The Pyramid of the Sun and Avenue of the Dead, Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan, also known as the City of the Gods, is an archeological site 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Mexico City. Náhuatl for "the place where men became gods", Teotihuacan is home to some of the largest ancient pyramids in the world. According to legend, it was here where the gods gathered to plan the creation of man. The site is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Caution Note: As of 2021, authorities have closed the pyramids at Teotihuacan to climbing.



Teotihuacan was the largest Pre-Columbian city in the Americas, reaching a total population of 150,000 at its height, and was important around the same time as Ancient Rome and Classical China. Despite being located within the heartland of what later became the Aztec empire, Teotihuacan was not built by the Aztecs, and was already an ancient ruin in Aztec times.

Archaeologists disagree on whether it was the capital of an empire, or a city state at the center of Mesoamerica's trade networks, but it's cultural influence is seen across the region, and it was also a very multicultural city, with neighborhoods of people from other parts of what's now Mexico.

Construction of Teotihuacán commenced around 300 BC, with the largest pyramid, the Pyramid of the Sun, built around 200 AD. Construction continued from 150 to 450 AD.

By the time the Spaniards arrived, this place was not used as a settlement anymore, but served as a spiritual and religious destination for the people of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. Today, its ancient ceremonial center stands as an impressively grand and well-preserved architectural zone, and in the smaller temples around the side (including some with fee entry outside of the main park) can be seen many beautiful and interesting original wall paintings from the city's heyday.

Many artifacts from Teotihuacan are now found at the National Anthropological Museum in Mexico City.

Elevation: 2,300m/7,482ft

Get in

Temple of the Moon as seen from Temple of Sun
Pyramid of the Sun viewed from a side path at Teotihuacan

By car (or taxi)


It takes about 45 minutes from the Mexico City, city center if you use the toll highway. It takes much longer, but more interesting, if you use the old free road. There is a small fee for parking at the site. A taxi may be prohibitively expensive, though sometimes tours with a car and driver/guide can be arranged for a reasonable fee if you want the convenience.

By bus


Buses to Teotihuacán leave from Mexico City about every half hour from two locations: 1 Terminal del Norte (outside Autobuses del Norte Metro station, Line 5) or from outside the 2 Potrero Metro station (Line 3). A one-way ticket will cost 60 pesos (Dec 2023). From Terminal Autobuses del Norte, walk towards Gate 8. There is a ticket booth almost at the end of the concourse. If you're doing a day trip, check that your bus goes to the site entrance of Teotihuacán ruinas and not just to the town of San Juan Teotihuacán nearby. 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, and the buses run until about 18:00. When alighting the bus, check the last departure with the driver. You will be dropped off and picked up at 3 Puerta 1 (closest to the Temple of Quetzalcóatl).

Note: A spate of robberies occurred on buses between Mexico City and Teotihuacan around 2012. Increased security and police presence stopped the crimes, but tales from the past still rear their ugly heads from time to time. The bus route is no more dangerous than any other and thousands of people travel the route each day without issues.

If you're spending the night in one of the towns near the pyramids, Autobuses Teotihuacan at the Terminal del Norte also has service to the town center of San Juan Teotihuacan and to its station near the center of San Martín de los Pirámides. T

As of March 2024, Autobuses Teotihuacan also offers buses between here and the CAP terminal in Puebla ($180, 1.5-2.5 hrs), which run four times a day, departing San Martín for Puebla at 8:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm, and 5:30pm (though it's not unusual for them to be up to an hour late). Buses stop outside the Autobuses Teotihuacan station in San Martín, but probably also pass through San Juan Teotihuacan and possibly by one of the park gates - ask a bus driver if you can.

By tour bus


Most travel agencies offer half or full day tours to the site, often combined with the Plaza de las Tres Culturas and the Basilica of Guadalupe, both of which are outside the city center. It’s a convenient way to combine the three, but note our comments above about getting to the site early. The price is around 700 pesos for an adult. As with guided tours everywhere in the world, these tours will waste much of your time by promoting gift shops, but they are still a convenient way to get here for Mexico City-based tourists.

Get around


There is an entrance fee of M$95 (March 2024) to enter the park. This is a large site, and a lot of walking is required, as there doesn't seem to be any kind of transport inside the park. If you go by bus, they will deliver you to one spot, from which you will be required to walk to and from. Now that you're not allowed to walk up the stairs of the pyramids anymore, you can see the main outdoor attractions in about 2 hours, not counting walking back.

If you have a car, then you can probably freely drive around the perimeter road, which runs around the outside of the park. There seem to be ATVs for rent at some entrances, but it doesn't seem like you can bring them inside the park. There are a few taxis in the area, which are reasonably priced, but it's not always easy to find one when you want it (same for rideshare apps).

If you tire easily, pack light for this excursion (i.e., no backpacks, heavy purses, etc.). Be aware that there's limited shade, especially if you go at mid-day.


Exhibit at Museo Teotihuacan

This site has a lot to look at, but four sites them stand out as the main attractions:

  • 1 Pirámide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun). The largest pyramid in Teotihuacan, and one of the largest in the world, located near the center of the park.
  • 2 Pirámide de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon). A medium-sized pyramid towards the north end of the complex, at the end of the impressive Avenue of the Dead. A bit more interesting in its design than the larger Pyramid of the Sun.
  • 3 Templo de Quetzalcoatl (Temple of Quetzalcoatl). One of the most sacred temples in the complex, located near the southern end, this structure is decorated with many stone serpent heads.
  • 4 Museo Teotihuacán. The museum at the park with outstanding displays and a miniature recreation of the entire site. Well worth the visit.

There are also many interesting constructions along the Avenue of the Dead which runs along the middle of the site, so don't just walk from one temple to the other. On the left side of the plaza in front of the Pyramid of the Moon are several areas including the 5 Palacio de Quetzalpalotl, which includes the Palacio de los Jaguares (Palace of the Jaguars) and the Templo de los Caracoles Emplumados, with wall paintings, sculptures, and underground rooms.

There are also some smaller structures outside of the park, with free entry. Some of them, like Tepantitla, are ancient apartment complexes with some of the most impressive ancient wall paintings of the city. A drive around the perimeter, on the road along the park will provide many surprises and is worth the trip. Hitching a ride or even paying a few pesos for a ride will be worth the effort.



You can exit one of the western gates into the adjacent town of San Juan Teotihuacán. There you can shop for consumer items like groceries, water, bakery items, and fresh orange juice. Nice little town.

  • Hot Air Balloons - Float over the pyramids of Teotihuacan in a hot air balloon. Bare bones "flight only" arrangements can be made directly with the balloon operators though most tourists find it easiest to arrange the tour through a travel agent, hotel concierge, or via a package offered by various websites. Flights are usually very early in the morning. Some include pickup by van in Mexico City.



There are a lot of vendors selling silver products. In México, silver is thought to be cheap and only for tourists. Also, you will find obsidian rocks for sale. Some of these objects may just be a round or shaped stone, or something more elaborate like a statue. Also, there will be salesmen everywhere with Aztec flutes.

Around the inside perimeter of the site you will find several shops that not only sell, but also manufacture obsidian art and other stone objects for sale. Shop and compare quality and prices before buying.


Exhibit at Museum

There are a plenty of restaurants near the exits of the complex and in San Juan Teotihuacán and neighboring towns, as well as grocery stores and bakeries. Consider having one prepare a picnic for you and enjoy it at the park.

  • 1 Restaurante La Gruta, Zona Arqueológica de Teotihuacán (on the eastern perimeter, 500m down the road across from the Puerta 5), +52 594 956 0127. Daily 11:00-19:00. The restaurant is located deep inside a subterranean cave and illuminated by two large holes on the side along with other ambient lighting. There is a bar with a vast selection of beers, wines, and liquors. Prepare for the possibility of a serenade by a small Mariachi band or weekend shows featuring live Aztec dancers.
  • 2 Villas Teotihuacan Hotel SPA, Periférico Sur s/n, Zona Arqueológica (inside of the park close to the entrance), +52 55 5836 9020. Daily 07:30-22:00. Has a very pleasant dining room serving 3 meals a day. It is reasonably priced, food is excellent and the staff very helpful.
  • 3 Museo Teotihuacán. The museum at the park has a restaurant.
  • There are many food vendors just outside the parking lot for Door 2 of the pyramid park. These vendors are open on New Year’s Day.



There are a lot of small vendors that sell water, juices, and sodas, mostly at the various the gates of the park. Alcohol is available at the hotel and several vendors around the perimeter (on the road) sell cold beer.



As of March 2024, there are now many small hotels, inns, and homestays located around the outside of the park, which can be found on aggregator websites. Prices start around $600 for a room that holds two people. Be aware that you can only enter the park from one of the five gates (Puertas 1-5), so even if your accommodation appears to be right at the edge of the park, there could still be a significant walk to get to an actual entrance. On the bright side, the perimeter road is a pretty nice place to walk, with wide sidewalks and lots of shade trees. Places along the west side of the park will be easiest to reach by bus. There are a few taxis in the area, which are reasonably priced, but it's not always easy to find one when you want it.

  • 1 Villas Teotihuacan Hotel SPA, Periférico Sur s/n, Zona Arqueológica (at south end of the park, 15 minutes walk from Puerta 1), +52 555 836 9020, . Once billed as the only hotel located in the archaeological zone, it's now outside of the fence. The hotel is open all year round, and is accessible to the public. There is a small swimming pool, dining room and patio. The rooms are a bit small, but very clean. There is secure parking, having a car at the site is a real plus! You will be allowed to drive around the entire site without much restriction. M$1,120 and up.
  • Hotel Quinta Sol, 26 Av Hidalgo, Teotihuacan SJ (From toll road take last exit to Teotihuacan SJ (not Piramides), it's just off that exit), +52 594 956 18 81. Comfy hotel 2 km from Archaeological Park. Spacious rooms, pool, restaurant. Free parking. Walking to the site from here isn't recommended as it's a hot, busy ratty highway with no side-walk, then there's lots of walking to see the site, then you have to get back.



The main thing you will notice inside and around the complex are people constantly approaching you trying to sell you trinkets. Be prepared, as this can be a significant annoyance if you're not used to that kind of tourist site. Sometimes they can be very aggressive and persistent. If you are not interested, don't make eye contact or they will continue to harass you.

Feathered Serpant

There are numerous stray dogs, mostly outside the park, they do not seem to be dangerous, but touching them, feeding them or paying any attention to them is not in your best interest, especially at the restaurants.

Be aware of the weather. Sunny days can suddenly turn rainy. Use sunscreen. Especially at this altitude you can get a sunburn quickly without noticing it. The park can be very hot in the daytime, and there's not much shade along the main drag. You may want budget time to seek out shady areas to rest.

Go next


The only way to get out of the area by public transit is by bus back to México City, or to other nearby towns or Puebla (see "Get in" above). The buses to the city come by every 30 minutes or so outside of the parking lot for entrance #2 ("Puerta 2").

This city travel guide to Teotihuacan is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.