15 Best Day Trips From Mexico City Travel Guide | RemoteYear
14. Jul. 2022
Sunny, vibrant, and culturally dense, Mexico City is the epitome of the Mexican lifestyle. This capital of Mexico is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the Americas. And it’s brimming with attractions for visitors who wish to explore and work remotely in Mexico.
After a long work week, what’s more relaxing than bathing with friends in the Tolantongo hot springs? An adventurous hot air balloon ride over the Teotihuacan Pyramids with other amazing infectious souls can’t be beat also. This is how the Remote Year community has been doing it in Mexico City for years!
As you experience CDMX, Remote Year will spice things up for you by organizing exciting road trips to neighboring cities.
Pack your laptop and take a break from the city hustle with these unforgettableday trips from Mexico City by Remote Year.
RemoteYear’s 15 Best Day Trips From Mexico City
Explore Teotihuacan Pyramids from High Above
"I had been to these pyramids in the past, and in my opinion going over them in the hot air, using balloons, was a much better way to see them. I was nervous about going up in the balloon - but it was worth it (the early morning wake-up call to see the sunrise over the pyramids was also worth it)." - Carly Russell.
Teotihuacan (pronounced "tay-oh-tee-wah-KAHN,") is an ancient pre-Columbian city around 50 kilometers from Mexico City. At its prime, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was a vast settlement with multi-family apartments. But today, its stepped pyramids are the only remaining evidence of its existence.
This archaeological site’s main draw is its mysteries. One of its most fascinating facts is that we don’t know who its original inhabitants were and no one has answers as to where its 150,000+ inhabitants vanished to.
When you arrive at the site, you’ll begin by walking down the famous 1.5-mile Avenue of the Dead. This 130-ft wide street will lead you to the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun. The latter is the third tallest pyramid in the world. Luckily (or unluckily), you’re allowed to climb both of these pyramids as well as a dozen others on the site.
Besides the pyramids, you’ll want to check out the temple of the feathered serpent and the Jaguar Palace. The Teotihuacan Archaeological Museum offers you the opportunity to connect with the history and culture of the Aztecs.
Remote Year Tip: Hot air balloon rides offer you the opportunity to experience this site in its full splendor from the skies. The tour starts with a coffee break as you watch the balloons inflate before gliding over the archeological site. We’ll spend 45-60 minutes in the sky before exploring the zone by foot.
Tolantongo Hot Springs
Splash, Bask, and Play at Tolantongo Hot Springs
"The 4-hour drive one way can be off-putting, but it was worth it. Firstly the drive was so scenic and nice, and the driver was so friendly and made it worthwhile. The hot springs were beautiful, and it's a great opportunity to disconnect from the busy city." - Zaina Ishaq.
The hot springs at Las Grutas de Tolantongo have been one of Remote Year’s best day trips from Mexico for years. These steamy springs are located in San Cristobal City in the Mexican state of Hidalgo.
The trip from Mexico City takes roughly four hours. But the stunning views along the way and the experience at the steamy springs are well worth the trip.
There will be a lot to do when we arrive at Las Grutas de Tolantongo although basking in the hot water is every visitor’s biggest desire. Tolantongo springs are a series of pools nestled right in the mountainside. The pools are artificial. But their water comes from natural thermally heated underground springs.
Las Grutas de Tolantongo is also home to one of the best zip lines in Mexico. You’ll also find explorable caves and tunnels, a 150+ meters waterfall, and a beautiful and clear river where you can swim. Because it’s a popular tourist attraction, the area near Las Grutas de Tolantongo now has a series of restaurants, hotels, and convenience stores.
Las Grutas de Tolantongo opens daily all year round from 8 AM to 6 PM. We suggest arriving early to avoid the crowds and snap some Instagram-worthy photos.
Get Blown Away by the Yucatan Peninsula
"If you are looking to spiritually connect with a place that has been a hub for spiritual activity for Millenia, swim underground in underwater rivers, eat amazing food, tan on the beach and have a local experience in the Yucatan that is not over touristy Tulum or Cancun - I highly recommend this escape from the city for the weekend. It was possibly my favorite experience during my whole month in Mexico." - Remote Year Participant.
Yucatan is a state in southeastern Mexico. But this name commonly refers to the entire Yucatan Peninsula, which spans three states: Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Campeche.
The Yucatan Peninsula borders the Caribbean sea and the Gulf of Mexico. It’s famous for its tropical beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, and enchanting colonial cities.
You’d need a lifetime to take in all there is to do in this region. Luckily, Remote Year has weekend trips that let you explore the major attractions without missing a day of work.
During this four-day trip, we’ll base ourselves in the magical city of Merida. From here, we’ll be making side trips to attractions in Yucatan, including Hacienda Mucuyché, Cenotes and Chichen Itza. The itinerary also includes a free evening to soak up the vibrant nightlife and culture of Merida with new friends.
Boat Cruise in the Iconic Xochimilco
"A floating picnic party - don't miss it!!! A Mexico City highlight for sure. Bring sunglasses, beverages, and cups. Buy yourself a flower crown and dance till you drop." - Kari Dowiak.
Imagine a river filled with boats called trajineras, each vibrantly colored and full of life with happy passengers singing, dancing, and enjoying the company of friends (old and new) around them. That’s Xochimilco!
Xochimilco is a fun place where you can take a leisurely trajinera ride around a system of canals. These boat rides tend to be more fun with friends, in which case they easily turn into boozy boat parties with lots of alcohol.
Xochimilco trajineras hours of operation are between 9 AM and 6 PM. Most people prefer showing up in the morning hours 9 AM to 10 AM when the waters are peaceful and uncrowded.
Explore The Convent at Tepotzotlán
Tepotzotlán is another fascinating colonial city waiting to be explored just outside of CDMX. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is one of the most popular Mexico City excursions because it’s only an hour’s drive away and full of history and culture.
The key highlight of this ancient town is the old convent that draws visitors with its Baroque architecture. The convent also houses a restored colonial church and the National Museum of the Viceroyalty.
There are tons of other things that you must do on a day trip from Mexico City to Tepotzotlan. But if you’re looking for inspiration, you may want to consider a Remote Year’s guided trip to this magic town.
This trip includes enjoying delicious food, exploring Tepotzotlan, a hike and Temazcal. Temazcal is a traditional sweat lodge ceremony that combines ancient practices with meditation and personal healing.
Visit Oaxaca- The Culinary and Culture Capital of Mexico
"Oaxaca City is a hidden gem in the South of Mexico. The preserved pre-Columbian cultures, world-class gastronomy, architecture, and joyful people make it an excellent choice to visit. Furthermore, the growing network of remote workers worldwide, several cafes around the city, and cozy traditional accommodations make Oaxaca the perfect city to work from." - Veronica Silva.
Oaxaca is under an hour plane ride or a five and half hour car ride from Mexico City. As most locals and visitors will tell you, this is where you need to be if you’re yearning for an authentic slice of Mexican culture..
Oaxaca is a vibrant city renowned for its rainbow-colored colonial architecture and cobblestoned streets. Its distinct gastronomy, artisan galleries, and bustling local markets are other major attractions you don’t want to miss.
Some of the top attractions in Oaxaca include the Templo de Santo Domingo, the Museo de las Culturas (Museum of Cultures), and the ruins at Monte Alban (White Mountain).
If you’re visiting in November, even better! You’ll be right on time for the Day of the Dead (or Dia de Los Muertos). This is a traditional holiday that runs from October 31st to November 2nd in honor of the dead. While it’s celebrated throughout Mexico, Oaxaca is often the center of celebration.
The Day of the Dead in Mexico is a social celebration consisting of music, parades, and feasting. Unlike Halloween, here the locals create a party-like atmosphere in cemeteries where they enjoy various food dishes.
If this sounds interesting, Remote Year has a 4-day guided trip to Oaxaca this year that allows you to enjoy this special day in all possible ways.
Admire Stunning Colonial Architecture in Puebla
Puebla should be at the top of your Mexico City excursions list if you haven’t visited it yet. Puebla is a city approximately 80 miles southeast of Mexico City. It’s one of the safest cities in the entire country and has much better traffic compared to CDMX. These elements, combined with well-established public transportation and other city amenities like restaurants and shopping areas, make it a must-visit when exploring Mexico.
Start by strolling around the Zócalo de Puebla or the main square. A walking tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site treats you to a variety of monuments, the Catedral de Puebla (Puebla Cathedral), and the 18th-Century San Miguel Arcángel Fountain.
After that, go church-hopping. This colonial town boasts over 350 churches varying in size and flare. Some of the most beautiful include the Capilla del Rosario, the Templo de San Francisco de Asis, and the Capilla de San Ildefonso.
See an Active Volcano in Izta-Popo National Park
“We took the day trip from Mexico City to Izta-Popo in April with a group. The terrain made the hike tricky for most of us, but the views were breathtaking. Go and enjoy it if you get the chance.”- Remote Year Participant.
If seeing an active volcano is on your bucket list, then this will be one of your most memorable day trips from Mexico City. Izta-Popo National Park is located in Puebla, roughly 92 kilometers or a 2.5-hour drive from Mexico City. Globally known for its Alpine landscapes, this park is home to 119 named mountains, including two active volcanoes.
Popocatépetl (or the Smokey Mountain) is currently active and actually one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. But don’t worry: experts say it’s safe to visit- at least for now.
Around 10 kilometers from Popocatépetl is Iztaccíhuatl, another active but dormant volcano. You’re allowed to climb Iztaccíhuatl. But its dizzying elevation of5230 meters requires hikers with strong physical fitness.
San Miguel de Allende- Get Lost Wandering a Fairly Tale Colonial City
A three-hour drive to the northwest of CDMX takes you to San Miguel de Allende- a city that appears to have been plucked right out of a fairytale. While it’s one of the best weekend trips from Mexico City, this small colonial town definitely deserves more of your time.
San Miguel is popular for its undulating mountains, well-preserved Spanish colonial-style architecture, great food, and a very photogenic art scene.
The Parish of San Miguel Arcangel with its pink pinnacles is a true architectural masterpiece. Right next to the parish is El Jardin, the central square with a lush garden that qualifies it as this picturesque city’s beating heart. Just a few steps south of El Jardin, you’ll find the Museo Historico de San Miguel de Allende, where Ignacio Allende- Mexico’s independence hero was born.
Browse Mexican Silver in Taxco de Alarcon
Long before the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, Taxco was a mining center for silver. The original dwellers used silver to craft gifts for Aztec gods. Close to five centuries since its establishment, Taxco is still the best place to shop for silverwork in Mexico. And while most items are mass-produced, you’ll still find hand-crafted original pieces with amazing creativity and attention to detail.
Besides silver shopping, day trips from Mexico City to Taxco de Alarcon also involve a visit to Museo de la Plateria, Christ the Redeemer Statue, and the William Spratling Museum. If you’re into arts and culture, you’ll want to spend some time exploring the paintings, historic photographs and contemporary sculptures in the Casa Borda cultural center.
Explore the Maze of the Cacahuamilpa Cave System
Cacahuamilpa is a system of caves located in Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park near Taxco. The Cacahuamilpa cave system comprises 90 gigantic salons, although only 20 are open for exploration at the moment. These caves are thought to have been discovered in 1834 by a shopkeeper running from the Mexican authorities. They have been a tourist attraction ever since.
Rated as one of the world’s largest known cave systems, this is a popular destination for Mexico day trips owing to the mind-blowing size of these caverns. Unfortunately, the scale of these caverns also means that you can only explore them on a guided tour.
This park also treats you to a ton of other exciting outdoor activities, including swimming, camping, rock climbing, and ziplining.
Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park is open to visitors every day from 10 AM to 5 PM. We recommend arriving early to avoid lengthy wait times.
Go Wine- and Cheese-tasting in Santiago de Querétaro
Wine and cheese may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a day trip from Mexico City. But some regions of Mexico, for instance, Queretaro, are famous for producing good quality wine and cheese. Wine and cheese tours (offered throughout the week) are a popular way of having this experience, but you’re also free to rent a car and create a route for yourself.
Peña de Bernal is another top attraction that makes Santiago de Queretaro well worth a visit for rock climbers. This is the world’s third largest monolith. While only experienced climbers can conquer it, the views of the town from the rock’s halfway point are still super impressive.
Other top things to do in Queretaro City include exploring art at the Queretaro Art Museum, visiting Santa Clara Church, and browsing for characteristic Maria dolls.
The Aztec Pyramid of Tenayuca
The Aztec Pyramid of Tenayuca will fit the bill if you’re only interested in short trips from Mexico City. This pre-Columbian Mesoamerica archaeological site stands just nine miles from CDMX or approximately 30-40 minutes away.
Compared to other pyramids in Mexico, the Tenayuca pyramid is special because it’s the origin of the unique double pyramid structure. A row of stone rattlesnakes at the base also appear to guard this pyramid and actually led the Spaniards to dub Tenayuca El Pueblo de los Serpientes, which translates to “the town of the snakes.”
Don’t fail to check out the Xolotl Museum at the base of the pyramid. This museum is dedicated to the “tomb of the years,” an altar comprising a sculpture of human skulls and bones, among other artifacts excavated around the site.
The Aztec Pyramid of Tenayuca is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. The site remains closed on Mondays.
Try Paragliding at Valle de Bravo
Valle de Bravo is one of the 132 Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns) that continue commanding great admiration from the locals and visitors. This is a well-preserved colonial town known for its cute cafes, cobblestoned roads, restaurants, fabulous nightlife, and an array of exciting outdoor activities.
One reason why you must visit Valle de Bravo is its location near Lake Avandaro. This location opens up opportunities for a lot of outdoor activities from boating to jet skiing, and swimming. When you’re not in the water, you could be paragliding over the lake, exploring charming downtown Bravo.
To top off your Valle de Bravo day trip, don’t fail to check out the 35-meter Bridal Veil Falls and the Mirador La Peña (observation point).
Experience Cholula- the Place of Those Who Fled
Cholula de Rivadavia or Pueblo Mágico (Magical Town) is a district and a city in Puebla state. This city is known for its ancient Great Pyramid, archaeology park, and stunning views of volcanoes. It’s a must-travel destination if you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path Mexico day trips.
The city of Cholula is thought to be over 2500 years old. This makes it one of the oldest still inhabited cities in Mexico. A day trip in this city starts with enjoying traditional street food from the vendors at the Plaza de la Concordia before admiring the Doric Columns on the west side of the plaza.
Later, explore Museo de la Ciudad de Cholula (or the Museum of the City of Cholula) which tells the story of this region dating as far back as 1000 BCE.
Cholula Archaeology Park is another unmissable attraction in Cholula. The archeological site is host to Pirámide Tepanapa (commonly regarded as the Great Pyramid of Cholula), a number of underground tunnels, and a museum.
There are hundreds of neighboring day trips from Mexico City to explore while working remotely in the country's capital. We hope our Remote Year travel guide by the Remote Year team has helped add some fantastic excursions and adventures to your CDMX stay. Be a part of our community and connect with other remote workers like you — as you work, learn, and travel worldwide.
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