The Best Way To Get To The Pyramids Of Teotihuacan
Our month in Mexico City went by way too fast. We had a long list of things to do and visiting the Pyramids of Teotihuacan was definitely something we were looking forward to doing. As with most day trips, Wes and I opted out of a tour and did a bit of research beforehand to save some money. Now we're sharing our experience so that you'll know the best way to get to the pyramids of Teotihuacan and can enjoy a fun (and affordable) day trip from Mexico City.
For a glimpse of our full day, take a look at our video of our visit to the pyramids of Teotihuacan and you'll get an idea of how BUSY it was on the day we went. We were in Mexico City during the Easter holidays so the crowds were pretty much unavoidable but arriving early to the site definitely helped. And that's our number 1 tip: arrive early!
Secondly, once you know how to get to the pyramids of Teotihuacan, the day is very easy and stress free. If you're travelling on a budget, it's definitely affordable and you can avoid high tour prices with just a bit of research (like reading the rest of this post!).
How to get to the Pyramids of Teotihuacan
It was relatively easy to get to the pyramids without a tour and, because Teotihuacan is only about 50 kms away from Mexico City centre, a visit to the site makes for a great day trip. Buses leave several times a day from the northern bus terminal in Mexico City. It is called Terminal Central del Norte and is right outside the metro station Autobuses del Norte on line 5.
Once you arrive at the bus terminal, make a left and head towards gate #8 where you will see a booth selling tickets for buses to Teotihuacan. We arrived at the booth shortly before 9am and only had to wait about 15 minutes for our departure. There are plenty of food options within the terminal if you choose to stock up on drinks and snacks for the day.
The bus ride was on time and roughly an hour long. A bit bumpy and nothing luxurious but it was a great way to get to the pyramids on the cheap. Our bus dropped us off by the main entrance (Gate 1) where we had to buy tickets for admission. Make sure you buy tickets prior to entering the first gate. We were a bit confused since no one was checking our tickets there but they do have to be purchased outside of the first gate or you'll have to walk all the way back when you hit the second gate where tickets (and bags) are checked.
On a total side note, we’ve met travellers that told us stories about buses in Mexico and Central America where a camera man would get on and video tape each passenger's face before the bus departed. It was weird to hear and even more odd to find that we were recorded on the bus going to Teotihuacan (but not on the way back for some reason). We’re not exactly sure what this taping is meant to accomplish and it might not be the case with every bus but it was on ours. We travelled to Teotihuacan during a very busy season (Easter weekend) so this may have been a precaution around that time. Who knows!
Costs for Transportation and Admission
In our opinion, the best way to get to the Pyramids of Teotihuacan is also the cheapest! Our bus ticket from Mexico City to Teotihuacan was $44 pesos each way and we purchased round trip tickets at the bus terminal for $88 pesos (March 2016). Tickets for the way back can also be purchased from the bus driver or the vendors that are often assisting passengers at the site gate.
Admission to the site of the pyramids was $65 pesos. So, unless you can find a tour that will charge less than $12 CAD including the cost of admission, it is definitely cost effective (and easy enough) to visit the pyramids without a tour. Granted, it takes additional time, effort and planning to make the trip on your own but it also adds to the adventure and allows you to explore the site at your own pace.
Food and Drink
Exploring the site means you'll be doing a lot of walking and climbing throughout the day and it can get very hot. We noticed that once you get past the gates, food and drink options are virtually non-existent. We did see some vending machines by the museum but they weren't refrigerated so the drinks we not as refreshing as we had hoped. If you're planning on spending the day here, pack plenty of water and snacks or buy something at the stands around the entrance before going in. Wes and I packed sandwiches for the day and were glad we came prepared with food.
There are a couple of restaurants within walking distance but, depending on the day, the wait time for food may be long. Restaurante Techinanco and Restaurante el Jaguar are both outside of the park near the Pyramid of the Moon. Restaurante La Gruta is by the Pyramid of the Sun and Museum. There's also a restaurant within the park by the main entrance near the temple. I've read that you're able to re-enter the site after showing your ticket if you choose to leave for lunch to break up the day.
- Everyone rushes to the Pyramid of the Sun and then to the Pyramid of the Moon. And that's exactly what we did too! Best to knock those off the list as soon as you enter the site. But don't forget to take a peak inside the museum, garden and the temple too. The site is huge and it's worth exploring more than just the two biggest pyramids.
- Arrive early to avoid being out in the heat all afternoon. Admission on Sundays is free to residents of Mexico so I would avoid weekends altogether if possible. We arrived early on Good Friday and were in awe at the crowds that were still arriving as we were making our way out of the site.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes for the day, pack plenty of water and give yourself time to explore the grounds. We were probably at the site for 3-4 hours and, once you add the travel time, the day was a lot longer than we had expected it to be!