How to Visit Teotihuacan Without a Tour

The ancient city and pyramids of Teotihuacan is the most popular day trip from Mexico City.  Visiting on your own is easy, saves you money, allows you to choose your own schedule, and customize it to your interests.  By skipping Teotihuacan tours, we avoided crowds and skipped over souvenir stops.

Hint: at the bottom of this post, you can get step-by-step directions emailed to you on a 1-page PDF to take with you!

How to Get to Teotihuacan by Public Transportation

The bus to Teotihuacan is comfortable, fast, and easy!  To start, you’ll need to take the Mexico City metro to the Autobuses del Norte station (line 5).  From the Autobuses del Norte metro stop, follow the signs out of the metro station and across the street to the actual bus station.

how to get from mexico city to teotihuacan by bus
Buses from Mexico City to Teotihuacan depart from Autobuses del Norte station.

Inside the station, head all the way toward the left, to Puerta 8.  Here, you’ll find a window selling tickets to “Pyramides” or “Zona Arqueologico”.

how to get from mexico city to teotihuacan by bus
Inside the bus station at Mexico City. Look for the big green numbers. Teotihuacan tickets are by #8.
how to get from mexico city to teotihuacan by public transportation (teotihuacan tours)
Buy tickets from Autobuses Teotihuacan and go to the bus bays under the sign “Sala Gate 8”. Look for a sign in the front window of the bus for which bus is yours!

The first bus to Teotihuacan departs at 6am, but there’s no need to leave until 7:30 or 8am because the site itself doesn’t open until 9am.  If you’re not an early bird, don’t worry: buses continue to run about every 20 minutes throughout the day.  Depending on traffic, the ride is about 1 hour each way.  Your outbound ticket will be for a specific, timed departure so don’t miss your bus.

The round-trip ticket costs 104 pesos per person, or about $5.00 as of May 2018.  Bathrooms are available in the station for 6 pesos and there is fast food and luggage storage (30 pesos/bag) also.

Do you need a hotel in Mexico City?

I don’t recommend staying by Teotihuacan — there’s nothing there, except the site itself.  Instead, check out my Mexico City neighborhood guide and hotel recommendations (opens in a new window).

Have more time?  Check out some of the other activities I liked in Mexico City to plan the rest of your trip.

Entering Teotihuacan

Buses will drop you off at Puerta 1 at Teotihuacan, where you can buy entrance tickets.  As of January 2019, the entrance fee was 75 pesos and includes entry into the museum.  There is an additional charge if you wish to record videos.

If you want to hire a guide (optional), there are several licensed guides near the entrance.  Private guides cost about 850 pesos for a 1.5 hour tour of Sun & Moon Pyramids or 1500 pesos for a 2.5 hour tour that includes more.  Expect to haggle based on length of tour, language, size of group, and the guide’s knowledge.  For a free option, you can read through the Wikipedia guide before you go.

How to Visit Teotihuacan Without a Guide

To avoid crowds, I recommend taking a 9am bus or earlier.  That will give you some breathing room before hoards of Teotihuacan tours arrive.

Temple of the Sun

Make your first stop the Temple of the Sun so you can climb all 248 steep steps before it gets too hot out.  I won’t spoil the view from the top, but I will tell you it’s absolutely worth the pain.

At the base of Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan
At the base of Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan

Pyramid of the Moon

The Pyramid of the Moon was my favorite part of Teotihuacan.  Although it’s shorter than the Pyramid of the Sun and you can only climb halfway up, you have the added bonus of seeing the entire site.  The steps seemed steeper (or maybe I was just more tired), but it’s worth the climb.

how to visit teotihuacan mexico city
The main street of Teotihuacan (Avenue of the Dead) is lined with many temples

Palace of Quetzalpapalotl

The Palace of Quetzlpapalotl doesn’t look like anywhere else in the city. It has ornately carved pillars, obsidian inlays, beautiful murals, and a gorgeous courtyard.  Many of the colors have been preserved; others re-touched.

Palace of Quetzlpalapotl in Teotihuacan Mexico
Palace of Quetzlpalapotl

Where to Eat Lunch Near Teotihuacan

The fact that you can leave the site for lunch and re-enter with your ticket isn’t widely advertised.  There are some street food options outside Gate 2 (across from Pyramid of the Sun) and one really unique restaurant outside Gate 5 (behind Pyramid of the Sun, follow signs to museum).

La Gruta is a restaurant inside a cave, providing an atmosphere different from anywhere I’ve eaten before!  The food is average, but the setting is unbeatable.

If you speak Spanish, you can check out the menu ahead of time.  It’s not cheap — expect “American” entree prices of ~$12 — but it’s not outrageously priced either.

Inside La Gruta cave restaurant near teotihuacan
Inside La Gruta

To get there, exit Puerta 5 and take a left.  Shortly thereafter, take a right onto a side street and you’ll see black signs pointing you down the long driveway to the restaurant.

Returning to Mexico City

We spent about five hours at Teotihuacan, including lunch.  You may spend longer, especially if you’re history buffs.

When you’re done exploring, exit the ruins at Puerta/Gate 2 and walk through the parking lot to the main road (pickup is also available at Gate 3).  The bus will pick you up at that main intersection, on the far side of the road.  You shouldn’t have to wait more than 20 minutes.  If you didn’t originally buy a round-trip ticket, you can pay when you board.

teotihuacan bus stop

The site closes at 5pm but buses will continue running until 6pm or later.  The ride back takes slightly longer due to the routing, but it’s still easy.  The final stop is back at the bus station where you started, or you can get off at Indios Verdes and take the metro from there.  Indios Verdes is a busy bus station and can be overwhelming if you’re not used to Latin American buses and navigating your way around, so skip it if you’re not prepared for an adventure!

Sound like too much work?  The Best Teotihuacan Tours

There’s no doubt a guide and group make things easier and give you more historical context during your visit.

The best Teotihuacan tours include this early-morning visit with an archaeologist to beat the crowds.   If you’re not an early bird, try Hidden Teotihuacan, a small group outing that includes dinner in a local home (use code FKFRIEND504917 for $10 off).

A Few Last Tips for Visiting

There’s almost no shade at Teotihuacan, so it can get hot quickly.  Pack sunscreen and bottled water; you’ll want it.

There are lots of hawkers selling souvenirs like jewelry and small toys throughout the site.  Since everyone has basically the same products, don’t be afraid to walk away until you get a price you’re happy with.  If you can bargain in Spanish, you’re likely to get a better price.

Don’t go on Sunday if you can avoid it; it’s free admission for Mexican residents and extra crowded.

Teotihuacan is an awesome day trip from Mexico City so if you have time, be sure to visit!

More Info to Plan Your Trip

Have extra time in Mexico City? I really enjoyed my evening watching Lucha Libre wrestling and wish I had joined a food tour because everything is delicious!

Need a hotel recommendation in Mexico City? Book a room at Chaya B&B or Casa Decu.

Going anywhere else in Mexico? Check out all my articles like more about an epic volcano hike from Mexico City or an easy day trip to Puebla.

168 thoughts on “How to Visit Teotihuacan Without a Tour”

  1. This was EXTREMELY helpful, thank you! As of October 2017, entrance fee is $70 pesos per person, and buses from Mexico City to teotihuacan were $100 pesos per person.

    We got a delicious meal (quesadillas) right outside of gate 3, super cheap. There are also awesome paletas (Popsicles) right when you exit the ruins (still within the compound) for $13 pesos.

    Thank you for such a helpful and informative post, it made traveling to Teotihuacan so easy and affordable!

    I would add that seeing the temple of Quetzalcoatl is worth it, an archeology team was working on restoring it, and seeing sculptures of Quetzalcoatl was really special. Also buses back to Mexico City leave from all three entrances, and there are staff that are around the help guide you.

    1. Kirreck Williams

      Just wanted to let you know your directions were SPOT ON! We followed them exactly and had a great experience to and from Teotihuacan.

  2. Heya! I’m soooo glad to have found this! We followed your instructions sand it was perfect 🙂 thank you so much!

    Just to add, bring cash to pay for the bus ticket and entry fee.

    If you wish to do something in addition, we took an Uber to/from Teotihuacan Center and it’s a cool traditional town worth checking out before heading back to Mexico City.

    We ended up leaving teotihuacan around 4pm and got back into Mexico City around 5…traffic was very heavy and it took around an hour to get back to Condesa so keep that in mind

    1. About how long is the trip one-way? Trying to decide if it would be worth it stay in Teotihuacan overnight in a hostel or hotel.

      Thanks!

      1. @Kristen, The bus is just about an hour each way but you’ll need to add in time for metro from your hotel to the bus station. I don’t think Teotihuacan is worth an overnight – not nearly as interesting in Mexico City.

  3. Hi Becky,

    Your travel blog helped me a lot so thanks so much for posting this information!

    Also as an update to your guide: The site is open everyday 9-5pm according to the government website. As a side note, I was able to enter at 8:30am on Feb 12th 2018 though I am not sure if that is the norm. And there is a small increase in the price of the bus as Feb 2018, it is now 104 pesos round trip (52 for a one-way ticket).

    Thanks again,
    Ray

    1. @Ray, Thanks for the update! I can’t go every month, so I rely on people like you to keep me posted on new changes. I’ll be updating the bus price in my guide and see if I can get an official statement on opening times.

  4. A very helpful post! Yes, it cost us 104 pesos for a round trip ticket, and the admission to the site was 70 pesos each. This was on February 8, 2018. We stayed overnight at the Villa Arqueologicas, a lovely hotel at the south end about a kilometre or so from Gate 1 where we got off the bus. We opted to stay overnight because we travelled by bus and metro from Valle De Bravo and so arrived at Teotihuacan mid afternoon. We were able to explore the site before leaving about 5:30 pm. TIP: our site tickets were good for admission to the Museo de Murales and Tetitla Palace (both highly recommended) the next day.

  5. Your blog was very helpful. We had a delicious meal at La Gruta. I would mention if you are taxing back to your hotel, you need to buy your tickets a the booths in the center of the station.

  6. Outstanding write up with pictures. Bus was safe, easy, cheap. The woman at the ticket counter near Sala 8 told us to go to gate 5, but it was actually 6. No biggie – just ask the bus driver if they are going to Los Piramides and they will say si or point you to the right one.

    La Gruta is beautiful but food was not exceptional at all – a classic tourist trap – but we split an appetizer and the Mexican Plate and it was plenty, plus margaritas were good.

  7. Brilliant. Everything worked perfectly even with 3 changes on the metro.
    At the site it says open 7-17.
    The driver assured us we could get the bus back at Puerta 1, 2 or 3 and we certainly had no problems from 1.
    When we tried to get off the bus at Indios Verdes the kind lady next to us advised against it saying it was too dangerous. Instead we got off a few minutes later at Deportivo 18 de Marzo which is the next stop along the same line and from there everything was fine.
    Thanks again.

  8. This was so helpful. Easy to follow and spot on. Fantastic place! La Gruta was easy to find and just as you said. Fabulous experience and not a run of the mill tourist trap. Highly recommend. Thank you.

  9. Dani Rodrigues

    Thanks so much for the great article! Quick question — do you know if the site is open 7 days a week? (Thinking of going on Sunday and don’t want to get there and see it be closed or something!) Thanks in advance.

  10. Thanks, this is super useful for my trip next week. Random question – are there stray dogs at the site? i’ve heard there were and just want to be emotionally prepared (i’m a wreck when it comes to hungry animals) and may also pack some food to give out.

  11. We visited the ruins today following your instructions. They were spot on. Thanks so much for this blog!

    @Adrienne: Yes, there are lots of stray dogs (confirmed today April 19)

  12. Thank you! As of May 2018, bus is 104mxn roundtrip. Also recommend getting off at 18 de marzo and catching the metro there – fewer changes for those heading to centro historico. Many stray dogs but harmless because they were mostly lazying in the lawns. I guess there aren’t any more Teotihuacan to eat them… On the the way back, bus only picks up at puertas 2 and 3. Lots of local food options at puerta 2 and some between 2and 3.

    1. Forgot to add that you may have militares (police/national security)getting on your bus and recording video/photo of everyone’s face – including yours. Don’t be too nervous (and don’t cover up) this happens when there is hightened security.

  13. Great information, i have a question do you anything about the night show and pricing? also is parkign available if i decide to drive?

  14. Thank you so much for this article. It made my visit to Teotihuacan (in May 2018) so easy. I wouldn’t have had the energy to do all this research myself and with such little time I would have just bitten the bullet and booked in a full day tour, which I didn’t want to do. Seeing all the other tour groups at the pyramids I was so happy I had made my own way there and was free to do what I wanted. Your descriptions of how to find the right bus counter, where to enter and exit etc was spot on and so easy to follow. Thanks again : )

  15. This was so helpful. We went early on a Sunday morning wasn’t so bad. The fee for the round trip bus was 104 pesos per person and the bathroom at the bus terminal is now 6 pesos. Thank you for sharing all this information.

  16. I didn’t get out to Teotihuacan when I visited Mexico City three years ago, so it’s a top priority for my next trip in November. Organized tour groups are definitely not my cup of tea; I’ve always preferred to do my own thing on the cheap, so thanks for the information! I’ve bookmarked this page, and I’ll be checking for updates before I go.

  17. Bus fare is still 104 pesos round trip as of June 2018. Site entrance was also 70 pesos.

    There were several packs of feral dogs, but they were super docile and sunbathing most of the time.

    You can buy straw hats for 30 pesos if you forget one or use an umbrella for shade.

    @Becky, thanks for putting together this little guide. Bus route information was super useful.

  18. Thank you! I just made this trip today following your instructions and they were perfect. I didn’t have the energy to plan this on my own as I was feeling a little sick and I’ve been traveling for 3 months now, so finding your blog was amazing!

    La Gruta was a nice restaurant I never would have discovered on my own. After drink and tip my bill ended up being closer to $20 USD. The fajitas were a little bland, but the guacamole was phenomenal!

  19. Thank you so much!
    I went there on July 18th, 2018 and it was awesome.
    We followed your directions and got st the site early, around 9 am. It was great to walk without a lot of people and before the heat.
    We ended at gate 3 and we took a taxi to gate 1 (50 pesos) because they told is the buses that go directly back to Central del Norte were taken only at gate 1. The other buses that you can take ar gate 2 or 3 make many stops at little towns.
    We were done by 12 and avoid the heat and crowds.
    Thanks again for your help.

    Patricia Ford
    Houston, Texas

  20. Hi,
    Thanks for this info. I am going to Mexico City in October and will use this guide. Just a quick question-

    When leaving Teotihuacan is it quite clear what bus you have to get to get back to Mexico city? Does it say Autobuses del Norte metro or something?

    1. @Jason, Yes it will be obvious and there should either be an electronic display on the top of the bus or a paper in the window stating Autobuses del Norte.

  21. thank you for such clear and comprehensive information.

    is there a way to book a bus ticket in advance? Is there a danger of the buses being completely full at certain times?

  22. Thank you for your very detailed and informative article on Teotihuacan! We visited today! And while we Uber-ed each way from Zocalo (about $27 US each way), Your other tips proved valuable. Also, we had not seen the restaurant La Gruta mentioned in other information about visiting Teotihuacan, but we took your suggestion- and it was the ultimate experience to round out the excursion!

    1. @Johm, It was my pleasure. Thanks for adding in the Uber information — the pricepoint is great for other people to know. Did you Uber back also? Any issues hailing a car?

  23. Thanks so much for writing all of this out in such detail! I really appreciate the pictures of where to buy the tickets and where to turn left etc. So great! Thanks 🙂

  24. Many thanks for writing this! It was enormously helpful when I went to Teotihuacán earlier this month.

    What an amazingly inexpensive day-trip! 10 pesos for the Metro to and from Autobuses del Norte, 104 pesos for the bus to and from Teotihuacán, and 70 pesos for admission to the archaeological site and the two museums. For lunch at Restaurante Campestre near the bus stop at Gate 2, I paid 85 pesos (rounded up to 100 with tip) for a chile relleno, beans, rice, six tortillas, and two bottles of Coke.

  25. Thanks so much for all your tips, super helpful for planning the day trip! I would add bringing an umbrella might help with the sun. Also the entry fee has been increased to 75 pesos instead of 70 pesos.

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