When most American tourists think of Mexico, I suspect that one of two thoughts come to mind: the beautiful beaches, and Mayan ruins. As Mexico City is landlocked, we had to ‘settle’ for visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site at Teotihuacan, much to Annalisa’s disappointment. She is a beach bum at heart, and I have dragged her along on many of my travel itineraries, which don’t often include white sand.
Unfortunately for Annalisa, This is Not Where We Went
Located approximately 30 miles (50 km) from the heart of Mexico City, Teotihuacan is the most visited archaeological site in Mexico.
Teotihuacan Relative to Mexico City
Teotihuacan is believed to have been built starting in 100 BC, peaking at a population of approximately 125,000 in 450 AD – making it the 6th largest city in the entire world at the time! For tourists to Mexico City wishing to make the journey to Teotihuacan, the simplest option is booking through one of the many tour companies that offer a hotel pick up and drop off.
The Many Tour Options to Teotihuacan
In the comments section of a previous post about our trip to Mexico City, a reader reported that he was able to book a tour from the “Hilton to Teotihuacan [that] cost $100.00 for six hours, [including] expressway tolls, park entrance, car parking fees … [using a] private air conditioned sedan [with a] driver/guide.” There is certainly something to be said for the ease and convenience of having a private tour. If you are willing to go as part of a larger group (up to 20 persons), there are a host of companies that offer tours from around $40 USD per person. A word of caution for those choosing to travel on a larger tour: there are online reports that suggest that a significant amount of time may be spent stopping at gift shops and restaurants along the way that give a kickback to the tour operators.
We were especially adventurous and wanted to control our travels, so we went with the public transportation route. To guide future travelers seeking to replicate this trip on their own:
Location of Buses to Teotihuacan
To get to Autobuses del Norte station, and then the bus counter where the buses to Teotihuacan depart from:
- Take the Metro to the station Autobuses del Norte, which is on Line 5. This trip will take you between 15-25 minutes from downtown Mexico City.
- You will exit the station facing the main entrance area of Autobuses del Norte station. Walk across several lanes of passenger pickup/drop off traffic, and enter the station.
- Once you enter Autobuses del Norte, turn left. Walk until the second to last counter. Above all of the bus company counters, they will advertise their destinations. You will want to make sure that you are at the counter for Pyramides or Ruinas, and not Teotihuacan as that bus will head to the town and not where you want to go.
Roundtrip tickets to Teotihuacan cost about 90 pesos, per person ($5.50 USD). The buses stop at several depots along the way to pick up additional passengers, and our bus was fully packed (standing room only) by the time we arrived about 1.5 hours later.
Map of Teotihuacan Drop off and Pick Up Locations for Bus
The first Teotihuacan drop off location for the bus is in a small roundabout by the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. It is here that you will follow the car path towards the main entrance. Admission is approximately 60 pesos. You can alternatively wait to be dropped off by a parking lot close to the Temple of the Moon (Piramide de la Luna) and walk in the opposite direction. Note that the buses pick up in the same locations as the drop off. There is not a clearly designated bus stop, so you will have to look for other passengers standing by the side of the road, or ask a local.
The reward for your efforts is spectacular.
The trip to Teotihuacan, no matter how you get there, is a wonderful excursion from the urban hustle and bustle of Mexico City. I would encourage you to try to get there as early as possible to avoid the midday sun, and tourist crowds. Bring water as once you enter the actual ruins, there are only vendors selling you souvenirs, and none that sold food/water.
For more information about our weekend in Mexico City, take a look at our prior posts describing our arrival at Aeropuerto Internacional de México (MEX) and discovering the Metro system, and attending a lucha libre spectacle at Arena Mexico.
About the author: Eric is a young professional living in Boston, MA with his wife, Annalisa. We try to balance work/life responsibilities with a desire to travel as much as possible. To make this work, we take weekend trips to domestic and international destinations, trying to maximize our $/points while seeing the best tourist attractions and local favorites. How much can you can pack into A Weekend In Mexico City?