Visiting Teotihuacan without a tour is easy, safe, and budget-friendly. We share how to get to Teotihuacan from Mexico City by bus, plus tips.
Visiting Teotihuacan On A Budget
We had just finished house sitting in the small town of Bucerias, Mexico. Because we were already in the country, we decided we wanted to visit some other cities. We were on a tight budget though, since normally we don’t pay for accommodation thanks to house sitting. While in Mexico City, we found an inexpensive Airbnb for two weeks, but it was still an expense we don’t normally have.
We knew we wanted to visit the Teotihuacan pyramids, but on a budget. We saw plenty of Teotihuacan tours offered online and as we walked around Mexico City. However, they were between $80 and $100 a person. That was simply something we could not afford. So, we decided to take the bus to Teotihuacan and do Teotihuacan without a tour. This ended up saving us so much money!!
How To Get To Teotihuacan From Mexico City
You can get from Mexico City to Teotihuacan by a number of ways. As we mentioned earlier, you can take a tour. You can also take a taxi or even an Uber to Teotihuacan. We found that the most affordable option, however, was getting to Teotihuacan by bus. Taking the bus also meant that our day trip to Teotihuacan could be done at a leisurely pace and we wouldn’t be herded around with a large group of people.
Taking The Bus To Teotihuacan
Visiting Teotihuacan by bus means getting up early. The Teotihuacan bus leaves from Central de Autobuses del Norte (click for location in Google Maps) which is on the northern side of town. Depending on where you’re staying in Mexico City, you can get to the bus station however way you think is best. Because it was early, we chose to Uber to the bus station. We got there by 7:30 AM and paid $4.
Once you arrive at the Northern Bus Terminal, go all the way to the end and look for Gate (Sala) 8. There, look for the “Autobuses Teotihuacan” counter and ask for round trip tickets to “Las Piramides” or “Zona Arqueologica.” Tickets are 52 MXN ($2.45) per trip, per person. So for both of our round trip tickets it cost us just under $10.
After you’ve bought your tickets, head to the bus bays. Everyone has to go through a security checkpoint, similar to ones you see at the airport. Don’t wait for anyone to call out anything, just go through security and then head outside to where the buses pull up. Our bus was leaving from lane 7, which was towards the left when we walked out.
Even if the bus isn’t there yet, line up as soon as you get to the bus lane so you can sit towards the front. The tickets you have will show an assigned seat, but no one actually sits in their assigned seats. We were the first ones in line so when the bus pulled up we were able to get the first two seats in front. Score!
Local vendors selling snacks got on and off the bus a few minutes before we left. Our scheduled time to leave was 8 AM but we left closer to 8:10 AM. It took us about an hour to arrive at the Teotihuacan pyramids, and that included two quick stops to pick up more passengers along the way.
Bus To Teotihuacan Safety
Is taking the bus to Teotihuacan safe? Yes! As we mentioned earlier, there is a security checkpoint at the terminal and we did see some police walking around. With that being said, we still used common sense and paid attention to our surroundings. We each had two small backpacks that, while on the bus, we kept on our laps or tucked between our feet.
The ride up was actually pretty relaxing. Everyone was quiet, but maybe that’s because it was pretty early and no one was fully awake lol! The bus itself was an older bus, but it was clean and had comfortable seats. There was soft Spanish music playing in the background and it wasn’t freezing, as many buses tend to be. Additionally, the road we were on was mostly highway and paved, so it was smooth and without crazy turns.
Overall we enjoyed the bus ride and felt safe and comfortable the entire time.
The bus will drop you off at Gate 1 of the Teotihuacan pyramids. You’ll know you’re there because the driver will yell “Las Piramides” and “Zona Arqueologica.” While doing our own research, we read that occasionally the bus might stop in town first, or drop off at Gate 2. Therefore, we recommend asking the driver where you are being dropped off on your way out, just to be sure.
Visiting Teotihuacan was an experience we’ll never forget. After getting tickets and walking through a small plaza with souvenir shops and a small area to get snacks, you walk out to the main archaeological zone. The structures are very impressive, especially the Pyramid of the Sun.
We won’t go into the history of Teotihuacan here. Trust us when we say you will not leave disappointed. In total we spent about four hours at Teotihuacan. We would have been there even longer, but unfortunately during our visit the museums weren’t open and we were not allowed to climb to the top of the pyramids.
It’s possible to visit Teotihuacan any day of the year; they are open every day including holidays. Teotihuacan hours are from 9 AM to 5 PM.
Teotihuacan Ticket Prices
The Teotihuacan entrance fee is 80 MXN ($4) per person. If you’d like to take any kind of video while inside, you have to pay an additional fee of 45 MXN. Make sure to keep your tickets and receipts to show you’ve paid for the permission to record. We weren’t asked for it, but did see others being asked for it as we walked around.
Usually the Teotihuacan entrance fee includes entry into the museums inside the complex, however, as we said earlier the museums were closed during our visit.
Mexican citizens and residents with a valid ID get in free on Sundays.
Teotihuacan To Mexico City
Once you’ve finished visiting Teotihuacan, there are a couple of things you can do. If you’d like to go directly from Teotihuacan to Mexico City, exit from Gate 2. You’ll see a blue bus sign across the street on your righthand side. Just hang out there until the next bus comes by, usually every 20 minutes.
San Juan Teotihuacan
Another option, and one we highly recommend, is visiting the town of San Juan Teotihuacan. There is a bus terminal in town and you can use your already purchased ticket to get back to Mexico City from there.
From either Gate 2 or Gate 3, you can easily get to San Juan Teotihuacan. You can walk for about 30 to 40 minutes or you can take a 15 minute ride in a taxi or Uber. When we asked a couple of taxi drivers, the price ranged from 50 to 80 MXN but when we looked on Uber the projected price was 35 MXN ($2).
You might have to wait a bit for an Uber, if there aren’t any around. When we requested our Uber, it originally said we’d have to wait 20 minutes but it ended up only being 10 minutes.
The town of San Juan Teotihuacan is cute and colorful with a nice central plaza. We enjoyed walking around, especially visiting Mercado Hidalgo. If you’re hungry or want a small snack, there are plenty of options. We got a Chicken Sope at the market and some coffee at a cute cafe in the central plaza.
Once you’re done exploring the town, head to Autobuses Teotihuacan (click for location in Google Maps). It’s just one block from the plaza. The bus runs every 20 minutes. Look for “Central” on the bus window. The bus doesn’t stay for long, so when you see it get ready to hop on. Once again, there were no assigned seats.
Video – Visiting Teotihuacan By Bus
Below is a video we made for visiting Teotihuacan without a tour. It shows how to get to Teotihuacan from Mexico City and has clips of us exploring the pyramids and the town of San Juan Teotihuacan.
Additional Tips For Visiting Teotihuacan
When you visit Teotihuacan without a tour, we want you to be as prepared as possible. So, here are some additional tips we know you’ll find useful:
- Bring your own snacks and water. This will save you a lot of money if you’re visiting Teotihuacan on a budget.
- Wear sunblock and a hat. The sun is pretty brutal there.
- Try to visit during the week. It will be a lot less crowded.
- Bring an external charger for your phone; there were no chargers on the bus.
- Wear layers; it’s colder in the morning.
- Check the weather beforehand, but still take a rain jacket or small umbrella in case it rains. We found the weather to be a bit unpredictable.
- Use the restrooms in the visitors area when you first enter; there aren’t any others in the complex.
- As we walked around, especially near The Citadel ruins, we noticed a lot of large red ants. Be careful as you walk around!
- Be prepared for lots of vendors/hawkers to try and sell you stuff. If you’re not interested, politely say “No gracias” and keep walking.
- Have cash in case you would like to buy something from a local vendor.
- There are some garbage cans around, but if you can’t find one immediately, hold on to your garbage. Don’t litter!
Total Cost Of Our Day Trip To Teotihuacan
So how much does a day trip to Teotihuacan without a tour cost? Here is a breakdown of what we spent for two adults. Stuffed monkeys pay nothing! 😉
– Uber to Northern Bus Terminal: $4
– Two roundtrip bus tickets: $10
– Two Teotihuacan entrance fees: $8
– One permission to video fee: $2
– Uber ride to San Juan Teotihuacan: $2
– Sope and Coffee in San Juan Teotihuacan: $3
So our total cost for the day was $29! Talk about savings! If we’d taken a tour we would have spent between $160 to $200 for two adults.
Final Thoughts On Visiting Teotihuacan Without A Tour
We’re so glad we decided to do Teotihuacan on a budget and without a tour. By doing so, we saved a lot of money which allowed us to do additional things around Mexico. We don’t feel like we missed out at all by not taking a tour. We read up on the pyramids before we went. There were also plenty of signs around the complex to read (in Spanish and English).
We hope we’ve shown that visiting Teotihuacan does not have to be expensive. Don’t let the fear of high costs stop you from seeing the amazing Teotihuacan pyramids!