Context Travel is new to Mexico City but well-established across the rest of the globe. Their edge over the competition is that they offer script-free, intimate tours (no more than 6 people) that are more of a college-level dissertation than a walk in the park. Context picks up from your hotel and takes you out to the pyramids early to catch the morning glow and avoid the crowds. Then on your way back into town you stop for lunch at nearby Acolman, a town known for its fossilized human skeleton, between 12,000 and 14,000 years old. These tours are each a little bit different depending on your guide, but you walk away feeling like you have a real sense of the history and insight into the importance of Teotihuacan.
If you are looking for something a little more tailored to specific needs or a particular interest, Journeys Beyond the Surface might be who you should contact. They design tours around the desires of their clients and can combine a trip to the Teotihuacan pyramids with various other side trips they offer. If the idea of a blank slate makes you nervous, don’t worry, founder Mojdeh has been giving tours for 10 years in Mexico City and living here for 23. If you don’t know exactly what you are looking for they can give you lots of guidance.
One of those travelers that wants to pack it all in just one day? Urban Adventures runs a 13-hour day tour that includes a visit to five Mexico City markets before you even get to the pyramids! Then a stroll around the pyramids, a hike to the top and off to visit three different rural families and have dinner with one at the end of the day before heading back to the city. Talk about a whirlwind of Mexican culture. These tours run with up to 12 people and if you’re getting exhausted just listening to the itinerary, you can split the activities up in to two days.
Quest Mexico is a relatively new company but it was founded by two long-time tour guides and Mexico City residents, Ben Herrera and Francisco de Santiago. De Santiago is a walking encyclopedia of Mexican history, and not just that of the pyramids, ask him anything and he’s got the answer. This tour also includes transportation and all tours are private, so group size is up to the person booking. De Santiago is also a bit of a foodie and this trip not only includes three to four hours at the pyramids, but a tasting of some pre-Hispanic cacao beverages and a stop at one of two excellent Mexican restaurants for lunch on the way back into town.
There is nothing like a little perspective to change everything. Even if you’ve visited Teotihuacan in the past, looking at it below you as you drift past in a beautiful hot air balloon is a a whole other ballgame. Not only will you avoid the crowds, but the above-ground views will allow you to appreciate the unique urban design of this ancient city. Sky Balloons Mexico takes you out early (meeting time is 6:30am) but makes sure you have a coffee in your hand before you go and breakfast after the flight. You can arrange special flights with them for birthdays and engagements as well.
Amigo tours offer early-morning trips with a local archaeologist who will spend the day explaining the most important landmarks within the complex and some of the city’s history. In the afternoon they take you to visit a local family who run an obsidian workshop (green obsidian mined from the nearby mines was one of the things believed to have made Teotihuacan such an economic powerhouse) and you can try pulque, tequila and mezcal. There you can can purchase lunch from a menu of typical Mexican dishes.
Want another off-the-beaten-path option? Ola tours takes visitors out to bike the Valle of Teotihuacan. While the trip doesn’t include entrance into the park, you will see ancient murals, taste some incredible local liquors and artisanal food products, visit an obsidian workshop, and have lunch and water provided for you. The best part is that you are outside, breathing in the fresh air and the living history of this remarkable area of central Mexico. The pyramids aren’t the only thing to see in Teotihuacan.