Home » The Best Way To Visit Teotihuacan: Discover The Mystery & History

The Best Way To Visit Teotihuacan: Discover The Mystery & History

When stepping onto the ancient city grounds of Teotihuacan for the first time, you can’t help but feel a sense of wonder and absolute awe. As an enthusiastic travel couple, we embarked on a journey from Mexico City to discover the mysteries of this world famous archaeological site. Join us as we recount our unforgettable experiences and teach you the best way to visit Teotihuacan. 

The Mystery And The History of Teotihuacan

Feathered Serpent

Despite decades of archaeological study, Teotihuacan remains shrouded in mystery, leaving visitors and scholars alike pondering the purpose and significance of the monumental edifices and influential culture that has since been left to ruin. Anthropologists and archaeologists, like George Cowgill, speculate that the city was settled as early as 100 B.C. and became the largest and most powerful city in ancient Mexico by 400 A.D. This Mesoamerican mystery covered 8 square miles, supported a population of a hundred thousand at its peak, and was characterized by the vast size of its monuments laid out on geometric and symbolic principles. It is likely that the city had already been abandoned for centuries before the Aztecs found its remains sometime in the 1300s. Unaware of how the city collapsed, they named it “Teotihuacan”, which translates in Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs) as “the place where men become gods”. No one knows what its inhabitants truly called it. 

But what we do know is that Teotihuacan had a complex hierarchical society, impressive trade routes, remarkable craftsmanship, and more secrets left to uncover today. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 and the 652-acre archeological zone is open to visitors to explore and experience a civilization lost to time. In 2024, there are still excavation efforts being made to unearth more intriguing details and discoveries, And if you’re wanting to stand in the holy city yourself, we have the best way to visit Teotihuacan. 

Traveling from Mexico City To Teotihuacan

Located 31 miles (50km) northeast of modern-day Mexico City, it is a short drive for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you’re wanting the rockstar travel treatment, the best way to visit Teotihuacan is booking a private guided tour through Viator. You don’t have to worry about making travel plans other than stepping outside of your hotel. Your guide picks you up in a comfortable private vehicle and takes you directly to the archaeological site. If you like, they can even stop at a rest area for coffee, snacks, or a restroom break.    

If you’re dead set on traveling independently to the site, you can arrive by private taxi, app-based taxi services, or by bus. According to many CDMX sources, the Autobuses del Norte bus station is the most affordable, but we wanted the easiest option possible over the cheapest. 

Travel Tips of Teotihuacan

Even though your Viator guide handles all of the logistics of your trip, proper preparation is the best way to visit Teotihuacan. Here are some of our helpful travel tips for visiting.

  • Arrive Early: Most importantly to beat the crowds, but also to beat the heat and have the opportunity to explore at your own pace. Our Viator guide left Mexico City early enough to avoid both city traffic and crowds at the pyramids. Being one of the first to reach the majestic archaeological site was something to remember for a lifetime. It was also PERFECT for capturing photos of both the monuments and us. Plus, having a tour guide to take them made our lives even easier, especially since drones and tripods are not allowed in the area. 
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes and Layers: Navigating Teotihuacan’s terrain varies from covering  long distances to conquering steep climbs. Trust us, choosing comfortable shoes over fashionable finds are a must. Wearing layers is also a smart choice to endure the weather, which can range from windy mornings and rain showers to blistering heat. 
  • Stay Hydrated With Water and SPF: Without much covering, you are most likely going to be in the direct sunlight throughout your entire visit. SPF and water is a must have in your travel bag. When Michael visited the pyramids for the first time, he underestimated the sun’s rays and left with a lot more red color than he would have liked. This time around, he was smart enough to bring SPF, even if we didn’t get to use it in the rain.
  • Don’t Let The Rain Stop You From Visiting: Even though we were initially not looking forward to exploring in the rain, we fell in love with the magic that most visitors don’t get to experience. The clouds hung around the pyramids, the crowds were small, and being surrounded by the iconography of the deity, Tlaloc of Teotihuacan, served a whole different meaning. Bring a poncho, a small travel umbrella, and wear shoes you don’t mind getting a little wet and muddy. 
  • Don’t Be Alarmed by the “Sounds of the City”: While exploring you will often hear the sounds of Jaguars, Eagles and Screams. But don’t worry, there isn’t impending danger or wild cats running loose. There are just a ton of vendors selling replicas of the ancient Aztec whistles. In addition to their use in religious ceremonies, the jaguar whistles were also used in battle and warfare. The Aztec warriors were said to have worn them around their necks and blown to signal their presence and strike primal fear into their opponents. Although the vibrant hues and unique design make these whistles captivating travel keepsakes, they are a powerful representation of the rich cultural heritage of the Aztecs and the enduring legacy of indigenous cultures. (And yes, we absolutely bought one)
  • Practical Information To Know: The Archaeological zone of Teotihuacan is open 365 days a year. Sundays are free for Mexican Citizens, so expect larger 

What You Can Expect To See at Teotihuacan

The ancient structures and remains of Teotihuacan beckon travelers from around the world and completely captivate you as soon as you see them. The Viator route around the site includes an in-depth examination of the three most significant structures: the Pyramid of the Moon, Pyramid of the Sun, and the Quetzalcoatl Temple of the Feathered Serpent. There is nothing like seeing the pyramids for the first time, both for curiosity and grandeur design. Exploring the Avenue of the Dead along the way takes you back in time to the one-thriving neighborhoods. The path also leads to several important compounds, intricate murals, stone carvings, ceremonial platforms, and excavation sites of the ruins that most people would miss without a guide.

And although you can no longer climb the Pyramids of the Sun or the Moon, you have the option of climbing the temple where your guide will point out the geographical influence of neighboring regions and explain the wildly unknown history of the Feathered Serpent. Your expert certified guide continuously tells you the history, the theories, and also covers the traditions, religion, artistry, and so much more. Our guide, Aldo, truly made our experience unforgettable. His knowledge and passion exceeded any expectations that we had and his willingness to completely immerse us in Mexican culture was unmatched to any tour we had ever done.

The second part of our tour was equally as exciting, because it ended with an artisan cooperative and traditional drink tasting! Read about our trip to the Artesanias El Quetzal and the BEST lunch spot in Teotihuacan

Conclusion: The Best Way To Visit Teotihuacan

Our journey to Teotihuacan left a pyramid size mark on our hearts and ignited a much bigger passion for Mexican culture, history, and exploration. As we walked out of the Archaeological Zone of Teotihuacan, we couldn’t help but reflect on the inhabitants who once stood in the very spot that we had discovered that day. Whether you’re an avid traveler, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking adventure, Teotihuacan offers an experience like no other. And the best way to visit Teotihuacan is on the Viator Private Tour from Mexico City with Aldo. It will be an adventure that you will remember for a lifetime. 

Book your own tour here

If you want are staying in Mexico City, read our guide to the 13 Unforgettable Attractions in Centro Historico.


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