Ever since I was a little girl, I have been obsessed with ancient history and pyramids. Seeing the pyramids in Mexico was no exception and I looked forward to seeing the Pyramid of the Sun/ Teotihuacan literally the whole time I was in Mexico; I also absolutely loved seeing Monte Alban in Oaxaca too. The Pyramid of the Sun itself is about 45 minutes outside of Mexico City. We took a bus ride out to the location where we were able to see Mexican suburbs and the countryside on the way. I’m so excited to share a guide to the Pyramid of the Sun including my experience, the history behind the beautiful structure, and some tips I have to share.
MY EXPERIENCE AT TEOTIHUACAN
There are times that I have imagined something in my head and when I saw it in person, the monument was really small (I’m thinking of you Chimney Rock!). This was not the case. The Pyramid of the Sun is over 20 stories tall and is absolutely massive. I should state that I am not an adrenaline junkie. I am a homebody and I am afraid of heights. As silly as it sounds, when I began to realize how massive the pyramid was, I became a little nervous.
In the beginning, when the levels are larger, the lines of people wind around the pyramid. I loved this because it helped me calm my nerves, but it also gives you an amazing time to look at all of the views. We learned in one of our tours that when historic architecture is repaired in Mexico City, it is repaired with a different color stone. It was really amazing to see all of the repairs.
This is on a less serious note, but there was a time when a tourist went off the trail purposely. I was shocked to see how fast the guards could RUN UP and stop them; seriously, where is the gold medal for pyramid running? It would be pretty intense.
Beyond that though, there were a few times that I honestly just closed my eyes and tried to picture ancient people all around me living their lives. The structures are really other worldly and so gigantic. I know being here was a once in a lifetime experience and I will always cherish my experience. If you keep scrolling, I’ll explain some of the history of Teotihuacan as well as some general tips that would be nice to know before visiting.
THE HISTORY OF TEOTIHUACAN
Teotihuacan or the Pyramid of the Sun was built around 200 BC and is one of the biggest ancient structures in Mesoamerica. Teotihuacan is found in the Avenue of the Dead and is surrounded by the Pyramid of the Moon. The pyramids here were found completely abandoned by the Aztecs. The first construction stage took about 100 years and the second construction phase completed it making it about 246 feet high. Other structures were built in the 3rd century nearby: Ciudadela, Temple of the Feathered Serpent, and Teotihuacan Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent.
There is little information on why the original builders of the Teotihuacan built the pyramid, but there are theories that it was built to honor deity. However, due to deterioration/destruction on the top of the temple, the deity is unknown. The ancient structure of Teotihuacan was built using plaster to paint brightly colored pictures which are no longer visible on the exterior. Animal figures and stars are some of the symbols associated with the pyramids.
MY TIPS FOR TEOTIHUACAN
- The farther you get away from the Pyramid of the Sun, the cheaper the items vendors are selling become! If you’re worried you won’t see an item again, I promise that you probably will (especially, if you’re planning on going to markets later on).
- The car trip on the way is a little bumpy and you should plan accordingly if you get car sick. Being in the back of the bus, when we hit pot holes or bumps in the road, there was a little bit more inertia to make me fly up 😉 . I ended up pretty bruised on my legs and arms from bumping things with how hard we hit from the trip to Mexico in general.
- My hat choice was dumb. Don’t wear a hat unless it is form fitting or has a strap. Large hats, like what I was wearing, became a burden when going down the pyramid. Because of the high altitude, I almost lost my hat several times due to the wind.
- Realize there is only one safety rope to hold onto. I had no problem climbing up the pyramid, but I silently freaked out when I realized that the swinging rope is what was helping us down the pyramid.
- Watch your feet. The stones are uneven, not equally measured, and we had a girl in our group trip and land on her knee pretty badly. A person in front of me also tripped and hit something I had in my hand with their foot…. it was a little scary.
- The top of the pyramid isn’t flat like you would think. They actually have a rounded foot bridge up there and it was not for the faint of heart!
- Give yourself some time to sit on the grounds and really take everything in. The site is absolutely beautiful and you don’t want to rush yourself with this visit!
Teotihuacan is definitely a place I want to go back and visit with Devin. It was hands down a favorite experience of mine going to Mexico!