Are you planning to visit Teotihuacan from Mexico City? Here’s how you can do a day trip to Teotihuacan without a tour.

Teotihuacan is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Mexico – and it’s only 40 kilometers away from Mexico City. Therefore it’s very easy do a day trip to Teotihuacan without a tour.

Here’s what you need to know about visiting the Pyramids of Sun and Moon from Mexico City.

The Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan.

The Pyramid of the Sun is the most famous landmark in Teotihuacan. Fun fact: it was originally painted red.

What is this Teotihuacan, anyway?

Teotihuacan is an archaeological complex and a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Mexico City. The place is best known for its two pyramids: the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon.

The city of Teotihuacan was first established over two thousand years ago. At its peak, the Teotihuacan had over a 100,000 residents, making it one of the largest cities of its time. The city collapsed on the 7th or 8th century – possibly due to internal conflicts.

Avenue of the Dead in Teotihuacan. Day trip from Mexico City to Teotihuacan.

The Aztects named the main avenue of Teotihuacan “Avenue of the Dead”. They thought its buildings were tombs made by giants.

Ancient civilization, pyramids, Mexico… Teotihuacan was an Aztec city, right?

Wrong! The Aztecs did, however, discover the place long after it had been abandoned. As a result, the Aztecs took lots of influences from Teotihuacan.

The Aztects also came to the conclusion that the gods created the universe on this spot. The name Teotihuacan comes from an Aztec word for “place where gods are born”.

If it wasn’t the Aztecs, who built the Teotihuacan, then?

No one really knows! The ethnicity of Teotihuacans is still being debated.

Sunset photo at the Pyramid of the Moon, Teotihuacan.

The smog over Mexico City creates a beautiful backdrop for a sunset photo.

Okay, enough about the history. Is it possible to visit Teotihuacan on a day trip from Mexico City?

Yes, absolutely! Buses from the northern bus station (Central de Autobuses del Norte) leave every 20 minutes or so, and the bus ride takes just an hour. Once in Teotihuacan, you can see the major sights of the complex in 3-5 hours.

The Pyramid of the Moon at sunset. Day trip to Teotihuacan from Mexico City.

The Pyramid of the Moon is not as huge as its brother, but it’s still very impressive.

How do I get on the bus from Mexico City to Teotihuacan?

After entering the northern bus station via the main entrance, head left and walk almost to the end of the left-curving corridor. Buy your ticket from the “Autobuses Teotihuacan” stand and head to the bus via gate 8.

The ticket to Teotihuacan is only valid at a specific time, but you can take any bus on your way back. A round trip costs 100 pesos (4.5 €). There’s no toilet in the bus.

Resting at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun. Visiting Teotihuacan without a tour.

Climbing on top of the Pyramid of the Sun is very tiring, but you can always blame the altitude. The elevation of Teotihuacan is 2,300 meters!

What should I do on a day trip to Teotihuacan without a tour?

The (literally) biggest sight is the Pyramid of the Sun, which is the third largest pyramid in the world. Climbing up to the 65-meter-high pyramid is exhausting but worth it! For the best views of the site, I also recommend climbing to the lower platform of the Pyramid of the Moon.

Besides the pyramids, there are several other ruins in the area. Many of these feature interesting murals that are worth checking out. You can also visit the museums of Teotihuacan.

Walking on a day trip to Teotihuacan.

Teotihuacan is a large complex. Prepare to walk several kilometers.

Any other tips for visiting Teotihuacan on a day trip without a tour?

It can be very hot and sunny, so drink lots of water and protect yourself from the sun. There’s very little shade available, so you might even want to take an umbrella with you!

(At least that’s what I did, although I was the only tourist who had one.)

Do I need to pack my own meal for a day trip to Teotihuacan from Mexico City?

Not necessarily. There are dozens of restaurants available in Teotihuacan, although the fanciest ones like like La Gruta can be quite pricey.

La Gruta is an expensive retaurant, but it's located inside a cave, so it offers a perfect escape from the sun.

La Gruta is an expensive restaurant, but it’s located inside a cave, making it a great escape from the scorching sun.

How much does it cost to visit Teotihuacan without a tour?

Not much. The bus rides cost a hundred pesos and the entrance fee is 70 pesos (3.1 €), but that’s about it. In total, a day trip to Teotihuacan costs 170 pesos (7.7 euros) plus whatever you pay for the food and the local transport in Mexico City.

Is Teotihuacan worth it?

Yes, I think it is. Even if you’ve seen dozens of ancient ruins already, the scale of the pyramids is very mesmerizing.

Murals in Teotihuacan.

The murals of Teotihuacan feature very vivid illustrations.

Thank you for the information! I still have one question, though.

Hit it.

If nobody knows who built the pyramids, could it be ancient aliens?

Absolutely not.

Come on, you can’t be so sure about that!

Yes I can. This conversation is over.

Ancient alien UFO at the Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan.

“There’s nothing extraterrestrial about Teotihuacan.”