Planning a visiting Teotihuacan from Mexico City? Discover how to get to the ancient city, prices and schedules, as well as tours and everything you need to know.
Have you ever visited the archaeological site of Teotihuacan? If you haven’t, you must do it! I am a Mexican in love with my country and its wonders, so if you decide to visit the majestic pyramids of Teotihuacan, I’ll tell you how to do it. The price to visit the archaeological site is quite affordable, and the opening hours are very extensive, so you can make the most of your visit. We visited the pyramids from Mexico City, and it was quite easy to get there, but there are different options. Do you want to know which ones? Keep reading.
☑️ Archaeological site from the classical period, notable for its Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon.
📍 Nearest station: Autobuses del Norte (line 5)
💵 Price: 90 pesos per person.
❓Did we like it?
Yes, is a must see!
- Brief history of Teotihuacan
- How much does the entrance ticket to Teotihuacan cost?
- How to see the pyramids of Teotihuacan for free?
- What are the opening hours?
- How to get to Teotihuacan?
- Before starting your trip to Teotihuacan
- What are the things to do in Teotihuacan?
- Going back to Mexico City by bus
- FAQ about Teotihuacan
- Don’t miss visiting the ancient City of Teotihuacan
The archaeological site of Teotihuacan has been part of UNESCO’s World Heritage since 1987.
Brief history of Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan, known as the “place where men become gods” or “place of apotheosis,” and possibly also as Teohuacan, which means “city/place of the sun” or “place of the high priests” in Nahuatl, is a vast archaeological complex.
It was one of the major political, cultural, economic, and religious cities in Mesoamerica during the Classic period, which spanned from approximately 200-250 to 600-650 AD.
This ancient city flourished between 100 BC and 600-650 AD and was inhabited by a civilization predating the Mexicas, who gave it its current name. However, when the Mexicas discovered it, it was already in ruins.
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Teotihuacan was a city of great importance and multiethnic character. Its impressive architecture includes the famous Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, as well as the Avenue of the Dead, which connects the main architectural complexes. These monumental structures reflect the complexity and grandeur of the civilization that built them.
The city also had an advanced political and social organization. The Teotihuacanos were a sizable population and were divided into residential neighborhoods, with spaces for commercial and ritual activities. The presence of workshops and markets suggests an active and dynamic economy.
Religion played a fundamental role in Teotihuacan. Its temples and pyramids were dedicated to the gods, and ceremonial practices were an integral part of the daily life of its inhabitants. The murals and sculptures found in the city depict divinities and religious symbolism.
Although many mysteries still surround the civilization that inhabited Teotihuacan and the reasons behind its eventual decline and abandonment, its legacy endures as one of the most impressive testimonies to the splendor and sophistication achieved by ancient Mesoamerican cultures.
How much does the entrance ticket to Teotihuacan cost?
90 pesos per person (updated 2023)
Furthermore, according to the INAH (government office that manages the site), admission is free for:
- Children under 13 years old
- Individuals over 60 years old
- Teachers and students with valid identification
- People with disabilities.
How to see the pyramids of Teotihuacan for free?
On Sundays, Mexican visitors with proper identification can enter the pyramids for free.
What are the opening hours?
Monday to Sunday from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
How to get to Teotihuacan?
Teotihuacan by car
The distance from Mexico City to Teotihuacan is approximately 50 kilometers. To get there, you need to take the Mexico-Pachuca 85D highway. Keep in mind that you will have to pay tolls and for gasoline.
Teotihuacan on a guided tour
Another way to go is to take a Teotihuacan tour. They pick you up at a location in Mexico City and take you to the site, and then bring you back.
Teotihuacan by bus
This was the method we took. To go from Mexico City to Teotihuacan by bus, we headed to the Central de Autobuses del Norte (Northern Bus Station). Once there, we looked for the booth called “Transportes Pirámides” where the buses depart that take us directly to the entrance of the archaeological site. We pay our bus ticket directly there.
To reach the bus terminal, you need to take line 5 to get down at the metro station “Autobuses del Norte”.
According to the official website of the operator:
Arrival at the Archaeological Zone is at gates 1 and 2, and you can board the return bus to Mexico City at gates 1, 2, and 3.
Before starting your trip to Teotihuacan
Once you arrive at Teotihuacan, you will encounter a vast archaeological complex that stretches across several square kilometers.
To make the most of your visit, I recommend wearing comfortable shoes, bringing sunscreen, water, and a hat or sunglasses, as the walk can be long and the sun can be intense, and as you can see in the photos, there is hardly any shade.
What are the things to do in Teotihuacan?
The site has several entrances, and we entered through Gate 1 (Puerta 1). We arrived quite early (although it was hard to get up), as a friend who had been there before told us that if we went later, it would be crowded with people.
The other advice we read, and followed, was to go on a weekday when there are fewer people. Since this was the first archaeological site I visited in my life, I didn’t know what to expect.
In the end, we managed to arrive early, but not too early, we went on a weekday, but there were still people. And if it’s not the weekend crowd, there are school visitors on weekdays.
In summary, the great advice to start the day off right is: to visit the ruins of Teotihuacan, it’s best to do it on a weekday and early in the morning. Try to take the first bus to Teotihuacan (check the schedules in advance).
As we started our visit, shortly after, we turned around and saw a “red wave” (because of the uniforms they were wearing) of students arriving right behind us.
I must say that the site is so vast that even with so many students, it didn’t cause much inconvenience.
One curious point about the visit: when we arrived and started the tour, many vendors approached us offering products at very low prices.
For example, a mask-shaped figurine for, I don’t remember how much, very cheap. Since we didn’t want to carry things around, we said no thank you. There were MANY vendors, so we had to say no thank you many times.
When we finished the visit, we said, “Well, let’s buy something now.” But now the vendors didn’t approach us anymore. It was the people who approached them, and as a result, the prices were different, really different… more than double, much more. In the end, we didn’t buy anything.
So, the advice when visiting Teotihuacan is: buy when they offer it to you, and buy early.
Temple of Quetzalcoatl and Citadel
This is the first structure we saw when entering through gate 1. It served as the administrative center of the city.
It’s a good warm-up for practicing stair climbing. It’s not huge, so it helps us prepare for the pyramids that lie ahead.
Avenue of the Dead
This avenue stretches from the Citadel to the Pyramid of the Moon. It’s approximately 2 km long.
Explore the Teotihuacan museum
The site museum is located near gate 5. It would have been better to see it before starting the entire visit, but oh well.
Inside the museum, we were able to see various figures of all sizes, pottery, etc. All of them were rescued from the site itself.
They also have a model that gives us a more precise idea of the grandeur of this city.
Pyramid of the Sun
This pyramid is one of the largest in Mesoamerica, second only to the Pyramid of Cholula.
It has a height of 63 meters, and oh, it’s quite a challenge to climb! However, the view from the top is stunning, and we were left with a sense of accomplishment!
When you visit the pyramids, make sure to check in advance whether climbing is allowed or not. While we visited, it was permitted.
Pyramid of the Moon
By this point, our legs were really hurting, but we had to climb the Moon Pyramid as well (even if we couldn’t reach the top) because the legend said, “If you climb the Sun Pyramid and not the Moon, she gets very jealous.”
So, not wanting to make her angry, there we go. Our whole bodies were already in pain, so it couldn’t get any worse. However, it wasn’t possible to climb to the top in this case.
Palaces next to the Pyramid of the Moon
As we descended the Pyramid of the Moon, on the right side, we had the Quetzalpapalotl, Jaguars, and Plumed Snails palaces. We were able to see some murals in them, for example, in the Jaguars palace, there were still these animals drawn on the wall with yellow and red colors.
We also saw sculpted stones like the one below, which appears to represent a bird. The priests who officiated in the temples lived in these buildings right next door.
There are no longer any priests in these places, only visitors seeking to escape a bit from the sun, which is already very intense at that time.
Going back to Mexico City by bus
We left the site, and before heading to find the bus to return to Mexico City, we took a stroll through the souvenir stands, bought a few things, and then made our way back.
FAQ about Teotihuacan
What is Teotihuacan?
Teotihuacan is an ancient city located near Mexico City. It was established around 200 BCE and became one of the largest cities in the pre-Columbian Americas, with a population estimated to be over 100,000 at its peak.
How do I get to Teotihuacan from Mexico City?
To get to Teotihuacan from Mexico City, you can take a bus, hire an Uber, or book a Teotihuacan tour. Taking the bus is the most affordable option and can be done by going to the North bus station in Mexico City (to arrive there, get off at the Autobuses del Norte metro station on line 5). You can also hire an Uber for convenience or book a tour for a guided experience.
What are the pyramids in Teotihuacan?
The most prominent pyramids in Teotihuacan are the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest and tallest structure in the ancient city; it measures 216 feet tall. The Pyramid of the Moon is smaller but still impressive, and it sits at the northern end of the Avenue of the Dead.
What is the Avenue of the Dead?
The Avenue of the Dead is a main thoroughfare that runs through the center of Teotihuacan. It connects the Pyramid of the Moon in the north to the Ciudadela in the south, and it’s lined with smaller structures and platforms.
How do I visit Teotihuacan?
You can visit Teotihuacan by taking a day trip from Mexico City. You can take a bus to Teotihuacan and buy an entrance ticket at the site. Alternatively, you can book a Teotihuacan tour that includes transportation and a guide.
Is it safe to visit Teotihuacan?
Yes, Teotihuacan is generally safe for visitors. However, it is recommended to take precautions and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or expensive belongings.
What are the best things to see and do in Teotihuacan?
The must-see attractions in Teotihuacan include the massive Pyramid of the Sun, Pyramid of the Moon, and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. You can also take a hot air balloon ride over the archaeological zone.
Can I visit Teotihuacan without a guide?
Yes, you can visit Teotihuacan without a guide and even without a tour. However, it is recommended to hire a guide for a better understanding of the history and significance of the site.
How long does it take to visit the Teotihuacan site?
A typical visit to Teotihuacan takes around 3-4 hours, depending on how much time you spend exploring the site.
What is the best time to visit Teotihuacan?
The best time to visit Teotihuacan is during the dry season, from November to March. The weather is cooler and the skies are clear, making it easier to explore the site.
How much does it cost to visit Teotihuacan?
The entrance fee for Teotihuacan is about $90 pesos per person.
Can I visit Teotihuacan at night?
Yes, you can visit Teotihuacan at night for a unique light show experience. However, not all areas of the site may be accessible, and it is recommended to visit with a guide.
How do I get back to Mexico City from the Teotihuacan archaeological zone?
You can take a public bus or hire an Uber or taxi to get back to Mexico City. Make sure to check the last bus schedules and plan accordingly.
Is entry to the Teotihuacan pyramids free?
No, although entry is free for certain groups (children under 13, adults over 60, and residents of Teotihuacan). Mexicans can enter the archaeological site for free on Sundays.
Why can’t you climb the Pyramid of the Sun?
According to INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History), the main reason for not allowing visitors to climb the pyramids of Teotihuacan is to protect them, as during the spring equinox, thousands of visitors gather there to absorb energy.
Don’t miss visiting the ancient City of Teotihuacan
In conclusion, visiting the archaeological site of Teotihuacan is an unforgettable experience that offers a glimpse into Mexico’s rich history and culture. From affordable entrance fees to various transportation options available, it is easy and convenient to visit this iconic site.
If you’re visiting central Mexico, don’t forget to explore Teotihuacan, and if you have time in your Mexico itinerary, explore other archeological sites in Mexico like Chichen Itza.
Seeing these ancient sites in person is truly awe-inspiring and will leave you with memories that last a lifetime, we say this because it left us that way.
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