If you’re looking for the best day trips from Mexico City, I have you covered. Mexico City is an enormous metropolis with an almost endless list of places to visit, and things to see and do. However, don’t restrict yourself to staying within the city limits.
Sometimes you just need to get out of the city and explore what the surrounding area has to offer. In fact, some of the best places to visit near Mexico City can be explored as an easy day trip from the Mexican capital.
During my time living and working in CDMX, I went on several day trips from the city. There are so many amazing places to visit as side trips from Mexico City. Most of these are super easy to get to – the main difficulty lies in choosing which to visit.
Luckily, I’ve got your back.
Here are the 15 best day trips from Mexico City.
A visit to Teotihuacan is one of the most popular day trips from Mexico City. This is one of the most incredible sights I’ve ever seen.
A mere 50 kilometres north of modern day CDMX, this ancient city is the largest known pre-Columbian site in Mesoamerica. Dating from around AD 600, it’s home to some of the most impressive ruins in all of Latin America, including the Temple of Quetzalcóatl, the Moon Pyramid, and the Pyramid of the Sun.
The site is vast, and you should plan on spending at least half a day here, (ideally a whole day), to explore everything fully. There’s also a museum which showcases a large number of artifacts from the ancient city and does an excellent job of explaining some of the history of this amazing place.
This is definitely one of the best places to visit near Mexico City.
Getting there: There are frequent direct buses to Teotihuacan from the North Bus Terminal, (Autobuses del Norte), in Mexico City, which is accessible via Metro, city bus, or Uber. Depending on the time of day, the journey takes about an hour.
Alternatively, you can book a guided tour which includes transport to and from Teotihuacan. Click here for more information and to book.
130 kilometres south-east from CDMX, the beautiful colonial city of Puebla is another popular day trip from Mexico City.
Puebla is known for its stunning architecture, including churches and cathedrals that date back to the 16th century, as well as for the manufacturing of traditional colourful Talavera ceramics.
Together with Oaxaca, Puebla is allegedly one of the birthplaces of mole. This unique sauce is a key ingredient in many of Mexico’s most iconic and best-loved dishes. Mole poblano is one of the best known variants; made with ancho chillies, chocolate, and a number of other spices and ingredients. Usually served with chicken, it’s very rich and utterly delicious.
On the edge of the city lies the Cholula archaeological site, which is home to the largest pyramid in the world, (by volume). Although mostly covered in earth, it’s still an impressive sight and definitely worth a visit.
Getting there: If you have your own car, Puebla is located just over two hours away and is one of the best road trips from Mexico City.
Alternatively, you can take a bus to Puebla from either Benito Juárez International Airport, (MEX), or the TAPO bus terminal, (Terminal de Autobuses de Pasajeros de Oriente, or TAPO).
It’s also possible to visit Puebla as a guided day trip from Mexico City. Click here to learn more.
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city, consider a day trip to Cuernavaca, a beautiful little city located just an hour south of CDMX. This is one of the best short trips from Mexico City.
Nestled in the foothills of the Tepozteco Mountains, Cuernavaca is known for its picturesque colonial architecture, as well as its many art galleries, museums, and parks. Due to its elevation, Cuernavaca is known as the “city of eternal spring”, with a pleasant climate year-round.
One of the most famous landmarks is the Palace of Cortés, which dates from the 16th century and now houses a museum. Cuernavaca Cathedral and monastery is also worth a visit, as are the ornamental Borda gardens, (Jardín Borda).
Getting there: Regular buses travel between Mexico City and Cuernavaca, departing from Mexico City airport and the Southern Bus Terminal, (Central Camionera del Sur / “Taxqueña”). The journey takes approximately 60 – 90 minutes depending on traffic.
Alternatively, consider visiting Cuernavaca as part of a guided day tour from Mexico City. Click here for more information.
Taxco is another attractive colonial city located about three hours southwest of Mexico City.
It’s best known for its silver mines and the beautiful silver jewellery that’s produced there. The city is also home to several impressive churches and cathedrals, as well as a large number of art galleries.
One of the most popular things to do in Taxco is to take the Taxco Cableway – a cable car that goes up to a lookout point for sweeping views over the city.
Getting there: Buses run frequently between Mexico City and Taxco, departing from the Southern Bus Terminal, (Central Camionera del Sur / “Taxqueña”). The journey takes approximately 3 – 4 hours.
Or you can book a guided tour which includes transport to and from Taxco. Note: some tours combine visiting both Taxco and Cuernavaca in one day. Click here for more information.
Tula is a lesser-known, but equally fascinating, archaeological site located just north of Mexico City. The ruins at Tula are believed to be those of the ancient Toltec capital and they offer a fascinating glimpse into this little-known culture.
The site includes a number of impressive pyramids and temples, as well as a museum with artifacts from the site. One of the most famous features is the Tula Warriors, a set of huge stone statues which were once part of a temple.
Getting there: You can reach Tula by car or bus from Mexico City. If you’re driving, it’s located just over an hour north of the city. Alternatively, there are regular buses departing from the Northern Bus Terminal. The journey takes 1.5 – 2 hours.
You can also visit Tula as part of a guided day tour from Mexico City. Click here for more information.
Malinalco is a small town located about two hours southwest of Mexico City. The town is best known for its well-preserved Mexica, (i.e. “Aztec”), ruins, which are some of the most impressive in the country.
The main site is the Templo Mayor, a huge pyramid which was once the centre of the Mexica empire. The temple is now partially excavated and you can explore the ruins whilst learning about the history of the site.
The town itself is also worth exploring, with its colonial churches, traditional Mexican craft shops, and its beautiful mountain setting.
Getting there: Buses run between Mexico City and Malinalco, departing from the TAPO, (Terminal de Autobuses de Pasajeros de Oriente), bus station. The journey takes approximately 2.5 hours.
7. Iztaccihuatl-Popocatepetl National Park (One of the Best Day Trips from Mexico City for Nature Lovers)
Located just a few hours from Mexico City, Iztaccihuatl-Popocatepetl National Park is a must-visit for any nature lover.
The park is home to two of Mexico’s tallest volcanoes – Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl – as well as a number of hiking trails and scenic lookouts.
There are a number of well-marked hiking trails in the park to suit all kinds of walker; whether you’re looking for a strenuous hike, or just a leisurely stroll.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can also try to summit one of the volcanoes. It’s definitely not for the fainthearted, but the views are worth it!
Getting there: You can reach the park by car or bus from Mexico City. If you’re driving, it’s located just over an hour south-east of the city. Alternatively, there are regular buses departing from the TAPO bus station. The journey takes 1.5 – 2 hours.
You can also book a guided tour which includes transport to and from the national park. Click here for more information.
8. San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful colonial city located in the central highlands of Mexico. The city is home to stunning architecture, as well as a number of art galleries and museums.
San Miguel de Allende is also known for its delicious food, so be sure to sample some of the local specialties while you’re there, including mixiote, pozole, and barbacoa. There are a number of excellent restaurants in the city, serving everything from street food to fine dining.
If you’re looking for some relaxation, the city is also home to a number of spas and thermal baths.
Getting there: Buses run between Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende, departing from the Norte bus station. The journey usually takes about 4 hours each way, so it’s just about doable in one, (very long)day. Alternatively, if you have time to spend the night there, San Miguel de Allende is one of the best weekend trips from Mexico City.
You can also book a guided tour including transfers to and from Mexico City. Click here to learn more.
Morelia is the capital of the Mexican state of Michoacán, and it’s one of the best places to visit if you’re interested in learning about the region’s indigenous cultures.
The city is home to a number of museums and archaeological sites, as well as a beautiful colonial centre.
Morelia is also a great place to try some of the local food specialties, many of which are strongly influenced by the local indigenous Purépecha people.
I recommend trying enchiladas placeras, (a type of enchilada made with chicken, vegetables, potatoes and cheese), uchepos, (tamales made from fresh corn, unlike the regular dried variety), and the local criollo avocados, (which you can eat the skin of!).
Getting there: You can reach Morelia either by flying, or taking the bus from Mexico City. If travelling by bus, take one of the first-class services from the Western Bus Terminal, (Poniente). The journey takes around 4 hours each way.
Querétaro is a beautiful city located about three hours northwest of Mexico City. The city is best known for its well-preserved Spanish architecture, as well as its many art galleries and museums.
One of the best things to do in Querétaro is simply to wander around the historical centre and admire the beautiful buildings. Be sure to visit the aqueduct, (Los Arcos Queretaro), which is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
If you’re interested in learning about the local history, Querétaro is also home to a number of excellent museums. The Museo de la Ciudad is a great place to start.
Try some of the traditional local dishes, such as quesadillas de nopal, which are made from a type of edible cactus.
Getting there: You can take a bus from the North Bus Terminal to Querétaro, which takes about 3 hours.
Alternatively, consider taking a guided day trip from Mexico City to Querétaro. Click here for more information.
11. Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park
Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park is located in the state of Guerrero, about four hours southwest of Mexico City. The park is home to a number of caves, as well as hiking trails and scenic lookouts.
One of the highlights of Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park is the Cueva de los Murciélagos, (Bat Cave), which is home to a large colony of these winged creatures.
The park also has many impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations, as well as a number of underground rivers. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go swimming in one of the caves.
Getting there: You can take a bus from Mexico City to Tixtla de Guerrero, which is the nearest town to the park. From Tixtla, you’ll need to take a taxi or colectivo, (shared minibus), to the caves.
12. Valle de Bravo
Valle de Bravo is a beautiful little town located about two hours southwest of Mexico City.
The town is located on the shores of Lake Avándaro and is surrounded by forested mountains. Lake Avándaro is a popular spot for water sports such as kite and windsurfing, and the surrounding area has many great hiking and mountain biking trails.
Valle de Bravo itself is also worth exploring, with its cobbled streets, colonial architecture, picturesque plazas, and colonial churches.
Just north of the town is the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, an important breeding spot for large numbers of these stunning butterflies.
Getting there: The best way to reach Valle de Bravo is by taking a bus from the Terminal de Autobuses de Poniente in Mexico City. The journey takes about 2 hours each way.
13. Huasca de Ocampo
Huasca de Ocampo is a small town located in the state of Hidalgo, about 2.5 hours north-east of Mexico City.
The town is best known for its nearby waterfalls, which are some of the most spectacular in the country. There are a number of hiking trails and scenic lookouts in the area, making it a great place to enjoy the outdoors.
Other things to do in Huasca de Ocampo include visiting the Museo Casa del Alquimista, which is housed in a beautiful colonial building. The museum has a number of exhibitions on the history and culture of the area.
For learning about the local indigenous culture, Huasca de Ocampo is also home to the Museo Nacional de la Cultura Otomí. The museum has a number of exhibitions on the Otomí people, who have long inhabited the area.
Getting there: There are no direct buses from Mexico City to Huasca de Ocampo. You need to take a bus from the North Bus Terminal to Pachuca, then a taxi to Huasca de Ocampo.
To make things easier, some day tours from Mexico City include Huasca de Ocampo in their itinerary. This is the most convenient way to visit, as your transport is arranged for you. Click here to learn more.
Tenayuca is a small town located in the state of Mexico, about an hour northwest of Mexico City, not far from Teotihuacan. The town is best known for its archeological site, which was once a major centre of the Mexica (“Aztec”)empire.
The site is home to a number of pyramids and temples, as well as a museum with artifacts and exhibits on the history of the area.
Getting there: There are no direct buses from Mexico City to Tenayuca. You need to take a bus from the North Bus Station to San Juan Teotihuacan, then a taxi or colectivo to Tenayuca.
Tlaxcala is a small town located in the state of Tlaxcala, about two hours east of Mexico City.
The town is best known for the nearby archeological site Cacaxtla, which was an important city of the Maya and Mexica people. The site is home to a number of pyramids, temples and palaces, as well as some of the best-preserved pre-Hispanic murals in Mexico.
Other things to do in Tlaxcala include visiting the Centro Cultural Luis Cardoza y Aragon, which is housed in a 16th-century monastery. The cultural centre has a number of exhibitions on the history and culture of the area.
Tlaxcala is also home to the Museo de la Cultura Tlaxcalteca. This museum has a number of exhibitions on the Tlaxcalteca people, who have long inhabited the area.
Getting there: The best way to reach Tlaxcala from Mexico City is by taking a bus from the TAPO bus terminal, (Terminal de Autobuses de Pasajeros de Oriente), which takes about two hours.
FAQs About the Best Day Trips from Mexico City
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about day trips from Mexico City.
1. Is it safe to do day trips from Mexico City?
In general, yes. All of the places described in this post are safe day trips from Mexico City.
However, you should always use caution when travelling to any new place, and take sensible precautions to stay safe. For example, avoid travelling around alone at night, keep your belongings secure, and don’t leave your valuables unattended.
2. What is the best day tour from Mexico City?
There’s no single “best” day tour from Mexico City. Depending on your interests, there are a number of great options to choose from.
If you’re stuck wondering what to do around Mexico City, some of the most popular day trips include visits to the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan (my top choice), the colonial city of Puebla, and the nearby town of Cuernavaca.
If I could only visit one of the places in this article, it would be Teotihuacan. I was really blown away by this incredible site.
3. When is the best time to visit Mexico City?
Mexico City is a year-round destination. However, the best time to visit Mexico City is in the spring (March – April), or autumn (October – November).
In these months, the weather is good and there are generally fewer visitors than during peak tourism season, which runs from December to February.
Now You Know the Best Day Trips From Mexico City
There you have it! These are the best day trips around Mexico City. Whether you’re interested in visiting colonial cities and historical ruins, or are looking to do some hiking, there’s a day trip for you.
Mexico City is a great place to visit, and while I really enjoyed living in the city, it was also nice to explore the surrounding areas. Make sure to allocate some time for the fun day trips nearby. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!
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