Exploring the 4 amazing archeological sites of Mexico City (Day Trip, Excursion, tour, from Mexico City)

Did you already explore the 4 amazing archeological sites open to public in Mexico City?

Visiting them is a fun and interesting way to understand more of Mexico City´s rich prehispanic past; hereby some highlights of the 4 archeological sites in Mexico City.

1) Templo Mayor

Period: 1325 – 1521
Culture: Mexica (Aztec)

01 Templo Mayor

Templo Mayor (“the Great Temple”) earned its name on account of being the principal temple of the ancient city of Tenochtitlan, dedicated to Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli.
The center of Mexica religious and political life, the extraordinary remains of Templo Mayor stand in the heart of Mexico City. Dedicated to Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli, its treasures include a wall of skulls altar, the House of the Eagles, and a monolithic sculpture of the goddess Coyolxauhqui.
Did you know:
  • In 1790, the Coatlicue and Sun Stone sculptures were found in Mexico City’s main square, now known as the Zócalo.
  • In 1792, the first book on archeology was published in Mexico. Written by Antonio de León y Gama, it was called “Historical and chronological description of the two stones”.
  • Thanks to the intervention of Bishop Feliciano Marín, Alexander von Humboldt was able to study the Sun Stone; after he completed his work the sculpture was reburied.
Practical information:
  • Location: Seminario 8, Centro Histórico, Cuauhtémoc, 06060 Ciudad de México, CDMX (Mexico City Center – Zocalo; 30 minutes from Metro Chilpancingo – Condesa)
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00 hrs

Virtual Trip – Templo Mayor archeological site


2) Tlatelolco

Period: 1337 – 1521
Culture: Mexica (Aztec)

02 Tlatelolco

Meaning: ´The place of the sand mound´.
A former center of government, Tlatelolco was a twin to Tenochtitlan, a friend and a foe, a companion in trade, construction, power, and religion; both were totally eclipsed following the Spanish Conquest. Many impressive remains are on view in their original location and in the site museum.
Did you know:
  • On the instructions of President Porfirio Díaz, some of the archeological work in Tlatelolco was carried out in order to send an exhibition to Madrid as part of the celebrations to mark Mexico’s centenary of Independence.
  • Tlatelolco’s site museum has a display of a fragment of a Chac Mool and a stylized tiger’s head.

Practical information:

  • Location:
  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 8:00 to 18:00 hrs

Virtual Trip – Tlatelolco archeological site


3) Cuicuilco

Period: 2100 B.C. – 200 a.C.
Culture: Cuicuilca

03 Cuicuilco

Meaning ´Place for singing and dancing´.
The Xitle volcano of the Ajusco range erupted in about 250 AC, spewing out lava that covered up much of the Valley of Mexico’s first major city, one which had existed for a thousand years with its unique truncated cone pyramids. Today we can still marvel at what remains.
Did you know:
  • Standing 65.5 feet tall and with a diameter of 110 yards, the Tenantongo Pyramid—in the higher part of the Bosque de Tlalpan park—appears to be Cuicuilco’s second-largest structure.
  • The civil and religious constructions were not only places for local residents to congregate, but would also have been used by inhabitants from surrounding villages and towns, both for religious ceremonies and festivities as well as for economic and administrative purposes.
  • Musicians, dancers, and acrobats participated in the religious ceremonies and festivities.

Practical information:

  • Location: 
  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 8:00 to 18:00 hrs


4) Cerro de la Estrella

Period: 900 – 1521
Culture: Mexica (Aztec)

04 Cerro de la Estrella

Named after the colonial-period Hacienda de la Estrella, located on the flanks of the hill.
The slopes of the hill where the hacienda was located had been inhabited from the earliest times, and the settlement grew in importance as the site of New Fire ceremonies, believed to revive the sun at the end of the cycle. It was celebrated every 52 years with ceremonies held in 1351, 1403, 1455 and 1507. The fall of Tenochtitlan prevented the celebration of the fifth event.
Did you know:
  • The Mexica conceived of the universe as a great flower with four petals representing the cardinal directions, while at the center of the flower lay the great Tenochtitlan.
  • In order to avoid the “death of the Sun,” which would bring total darkness to the universe, the priesthood would carry out a New Fire ceremony every 52 years, at the moment when the start of the solar and lunar years coincided.
  • Research has revealed that the Colhua were the first to use the summit of the hill to carry out the “toxiuhmopolli” or New Fire ceremony.

Practical information:

  • Location:  
  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00 hrs


From Mexico City, it´s easy to explore little by litte even more archeological sites. In Mexico´s Central Region alone there are in total 50 archeological sites open to public !!

The 4 archeological sites mentioned above in Mexico City, 18 in the State of Mexico, 4 in the State of Tlaxcala, 8 in the State of Puebla, 8 in the State of Morelos, 4 in the State of Hidalgo and 4 in the State of Mexico; most easily explored on day trips from Mexico City.

And a bit further away, we can explore another 35 archeological sites in weekend trips; 5 in the State of Guanajuato, 6 in the State of Michoacan, 1 in the State of Nuevo Leon, 12 in the State of Oaxaca and 11 in the State of Veracruz. All highlights soon on our blog!

Let´s explore little by little all of them with Aztec Explorers, the travellers club of Azteca Travel Tours Art. Either one of our group trips, or on private trips. Certified guides, smalls groups, in English and Spanish.

Next day trips exploring Tlatelolco, Cuicuilco and Cerro de la Estrella on Meetup – Aztec Explorers

With private transport for our small group from Metro Chilpancingo in colonia Condesa and certified guide in English and Spanish.
Private trips also possible.

Next visit exploring Templo Mayor: ask us for a quote !!

Source and pictures:
Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia
(National Institute of Anthropology and History)



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