Mexico City is one of Latin America’s biggest metropolises and it has practically everything from Museums, to fancy restaurants, to live music, to sprawling green parks. Nevertheless, the area surrounding the city is not to be overlooked if you really want to see a different side to central Mexico. Mexico City is encircled by small satellite towns and cities that give an authentic look at the country’s culture without having to go far. Read on for our insider’s list of top 5 day trips from Mexico City.
1 – Teotihuacan pyramids
Just 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, the Teotihuacan pyramid site is one of the most popular day trip options for tourists. The complex is most notable for its two gigantic pyramids, The Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, that have been well restored and offer a unique insight into what was once Mesoamerica’s largest and most advanced city.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can even climb both pyramids! Make sure to take your camera to get some postcard worthy photos of the pre-Hispanic streets below and the dramatic landscapes of the surrounding valley. Inexpensive guided tours to Teotihuacan are available from most hotels and hostels in Mexico City.
2 – Puebla
Puebla is one of Mexico’s largest and most culturally important cities and located only 2 hours west of Mexico City, it’s perfect for a day trip! Puebla is home to some of the best colonial architecture in Mexico, and the 16th century cathedral is even more impressive than its Mexico City counterpart, boasting an incredibly well-preserved baroque interior and 14 gold clad chapels. To learn more about Mexico’s history make sure you visit the Amparo Museum which exhibits hugely significant art from the region dating from 2,500 BC up to the present day.
After a day of cultural exploring, treat yourself to one of Puebla’s famously delicious traditional dishes. We recommend some local mole with a glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice at one of the hole-in-the-wall restaurants in the historic center. Tours to Puebla leave daily from most hotels and tourist agencies in Mexico City.
3 – Cholula
Cholula is a charmingly small, artsy, university town in the state of Puebla just 2 hours from Mexico City and 20 minutes from the city of Puebla. It has become popular amongst tourists thanks to its lively nightlife, award-winning restaurants, and laid-back daytime atmosphere.
Its centrally located Tepanapa pyramid is the widest pyramid on earth (wider than any in Egypt) but is almost completely covered by greenery after being neglected for hundreds of years. Take a guided tour inside the pyramid’s narrow tunnels and marvel at the colossal pre-Hispanic architecture. If this pyramid wasn’t already impressive enough, it even has a 16th century Catholic church built on top of it, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the nearby countryside and volcanoes.
4 – Tepoztlán
Under 2 hours away from the capital, Tepoztlán in Morelos state is an ideal day trip or weekend break from the city. The town’s relaxed pace, cobblestone streets, and bohemian restaurants are surrounded by jagged green cliffs making it a popular spot for Mexican and foreign tourists alike.
Tepoztlán’s central market is great for filling up on local grub before starting the day, with everything from breakfast tacos, to locally smoked meat, to grasshopper quesadillas!
Now that you’ve satisfied your appetite, make the most of the area’s hiking trails. The most famous trail heads up to the mountaintop Tepozteco Aztec pyramid. It’s a tiring climb but the effort is certainly worth it. Hikers are rewarded with stunning views of the valley below, and the chance to catch their breath atop a pre-Hispanic pyramid dedicated to the God of the pulque alcoholic beverage!