The Teotihuacan Pyramids are one of the biggest Mesoamerican mysteries. Teotihuacan Mexico can be easily visited on a day tour (4 hours). Here’s everything you need to know about visiting this ancient city.
So you made it to Mexico City (CDMX) and thought if visiting the Teotihuacan Pyramids is worth it.
It sure deserves to be added to your CDMX itinerary not only because of the Instagram pictures but this is a great site for those who love archaeological sites then traveling.
Also known as The City of Gods, Teotihuacan Mexico is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. There are many parts of Teotihuacan’s history that is still unknown and this is why my visit turned into a guided tour instead of doing it myself.
You certainly got to this article because you want more information on how to visit the Teotihuacan pyramids. These are our guides, tips, and advice for your historical and archaeological trip to this ancient city of Mexico.
🗺️ Teotihuacan Map: where is Teotihuacan Mexico?
Teotihuacan is an ancient Mesoamerican city located in the Basin of Mexico. It’s situated about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of modern-day Mexico City, making it easily accessible for travelers from the capital.
Here’s a map of Teotihuacan where I put the locations of the sites to visit plus tips on where to eat! You can download it on your phone for easy access during your trip.
🚕 How do you get from Mexico City to Teotihuacan?
For those of you who are feeling extra adventurous and don’t want to sign up for a tour, you can absolutely do a trip to the Teotihuacan pyramids on your own.
Teotihuacan from Mexico City by bus
To get to Teotihuacan from Mexico City, you need to get on “Autobuses Teotihuacan” in the northern metro station of CDMX (right by gate 8).
The bus ride will take about an hour (depending on traffic inside CDMX) and it only costs $5 USD.
These busses are safe and comfortable so don’t worry about your safety. Teotihuacan pyramids is a popular stop so the driver always informs passengers when you arrived.
✨ Tip: The bus driver will shout piramides which is the Spanish word for pyramids. Watch out for their call because they may not say Teotihuacan.
Once you arrive, the entrance tickets to Teotihuacan pyramids cost $3.62 USD. When you are on your own, many tour guides at the gate will offer you guided tours inside. You can say no if you don’t want to.
Sometimes, they would even say it’s FREE, but remember that Mexico is a tipping country. They’d expect to receive a generous tip since the Mexican salary is really low. It’s really up to you to hire a tour guide.
Teotihuacan from Mexico City by self-drive
The drive from Teotihuacan to Mexico City takes 1.5 hours. This is a relatively safe and touristic route so you don’t have to worry about safety.
Just note that traffic inside Mexico City can get crazy no matter what time of the day. Most tours to Teotihuacan Pyramids leave at 6:00 AM, and earlier if you are taking the sunrise air balloon ride (around 4:30).
It’s best if you drive out earlier to get the best of the pyramids. You will find rental cars for as low as $30 USD per day (Sedan).
🚗 While renting a car in Mexico City is not really recommended, this is the best option for those who are going to visit Queretaro or San Miguel de Allende after their CDMX trip. [Find rental cars in Mexico City]
What is the best transportation to Teotihuacan from Mexico City?
The easiest way to get to Teotihuacan from Mexico City is to sign up for a tour. They usually don’t cost a lot, and they’re all included.
The tour companies will also pick you up at your hotel but for most of the Teotihuacan Mexico shared tours, you will be instructed to go to a meeting point in Mexico City. The most common meeting point is in Reforma.
If you are travelling with 6 or more people, it’s better to sign up for a private tour to Teotihuacan. They will pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation, and you can also stop whenever you want — the van is yours!
These private tours also stop in some tequila distilleries and include a tasting activity on the way to Teotihuacan. Later on, I will also give you some tips on what to combine with your Teotihuacan trip as you can mix different activities with this attraction.
How do I get to Teotihuacan without a tour?
Teotihuacan is not that far from Mexico City so it’s very doable to do it without a tour. First, take the bus at Autobuses Teotihuacan” in the northern metro station of CDMX (right by gate 8). This costs $5 USD.
Upon arrival, pay the entrance fee of $4 USD.Go around Teotihuacan at your own pace. While there, decide whether to pay for extra activities like biking or hot air balloon ride.
How much is an Uber to Teotihuacan?
From Mexico City’s Roma and Condesa areas, the Uber to Teotihuacan costs 1,269 pesos (around $76 USD) for a large car.
For Sedans that can comfortably fit 4 people, expect to pay 969 pesos ($58 USD). The drivers will also ask you to pay for the toll fees, around 100 pesos ($6 USD).
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🗺️ Things to do in Teotihuacan Mexico
The guides usually give you ample time to go around on your own and tell you to meet at the meeting point in a certain hour (unless it’s a guided tour where they will tell you the history of the Teotihuacan pyramids).
If exploring on your own, here are the sites to visit within the complex. You can also use our Teotihuacan Map to know where these sites are.
Pyramid of the Sun
The most famous attraction in Teotihuacan, the Pyramid of the Sun, is one of the largest pyramids in Mesoamerica.
You can climb the 248 steps to the top of the pyramid to see the entire city and surrounding landscape.
Pyramid of the Moon
Slightly smaller but no less impressive, the Pyramid of the Moon offers another vantage point over the city. It stands at the northern end of the Avenue of the Dead.
Avenue of the Dead
This is the main road that runs through the heart of Teotihuacan, flanked by impressive ceremonial architecture.
The name comes from a misinterpretation by the Aztecs, who thought the numerous buildings lining the avenue were tombs.
Temple of the Feathered Serpent (Quetzalcoatl)
This is the third largest pyramid at Teotihuacan and is known for its unique architectural style. The pyramid is decorated with heads of the feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl.
Palace of Quetzalpapálotl
This is one of the best-preserved structures at Teotihuacan. The palace is beautifully decorated with carvings and murals.
📅 If you are visiting in March, the Teotihuacan summer solstice is celebrated in the palace and is one of the best events of the year!
Teotihuacan Murals Museum
This museum displays some of the most well-preserved and colorful murals from the site. The vivid colors and complex designs give visitors a sense of the artistic and cultural prowess of the Teotihuacan civilization.
The Teotihuacan Archaeology Museum
It offers insight into the city’s history, displaying a range of artifacts found during excavations, including pottery, sculptures, and jewelry.
Apart from sightseeing, you can also:
- Take a hot air balloon ride for a bird’s-eye view of the ancient city.
- Taste traditional Mexican food in the local restaurants around the site.
- Shop for local crafts in the nearby market.
💨 Teotihuacan hot air balloon tour
The hot air balloon ride over Teotihuacan is the most sought-after activity in the archaeological site. The flights take off at 6:20 AM and last for 50 minutes. Prices start at $269 USD per person but there are other packages such as a private tour or a special occasion flight (i.e. engagement/proposal).
Note that the tour above does not include a visit inside the archaeological site but you can also do this tour combo for $399 USD. This already includes round-trip transportation to your accommodation in Mexico City.
A valid passport is required to do the air balloon tour and they won’t allow you to board without it.
✨ Teotihuacan travel guide and tips
Here are some golden travel tips for your visit to Teotihuacan:
Best time to visit Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan is near Mexico City, so before planning your trip, check the weather in Mexico City. The best time to visit the capital is April to March and October to November.
Teotihuacan is open from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm 7 days a week.
I wasn’t bothered with the big crowds as Teotihuacan is spacious so I really won’t make a big deal about the best time of the day to go.
Climb the pyramids sideways
The steps of the Teotihuacan pyramids are small (no matter how small you are!) The easiest way to climb the steps of the Teotihuacan pyramids is to do it sideways and diagonally.
There are fewer people in the afternoon
Many Teotihuacan tours leave at 7:00 AM from Mexico City and majority of the tourists book the morning tours. At this time of the day (before midday), the complex is packed with tourists.
Ideally, early morning tours are recommended but to be honest with you, there are fewer tourists in the afternoon and you can enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Teotihuacan pyramids!
Afternoon Teotihuacan tours are also faster. This way, you can still do other things – you don’t need a full day tour to see the Teotihuacan pyramids!
Combine Teotihuacan Pyramids with other attractions
One of the most important churches in the world is the Basilica de Guadalupe, a church in Tepeyac Hill, Mexico City which is devoted to the patroness of Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
You can visit Basilica de Guadalupe and Teotihuacan at the same time as these two places are just 38 minutes away from each other. It’s a popular combo.
You can also add Tlatelolco to your itinerary for the day. Tlatelolco is another Aztec archaeological site that’s also important in Mexico’s culture. The tour price for this combo is $38 USD.
Below are more Teotihuacan tour combo suggestions:
- Teotihuacan, Plaza de las Tres Culturas, and Acolman, from $35 USD per person: Acolman is what they call Mexico’s Jerusalem.
- Teotihuacan with Frida Kahlo Museum, from $80 USD per person: This is probably the most ideal combination for you because Frida’s blue house is a must!
- Teotihuacan and Xochimilco, from $300 USD per group: Xochimilco is also another place you can’t skip in Mexico City! After a morning at the pyramids, spend the afternoon till the evening on a booze cruise in Xochimilco. Definitely a great activity for a group.
Climbing Teotihuacan pyramids is no longer allowed
Climbing the pyramids used to be allowed. In 2021, the Mexican government changed the regulations.
According to Article 55 of the Federal Law on Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Monuments, the penalty for climbing the Teotihuacan pyramids ranges from 100 pesos to 50 thousand pesos ($30-$3,000 USD).
💡 Fun facts about Teotihuacan Pyramids
Teotihuacan means “the place where the gods were created” in Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. The Aztecs believed that the universe was created here by the gods in ancient times.
Interestingly, the original name of the city given by its builders is still unknown – Teotihuacan was named by the Aztecs centuries after the city had been abandoned.
Size of Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan was once the largest city in the Americas and one of the largest in the world.
At its peak around 500 A.D., it had an estimated population of 100,000 to 200,000 people, making it the sixth largest city in the world at the time.
The Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon, and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent (Quetzalcoatl) in Teotihuacan are all aligned with the stars of the Pleiades, Orion’s Belt, and Sirius.
This reflects the sophisticated understanding of astronomy and its role in their architecture by the city’s builders.
The architecture and city planning of Teotihuacan were highly influential. They developed a unique urban plan based on a grid layout, which was later adopted by many other Mesoamerican cities.
Even centuries later, Aztec architects used many techniques and styles originally developed in Teotihuacan.
Despite its grandeur and sophistication, Teotihuacan fell into a gradual decline, culminating in a sudden, violent end. The city was largely abandoned by the 7th century.
The reason for this downfall remains a mystery, but theories range from extensive warfare, internal uprising, over-farming, and severe drought.
Teotihuacan summer solstice
The summer solstice carries a significant archaeological and cultural connotation. The city of Teotihuacan is precisely aligned to be in harmony with the sun’s path on this day.
The Pyramid of the Sun, the largest structure in Teotihuacan, was built in alignment with the sun such that during the summer solstice, the sun appears directly over the pyramid at noon.
Nowadays, both locals and tourists often gather at Teotihuacan during the summer solstice to witness this amazing solar event.
Many visitors even climb the Pyramid of the Sun to meditate, do yoga, or simply feel the energy they believe is emanating from the pyramid on this special day.