrated

At Teotihuacan, the altitude can be quite a sneaky challenge. During my visit, I was caught off guard with unexpected headaches, a telltale sign of altitude adjustment. My lifesaver? Keeping a water bottle close by and sipping often.

From my experience, ensuring you’re well-hydrated makes all the difference in how you feel and experience the wonders of this ancient city. So, pack that water bottle and make it your best companion for the day!

Be The Early Bird

To make the most of your visit, it’s best to start early. Not only will this give you a full day to explore, but it will also help you avoid the worst of Mexico City’s notorious rush hour traffic. Aim to leave the city by 9 a.m. at the latest.

There’s nothing quite like the tranquility of the ancient city in the early morning, and you’ll be thankful for the extra time when you’re standing atop the Pyramid of the Sun, awestruck by the view. So, set that alarm and get an early start – you won’t regret it!

Have Cash Handy

Surprisingly, when I arrived at Teotihuacan, I quickly found out that having cash on hand was essential. While credit and debit cards are widely accepted in Mexico City, the same can’t be said for the archaeological site of Teotihuacan.

Whether it was for entrance fees, public transportation, or small purchases from local vendors, cash was king. I found it particularly useful when buying souvenirs and snacks from the local vendors who set up shop along the Avenue of the Dead.

Respect The Site’s Rules

It goes without saying, but when visiting a place of such historical and cultural significance as Teotihuacan, respecting the site’s rules is paramount.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Teotihuacan is not just a tourist attraction but a testament to a civilization that once thrived here.

The rules, which include not climbing in restricted areas and not littering, are in place to preserve the site for future generations. Adhering to these rules not only showed respect for the site and its history but also contributed to the overall preservation efforts.

So, let’s do our part in keeping Teotihuacan’s legacy intact for future explorers.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

You’ll be doing a lot of walking and climbing during your visit, so comfortable shoes are a must. The terrain at Teotihuacan can be uneven, and the steps of the pyramids are steep.

Good footwear will not only make your visit more comfortable but also safer. Trust me; your feet will thank you later.

Local Cuisine and Souvenirs in Teotihuacan

The vicinity of Teotihuacan is a haven for those seeking authentic Mexican culinary delights. The air is often filled with the tantalizing aroma of freshly made tacos, tamales, and other local specialities.

La Gruta Cave Restaurant: A Culinary Adventure

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Situated a brief 10-minute walk from Gate 5, La Gruta isn’t just any restaurant; it’s a journey into Mexico’s rich culinary heritage. The cave setting provides a mystical ambience, making every meal feel a special ambiance.

Their menu masterfully combines traditional Mexican dishes with contemporary flair. I was particularly taken by the “Mole Poblano” – a dish that beautifully marries the past and present.

And if you’re in the mood for a drink, their guava-infused pulque cocktail is both refreshing and memorable, complementing the rich flavors of the food.

Handcrafted Treasures to Take Home

Teotihuacan is also a hub for artisans showcasing their craft. The local vendors offer a plethora of handcrafted souvenirs, from intricate crafts to exquisite jewelry, ensuring you have a tangible memory of your visit.

A friendly tip from my travels: Engage in some light-hearted bartering; it’s part of the shopping experience here. And remember, a courteous “no, thank you” is all it takes if you’re not interested in a particular item.

Other Sights to Explore in the Area

After soaking in the wonders of Teotihuacan, there’s still a plethora of captivating sights awaiting you in the vicinity. From sacred basilicas to vibrant canals, here are some must-visit spots to enrich your journey:

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Just a short drive from Teotihuacan, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe stands as a testament to faith and devotion. As one of Latin America’s most significant pilgrimage sites, its grandeur and spiritual ambiance are truly awe-inspiring.

I remember my visit there vividly; the serene atmosphere, the devout pilgrims, and the beautiful architecture left an indelible mark on my heart. The sense of peace and reverence I felt while lighting a candle and offering a silent prayer is a memory I cherish to this day.

Historic Center of Mexico City

After exploring the ancient ruins, immerse yourself in the vibrant heart of modern-day Mexico City. The historic center, with its colonial architecture and bustling squares, offers a delightful blend of the old and the new.

Wander through its cobbled streets, visit the grand Metropolitan Cathedral, and soak in the city’s rich history.

Frida Kahlo Museum

Dive into the world of one of Mexico’s most iconic artists at the Frida Kahlo Museum. Located in the charming neighborhood of Coyoacán, the museum, also known as the “Blue House,” offers a deep dive into Kahlo’s life, art, and tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera.

Who doesn’t love a good bargain? Pre-book your tickets directly from the website and watch your wallet thank you, you’ll pay just a fraction of the price compared to snagging them on arrival.

Xochimilco Canals

For a unique and colorful experience, head to the Xochimilco canals. Here, you can hop onto a vibrantly decorated “trajinera” (a traditional flat-bottomed boat) and float along the ancient waterways.

As you drift along, enjoy the lively atmosphere, complete with mariachi bands, floating food stalls, and the picturesque scenery of the surrounding gardens and chinampas (man-made islands).

Chapultepec Castle

Located atop Chapultepec Hill in the heart of Mexico City, this historic castle offers panoramic cityscape views. Originally a residence for Mexican royalty, it now houses the National Museum of History.

With its beautifully manicured gardens and European-style decor, Chapultepec Castle is a testament to Mexico’s diverse cultural influences. Some days entrance is free, so check the museum’s website beforehand.

Templo Mayor

Situated in the heart of Mexico City’s historic center, Templo Mayor was the main temple of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. Its ruins provide a glimpse into the grandeur of the Aztec civilization.

The adjoining museum showcases a vast collection of Aztec artifacts, offering insights into their history and culture. The site is renowned for its intricately carved stone monoliths and tales of ancient rituals.

The very next day, after exploring other wonders of the city, I ventured to Templo Mayor. The juxtaposition of ancient ruins amidst the bustling modern city was a sight. I was particularly enamored by the detailed stone carvings, each telling a story of its own.

The museum’s artifacts further deepened my appreciation, revealing the intricacies of Aztec life. It was a profound experience, feeling the echoes of a bygone era while surrounded by the vibrancy of present-day Mexico City.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does It Cost To Visit The Teotihuacan Pyramids?

The cost for adults to enter the Teotihuacan Pyramids is 80 MXN, which is approximately US$4. Children below the age of 13 can enter for free. This fee includes access to the main site, the Teotihuacan Culture Museum, and the Museum of Teotihuacan Murals.

How Much Time Do You Need To Visit Teotihuacan?

To thoroughly explore Teotihuacan and fully immerse oneself in its rich history and architectural wonders, it’s advisable to allocate at least half a day.

This allows visitors ample time to wander through the vast archaeological site, climb the pyramids, and visit the museums. For those deeply interested in the historical and cultural aspects, dedicating a full day would provide a more comprehensive experience, ensuring no significant detail or viewpoint is missed.

Can I Travel To Teotihuacan With Kids?

Absolutely, Teotihuacan is a family-friendly destination and can be a fascinating and educational experience for kids. The vast open spaces provide ample room for children to explore, and climbing the pyramids can be an adventurous highlight for older kids.

However, it’s essential to be prepared. The site has limited shade, so sun protection, hats, and plenty of water are crucial. Comfortable shoes are a must, especially if you plan to climb the pyramids.

Can I Spend the Night at Teotihuacan?

Unfortunately, overnight stays within the Teotihuacan archaeological site are not permitted. The site has specific opening and closing hours, and visitors must leave by the designated closing time.

However, there are several accommodations, ranging from hotels to guesthouses, in the nearby towns and villages. Staying nearby allows you to start exploring early, especially if you want to catch the sunrise or avoid the midday heat.

What is Included in the Cost of Entry Tickets for Teotihuacan?

The cost of entry tickets for Teotihuacan covers access to the main archaeological site, allowing visitors to explore the iconic pyramids and surrounding structures.

Additionally, the ticket price includes admission to the Teotihuacan Culture Museum, where one can delve deeper into the history and artifacts of this ancient civilization. Visitors also gain entry to the Museum of Teotihuacan Murals, showcasing preserved and vibrant murals that once adorned the city’s buildings.

Is Teotihuacan Accessible For Disabled?

Yes, Teotihuacan is accessible to individuals with disabilities. The site has made efforts to accommodate wheelchair users wherever feasible.

Reserved parking spaces are available for visitors with disabilities at Gates 2, 3, and 5. Notably, Gate 3 has ramps and walkways designed to assist those with mobility challenges or wheelchairs, ensuring a more comfortable and accessible experience while exploring this historical site.


Visiting Teotihuacan gave me a newfound appreciation for Mexico’s storied past and vibrant culture. From exploring the ruins to engaging with locals, it was a journey I’ll never forget.

If you’re planning an adventure to this magical place, make sure to immerse yourself in its history, traditions, and beauty as much as possible. The ancient wonders of Teotihuacan will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

What are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready to explore one of Mexico’s greatest treasures.

Ultimate Guide to Teotihuacan Mexico City Pyramids (2023)

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