Teotihuacan in the Summer Heat

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Bright and early on our third day in Mexico City, we left to go see the ancient city of Teotihuacan in the summer heat of June.

Leaving Mexico City

We were worried about hoards of tourists (ignoring the irony of that statement), so we left for Teotihuacan at 6 am from our hotel. We found directions online on how to get to Teotihuacan on public transit and not as part of a group courtesy of Girl and the Globe. In short, we were taking a local city bus north to Autobuses del Norte station north of downtown CDMX. There, we bought a bus ticket to go to Teotihuacan.

With tickets in hand, we still had time before the bus left, so we bought breakfast. I learned that in Mexico City they serve pastries with cold black beans and chorizo in them and it’s kind of odd, particularly at 6:45 am.

Teotihuacan

History lesson (because I didn’t know this going in): the city of Teotihuacan predates the Aztecs by about 1,000 years; it’s thought to have been founded in 100BC. The name Teotihuacan is Aztec for “City of the Gods” though the real name of the city is unknown, and it was one of the largest pre-Columbian cities.

When we arrived, we walked through all of the gift shops that weren’t open yet. Our first stop was what was closest to the entrance: Templo de Quetzalcóatl. It wasn’t much to see in and of itself, but it offered spectacular views of what was to come.

The Pyramid of the Sun and the Moon at Teotihuacan

I also caught Sarah at a nice angle.

Sarah at Teotihuacan

The site is laid out in a row: first, there’s Templo de Quetzalcóatl, the main path is Avenue of the Dead, and off the avenue to the right is the Sun Pyramid and at the end is the Moon Pyramid. It looks like it’s all very close, but the Avenue of the Dead is deceptively long and the size of the pyramids makes them look close.

The journey was long and we began to plow through our water. To pass the time, we took some fun photos:

As we got closer, I got a picture that better shows why it took so long for us to walk. The size is immense and standing in the middle of it gave me a sense of the scale of the city at its peak. Imagine the hours of work that went into building this out of stone.

Avenue of the Dead at Teotihuacan

We turned to our right and saw…

The Pyramid of the Sun

Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan

Fun fact: The Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest pyramid in the world, and it has 248 steps.

The Pyramid of the Sun has 248 steps at Teotihuacan

I thought I was going to get a little break from the gym while on this trip, but no. Leg day comes when you least expect it.

The Pyramid of the Sun has 248 steps at Teotihuacan

When we reached the top, I was tired, out of water, sweating through my shirt, and the next day, there would be a nice tan line where my bandana was. All of that said, the view of the Pyramid of the Moon and Avenue of the Dead was absolutely worth it.

Pyramid of the Moon and Avenue of the Dead from Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan

And of course I got proof that I was there.

At Teotihuacan

Sarah somehow looked less drained than I did.

At Teotihuacan

Pyramid of the Moon

The structure of this post is odd because most of the photos under this section won’t feature the Pyramid of the Moon, but rather views from it. That’s a little confusing, but thems the breaks.

Unlike the Pyramid of the Sun, we could only climb part of the way up the Pyramid of the Moon. though once we got to the first plateau, we were greeted with another wonderful view of Avenue of the Dead.

Avenue of the Dead - On the Pyramid of the Moon - Teotihuacan

And the Pyramid of the Sun.

Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan

Don’t let the smile fool you; we were beginning to struggle.

On the Pyramid of the Moon - Teotihuacan

La Gruta

Having seen most of what Teotihuacan had to offer, we walked out to try and find a restaurant we’d heard about called La Gruta. The food was supposed to be good, but the main draw was that it’s in a cave. We traced our steps back toward the entrance of the park, and consulted our phones for directions.

A constant problem that we had in Mexico City was that while our phones worked, the GPS was spotty as best. It could pinpoint us within about a mile which would be great if we didn’t know what city we were in. So we had to ask a park guide where the restaurant was, and he simply chuckled which is always a bad sign. He explained to us that the restaurant was on the other side of the park. Google Maps will explain:

So we set off walking in the high desert heat with no water in search of a cave restaurant.

We were never in real danger as we passed plenty of restaurants with people standing outside, flagging us down, and trying to get us to come in and take a seat. But we continued to trudge down the rough rock-paved road with the sun never ceasing to beat down on us.

Eventually, the restaurants faded away, and we began to wonder if we hadn’t underestimated the walk. We knew that we were close to civilization but we also hadn’t seen a house in 15 minutes. Were we going to die out here? Probably not, but meandering through the desert is never fun and leaves plenty of time for the mind to wander.

Eventually, we found it. A giant sign that might as well have had angels playing trumpets. La Gruda. 

As for La Gruda, the food was great and it was definitely a unique setting.

La Gruta Restaurant at Teotihuacan

Once we got back into the city, we decided to hit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

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5 Comments

  1. Omgosh, I knew the pyramids were big but your photos make them seem gargantuan and I can imagine you definitely got your leg day in! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  2. Funny I was just watching a youtube video on Teotihuacan today. It looks amazing! I really like the restaurant you found. I think it looks worth the walk! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

  3. I was there in the fall, and it was still pretty hot walking from one end to the other 🙂 Loved the place! Shared on StumbleUpon. #theweeklypostcard

  4. Wow, that looks incredible. We had planned on traveling to Mexico City and exploring the area last year, but didn’t feel it appropriate to play tourist when there had just been an earthquake. Between the hike, the ancient architecture and a cave restaurant (!), this is a day that’s right up our alley. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  5. Though I’ve explored many Mesoamerican ruins, I haven’t made it to Teotihuacan yet. The heat and no shade has always been a deterrent, but I know I’ll be there soon. La Gruta looks like the perfect place for a meal after a hot day in the sun.
    Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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