Trips from Mexico City

We spent the last four days of our time in Mexico City exploring the outskirts of the city. We travelled North, South, East and West to visit Aztec pyramids, Monach butterflies (will feature in their own blog post), a silver mining town, a hidden pyramid and the prettiest square in Mexico.

Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan is the biggest archeological site in Mexico. The ruins reveal a city built on a massive scale.

The main attraction is the huge Pyramid of the Sun. The base of the pyramid is the same size as the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, but due to its stepped nature and lowered sides, is lower in height. The great thing about the pyramid is that you can climb the steps all the way up to the top. The view from the top is definitely worth the climb, but be warned, you might struggle with the altitude a bit.

Whilst the Pyramid of the Sun is very impressive, our favourite was the Pyramid of the Moon. This is a smaller pyramid but more elegant. It is located at the North end of the site. You can also climb this one to about half way up but you get a great view of the whole city and the pyramid of the sun from the view point.

Also worth a visit is the Palace of the Quetzal-butterfly and the Templo de Quetzalcoatl. The Palace has beautiful carved columns and the Templo has stylised heads of the plumed serpent god Quetzalcoatl and the rain god Tlaloc. Both are very impressive.

Entry for the whole site costs $65.00 pesos per person which is roughly about £2.50!

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Getting there:

TERMINAL – Terminal del Norte

BUS COMPANY – Autobuses Teotihuacan

TICKET TYPE – Open return

TIMES – Roughly every 15 minutes

JOURNEY TIME – About 1 hour

PRICE – $100 pesos per person which is roughly about £3.80 each!

Food & Drink: 

There aren’t many places near the site of Teotihuacan, however, just near the bus stop is a few shops and restaurants. We had lunch at 5 Estrellas. It was a cute little restaurant, decorated with flags and streamers. The cheese quesadillas and Fajitas were good. There is a free double shot of Tequila to help you up the next pyramid if you need it!

We were back in the city for dinner:

Cafeteria El Cuadratero – Huge Tortas with lots of different fillings. There were great but probably should have shared one! It is owned by ex-wrestler “Super Astro” and is decorated with wrestling memorabilia.

La Opera – an old restaurant with wooden stalls and gold leaf decoration. We went for drinks. There is apparently a bullet hole in the ceiling put there by Mexican Revolutionary, Pancho Villa. http://www.barlaopera.com

Tips:

Keep hold of your ticket – you can come and go as you please from the archeological site on the day you bought your ticket. We climbed the Pyramid of the Sun, had some lunch out of the site and headed back in to carry on exploring.

Wear good shoes, take water & put on suncream – you will be climbing huge pyramids at high altitude in blazing sun. Good shoes, water and suncream are essential. Getting there early before the sun is at full strength might be worth it if you struggle with the heat.

Taxco

Taxco is a big village set on a hillside. It is famous for it’s silver mine.

The village is beautiful. Like a Mexican Tuscan village with terracotta tiled, white washed houses lining narrow cobbled alleys which wind up and down the hillside.

The church of Santa Prisca by the main square is an outstanding sight and shows the wealth of the place. The whole inside of the church seemed to be gilded in gold!

In the Northeast corner of the square, there is a small house called Casa Borda. It’s free to enter and has lovely views of the town from the windows.

We really wanted to catch the teleferico (cable car) up to the hilltop to take in the views but unfortunately we didn’t have time.

Instead we wandered round the pretty streets, taking plenty of photos and window shopping at all the silver shops.

We would definitely recommend a visit to Taxco, even if it is just to see how pretty the town is and witness the old VW Beetle taxis carrying people up and down the hillside!

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Getting there:

TERMINAL – South

BUS COMPANY – Estrella de Oro

TICKET TYPE – Return – no open return available so you have to pick the time you want to come back.

TIMES – 5 daily. We got the 10:05 there and returned on the 17:05 which was the last bus.

JOURNEY TIME- 3 hours but the scenery is beautiful. Headphones are provided for the TV and you get given little bag of goodies for the trip, both ways which is included in the price of your ticket.

TICKET PRICE – Roughly $440.00 pesos per person return which is roughly £16.50 each!

Food & Drink: 

Tia Calla – in the corner of the main square. Great poloze and enchiladas.

Bar Berta – lovely bar overlooking the square and church. Is the self proclaimed home of the Margarita. We sat on the balcony watching the world go by.

We were back in the city for dinner:

Kemi – small, wood-fired pizza place in Zona Rosa. Only a few tables. Great pizza. Nice, thin and crispy.

Tips: 

Do your research – the amount of silver shops in the town is overwhelming. If you want to make sure you are buying genuine Taxco silver, do your research before you go.

Cholula & Puebla

Puebla is the fifth largest city in Mexico and has one of the country’s prettiest squares. We wandered round the square which is lined with trees, benches, grass and flowers with a big central fountain.

The cathedral is located on the south side of the square. It’s exterior is very ugly and grey but the inside is absolutely beautiful with amazing ornamentation in gold gilding and marble.

The other sides of the square are lined with beautiful ornate buildings. As we wandered around the town, we admired all the lovely buildings, the majority of which had glazed tiles on the side. We found our way to the market which had arched roofs with terracotta tiles and stalls all the way down the pedestrian only road. Some of the stalls sold handmade souvenirs including mirrors surrounded by miniature glazed tiles.

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We then got a taxi to Cholula which is another archeological site. The main attraction is the Great Pyramid of Cholula which is still overgrown with soil, grass and vegetation. At first, the pyramid looks like a hill with a very ornate church sitting on the top but upon closer inspection, you can still make out the different steps to the pyramid.

The entrance to the site is through the actual tunnels of the pyramid which we really enjoyed and the archeological site is nice to wander around and see the pyramid from a far.

The walk up to the church is definitely worth it. The views of the city of Puebla are stunning. The pyramid is shadowed by the volcanos of Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl, one of which is still active and smoking. On a clear day, you can see the smoke from the top of the pyramid. The church itself is very pretty and worth a look around.

Entrance to Cholula archaeological site costs $65.00 pesos per person (approximately £2.50).

img_9773Getting there:

To Puebla:

TERMINAL – East – TAPO

BUS COMPANY – Estrella Roja

TICKET TYPE – Open return

TIMES – Roughly every 30 minutes

JOURNEY TIME – 2 hours. No drinks or snacks on this one but there was a film shown with the sound being over the bus main speakers.

TICKET PRICE – $176.00 pesos return per person (£6.70 each)

We then got a taxi from the bus station to Cholula.

Food & Drink: 

The Italian Coffee Company – coffee chain that began from a single coffee shop in Puebla. Coffee was beautifully smooth. Lovely views of the cathedral from the outdoor seating on the pavement. http://www.italiancoffee.com

Fonda de Santa Clara – traditional Mexican restaurant with plenty of seating upstairs. Great Pollo al Mole Poblano (Chicken with a dark thick and spicy sauce) traditional to Puebla. http://www.fondadesantaclara.com

Tips: 

Don’t worry if the gates to the cathedral in Puebla are shut – when we tried to get into the cathedral all the gates were shut even though we could see people inside and taking photos in the square. Don’t panic if this is the case. We found a secret entrance round the back which was still open!

Climb the pyramid at Cholula first – once you have made your way through the tunnels, you will find the archeological site which you will need your ticket for. We did this first, but once you have been round the set, you can’t get back to the road up to the pyramid. We recommend climbing the pyramid first and do the archeological site on your way down.

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