A Gringo’s Guide to Visiting the Teotihuacan Pyramids
I'd crept on Instagram. The pics looked way too dope. There was no doubt in my mind. I knew the Teotihuacan Pyramids were a must when visiting Mexico City.
Passing up the opportunity to visit what was once the greatest city in Mesoamerica just wasn't going to happen.
The lure of ancient ruins, like Teotihuacan, always gets the best of me. Ever since checking out Machu Pichu, I'd become fascinated with old-school civilizations and seeing what remains of their time.
And I can't lie. Thoughts of ancient Aztec warriors sacrificing their rivals filled my head.
Sure, human sacrifice isn't a pretty picture. More gruesome than anything. Sadistic. Barbarous. Brutal. Cold-blooded.
Whatever you want to call it.
But the fascination is still there. How we've gone from sacrifice others to mentally masturbating on Twitter about gender pronouns.
Alas, let's get back to the Pyramids of Teotihuacan.
About 50 km north of Mexico City, the ancient Aztec ruins make the perfect day trip from the capital.
So, let's dive in and learn a little more about one of the largest pyramids in the world.
Table of Contents:
- What are the Pyramids of Teotihuacan?
- How to Get to the Teotihuacan Pyramids: The Easy Way
- Is It Worth It?
- A Gringo's Guide to Visiting the Teotihuacan Pyramids
What are the Pyramids of Teotihuacan?
Only some of the largest pyramids in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site (Source).
Before we dive into this short history lesson, just know one thing…
The Pyramids of Teotihuacan are incredibly dope.
Legit one of my favorite places I've ever been. And a definite must-visit while checking out CDMX.
Just look at this spot:
Hot damn! As one of the largest urban centers or cities in the ancient world, Teotihuacan is quite the spectacle to look at.
Built a little over 2,000 years ago, the city was created between 100 BC and 250 AD. However, the founders of the city are unknown.
It's still a mystery who originally built Teotihuacan. Once the Aztec occupied the city, it was already in near ruins – san the stunning pyramids (Source).
Still, the Aztecs revered the site. Teotihuacan was an important religious site for the Aztecs, and not just due to the human sacrifice.
Montezuma, the fifth Aztec emperor, was said to make a pilgrimage to the site every 20 days from Tenochtitlan, aka modern day Mexico City (Source).
Now, I won't turn this blog post into a history book. The history of Teotihuacan and the Aztec empire is fascinating, but we'll save that for another day.
You want to know about the Teotihuacan Pyramids, what they're like, and how to get there.
Well, Teotihuacan is a whole Mesoamerican city. While the two large pyramids are what most people think of when imagining the site, there's a little more to it.
But for the sake of brevity, let's take a look at the main pyramids in Teotihuacan and see how massive they actually are:
Pyramid of the Sun
This behemoth of a pyramid weighs in at:
- Width/Length: 733.2 x 733.2 feet
- Height: 233.5 feet
- Volume: 41.8 million cubic feet
That's just massive. Take a look at the Pirámide del Sol:
Pyramid of the Moon
The Pyramid of the Moon, aka Pirámide de la Luna, is the second largest structure in Teotihuacan. While not as large as the Sun Pyramid, this bad boy is still one of the largest pyramids in the world.
Which is what makes Teotihuacan so unique. You have two massive pyramids in one amazing site.
This massive structure weighs in at (Source):
- Width/Length: 426 x 511 feet
- Height: 140 x 140 feet
- Volume: 10.2 million cubic feet
Not as big as the Pyramid of the Sun, but still good sized. Just look:
While Teotihuacan is superb and one of the post Instagramable places in all of Mexico, these aren't even the biggest pyramids in Mexico. That crown goes to the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
The Pyramid of Cholula is technically the largest pyramid in the world by some accounts. It weighs in at (Source):
- Width/Length: 1,480 x 1,480 feet
- Height: 217 feet
- Total Volume: 157 million cubic feet
And of course, we gotta compare these massive monuments to the most famous pyramid in the world, eh?
Yep, let's take a look at the Giza Pyramid in Egypt. To compare, the Great Pyramid of Giza weighs in at (Source):
- Width/Length: 755.75 x 755.75 feet
- Height: 481 feet
- Total: Volume: 88.2 million cubic feet
Certainly taller than all the pyramids in Mexico, which is one of the reasons why the structure is so famous.
How to Get to the Teotihuacan Pyramids: The Easy Way
Enough with the history, let's talk about how to get to Teotihuacan.
Luckily, that's incredibly easy. Seriously, this might be one of the easiest world-class tourist attractions to get to.
If you're in CDMX, there's legit no excuse why you can't check it out one morning or afternoon.
How to get to Teotihuacan?
Just grab an Uber. The one-hour ride from Condesa or Roma Norte should cost you around $350-500 Mexican Pesos.
Or roughly $18-27 USD, depending on the exchange rate.
That's pretty cheap, especially if you've got a group of 2-3 people. Plus, Uber is easy. There's no walking to a bus station, dealing with a shady tour company, or any other hassle.
You just grab and Uber and show up to the ancient ruins around an hour later. It's too easy.
Plus, most Uber drivers have been to Teotihuacan more than once if they've driven in Mexico City for a while. So, they'll know where to drop you off and usually offer a few quick tips.
There's no need to ask them to wait. There are dozens of Ubers around Teotihuacan during the day. They'll quickly find another ride and you'll have no problem grabbing an Uber ride home, either.
It costs $70 Mexican Pesos to get into Teotihuacan, which includes museum admission.
Now, there are other ways to get to Teotihuacan…
You can take public transportation or book a tour through an operator.
In my opinion, both of these opinions are a pain in the arse. You'll save a few bucks taking the bus from Mexico City to Teotihuacan and back.
However, you'll still need to take an Uber to the bus station and back. As you'll probably be staying around Condesa and the bus station to Teotihuacan is Autobuses del Norte station.
The ticket to Teotihuacan from here costs around $100 Mexican Pesos roundtrip, or a little over $5 USD.
Booking with a tour operator is unnecessary. Visiting Teotihuacan is easy peasy. There's no reason to spend extra money on a tour.
Just visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids by yourself or with some friends. It's more of adventure to do it that way – then to pay for a tour guide. Plus, you have more freedom to roam around!
Is It Worth It?
Yeah! The Pyramids of Teotihuacan are most definitely, 100% worth it. And a must-visit while you're in Mexico City.
Even if you're not a big tourism person, this is a pretty cool site to visit and easy to get to. There's really no reason not to check out Teotihuacan.
To make it easier for you, here's a few quick tips when visiting Teotihuacan:
- Just Take an Uber: Taking an Uber will make the trip so much more pleasant and quicker. It only takes about an hour to get to Teotihuacan from CDMX in an Uber, even with traffic. Split the trip between a few people and it's barely more expensive than the bus.
- Get Here Early: The earlier you get to Teotihuacan, the better. The site opens at 9 a.m., so you'll want to arrive around 8:45 in the morning. Not only is the lighting better for photos in the morning, but there are fewer people, too. You'll skip the crowds if you're here early, which makes the experience more rewarding.
- Bring Sunscreen: There wasn't any cloud cover and very little shade when we went to the Teotihuacan Pyramids. My pasty gringo skin wasn't loving the strong sun. Luckily, my buddy packed sunscreen and we were good to go. This is a must for my fellow gringos!
- Go to Gate/Entrance #5: Have your Uber driver take you around back and drop you off at entrance #5. There is less of a crowd here and you should be able to walk straight in without any issue – if you've arrived early. Again, entrance costs $70 Mexican Pesos.
A Gringo's Guide to Visiting the Teotihuacan Pyramids
That's about it, y'all. Everything a gringo would need to know about the Pyramids of Teotihuacan.
If you're in CDMX, just do it. Hop in an Uber and visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids. It's worth it for the Instagram photo alone.
If you've got any questions, comments, or concerns about this unique site, make sure to comment below and I'll get back to ya.
Hasta luego, mano!
P.S: If you're traveling around Mexico, a little Spanish goes a long way, wey. This is the best way to learn the love language!