I you’ve ever visited Mexico City before, you already know it is a huge, beautiful and full of history metropolis. However, with nearly 9 million residents, Mexico City is also one of the busiest cities in the world. With all the noise, the never-ending traffic and countless people always coming and going, it doesn’t really matter if you’re a local or a visitor… sometimes you just need a break!
That being said, here is a list of 3 places that even though they’re close to Mexico City allow you to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. These are places a lot less crowded where you can unplug, relax and connect with the natural beauty of Mexico.
Located 50km north of Mexico City, Teotihuacan is an ancient archeological site whose name means “city of gods.” It is composed of the Pyramid of the Sun (the second tallest in all of Mexico) and the Pyramid of the Moon. Climbing on both of these Pyramids is allowed. In fact, it has been told that if you make it to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun you can re-charge yourself full of positive energy.
On Sundays entrance is free for Mexican nationals and foreign residents of Mexico. So, if you are planning to go on a Sunday and want to avoid the long lines to climb the Pyramid of the sun, I recommend that you get there as early as possible (the ruins open at 9am).
Other activities at this ancient city include early morning hot air balloon rides, bicycle tours, camping and night time multimedia/lights show. These activities must be booked in advance because of their limited availability.
2) Nevado de Toluca
The landscape of Mexico City is not only surrounded by buildings, but by majestic mountains as well. One of the closest (only 100km away) and most unique one is Nevado de Toluca. This extinct Volcano is the only one in the world whose crater you can get to by car. Hidden within the crater are two lagoons, the Moon and the Sun Lagoon. You will need to trek along a dirt path for about 30-45 minutes to reach these hidden gems.
Due to the temperatures in the area ranging from -2°C to 12°C, most people will admire the lagoons from their shores. However, for those brave enough, you can take a dip in the lagoons since you are allowed to swim there. During the winter time, if the weather conditions cooperate, the mountain will cover with snow, and on some occasions the lagoons will freeze over. Snowed in or not, the scenery at Nevado de Toluca will always find a way to take your breath away.
For the most adventurous people, you can climb to Nevado’s summit (4,680 mts above sea level). For this, you will need to be accompanied by a mountain tour guide and have all the appropriate equipment to accomplish this feat. Experience isn’t needed and this is a climb recommended for beginners. However, a good physical condition is essential in order to make it to the top.
Tequesquitengo, or “Teques” for the locals, is a little town located 140km South to Mexico City. Despite its size, it holds one of the world’s largest floral thematic parks known as “Jardines de Mexico”. This floral paradise is divided into 8 thematic gardens: Japanese, Italian, Tropical, Four Springs, Cacti, Floral Fan, the Senses Sculptural Maze, and a children’s garden.
Tequesquitengo enjoys pleasant warm weather throughout the entire year. For this reason, the outdoor and water activities around the lake that gives the town its name are a must. Whether it is flying in an ultra-light plane, skydiving, wakeboarding, tubing, taking a boat ride or just enjoying the sunset at one of the many clubs by the lake, Teques is a guaranteed fun time.
From mountains to lakes, Mexico has got it all. So, if you ever encounter yourself feeling overwhelmed in this country’s Capital City, head out to any of these 3 destinations. You can be back and forth in the same day, so there’s no excuse not to go to one of these amazing places. Just remember, “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”.
This is a guest post by Génesis Dayan.
Génesis is a 24-year-old Mexican traveler. She took her first solo trip backpacking through South America when she was 21 and has been in love with traveling ever since. She currently works in the corporate world of Mexico City (saving for her next big trip) but she makes time every weekend to go do something exciting. Follow her adventures at @genesisdayan_.