Mexico City attracts visitors from across the world, eager to experience its dazzling art and cultural offerings, fascinating Mesoamerican history, and delicious street food for themselves. And while this UNESCO World Heritage-listed metropolis certainly packs a punch, among the hills and valleys outside the city, a world of further adventure awaits.
In our blog today, we’re shining a light on a few key sites outside Mexico’s bustling capital, and showcasing our selection of guided tours from Mexico City into the valleys beyond. With hotel pickup and drop-off, plus private transportation, and expert guides available, you’re free to relax and soak up the history and scenery.
Translated from the Aztec as “City where men become gods”, Teotihuacán is an ancient settlement once the largest and most influential in all of Mesoamerica. It was founded around 100 BCE and reached its peak of influence between 250 and 550 CE, when it had a thriving population of over 100,000 people.
Teotihuacán's imposing pyramids, temples, and palaces are aligned along an expansive boulevard known as the Avenue of the Dead, and the weight of history here is palpable. Teotihuacán was also a center of culture, religion, and trade during Aztec rule, and had contacts with other regions such as the Maya and the Gulf Coast. The city eventually fell into decline as its power and influence waned, and was abandoned by the 8th century CE.
Our guided tours of Teotihuacán leave from Mexico City, with expert guides bringing the site’s fascinating history to life. Wander among the ancient temple ruins, and imagine life playing out here as it would have done those many thousands of years ago.
A city located in central Mexico, Puebla has a rich cultural and historical heritage that makes it a wonderful day tour from Mexico City. Visitors admire the city’s striking colonial architecture among Puebla’s Baroque churches and convents, and as you wander along its fairytale streets, you’ll find it a wonderfully photogenic destination to capture on camera. Aside from the scenic landmarks and views, Puebla is a food-lover's hotspot – with indigenous Spanish, African, and Arab influences to sample and savor.
One of the most remarkable attractions in Puebla is the Palafoxiana Library (Biblioteca Palafoxiana). Founded in 1646 by Bishop Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, it’s the oldest public library in the Americas. A key attraction on our Puebla and Cholula One Day Private Tour from Mexico City, the Palafoxiana Library is home to over 41,000 books and manuscripts ranging from the 15th to the 20th century. The collection sits within a beautiful, vaulted hall with elegant timber bookshelves, and the library itself is recognized by UNESCO as part of the Memory of the World Register.
Taxco de Alarcón, or simply Taxco, is a small city within the state of Guerrero famous for its silver-mining and crafting. Packed with plenty of colonial charm, picturesque scenery, and rich cultural heritage, Taxco is one of the "Magical Towns" of Mexico (Pueblos Mágicos) - making it a wonderful day tour from Mexico City.
The 18th-century Church of Santa Prisca de Taxco (Parroquia de Santa Prisca y San Sebastían) dominates the skyline, a Baroque masterpiece constructed by wealthy silver-miner José de la Borda. The church takes pride of place inside Taxco’s main square, the Zócalo, and boasts an intricate façade, two imposing towers, and a richly decorated interior.
Away from the silver-mining heritage and city scenery, Taxco – like Puebla – is something of a foodie’s haven. Local restaurant El Atrio sits in the heart of town, with sweeping views from the welcoming terrace, across the Zócalo, to the Church of Santa Prisca de Taxco. Here, hungry visitors can browse a mouthwatering menu full of local specialties including enchiladas, mole, and pozole. El Atrio is a popular place for tourists and locals alike, and features on our private tours to Taxco and Cuernavaca.
Offering valuable insight into bygone civilizations, Mexican cuisine, and colonial heritage, Teotihuacán, Puebla, and Taxco de Alarcón combine to offer fascinating day trips from Mexico City. While our nation’s capital is of course worthy of full exploration, be sure to set time aside to escape the bustling streets in favor of these charming towns and historic settlements. You’ll leave with treasured memories of these truly special destinations.
OlMar Travel is your trusted guide to Mexico, offering shared and private guided sightseeing tours exploring history and culture.