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Mexico City Is Filled With Pyramids and You Can Visit Them All

Mexico City Insider Guides Archaeology
by Morgane Croissant Aug 11, 2023

Every traveler worth their salt knows that Egypt is not the only country in the world to have pyramids, there are plenty of them in Sudan, Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico, among other locations. In fact, the largest pyramid in the world, The Great Pyramid of Cholula, also known as Tlachihualtépetl, is in Mexico, just 80 miles southeast of Mexico City. And it’s not even the closest pyramid to the capital: The Archeological Site of Teotihuacán, just 27 miles northeast of the city is home to three of them. Actually, Mexico City itself has a few.


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Are there pyramids in Mexico City? How far is Mexico City from the pyramids?

There are pyramids both within Mexico City and just outside the city’s boundaries:

  • Templo Mayor, a stepped-pyramid temple that used to be the most important religious monument in the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlán (known today as Mexico City), is located in the historic center of the Mexican capital: Centro Histórico. It is next door to Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, which was built with materials from destroyed Aztec structures and constructed on top of a small Aztec temple. The immense Templo Mayor Archeological Site and its accompanying museum are open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM and it costs $5.30 (90 MXN) to access both.
  • The Archaeological Site of Tlatelolco, is located within Mexico City and houses the remains of several pyramid-like temples, including the Templo Mayor of Tlatelolco and some smaller structures. Just like at Templo Mayor, when the site was destroyed by the Spanish, the materials were reused to the building of a church. The archaeological site of Tlatelolco is open to visitors from Monday to Sunday, from 8 AM to 6 PM. Entry is free.
  • The Cuicuilco Archeological Site is located in the south of Mexico City. There, visitors can see an unusual circular pyramid that pre-dates the Aztec Empire. The archeological site is open from Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM.
  • The Archeological Site of Teotihuacán, located less than 30 miles from Mexico City, is home to three pyramids: Pirámide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun), Pirámide de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon), and Templo de Quetzalcoatl (Temple of the Feathered Serpent). The Pyramid of the Sun is 230-foot-tall and is one of the largest pyramid in the world. The Archeological Site of Teotihuacán is open to visitors from Monday to Sunday from 9 AM to 4 PM and it costs $5.30 (90 MXN) to access it.
  • The Pyramid of Tepozteco, is located above the little town of Tepoztlán. The Tepozteco Archaeological Zone is located about 50 miles south of Mexico City. The site is open to visitors daily and it costs $3.25 (55 MXN) to access it. It is possible to hike from the town of Tepoztlán to the pyramid in less than one hour (it is around 1.3 miles), but it is a steep incline. The pyramid is open to visitors from 9:30 AM to 6 PM daily.
  • The Archeological Site of Malinalco, 55 miles southwest from Mexico City, feature six Aztec monuments carved out of the mountain rock. The site is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 5:30 PM and it costs $4 (68 MXN).
  • The Archeological Site of Xochilcaco, 57 miles south from Mexico City, is a UNESCO World Heritage site where visitors can see many pyramid structures, among other buildings. It is open to visitors daily from 9 AM to 6 PM.
  • The Archeological Site of Cholula, 75 miles southeast from Mexico City, home to the largest pyramid in the world, is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9 AM to 6 PM. It costs $5.30 (90 MXN) to access the site.

Can you climb the pyramids in Mexico City?

While it used to be possible to climb the steps to the top of the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun at the Archeological Site of Teotihuacán, the practice has now been banned. It is now forbidden to climb most pyramids in Mexico.

Are the Teotihuacán pyramids worth it?

Visiting the ancient city of Teotihuacán is highly recommended. Let’s put it this way: You would not travel all the way to Cairo and skip the Pyramids of Giza, well, you don’t travel to Mexico City and skip Templo Mayor or Teotihuacán. The Teotihuacán archelogical site is immense and the towering temple-pyramids are magnificent. There’s a reason why it’s the most-visited archeological site in all of Mexico. Budget a full day in Teotihuacán to make the most of the site — you can even book yourself on a hot-air balloon ride above the ancient Aztec city.

What is Templo Mayor?

Templo Mayor (Main Temple) was the most important religious monument in the ancient city of Tenochtitlán, the capital of the Aztec Empire before the Spanish Conquest. Templo Mayor was a temple-pyramid which, in its heyday, reached a height of 197 feet. Two parallel staircases led up to two temples at the top: One dedicated to Huītzilōpōchtli, the god of sun and war, the other dedicated to Tlāloc, the god of rain. The temple was destroyed and buried by the Spanish in 1521 and discovered by accident in 1978. Excavation of the site started soon after and is still ongoing.

When was the Templo Mayor built?

Templo Mayor was built in 1325 by the Aztec people, also known as the Mexica people. It was destroyed and buried in 1521 by the Spaniards. In 1987, Templo Mayor was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco.

The best hotels near Templo Mayor and Teotihuacán

We hope you love the hotels we recommend near the Mexico City pyramids! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

Zócalo Central Hotel

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

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The Zócalo Central Hotel has the best location for those who wish to explore Mexico City’s Centro Histórico on foot. It is three minutes away from Zócalo, the big and famous public square at the heart of the city where the National Palace is located, the Metropolitan Cathedral, Templo Mayor, and multiple museums. As well as having an ideal address, this four-star property is one of the highest-rated in the area, thanks to its great amenities such as a restaurant, a 24-hour gym, a bar, a coffee shop. There’s also a free buffet breakfast. Each apartment in the property has an espresso maker, room service, and more. The best part: It’s very affordable!

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Hotel La Finca Del Abuelo Teotihuacán

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

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If you want to be as close as you can to the Teotihuacán archeological site and its pyramids, the Hotel La Finca Del Abuelo Teotihuacán is the place you’ll want to stay at. The property is a 15-minute walk to the entrance to the site, and the hot-air balloons that crisscross the sky in this part of Mexico fly right above the hotel, making for a lovely scenery. The hotel is simple, clean, and traditional. A hearty breakfast is included and there’s free WiFi.

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