While you could easily spend a week in Mexico City without venturing out of the city limits, there are so many places to explore in the region, it would be silly not to go on at least one day trip from Mexico City.
These are just a few of the places that I recommend for day trips from Mexico City. You could easily spend a few days in each of these places, and if you have the time, then you definitely should. But if you’re on a tight schedule and you’ve already done all the things to do in Mexico City, then definitely hop in a rental car or on a bus and head out of town.
Day Trips from Mexico City
If you only have time for one of these day trips from Mexico City, then it should be this one. The Pyramids of Teotihuacan are truly magical (I’ve been four times now!).
They’re incredibly easy to get to on your own. You can take an Uber there from the city center which will take about 45 minutes and cost about 500 Pesos each way. You can also take the metro to the Northern bus terminal and take the bus from Sala 8. The metro costs 5 Pesos and the bus costs 100 Pesos round trip.
The third way to get to Teotihuacan is to take a tour. I recommend Journeys Beyond the Surface. They are slightly more expensive than the group tours, but they are private tours to Teotihuacan with incredible guides and you never stop at bad buffets or overpriced souvenir shops.
Okay, technically Xochimilco is still part of Mexico City. But IT’S SO FREAKING FAR AWAY. Xochimilco is at the end of the train line (which you take after you get to the end of the metro line).
If you want to go it alone, you can either take an Uber in Mexico City or as I mentioned above, you can take public transport. It’s pretty simple. Hop on the blue line and take it all the way to Tasqueña. Once you’re inside the Tasqueña station, look for signs pointing you towards Tren Ligero. Then hop on the train and take it to the end – Xochimilco.
I’ve written all about how to rent a boat, what it should cost, what to eat, what to bring, and more details on Xochimilco in this post:
If you haven’t heard of this place, it’s basically a party boat area where you can enjoy live mariachi bands, drink micheladas, and float on the canals for a fun day out. It’s a big party spot for Mexicans and tourists and if you are traveling with a few friends, is really fun. If you are traveling solo or just as a couple, it might not be that much fun because you are on your own private boat with just the driver and all of these party boats around you.
This is another of my favorite day trips that is best made during the week. If you attempt to come here on the weekend, the one-hour bus journey can quickly turn into three hours since everyone else in Mexico City is heading that way, too.
This little town in the mountains is well known for two things: the pyramid at the top of the mountain and the sweat lodges at the bottom of the mountain.
Tepoztlán is a fantastic place to spend a few days if you can. I’ve written a whole guide to Tepoztlán here with some of the best places to eat and how to hike up to the pyramid.
The sweat lodges are called Temezcals and are rituals carried out in very hot rooms where there is chanting, sharing of feelings (usually these are done in Spanish), and music playing. They tend to last about an hour to an hour and a half. You can book one when you get to town or you can book it through Airbnb experiences.
I also seriously loved the food here. Everything was so fresh and delicious. Definitely, have some itacates while you’re there (read my guide to find out what they are!)
Puebla is a haven for foodies. There are so many great restaurants in Puebla and one day is simply not enough to enjoy them all, but you can try! There is also plenty of things to do in Puebla to keep you busy on a day trip. I spent a few days here and could have easily filled a few more with all of the different museums and did I mention the restaurants?
There are plenty of tour companies out there that do day trips to Puebla that also combine it with Cholula, the neighboring town. That’s a whole lot to try to see in one day, but if you’re really pressed for time, it’s doable.
If you want to head to Puebla on your own, get yourself to the TAPO bus terminal. You can pre-book your tickets on the ADO App (Android or Apple) and simply show up just in time for your bus. Alternatively, you can pay when you arrive and simply hop on the next available bus. Buses leave every 30 minutes.
Like I mentioned above, Cholula is a town that’s less than 15 minutes from downtown Puebla. I actually visited Cholula when I stayed in Puebla for about four days. There is a tourist tram which is a fun way to go between the two. You can also just take a taxi or an Uber between the two towns.
Most people want to visit Cholula because of the pyramid. It’s actually the widest in the world and the second largest by volume only after the pyramids in Egypt.
However, you’re not going to see some huge structure when you show up here. What you’ll see is a big green hill with a yellow church on top. The pyramid now looks like nothing more than an earthen mound. Until, of course, you pay your entry fee and walk inside. This isn’t for the claustrophobic, because the tunnels beneath the pyramid are not large. I’m only 4’11” and I was crouching to walk in some areas.
If you want to see what it’s like in there, it’s definitely worth a visit. Once you walk out at the other side, you come into the area where you can see some of the ruins of the area that have been unearthed. You also get an incredible view of Central Mexico’s largest volcanos: Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. The cone-shaped volcano, Popocatepetl, is still active. If you look at it for a minute or two, you’ll see smoke billow out of it.
Silver lovers can’t miss a trip to Taxco. My favorite tour company that I recommended above to Teotihuacan, Journeys Beyond the Surface, also run full-day tours to Taxco.
This little city in the hills used to have one of the largest silver mines in North America. It was actually the first Spanish mine to open in the Americas and is still the place to head if you want special pieces of silver jewelry. Almost every other shop on the street is a jeweler who cars, molds, and creates stunning pieces of jewelry. You can even have something specially designed for you. Most places are happy to ship pieces back to the US.
The church is the centerpiece of Taxco and definitely worth a visit. The exterior and interior are both incredibly ornate. The detail is exceptional you could easily spend an hour staring into the different carvings discovering different images.
The capital of Mexico State is an easy day trip from Mexico City. It’s soon to be even easier as the new president has plans to build a train line that connects Toluca to Mexico City. For now, you can take a bus from the western bus terminal (new Observatorio metro station).
Toluca is a cool city, but one of the main reasons to visit, in my opinion, is to hike the Nevada de Toluca. It’s best to do this with a guide and there are some great ones on Airbnb experiences (or this guide here). They’ll meet you in Mexico City and take you to the mountain via car rather than by public transportation. They are professional guides who can monitor you as you go higher and higher up in altitude. It’s one of the highest and most beautiful mountains (okay, it’s a volcano) in the region.
I should warn this is not for your casual hiker. This is a difficult hike that goes more than 4,500 meters up! Be sure to get acclimated to the altitude of Mexico City (roughly 2500 Meters) before beginning this climb.
If you prefer just to enjoy the views from the city and want to see Toluca, Northern Lauren has a great article about Toluca here.
Cuernavaca is an old colonial town with lots of history and lots of vacation homes. It’s sort of the place that most Mexico City elite escape to on the weekends. But if you come mid-week you’ll have it mostly to yourself.
The museums in the city are pretty spectacular. I’m particularly interested in the Museo Robert Brady. The man whose name the museum carries traveled the world collecting art and artifacts and they all sit inside his old mansion-turned-museum.
It’s simply a nice place to get away from the city, enjoy some fresh air, and relax. It’s all about the haciendas here, so if you plan to stay the night, check into the historic Hacienda de Cortes. The famous conquistador spent his vacation time in this area and his old residence is now a stunning historic hotel.
Popocatépetl-Iztaccíhuatl National Park
This is a perfect place to head if you enjoy hiking, but don’t want anything too strenuous. You can head here by renting a car or by hiring a tour guide to take you from the city center. There are a few good ones on Airbnb experiences and I also like the options available through Viator.
There are tons of trails to follow and you don’t necessarily need to head all the way up. You can simply follow the trail that loops around the base or climb up for about an hour to get a great view over the Valley of Mexico. If you come just at the end of the wet season (November) when the sky is clear and visibility is good, you might be lucky enough to see Mexico City.
There are so many amazing day trips from Mexico City that you can take, but be sure not to rush. If you only have a few days in Mexico City and you’ve never been before, be sure to take your time and enjoy. I’ve been living in this amazing city for three years now and I’m STILL discovering new places that I’ve never seen before.
For other itineraries in Mexico City check out these posts:
- 3 Days in Mexico City
- 5 Days in Mexico City
- The Best Street Food in Mexico City
- Mexico City Restaurants You Don’t Want to Miss
For even more information, head over to Amazon and purchase my Mexico City guidebook with information about the best neighborhoods, boutique hotels, hostels, restaurants, street food, and bars as well as tips for staying safe and getting around.
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