Mexico City can get a little overwhelming after a few days in town. Check out these 8 best day trips from Mexico City, to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital.
The area surrounding Mexico City truly has it all, from touring volcanos and visiting Mayan ruins to exploring caves or celebrating the Day of The Dead.
The possibilities are endless! In fact, Cholula alone is famous for its 365 churches- one for each day of the year. In order to see all of these spectacular places, you’d have to move to Central Mexico.
Without further ado, let’s dive into each destination!
A visit to Teotihuacan is unarguably one of the must-do day trips from Mexico City.
The ancient city of Teotihuacan dates back more than a thousand years prior to the arrival of the Aztecs, the homeless wanderers first came to the region in 1300 A.D.
If the Aztecs hadn’t arrived in Mexico at the time of the city’s construction, you’re probably wondering who built Teotihuacan.
Back when the Aztecs first discovered this town, it had already been abandoned for centuries.
Although the Aztecs did not build Teotihuacan, they are the ones responsible for its name.
Teotihuacan translates to ‘home of the gods‘, which is precisely what the Aztecs decided to name the mysterious abandoned city.
The Great city of Teotihuacan is believed to have been a vivid center of the region, with an estimated population of 200 000 inhabitants.
Though that may not seem like much today, its population was very similar to Rome or Beijing at the time.
Following extensive destruction, looting, and chaos, the city was abandoned by 750AD. It is uncertain what caused the sudden chaos that resulted in inhabitants fleeing Teotihuacan.
Today, Teotihuacan remains one of the most significant ancient ruins in all of Mexico. Don’t miss the famous Pyramid of The Sun, the largest pyramid in the city and one of the tallest in Mesoamerica.
Admission to the Great City of Teotihuacan costs below 100 pesos (US$5) per person. Open daily between 9AM and 5PM.
Tlaxcala is the smallest region in Mexico. The state’s capital, also called Tlaxcala, is a cute town with an unbeatable vibe. Visiting it makes for a perfect day trip from Mexico City.
The Basilica of Our Lady of Ocotlan is perhaps the most well-known attraction in the town of Tlaxcala. Many tourists come here from Mexico City just to see the Basilica!
Located just minutes away from the center of this cute town, the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Ocotlán can be admired from both inside and out.
Step inside and take in the decorative, gold-filled interior, or appreciate the monumental architecture from the outside.
Get a grasp of the regional Tlaxcalan culture as you walk inside the gorgeous Palacio de Gobierno.
This structure dates back nearly 500 years and is home to decorative murals and an unbeatable vibe.
Palacio de Gobierno is a great under-the-radar destination in this part of Mexico.
History buffs should definitely peek inside the nearby museums. Afterall, Palacio de Gobierno is right in the heart of Tlaxcala.
If you’re visiting Mexico between June and August, you are in for a special treat. During those months, local fireflies put on a breathtaking light show every night.
Check out this website to learn more and book your firefly experience. It’s a half-hour drive out of Tlaxcala.
A drive down to Puebla is another great day trip from Mexico City. This city is located roughly 175 miles from the country’s capital.
Did you know that the largest pyramid in the world (by area, not height) isn’t in Egypt? In fact, it’s The Great Pyramid of Cholula.
You might be surprised when you get to Cholula, as the pyramid doesn’t look like a typical Mayan structure. In fact, only a small part of it has been excavated thus far.
Back in the 1600s, the Spanish built the Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies atop the pyramid. Make sure you visit this beautiful cathedral, as it opens up to panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
We believe local markets are the perfect way to peek into the fascinating local life of any bustling town, village, or city. Mercado Cosme del Razo San Pedro in Cholula is no different.
In this traditional market, you’ll be able to find anything ranging from regional fruit and vegetables to handcrafted goods and artwork.
After spending some time in Cholula, it’s time to continue further into Puebla. This city is famous for its beautiful architecture, as well as the Puebla Cathedral and more!
Art lovers should not miss out on visiting the Museo Amparo. This museum, set inside a beautiful, colonial building, is home to one of the greatest art collections in Latin America. There aren’t many museums that make for good day trips from Mexico City, and this one is definitely worthwhile!
Admire hundreds of Mexican artworks from different historical periods. Afterward, head up to the terrace and take in the panoramic views of the city.
The best part? Admission is completely free of charge.
Note that Museo Amparo is closed on Wednesdays. Check their website for detailed opening hours.
Set in the heart of Puebla’s historic center is the monumental Catedral de Puebla. This monumental Baroque church was completed in 1690.
After photographing the grand facade of the cathedral, feel free to step inside and explore the decorative interior.
Open Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM, then 4 PM to 8 PM.
While you’re here, take a minute to stroll down Puebla’s scenic historic center.
No visit to Puebla would possibly be complete without indulging in the region’s traditional cuisine. Head to Restaurante El Mural de Los Poblanos, one of the top picks in town, for a delicious lunch or dinner.
This eatery serves some of the best Mexican food in town. Make sure to try the local specialty called Chiles en Nogada.
Open daily from noon to midnight, as well as 8 AM to noon for breakfast service.
If you drive 2 hours out of Mexico City, you will reach the beautiful Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park.
The park is home to 2 of the most famous volcanos in Mexico: Popocatepetl and Iztachihuatl.
Rentalmoose insider tip: Note that it can get quite cold at this altitude. Bring appropriate clothing!
Begin your visit of the park with a drive across the scenic Paso de Cortes. This chicane-filled road is one of the best scenic drives in Mexico!
This mountain pass was named after being used by Hernán Cortés back in the 16th century. Cortés was the one who conquested the Aztec Empire back in the 1500s and claimed Mexico.
Right by the large roundabout, you’ll see the park’s museum. You can head inside and learn more about local history. Admission tickets can be purchased here, too. From here, you can enjoy unobstructed views of both volcanos.
Open daily between 7AM and 9PM.
After viewing the volcano from the distance, it’s time to come closer to it. Drive down the unpaved road towards the Iztachihuatl volcano.
You can leave your car at the La Joyita area and continue further up on foot. The climb is challenging and only recommended for experienced hikers. However, the views from the top are absolutely unbeatable.
Drive back from the foot of Iztachihuatl Volcano and turn into a small road on your left. Follow the road and after a while, you’ll be able to see the spectacular Apatlaco Waterfalls.
On your way back down to Mexico City, make sure you stop by to try delicious quesadillas.
Pop by the cozy Quezadilla Dona Gloria to recharge your batteries before driving back to the city. The obscure cabin serves some of the best food you can find around the park.
Although you can visit the Izta-Popo National Park independently, there’s also the option to book a private tour. An experienced guide will let you in on the park’s secrets and show you the hidden gems of the park.
Consider booking a guided tour of the park with Aztec Explorers.
You need to go on a day trip from Mexico City to Mixquic, especially if you’re in town in early November.
The Day of The Dead celebrations is famous around the world. If there’s one place in all of Mexico that has the most spectacular, authentic celebration, it has to be Mixquic.
Contrary to popular belief, the celebrations begin on the 31st of October. The bells of the beautiful San Andres Apostol ring 12 times, as the souls of the children are believed to arrive.
Although the celebrations continue on the 1st day of November, The Day of The Dead is on the 2nd of November every year. Undoubtedly, the most magical time to visit Mixquic is on that day, particularly after the sun sets.
As dusk falls, the pantheon is illuminated by thousands of decorative candles. The families spend the night in the company of their deceased loved ones. This emotional celebration is bound to leave you speechless for the rest of your trip.
Taxco is a breathtaking town, formerly a hotspot for silver mining. Despite the fact that the mines shut down over a century ago, Taxco has remained a spectacular and populated town. It’s the ideal authentic town that makes for great day trips from Mexico City.
Note that the best way of getting around the narrow, cobblestone streets of Taxco is on foot.
Begin your visit of Taxco right in the heart of town. After you leave your car at the car park, stroll down the cobblestone streets on foot.
You will soon reach Plaza Borda, the booming heart of Taxco.
Take your time to peek into the many regional eateries and shops within the authentic colonial buildings.
Unarguably, the biggest landmark in Taxco is the monumental Santa Prisca de Taxco. The history of this church dates back to the mid-1700s, back when there was lots of silver mining going on around Taxco. Admire the facade or step inside the decorative cathedral.
As Taxco was once a booming mining town, you should definitely visit Mina Prehispanica. The silver mine is estimated to date back to times when Mexico was a Viceroyalty of New Spain. It was likely hidden by the locals from the Spanish.
In 2013, the mine was accidentally rediscovered during the remodeling of a local hotel. The hotel bar was quickly turned into an archeological site, and today it serves as a great spot to visit what was once common in Taxco.
Open daily from 9AM to 6PM.
Get a panoramic view of the area around Taxco when you take the Cable Car up to the upscale Montetaxco hotel. Seeing the sunset from up here is a must when in Taxco.
After a day of walking up and down the winding streets, relax at one of the town’s best restaurants. Head up to Rosa Amaranto for a great dining experience accompanied by an astonishing view of Taxco.
Open daily from 8 AM to 10 PM.
The Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park is home to one of the largest cave systems on the planet. Hence it’s one of the most popular day trips from Mexico City, and it’s easy to see why.
The caves were rediscovered by a Mexican shopkeeper hiding in them from the authorities back in the 1800s. Since then, they’ve become a famous tourist attraction.
Today, anyone can visit the enormous cave system on a guided walking tour. The system is made up of 20 large halls, reserve around 2 hours to visit them.
Travelers can visit the Grutas de Cacahuamilpa every day from 9AM to 5PM. Admission costs 90 pesos ($4.5) per person. Note that most guides only speak Spanish, an English-speaking guide will likely cost more to hire.
One of the best day trips from Mexico City is a visit to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, around 100 kilometers (60 miles) outside of the town. It’s criminally underrated, too.
Click here for a detailed guide to visiting the 4 butterfly sanctuaries here that are open to the public.
Don’t miss the El Rosario sanctuary!
Before heading back to Mexico City, pay Angangueo a visit. This cute former mining town, although not as spectacular as Taxco, is worth at least a short peek. Unlike the Butterfly Sanctuaries, Angangueo is a year-round attraction.
Don’t skip the town’s two beautiful churches. They are facing each other, making for a great spot for photos.
You can admire a panoramic view of Angangueo and its natural surroundings from the Monumento Al Minero terrace.
Lastly, take a photo with the colorful Mural in the heart of this little town.
The best way of getting around is by car, especially if you’re planning to go on multiple day trips from Mexico City.
That way, you’ll get to see scenic drives and see areas that you’d never get to visit otherwise. Not to mention the irreplaceable freedom of altering your itinerary on the go, whenever you please.
Check out this informative blog post to learn all you need to know about rental car insurance in Mexico. It’s not as complicated as it may seem!
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