With so much to do in Mexico City and the nearby surroundings, it can be difficult to choose the best things to do to fill your itinerary. Mexico City has history in every corner. For all of the history lovers, it is an extremely fulfilling destination. From the streets of the Historic Center to the museums and castles, it seems there are enough attractions to fill weeks upon weeks of your itinerary.
Yet just outside of Mexico city are so many more things to do to satisfy the traveler inside of you. There is no better day trip from Mexico City than that of Teotihuacan. This should be at the top of your list of things to do when in Mexico City.
Teotihuacan (pronounced Tee-oh-tee-hwa-kaan) is the site of the Pyramid of the Sun and the Moon. The former being the larger of the two in this massive archaeological site. This trip is perfect for any travelers looking to take in the history that Mexico has to offer with one of the most incredible historical sites that the country is home to.
In this post we will set you up with easy instructions on everything you need to know for your day trip to Teotihuacan from Mexico City including getting a bus to and from, what to pack, when to go and how much time you should allot for the trip, where to eat, and everything in between.
Mexico City to Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan: Pyramid of the Sun and Moon
Teotihuacan was the site of a thriving population of more than 100,000 at one point. Construction began around 300 B.C.E. on these pyramids in this city, but many years later the Aztecs rediscovered the city and by the time the Spanish arrived in Mexico the site was used for religious purposes.
The Avenue of the Dead is the main stretch from the entrance gate to the Pyramid of the Moon on the far end with Pyramid of the Sun along the way. Along the sides of the avenue are what would have been living spaces.
The Pyramid of the Moon measures 300 by 433 feet and 140 feet high. At the peak of this would have been a temple. The Pyramid of the Sun measures 720 by 760 feet and 216 feet high. At its peak would have been an altar, but it has not survived.
Admission Price: $75 pesos
Photography Permit: $45 pesos
Upon entering the site you will walk along a short stretch of shops selling typical Mexican souvenirs like hats, clothing, and handicrafts. We purchased a couple of straw hats for $30 pesos each to block out the sun. You can also buy sunscreen if needed. Do not worry about buying souvenirs at this point as there are multiple other vendors throughout the site that you have to choose from including the jaguar sounds coming from the vendors trying to sell the jaguar head products. Also at the entrance is a restaurant and cafe, but save your appetite for La Gruta explained below.
Continuing from the entrance you will walk along a long stretch of ruins on either side of you with steps taking you up and down the ruins all the while the Pyramid of the Sun on your right and further down the Pyramid of the Moon making themselves closer. Along the pathway towards the pyramids is a mural of a jaguar. Other than that there are other ruins with explanations including one in front of the Pyramid of the Moon, multiple along the pathway, and a couple of platforms by the Pyramid of the Sun.
We arrived at 9:30 a.m. (Teotihuacan is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday) and though the path towards the pyramids were not full of people, the pyramids themselves were beginning to fill up. We could see more and more people climbing the steps of the pyramids and figured our best bet was to climb the Pyramid of the Moon first as the Pyramid of the Sun was already very busy.
You can climb to the midway point of the Pyramid of the Moon and all the way to the peak of the Pyramid of the Sun. The steps going up are fairly steep and are significantly higher steps than those that you would be used to. There are ropes to help support yourself on your trek to the top. Though the Pyramid of the Moon is one straight shot of steps, the Pyramid of the Sun has multiple levels that you can take a break at because you will be short of breath if you are not used to climbing.
Though you should not get afraid of these heights, you should be careful on your way up and take your time as there are incidents of people falling and getting injured. Especially in the heat, you should be prepared with lots of water. The earlier you make it to Teotihuacan, the better to avoid the mid-day heat. The views at the top are worth every second of the climb and the heat.
From here you can walk to La Gruta restaurant or to the museum to learn more about the Teotihuacan site and the artifacts discovered there. There is also the Temple of Quetzalcoatl which is decorated with heads of serpents and is seen to be the most sacred space in the archaeological zone.
How to Get to Teotihuacan from Mexico City
From Mexico City, you will need to make your way to Terminal Central de Autobuses del Norte, the north bus station. The easiest way to get there is using Uber which is extremely affordable in Mexico City. We took one from La Condesa and it cost us about $70 pesos one way.
From there you will go to Gate 8 and find the Pyramid booth that looks like this:
You will then purchase your round trip tickets and be off to Teotihuacan. Just make sure that you know what time your bus is departing. You may want to buy drinks and snacks at the convenience stores in the bus station before buying your tickets as our bus was departing within 10 minutes of us buying the tickets.
One Way Ticket: $52 pesos
Round Trip Ticket: $104 pesos
These tickets do not have assigned seating and on a weekday the bus was about half of the way full at 8:45 a.m. The trip takes about an hour and a half and the bus is fairly comfortable.
You will be dropped off at the entrance gate where you will pay your admission and walk towards the main entrance gate past the parking area. When you are done you will return to the same spot that the bus dropped you off and wait there for the returning bus. There was a gentleman there in a suit that helped show us where to wait. Make sure you check the last return time on your return ticket. This is the final bus time and not the time of your bus, as you can take any bus on the way back to Mexico City.
What to Pack for Teotihuacan
The long stretch that is the Avenue of the Dead stretching from the entrance to the Pyramid of the Moon is completely open to the blazing sun. Especially when mid-day hits, the sun’s effect really starts to take a toll. If you did not pack water (at least a one liter bottle each), a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen then you may want to purchase these from the vendors at the entrance of the site.
These are the main four things you are going to want to pack for your trip to Teotihuacan (water, hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen). Though you may want to make sure that you are wearing comfortable hiking boots or shoes that you can climb in on uneven terrain.
Of course if you want to take lots of photos you will need to bring your camera and equipment. Everything else is up to you. Perhaps if you are a souvenir shopper you will want to bring a backpack so you will not have to carry around your souvenirs.
- Water (1 Liter)
- Hiking Boots or Comfortable Climbing Shoes
- Camera and Equipment
There is no better place to eat and experience your surroundings than at La Gruta Restaurant. It is a short five minute walk from the number 5 gate to Teotihuacan. You will walk past a few souvenir vendors through the parking long and left out of the gate before making a right and arriving at the gate to the restaurant.
You can put your name in for the waiting list, as we had to wait for 15 minutes to be seated, and take a look at their souvenir shop. You can also peer into the cave where 30 feet below people are eating their meals in the lit up cave. Yes, La Gruta Restaurant is a restaurant inside of a cave.
This is the best thing about the restaurant, the environment in which you eat your delicious food in. Once ready to be seated you will walk down the steps into the cave and to your seat. It is dimly lit to create an ambiance that is not matched by any other restaurant we visited in Mexico.
The food was excellent as well as we ordered a steak and rice dish with tortillas and chicken fajitas. With two Mexican beers to go with this meal and a corn cake for dessert, the bill was $724 pesos.
At the end of your meal you will be treated to a story of the La Gruta and the legend behind it and provided with a candle each to walk up the stairs at the end of the cave to place wherever you would like to make your wish. The cherry on the top of your experience at this restaurant.
We hope we were able to convince you to add Teotihuacan to your Mexico City itinerary. There really is no better day trip to make during your stay. This will be one of the best days while in Mexico City.
If you are looking for more things to add to this day, try combining it with a Lucha Libre show in Mexico City. Enjoy the spectacle of Mexican wrestling once you arrive back on the bus from Teotihuacan. Just make sure you drop off your backpack before going to the show as you will not make it past security.
If you want more things to do while in Mexico City then tune in to our future posts.
If you have any questions about visiting Teotihuacan, please do not hesitate to ask us in the comments below. Or let us know about your experience at Teotihuacan.