These Are The 8 Best Day Trips From Mexico City

December 8, 2020

Are you planning a trip to Mexico? Don’t miss the best things to see around Mexico City, perfect for short day trips from the capital!

What are the best day trips from Mexico City?

  1. Teotihuacan
  2. Tlaxcala
  3. Cholula & Puebla
  4. Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park
  5. Mixquic
  6. Taxco
  7. Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park
  8. Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary

Any great trip to Mexico should include at least a few days in the capital on the itinerary. Afterall, the biggest city in North America is home to numerous incredible things to do.

After you’ve seen the best of what Mexico City has to offer, arrange some extra time to visit some of the best attractions outside of town.

The area surrounding Mexico City truly has it all, from touring volcanos and visiting Mayan ruins through 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.

Trip Extensions

Your Mexico adventure doesn’t have to end around Mexico City. Check out the following possible extensions for your next trip to Mexico.

Road Trip around The Yucatan Peninsula

Fly into Cancun, spend a few days at what is arguably one of the best beachfront cities in the world, and explore the Yucatan Peninsula by car.

Click here for the curated travel guide.

Cabo San Lucas And The Surrounding Area

Cabo San Lucas is a lot more than an upscale resort town. Check out our curated travel guide to see the best things to do in and around Cabo.

Don’t be fooled, there’s a lot more to Cabo than just sandy beaches.

What is the best way of getting around Mexico?

Unless you’re planning to stick to just one city, the best way of getting around is by car.

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.

Rental Car Insurance in Mexico

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!

Book your car via Rentalmoose, a worldwide car rental platform with over 15 000 locations around the globe. Check out our website to compare rental car deals in Mexico.

Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into these exciting day trips from Mexico City!

1. Teotihuacan

Large, monumental temples of Teotihuacan date back to the ancient times. The ancient city of Teotihuacan is only half an hour away from Mexico City, making it perfect for a Mexico City day trip.
Photo by German Rojas

Round-trip distance from Mexico City: 100km (60 miles)

Best time to visit: Year-round

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.

Who built the Great City of 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.

Next Mexico City day trip: Tlaxcala

2. Tlaxcala

Colorful yellow facades of traditional buildings in the town of Tlaxcala, Mexico. Tlaxcala is the perfect destination for a day trip from Mexico City.
Photo by Actek10

Round-trip distance of this day trip from Mexico City: 240km (150 miles)

Best time to visit: Year-round

Tlaxcala is the smallest region in Mexico. The state’s capital with the same name is located around 120km/75miles away from the heart of Mexico City, making it the perfect destination for a day trip.

What can you do in Tlaxcala?

Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Ocotlán

The Basilica of Our Lady of Ocotlan is perhaps the most well-known attraction in the town of Tlaxcala.

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.

Palacio de Gobierno

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.

Firefly Sanctuary

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.

Next day trip from Mexico City: Cholula & Puebla

3. Cholula & Puebla

Monumental facade of a cathedral in Puebla. Catedral de Puebla is one of the best things to see in Puebla.
Photo by Young Shanahan

Round-trip distance from Mexico City: 280km (175miles)

Best time to visit: Year-round

A drive down to Puebla is one of the best day trips from Mexico City.

What is there to see in Puebla?

The Great Pyramid of Cholula

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.

The Archeological Site of Cholula is open daily from 9AM to 5:30 PM. Admission costs 80 pesos ($4).

 
 
 
 
 
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Mercado Cosme del Razo San Pedro Cholula

It should be pretty clear by now that Rentalmoose loves local fresh food markets. No matter whether you’re in Batemans Bay, Marmaris, or Malaga, we recommend visiting a local market.

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!

Museo Amparo

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.

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.

Catedral de Puebla

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.

Restaurante El Mural de Los Poblanos

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.

Next day trip from Mexico City: Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park

4. Izta-Popo Zoquiapan National Park

Izta-Popo National Park near Mexico City is home to two famous volcanos. Visiting the park is a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of Mexico City.
Photo by Russ Bowling

Round-trip distance from Mexico City: 180 kilometers (110 miles)

Best time to visit: Year-round

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!

Paso de Cortes

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.

Iztachihuatl

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.

Cascada Apatlaco

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.

Quezadilla Dona Gloria

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.

Guided Tours

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.

5. Mixquic

Cemetery full of people and illuminated by candles during the spectacular Day of The Dead Celebrations in Mixquic. Make sure you see these celebrations, perhaps on a day trip from Mexico City.
Photo by カルロスVG

Round-trip distance from Mexico City: 100 kilometers (60 miles)

Best time to visit: October 31- November 3

If you’re planning to visit Mexico City at the beginning of November, you are in for a magical treat.

The Day of The Dead celebrations are 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.

When is The Day of The Dead?

November 2nd

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.

Young girl smiling in makeup and costume during celebrations of the Day Of The Dead at a cemetery in Mixquic, Mexico. The Day Of The Dead is a must-see on any Mexico trip itinerary
Photo by Jordi Cueto-Felgueroso Arocha

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.

6. Taxco

Beautiful Panoramic view of Taxco. Taxco is a former silver mining town that has become a great tourist destination. Located near the capital, it makes for great day trips from Mexico City.
Photo by Laurent Espitallier

Round-trip distance from Mexico City: 360 kilometers (220 miles)

Best time to visit: Year-round

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.

It’s best to leave your car at one of the nearby car parks, such as this one.

What is there to see in Taxco?

Santa Prisca de Taxco & Plaza Borda

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.

Mina Prehispanica de Taxco

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.

Cable Car & Montetaxco

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.

A round-trip ticket for the cable car costs below 100 pesos ($5). You can extend your day trip and stay at the prestigious Montetaxco Hotel, too!

 
 
 
 
 
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Rosa Amaranto

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.

7. Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park

Photo by Christian Ramiro González Verón

Round-trip distance from Mexico City: 300 kilometers (180 miles)

Best time to visit: Year-round

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.

8. Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

Photo by Rafael Saldaña

Round-trip distance from Mexico City: 200 kilometers (120 miles)

Best time to visit: October to March

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 Mexico City.

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!

Angangueo

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.

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure.

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