Mexico City makes a great base for exploring more of Mexico’s central highland region. Visitors who venture beyond city limits will find colonial towns, ancient archaeological sites and spectacular natural attractions. Here are five unique destinations that make excellent day trips from Mexico City.
Less than an hour’s drive northeast of Mexico City, the ancient Aztec ruins at Teotihuacán have become one of the most popular day trips from Mexico City. Teotihuacán is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the towering Pirámide del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun), the third-largest pyramid in the world, and the Pirámide de la Luna (Pyramid of the Moon). The Pyramid of the Moon and 12 temple platforms surrounding it are believed to be a massive stone representation of the Aztec calendar.
Want a unique experience? Take a Teotihuacan Pyramids Hot-Air Balloon Tour!
2) Valle de Bravo
Situated in a mountainous region west of Mexico City, the charming pueblo mágico (magic town) of Valle de Bravo is a favorite lakefront resort and weekend destination for Mexico City residents. Visitors to Valle de Bravo can stroll through the lovely colonial town center, practice boating and water-sports on the lake, indulge in spa treatments and enjoy fine dining at local restaurants. Valle de Bravo also serves as the jumping off point for visits to the nearby Monarch butterfly reserve at Piedra Herrada.
The magic town of Tepoztlán is another popular day trip from Mexico City. Located just south of the capital, this picturesque town is situated in a valley and surrounded by mountains. Tepoztlán is believed to be the birthplace of the Aztec serpent god, Quetzalcoatl, and is home to the Pirámide de Tepozteco (Tepozteco Pyramid), a small archaeological site that’s situated on a cliff overlooking the town and reached by a short but steep hike up the hillside. On the weekends, Tepoztlán hosts its famous craft market which is known for being one of the best in central Mexico.
Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” because of its pleasant year-round climate, a day trip to Cuernavaca is just over an hour’s drive south of Mexico City. Cuernavaca is a favorite retreat among wealthy Mexico City residents and attracts its fair share of foreign visitors as well, many of whom arrive to study Spanish at one of the city’s numerous Spanish language schools. A visit to the nearby ruins at Xochicalco or a tour along the legendary Ruta de Zapata, which follows in the footsteps of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata, make excellent side trips.
A day trip to Puebla is one of the top destinations for visitors to central Mexico and a favorite from Mexico City. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Puebla’s attractive colonial city center is home to more than 70 churches, giving the city its nickname, “City of Angels.” Puebla is also an important culinary destination and the birthplace of chiles en nogada, Mexico’s most patriotic dish. The nearby suburb of Cholula is home to the widest pyramid ever built, the Great Pyramid of Cholula.