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How to beat the crowds at Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan is one of the top tourism sites in Mexico, located about a 45-minute drive from Mexico City. It gets very packed and long queues form during peak season.
The biggest queue forms for the climb of the Temple of the Sun: it’s the third largest pyramid in the world and the largest in the world that you can climb. With its 71.2 meters of height, you’ll probably need to stop a couple of times on your way to take a breath. While someone in good shape could easily climb it in half an hour, expect to loose about 2 hours when there’s a long queue: it barely moves! A queue to climb up the pyramid, a queue to climb down it, hundreds of visitors in your photos of what was supposed to be an abandoned city… Try to avoid it by coming at the right hour.
The best way to beat the crowds at Teotihuacan is to arrive in the morning. Tour buses arrive mostly at noon and after lunch, they never show up before 10:00. Most individual tourists aware of what Teotihuacan looks like at midday try to come at the opening time. You can either be one of the first and even climb the pyramid when there’s no one there, or try to come at about 10:30 to get in the time slot between individual tourists leaving and the arrival of group buses. The second option is riskier, since it usually takes about 2 hours to see the place when it’s not crowded. The first half of the day is always less crowded, less hot and more pleasant for the visit.
Some buses start arriving at 10:00, but most groups arrive later in the afternoon and it happens almost at the same time, with immediate queues forming. Late afternoon arrival (after 3 pm) is also a way to avoid the crowds but only in the low season: In summer months and other popular periods of the year the lines will be stretching up right until closing time.
If you don’t have enough time to wait in line or enough strength for climbing the Temple of the Sun - climb the Temple of the Moon: it’s easier and faster.
Avoid visiting the site on Sundays: it’s much more crowded, due to the free admission for locals on this day.
There are always more visitors during popular Mexican festivals and public holidays. Avoid coming on Independence Day (Sept 16), Easter Week or close to All Saints Day (Nov. 1) unless you’re fond of overcrowded tourist sites!
Photo credits to cezzie901 via Flickr
Take a bottle of water: though you’ll see a lot of vendors and souvenir stands on site, it’s sometimes difficult to find one selling water.
Take a sun cream and hat: it gets hot all year round and there’s no shade on the territory.
Comfortable walking shoes with a non-slip sole will be needed if you plan to climb the pyramids.
The rainy season lasts from May to October. Rain is more probable in the afternoon, being quick to start and stop.
Adult: 59 pesos
Children (under 13): free
Seniors (over 60): free
Videocamera permit: 45.00 pesos
Carpark: 45.00 pesos
Photo credits to Jiuguang Wang via Flickr