Guide to Visiting Tepoztlan and Tepozteco
Let me warn you up front - The mountain is a workout!
Tepoztlan is a pretty badass place, nestled on the side of a mountain and believed to be the birthplace of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec feathered serpent. It's a picturesque destination for a day or weekend trip. During weekends, there’s vibrant energy a bit like a Mexican version of New Orleans' Bourbon Street – a lively party strip that stretches on endlessly. It's a popular spot for weddings, and numerous garden-style bars and spas have popped up in the side streets.
I, however…Came for a hiking trip..and made the mistake of overestimating my skills. Everyone I asked told me the town was great…But almost no one had actually hiked the trails. Let me tell you, that mountain is no joke. Surprisingly, few foreigners venture to this place. Likely because it attracts mainly Mexican tourists, but also cause you need to take the bus. Most foreigners apparently are scared of Mexican buses, despite them being better than American buses.
Regardless, I am here to guide you on how to reach this amazing destination.
Let's start with the basic facts so that you can prepare in advance.
*Tepoztlan - Is the town
*Tepozteco is an archaeological site on the top of the mountain
When is Tepoztlan open? When is Teptozteco open?
The town itself is open every day. Tepotzteco is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9 AM to 4 PM. I would advise you to Google in advance if you plan to hike. Occasionally, there are forest fires that lead to trail closures.
Best time to go?
If you're interested in experiencing the town's festivities, indulging in drinks, and enjoying a lively atmosphere, I recommend visiting any time during the weekend. However, if your goal is to hike, it's best to arrive early in the morning on weekdays or on Friday mornin. I arrived around 10 AM on Friday morning. The town was pleasantly quiet (which worked in our favor), and the mountain trail wasn’t very crowded, apart from a group of school kids on a field trip.
How long should you stay?
If you plan to hike, be prepared for a full-day excursion. Leave early in the morning, and return late in the evening. Keep in mind that the bus ride to reach the hiking spot takes about hour and a half. The duration of the hike itself, roundtrip, can vary depending on your fitness level and the amount of time you spend at the summit. It may take a couple of hours in total.
On the other hand, if you wanna enjoy the town, I would recommend two days for your visit, preferably on Saturday and Sunday. I personally think a full weekend is too much.
How much will everything cost?
The fee to visit the pyramid and enjoy the view is 90 pesos. You pay this fee when you reach the top. The overall cost of the trip is not very expensive, although prices tend to be higher due to it being a tourist destination. On average, you can expect to spend around 7 dollars for a meal, with specials costing double that amount. If you decide to visit one of the garden-style bars, you might come across fancy cocktails priced around 10 dollars, but on the main strip, you can find them for half that price.
The price of your bus ticket will be around 300 pesos RT per person.
How to get there:
If you're reading this article, I assume you don't have a car. Taking Uber or hiring a driver impractical due to the distance. Therefore, let's focus on public transportation options for convenience.
The first leg of the trip is getting to Terminal del Sur (Taxqueña) Bus station. Buses depart from here to Tepoztlan around every 20-25 minutes. Some people choose to leave from Mexico City Airport, but logistically, Taxquena is likely the best starting point. If you don’t opt to Uber there, there is a Taxquena Metro station. You can hop on the metro for 5 pesos anywhere in the city and ride it until the end. The metro conveniently brings you right in front of the Bus Station.
* We took the Metro
While it is possible to purchase bus tickets online, considering the frequent bus departures, just buy that shit when you get to the station.
The bus company you’re going to look for Pullman de Morelos, which is the far right side of the station from the entrance - http://www.pullman.com.mx/
Hop on the bus and enjoy the ride
Here’s the tricky part - Leaving from Mexico City is always nice — But the destination bus stations are always random shacks.
You will be dropped off at a building on the side of the road and have to fend for yourself.
When ee arrived in the morning, there were no taxis. Just a couple of armed police hanging out on the corner. This was expected - We had already planned the route.
Fortunately, you just head right from the bus stop, cross the street and walk down the road. If you look at the walking route, it has you turn down a random street. I’m telling you now…Just walk the route that it shows as if you were driving. The walk is about 30 minutes to the entrance of the hiking trail, but the road is also the main road of the town.
You’ll walk by multiple restaurants, bars, and places to buy trinkets. Everything is along this road.
If you’re not doing the hike, you cut your walk down to 15 minutes, and you’re right in the middle of town.
As you get closer to the hiking trail, you essentially walk into a bazaar. Don’t be discouraged, you’re on the right track. But this should be a wake-up call to turn back if you want to.
The trail is not an easy path. It’s pure rock bounding and the occasional piece of stairs.
Parts of the trail are at more than a 45-degree incline and there are only a few places designated to stop. If you get tired, you’ll just have to move a little off the trail and pop a squat for a minute. I would suggest taking a good liter of cold water.
To be honest - I have no idea how long it took us to hike up. I would probably say over an hour because we stopped way too much to drink and just relax a bit. I have no idea why we thought it would be a good idea to buy alcohol at one of the stands.
**This place was not meant to be a leisurely stroll - It was meant for priests to see into the heavens.
Eventually, you make it to the top, hope that the little store at the top still has bottles of water, pay the fee to “ enter” and enjoy the view.
To get back home…just follow the directions backwards
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I’ll also give you a couple of exerts of the town since you’re still here.
Back in town, we stopped at one of the garden bars - I kept seeing Instagram Reels pop up from this place, so we decided to stop by.
Margarita Concept Bar - Place has a pretty chill vibe, fire pit, and inventive cocktails right off the main road.
You can message them to set a reservation, but we got there around 4PM and there were probably 2 other couples there
I also recommend checking out one of many of the restaurants and trying on of the specials - Google them to figure out what there are - I recommend Chiles en Nogada
Chiles en Nogada
Cecina de Yecapixtla
Huarzontle en Tortita