Teotihuacan – Ruins Outside Mexico City

Teotihuacan

As one of the few successful trips we made during our time in Mexico City, Teotihuacan was the first full set of ruins we explored. Though we don’t have much to compare it to yet, it was well worth the time and money investments.

Avenida de los MuertosArriving at the ruins, we were immediately impressed with the view down the Avenida de los Muertos and the towering Pyramid of the Sun and the Moon. In the distance the screams of eagles and pumas echoed off the ruined walls. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves face to face with the sources of the wild cries. There they were. Standing, staring. Their predatory eyes piercing our clothing for the prize hidden within. They let out another shrill, deafening at this range, and unhesitatingly approached us. In their mouths are the noise makers, in their hands are delicately carved obsidian statues. We ran past the persistent vendors and continued towards the pyramids.

Being moderately more prepared for this adventure made it much more enjoyable. However, we’re still far from being in the shape we want to be and the stairs reminded us of this. We felt much better after seeing that most people rest at each landing and our breathing was definitely more controlled than a lot of the other climbers. Closer to the top, we passed a girl walking up the pyramid in socks. In her hands were 5 inch heels- not ideal ruin-climbing shoes. I hope her decision to come to Teotihuacan was very spur-of-the-moment but after seeing how well Mexican ladies dress all the time, I doubt that was the case. She seemed totally fine with destroying her socks, probably because she knew that she had the sexiest shoes for several miles.

Avoiding Fail – What to Bring:

  • Sun protection
  • Water
  • A snack/meal
    • Expect the trip to take around 5 hours in total. There is a restaurant at the entrance of the ruins and some street vendors at the exit if you would rather eat there.
  • Appropriate shoes
    • There is a fair amount of walking and more stairs than Rocky could climb.

Transportation to Teotihuacan:

Getting to the ruins is easy and begins with a ride on the Metro. You take the Yellow 5 line to Autobuses del Norte where you can buy your bus ticket (http://mexico-on-line.com/mexico-city/mexico-city-maps/mexico-city-metro-map.html). The bus station is next to the metro exit and it is really easy to find tickets to Teotihuacan. If you walk towards the end of the station (Sala 8), you will see a bus company with pictures of the pyramids. The tickets are $36 pesos one way. When you are purchasing your tickets, be sure to tell them you want to go to the pyramids so you don’t end up in the nearby town of San Juan Teotihuacan.

The bus will drop you off at the entrance of the ruins where you pay $51 pesos to get in.

Returning to Mexico City:

When you’re ready to head back to Mexico City, walk towards the road where you were dropped off. Once on the other side of that street, you will see people who you can pay $36 pesos for bus credit (the equivalent of buying a ticket back) back to Mexico City. The people are very friendly and will help you get on the correct bus.

Other Item of Note:

On our ride back to Mexico City, our bus was pulled over and searched. However, during this search the men and women were separated and patted down by same-sex officers. After a quick check for drugs, the men were allowed back on the bus and we set off again without issue. This was a bit confusing at first, but the officers were quite respectful.


In its heyday, Teotihuacan was one of the largest cities in the world (some estimations state there could have been almost a quarter of a million residents). Walking amongst the ruins, Erica and I tried to imagine what it would have been like to live here. Luckily, much of the majesty is still intact and there are very few fences to corral your exploration. Teotihuacan was an incredible experience with breathtaking views. Only an hour outside Mexico City, there is no reason not to check it out for yourself.

Teotihuacan and Shaun and Erica

View from the top of Teotihuacan

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24 Responses to “Teotihuacan – Ruins Outside Mexico City”

  1. Poi May 20, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    Looks great guys – I’m starting to think hiking/climbing in heels is the new done thing, we’ve seen it a lot as well. Maybe I’ll give it a go?

    • Erica May 20, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

      @Poi: Good luck with that Poi. Please take pictures.

  2. Sheryll May 20, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    omg! That looks so awesome!! And as sad as it it, I’m 99.9% sure I’d be the girl in the heels. Le sigh.

    • Erica May 20, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

      @Sheryll: Good luck on trekking with heels. I thought I was going to die in my sneakers!

  3. Giulia May 20, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    I can see some cool wide angle lens here!!!
    Wow, looks like a long way to the top! But definitely being prepared makes a lot of difference:)
    Last time I went to the desert, a girl of our group came with heels. I was like…wtf!!! Whatever. Not to mention the Russian girls with high heels I saw climbing Mount Sinai (at night). I have no idea how they do that.
    Erica, will you dye your hair red again? 🙂

    • Erica May 20, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

      @Giulia: I have to bring it out for moments like these! How did those heels work in the sand by the way? I just can’t imagine trying to look good in momens like those.

      • Giulia May 21, 2011 at 7:08 am #

        lol, she just spent the whole day carrying her shoes in her hand. So much the worse for her, I was secretly chuckling to myself. I’m so mean:)

  4. Seattle Dredge May 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    So jealous! That place looks amazing. haha That’s hilarious about the girl with the heels!

    • Erica May 20, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

      @Seattle: More ruins on the way too! I can’t get enough!

  5. Ayngelina May 20, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Because I flew into Cancun I totally missed out on Mexico City and all the great things around it. More reason to go back to Mexico soon!

    • Erica May 20, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

      @Ayngelina: It is a shame! You need to spend more time here! <3

  6. megan May 20, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    This place looks epic! Am disappointed I’m not going to Mexico on my trip to Latin America – I would love to see this.

    I actually never really knew what it was up until fairly recently when I thought it was just a Noel Gallagher song written for the X-Files soundtrack… 😀

    • Erica May 20, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

      @Megan: It was soooo awesome – even with the millions of people everywhere.

      As for your XFiles reference… NERD! <3 Welcome, you are around friends. 😛

      • megan May 21, 2011 at 12:49 am #

        uh oh…my secret is out 😀

  7. Andrea May 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    Looks like a fascinating place to explore! I hear you about struggling a little on the stairs. We were so active at the start of our travels, hiking and climbing in New Zealand and Chile, but since we’ve been in Argentina we have been sloths (and eating way too much bad food). We have the Inca Trail in a couple of weeks and need to start getting in shape!

    • Erica May 22, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

      @Andrea: I don’t even want to think about the Inca Trail right now. I’ll get there eventually. I thought I was losing weight but I am definitely thinning out a bit. In shape here we come!

  8. Sophie May 22, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Looks like I would love to bask in the sun in this beautiful ruins.

    • Erica May 22, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

      @Sophie: If it wasn’t 100+ degrees outside I would have done more basking!

  9. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista May 23, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    I would love to see some Aztec ruins! This sounds like it was a great adventure.

    • Erica May 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

      @Debbie: They really are fascinating especially when you think about the hundreds of human sacrifices that occurred on the grounds. Just weird in a really neat way.

  10. mom May 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Could pic #2 be part of a playing field?

    • Shaun May 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

      @ Mom – I think pic #2 was part of the Great compound market.

  11. Federico Villalba May 25, 2011 at 12:49 am #

    “Teotihuacan took our Aztec ruin virginity.” Just a quick correction on your opening paragraph, Teotihuacan was not built by the Aztecs. They wandered into the Valley of Mexico at a much later date. Great photographs, thank you for sharing!

    • Shaun May 28, 2011 at 11:50 am #

      @ Federico – Ahh, cool. Good to know! 🙂

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