As one of the ancient world’s largest cities, Teotihuacan represents the grandest moment of the Mesoamerican era. Though the reason behind Teotihuacan’s collapse is still a mystery, its culture, unique urban design, and artistic influence has extended to other regions and beyond.
Fortunately, this archaeological site has not experienced a major influx of tourism and remains somewhat untouched. However, its two major pyramids Pirámide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun) and Pirámide del Luna (Pyramid of the Moon) are always crowded with global travelers and provide an energetic climbing experience.
For those who plan to stay away from the crowd, explore the lesser-known places, and experience this marvelous site on their own, here are some tips.
When to Go
Many tour buses arrive at Teotihuacan around 10 a.m., so try to explore the site before10 a.m. to beat the crowd.
How to Get to Teotihuacan
Buses are the most popular and cost-effective mode of transport in Mexico. Taking the bus to Teotihuacan from Mexico City on your own is substantially cheaper than traveling on a commercial tour. A round-trip bus ticket to Teotihuacan costs nearly 90 pesos, while major organized tour buses charge around 700- 900 pesos for a day tour. A huge advantage of taking the bus both ways is that you can explore Teotihuacan at your own leisure.
From Mexico City, take metro line 5 (the yellow line) to the Autobuses Del Norte station. Upon arriving, walk to the left end of the terminal and purchase your ticket at gate 8. Please be sure the bus is heading to “Los Piramides” instead of “San Juan” by reading the front board of the bus. When return to Mexico City, head over to exit 2 and take the bus across the street. The typical travel time from Mexico City to Teotihuacan is an hour.
Where to Stay
At the end of the Avenue of the Dead, Villas Arqueologicas Teotihuacan Hotel is a convenient base for hiking and walking activities around the pyramids. Both the Teotihuacan Archeological Site and a botanical garden are within 10 minutes walking distance. Staff of the hotel can help you to arrange a hot air balloon tour. In the early morning, you can walk to the ruins, watch the sunrise over both pyramids, and experience the Avenue of the Dead deserted. The hotel’s nightly rate is from 55 USD.
Where to Eat and Drink
La Gruta is a cave restaurant frequented by visitors. Look for a natural cave close to the pyramids and you will see the restaurant’s sign. The most famous dishes of La Gruta are meat platas and a cactus dish. Several food stalls around the Pyramids of the Sun sell sandwiches, bread rolls, snacks, and drinks.
What Else is There to See
Located further down the Avenue of the Dead, the Quetzalcoatl Palace is where Teotihuacan’s main ruler resided. This temple is now being used as an administrative center of the city.
To the south of the Pyramids of the Sun, the Museum of Teotihuacan Culture features statues, bones, and shells made by the inhabitants of the ancient Teotihuacan city. Part of this museum also showcases the archeological details of Teotihuacan. It is a great place for visitors to get a grasp of Mesoamerican culture.
Teotihuacan Botanical Garden is across the street from the entrance to the Pyramids of the Sun. It contains 60% of Mexican flora including limes, cactus, apricots, and cherries.
What to Know Before You Go
Teotihuacan is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday 9 a.m. - 5p.m. However, guests of Villas Arqueologicas Teotihuacan are allowed to enter the Teotihuacan archeological site before 8a.m.
Teotihuacan offers free admission to Mexicans and expats (who live in Mexico) on Sundays.
Bring a thin jacket, umbrella, and sun block. Get enough water and food prior to entering the archeological zone, as it is difficult to find any shops and restaurants inside.
Please note the altitude of Teotihuacan is 7,500 feet. If you arrive from sea level, be sure to allot yourself two to three days to acclimatize before the hike.