When I think of ancient Mesoamerican cities, Teotihuacan is the one that comes to mind. Move over Tikal and Chichen Itza, Teotihuacan is the daddy of them all.
Located 40km north or Mexico City, Teotihuacan was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas, with a population estimated at 125,000 or more. The city was established around 100AD and was under construction until approximately 250AD and may have lasted until the 7th or 8th century when the site was thought to have been continously sacked and burned. As the burning is limited to the structures relating to the ruling classes, there is thought that this may have been caused by an internal uprising.
How to get there
You can drive to Teotihuacan from the centre of Mexico City in around 45 minutes if you take the toll motorway. There is a free road that you can take but the journey may be a little longer.
There are no Metro stations near the site so bus is your only option if you opt to use public transport. Buses to Teotihuacán leave from Mexico City every 20 minutes from Terminal Autobuses del Norte – To get there travel by line 5 on the metro to Autobuses del Norte metro station and turn left as you exit. Buy tickets at the 2nd booth from the right from Gate 8, showing a blue pyramid sign and word “Teotihuacan”.
A one-way ticket will cost MX$44, with a round trip ticket MX$88. Check that your bus shows a plate saying “Piramides”, usually the staff there will point you to the right bus if you show them your ticket. (The stop’s formal name is “Zona Arqueologico”, which should be printed on your ticket).
The buses may also stop outside the Potrero Metro station. From Potrero, exit the station and look for white buses that go to Piramides — they mean the pyramids of Teotihuacán. The trip will take around an hour.
The buses run until about 9pm — check the last departure before you leave. You will be dropped off at Puerta 1 and picked up at Puerta 2 (Closest to the Pyramid of the Sun) or Puerta 3 (Closest to the Pyramid of the Moon), or by the front gate (Puerta 1). From there it’s a 1/8th of a mile down the main road entering the complex.
By Tour Bus
For ease you may want to pay a little extra and take a guided tour from Mexico City (as we did). If you want to see the Plaza de las Tres Culturas and the Basilica of Guadalupe these tours are a good idea as they usually take in all 3 locations. Expect to pay between £15 and £25 all inclusive.
Want to know what we thought of Teotihuacan? See here.