This is Part 1 of 2 articles on Teotihuacan: Part 1 - Teotihuacan: Tips for Exploring Part 2 - Teotihuacan: Highlights and History
Teotihuacan – in the Nahuatl language, it literally means “the place where men come to become gods”.
With a name like that, you expect a place to be nothing less than bad ass. Thankfully, this amazing archaeological site did not disappoint.
City of Pyramids
Located 40 km away or about less thaoon an hour outside of Mexico City, Teotihuacan is considered to be one of the most important pre-Columbian sites in Mesoamerica, thanks to its grand pyramids and artwork. It’s also the most visited archaeological site in all of Mexico and the main reason why we were enticed to visit Mexico City.
With the site’s popularity, we figured it’d be best for us to book an early morning tour with Viator. Our bus left Mexico City by 7:15 am and after a breakfast break on the freeway, we were in the Teotihuacan entrance by around 8:30 am. It was an excellent decision; we were one of the first two groups at the site. It was an incredible treat to have the place mostly to ourselves, without the usual throngs of tourists.
Tips for visiting Teotihuacan
This is the most important tip of all since this place gets packed pretty quickly, especially on the weekends and holidays. What’s more is that it tends to be warm in the daytime almost year round so it’s best to come when the sun isn’t as harsh.
Prepare the basics
Make sure to bring your hiking and warm weather basics: sunblock, sunglasses, hat, comfortable shoes and bottle of water. If you do come early in the morning, it may still be chilly when you arrive so a light jacket is also recommended.
Read about Teotihuacan before the visit
Before visiting, try to stop by the city archeological museum or read all about the place. But if you don’t have a lot of time, visit the the onsite museum or hire a private guide (if your budget allows). I guarantee that it will be a much richer experience if you are armed with more insight about the place.
Buy from the vendors onsite
We know this is an unusual tip since you visit the pyramids to sightsee not to shop. But if you’re looking for a good bargain, we suggest you buy directly from the licensed vendors roaming around the site. Don’t engage until you’re ready though—they’re known to follow you around as you tour the site.
However, we found some amazing bargains from these haggle-ready vendors. There are a couple of souvenir shops within walking distance outside the archaeological zone — however, their prices are way higher than the vendors’. Also, it worked to our advantage since there was a real lack of souvenir shops in Mexico City (unless you speifically go to La Ciudadela and crafts markets—which we ourselves didn’t have time for).
Visit the Shrine of Guadalupe
If you have more free time after the tour, you could pass by the Shrine of Guadalupe on the way back to Mexico City. Not only is it a beautiful shrine in itself, it also gives you an amazing insight into the Mexicans’ present-day religious culture. We had our tour group drop us off near the shrine and we just took an Uber back to the historical center for $150 MX pesos ($7.50 USD).
The steps going up to the Pyramid of the Moon are quite steep — so remember walk sideways and wear comfy shoes!
|Address||Ecatepec Pirámides km.22 + 600, Municipio de Teotihuacan, Estado de México, C.P. 55800;
|Hours||Archeological Zone: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.mMuseums & Exhibitions: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Both open 365 days a year|
|Suggested Duration||At least 3 hours at the site|
|How to get there||
|Food and Drink||
Hope this post helps!
We broke up this article into 2 parts since there’s so much to be said about this sacred place… Can you tell we’re archaeology buffs/ Indiana Jones wannabes?! If you would like to learn more about the trivia, highlights and the history behind the specific structures in Teotihuacan. Click here >>
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