50 MINUTES BY CAR OR BUS
This ruined Mesoamerican city is deeply mysterious: we don’t know who built it, why it was abandoned some time around 600AD, or even its original name –Teotihuacán, meaning “birthplace of the gods”, is a later, Aztec designation.
At its peak it was home to around 100,000 people, which may have made it the most populous city in the Americas. The highlight of the site is the 66-metre-high Pyramid of the Sun, a structure whose purpose is still not clear. It is climbable, but the steps are steep, so be prepared to puff. The smaller Pyramid of the Moon has better views, looking over the Avenue of the Dead, which is flanked by smaller pyramids. You will surely have a better experience than the earliest visitors: this was once the site of human sacrifice.
To avoid the crowds, get there early or stay late. Whenever you go, expect to be assailed by hawkers; they’re a nuisance or part of the experience, depending on your frame of mind.
On your way back, stop at the shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Built on the spot where the Virgin appeared to a local man in the 16th century, it is a popular Catholic shrine. But, as its buildings are spread out, you will still find space for contemplation.