Even if you only have a week in Mexico’s bustling capital city, you should still embark on at least one of the amazing day trips from Mexico City. While there are endless things to do and see in Mexico City, there’s also a whole world of day trips only a couple of hours away.
From magical towns and floating gardens to ancients ruins and spectacular mountains, you can find it all in central Mexico. Plus, it’s easy to take day trips from Mexico City by bus, car, or even by joining an organized tour.
After living here for half a year now, it still never ceases to amaze me just how many things there are to do inside and outside of Mexico City. So, I’ve compiled a list of the best day trips from Mexico City to help you plan your next trip.
Table of Contents
- 20 Best Mexico City Day Trips
- Mineral Del Chico
- San Miguel de Allende
- Las Estacas
- Izta Popo National Park
- Real Del Monte
- Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
- Santiago de Querétaro
- Toluca/Nevado de Toluca
- Valle de Bravo
- Cacahuamilpa Caves National Park
- Las Grutas de Tolantongo
- FAQs About Day Trips from CDMX
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20 Best Mexico City Day Trips
Puebla has all the pieces of a perfect day trip from Mexico City, and its one of the top places to visit in Mexico, so it’s usually a top recommendation from fellow travelers. Puebla is known for its baroque architecture and colorfully painted Talavera pottery. And, of course, its culinary specialty – mole poblano. Puebla is home to hundreds of churches and the country’s first public library, Biblioteca Palafoxiana.
The city is laidback enough that it’s a nice spot for families or lowkey visitors. But, there are also a number of hostels and plenty of cool bars, so it’s also a great spot for solo travelers too.
Puebla is located just a two-hour journey east of Mexico City. The best way to get there is by bus. Direct buses leave every 30 minutes, and you can get a ticket to Puebla with BusBud for around 240 MXN (12 USD).
👉Pro Tip: While many people just visit Puebla for a quick day trip, it’s actually the 5th largest city in the country. So, there’s a lot to see. I spent two weeks in the city and thought it was well worth the extended stay. If you have the time, consider making your trip to Puebla a weekend getaway!
About 70 miles southwest of CDMX, you’ll find the silver mining colonial town of Taxco. If you’re in the mood to do some jewelry shopping, Taxco is the place to go. You can even visit the Silverware Museum to learn all about the Taxco’s lengthy history with the metal.
There are lots of also other things to do around Taxco besides silver stuff. You can ride a cable car for an aerial view of the city, wander the little Zocalo, and stop by the famous Santa Prisca Church.
Since Taxco is nearly three hours away from Mexico City, you should book a tour to escort you. It’s the most efficient way to see the whole city, and possibly even more, in just one day. I’d recommend this day trip to Taxco and Cuernavaca, so you can skip worrying about transportation and just go explore.
👉 Read Next: 7 Day Mexico City Itinerary
Mineral Del Chico
Mineral Del Chico is a magical town located about two hours west of Mexico City in the state of Hidalgo. This Mexico City day trip is a good choice for travelers who want to get out of the city and spend some time in nature.
Mineral del Chico is made up of expansive pine and oak forests. For rock climbers, there are lots of mountains and rock formations. If you prefer water activities, there are several rivers.
The main place where all of these things go down is El Chico National Park, one of the oldest protected areas in Mexico. When you’re at the park, be sure to check out Peña del Cuervo Viewpoint.
👉 Need a Mexico City hotel? Check out our guide to the best hotels in Mexico City!
Cuernavaca, the City of Eternal Spring, is known for its gorgeous weather. The city provides visitors with world-class museums and the flourishing Jardin Borda. It’s one of those day trips from Mexico City that’s great for travelers who just want to get some fresh air on a leisurely afternoon away from CDMX.
There’s a lot of breathtaking architecture throughout the city. From the 16th-century Cuernavaca Cathedral to the Palacio de Cortés. If you’re more into natural attractions, then there’s the Salto de San Anton Waterfall.
👉Pro Tip: If you’re in a time crunch on your Mexico trip, lots of tour providers offer options that bring you to multiple different cities in just a day or two. Like as this comprehensive two-day tour to Cuernavaca, Taxco, Puebla and Cholula.
A day trip to the massive archaeological complex of Teotihuacán should be on the to-do list of just about every traveler that spends time in Mexico City. When you’re only an hour away from a UNESCO world heritage site, you should try to take advantage of that! It’s definitely worth visiting.
The Sun and Moon Pyramids are the major attractions of Teotihuacán, and seeing them gives you a glimpse into the local Mexican history. The ideal way to view the pyramids is from above during a hot air balloon ride.
I mean, how many people can say they flew over a UNESCO World Heritage Site in a hot air balloon? If heights aren’t your thing, you can also take a walking tour of the area.
📚 Worried About Safety? Many people get nervous when they think about floating around in a big basket, but the activity is very safe and well-maintained. If you’re feeling nervous about your trip in general, read my guide to Safety in Mexico City to put your mind at ease a little.
Cholula, Puebla’s next-door neighbor, is one of the best trips from Mexico City for history buffs and families. Cholula is one of Mexico’s 132 Pueblos Mágicos or Magical Towns. These places are recognized for their historical importance and roots in Mexican traditions.
Cholula is home to a staple of Aztec history, the Great Pyramid of Cholula. It’s actually the world’s largest pyramid. That’s right, even bigger than the ones in Egypt. At the top of the ancient ruins is the Neoclassical-style Our Lady of Remedies Church.
Besides the pyramid, there’s a lot of other cool stuff to do in Cholula too. You can get out into nature by climbing the Popocatépetl Volcano or hiking at Cerro Zapotecas. If you’re in the mood for shopping, there are plenty of places to buy souvenirs, and you can get tasty local produce at Mercado Cosme del Razo.
All in all, Cholula has a lot of reasons that you should make it one of your day trips from Mexico City.
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is one of Mexico’s most interesting cities. With its cobbled streets and well-preserved colonial buildings. There is a wide variety of fun activities and sites in San Miguel de Allende. Some of the best include archaeological sites like Cañada de la Virgen, churches like Parish of San Miguel Arcangel, and gardens such as El Charco de Ingenio.
I’d recommend checking out El Jardin first for first-time visitors because it’s right in the center of the San Miguel de Allende. Or, if you’re hoping to relax outside the chaos of CDMX, take a dip in the hot springs of Escondido Place. It’s only a few miles from San Miguel de Allende.
Since San Miguel de Allende is a bit farther than the other suggestions on this list, many tourists prefer to turn this into a weekend getaway. But, it’s still possible to find a tour that can show you the sites in only a day.
🛏️ Looking for a Hotel? There’s so much to see and do in San Miguel de Allende that many travelers stay overnight. If you want to spend a little more time in the city, check out Nate’s guide to the best places to stay in San Miguel de Allende.
🗺️ Distance from Mexico City: 40 minutes to 1 hour | Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book a Tour to Xochimilco, Coyoacán and Frida Kahlo Museum
Xochimilco is another one of those day trips from Mexico City that everyone should embark on because it’s unlike anywhere else.
The main thing that attracts loads of foreigners and local tourists alike is the Xochimilco Floating Gardens that spans the canal. Cruising up and down the canal, you’ll see colorful gondolas known as trajineras that you can ride on. You can even take a boat tour to the famous but creepy Island of the Dolls.
Getting to Xochimilco is pretty easy and cheap when you use Mexico City’s public transport. For 20 pesos (or 1 USD), you can take the Line 2 subway and then transfer to the Line 1 tram to reach Xochmilco in under an hour. You could probably even find your way there on a long layover in the Mexico City airport. So, if you don’t want to travel too far from Mexico City, this is a great day trip for you.
Las Estacas is another one of those nature-heavy day trips from Mexico City. But, who wouldn’t want to spend some time in Mexico’s nature after wandering its biggest city? It’s an attractive day trip for families with children, couples, and solo travelers alike because there’s such a wide variety of activities.
While Estacas is a city, the main attraction I’d recommend in the area is Las Estacas Parque Natural. It’s a gorgeous natural waterpark only a couple of hours away from CDMX in Morelos, Mexico. The park has camping and glamping, a tasty restaurant, a spa, crystal clear natural springs, and even paintballing. The park also offers diving lessons and accommodations for pups.
As of 2021, it costs 650 pesos (31.90 USD) for a single-day entrance ticket to Las Estacas Parque Natural. You can pay an additional 300 pesos ($14.72) per person per night to camp in the park overnight.
📚Wondering What To do in CDMX? Just like there are a million things to see outside of Mexico City, there’s a bunch of things to do inside the city too. To learn more, read Nate’s 2022 list of 33 Fun Things to Do in Mexico City.
A little over an hour south of Mexico City, you’ll find the small town of Tepoztlán nestled cozily in the mountains. It’s one of the best day trips from Mexico City for simply wandering amongst beautiful scenery and getting to know the local Mexican lifestyle.
Tepoztlán has its own archeological site called El Tepozteco Temple, which sits atop Tepozteco Mountain. But, I think one of the coolest things to do in this city is exploring the markets in the Plaza de Armas.
The busy Mercado Tepoztlán is filled with bloated bags of local produce, delicious street food, and a variety of handmade crafts items. The area is also known for its alternative medicine practices like Aztec steam baths. If you have a sweet tooth, you should definitely make a stop at the Tepoznieves ice cream shop that’s famous for its variety of flavors.
Izta Popo National Park
Even though CDMX is a huge metropolis, there are seemingly endless escapes into nearby nature that make for great day trips from Mexico City. One of these day trips is Izta Popo National Park.
Izta Popo National Park is a playground for anyone who likes to spend time outdoors. The national park has a variety of ecosystems, from pine forests to grasslands. Each is home to lots of different wildlife species. At the park, you can go hiking, mountain biking, or mountaineering.
Izta Popo National Park is most known for its two snow-covered volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. There are a bunch of tours that can take you on a single-day hike or a multi-day adventure up one of the volcanoes.
👉 Pro Tip: Even if you’re booking a guided tour, let’s not forget that you’re trekking a volcano. Anything can happen, so consider getting solid travel insurance. To learn more about protecting your trip, check out our guide to Mexico Travel Insurance in 2023.
Malinalco is one of Mexico’s charming magical towns, and it’s one of my top recommendations for day trips from Mexico City. It’s a really nice place to spend the day or weekend for any type of traveler.
The town is located a little under a two-hour drive east of CDMX. The cheapest way to reach Malinalco is the bus, which requires about three transfers. Alternatively, you can hire a taxi for around 650 pesos (32 USD) each way, or just drive there if you’re renting a vehicle in Mexico.
In Malinalco, you can visit the el Convento Agustino religious temple located near the town’s main square to see its 500-year-old frescos. You should also make a stop at Zona Arqueológica de Malinalco for a climb to the top of The Sun’s House. During your day trip, be sure to try some of the local Mexican food like cecina tacos and frog tamales. Or the regional alcoholic specialty called pulque.
Real Del Monte
Real del Monte is a mining town in the mountains of Hidalgo, a little less than two hours from Mexico City. It’s another one of Mexico’s magical towns. You can learn about the fascinating history of mining in Real del Monte at the old mines that are still around. Like Mina de Acosta and Mina La Dificultad.
Besides all the mining stuff, Real del Monte is just a very pretty area in general. It’s a great place to spend the afternoon wandering and learning about an important piece of Mexican history.
Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
🗺️ Distance from Mexico City: 2 hours | Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book a Small-Group Tour to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
One of Mexico City’s most well-known seasonal day trips is the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. But, it’s important to note that these particular Mexico City day tours are only available from mid-November until the end of March. The best time to visit is January and February.
During this season, you can visit the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary to see the 20 million monarch butterflies that migrate to the area for the winter. It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing. So, if you’re in the area for the season, definitely take the opportunity to go.
The best way to get the full monarch butterfly experience is by booking a tour. There are quite a few options that vary in price range from under $50 to over $2,200. I’d recommend this Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Tour. This particular tour company provides small group sizes and roundtrip transportation from Mexico City to make your life a little easier.
Santiago de Querétaro
Santiago de Querétaro is a colonial town built in the Baroque style, which gives the area an ultra-photogenic appeal. Querétaro is very safe and somewhat laidback. However, it’s also a very entertaining place to spend the day in whether you’re traveling with your family or by yourself.
In the colonial town, there will be several museums for you to discover such as Museo de Arte de Querétaro and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo. Santiago de Queretaro also has its own pyramid called El Cerrito, that’s worth a visit. The town’s historical center is not only colorfully aesthetic, but it’s also one of Mexico’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
If you’re planning on visiting Querétaro for a day trip, the best way to get there is by using public transport like buses. There’s an hourly bus that runs to Tepotzotlán, and from there, you can take a two-hour direct bus to Santiago De Querétaro that runs every four hours. The trip will cost you about $345 pesos (17 USD) each way.
🛏️ Still Looking for A Place to Stay in CDMX? Mexico City is huge, so it’s understandable why many people get overwhelmed with all the choices of where to stay. If you’re still looking, check out my guide about Where to Stay in Mexico City.
Toluca/Nevado de Toluca
Toluca is a town with stunning colonial architecture that’s super close to CDMX, which makes it a great choice for a day trip. The town itself has its own archaeological site, a botanical garden, and the Otomí de Temoaya Ceremonial Center.
However, the big thing near Toluca is the Nevado de Toluca – an extinct volcano that’s resided to life as Mexico’s fourth highest mountain.
The mountain has nine different peaks and two otherworldly lagoons. It’s basically a photographer’s dream. At Nevado de Toluca, you can join a guided tour to go hiking around the mountain. A group tour is the best way to experience the area because it’s a two-hour drive outside the city of Toluca, and you can stay safe with a professional guide.
🥾 Read Next: Best Hikes in Mexico
Valle de Bravo
Valle de Bravo is a magical town on Lake Avándaro with so many different types of things to do. That’s why it’s such a fantastic day trip from CDMX for any type of traveler. From a group of college friends on a budget to families with young children.
Valle de Bravo’s main attractions are outdoor activities. Things like sailing, canyoning, biking, and paragliding. If you’re more into adrenaline-pumping activities, head over to the Reserva Ecológica Monte Alto. Here, you can go mountain biking, off-roading, and play paintball.
There’s also a lot of exploring to do in the area’s forests like Monte Alto and El Freso. In these forests, there are a lot of options for renting cabins if you want to stay a little longer. But, you’ll need a car (or ATV) to get around.
🍴 Read Next: 25 Best Restaurants in Mexico City
If you’re looking for dreamy scenery and traditional marketplaces, then Cuetzalan is the place for you. This is definitely the longest getaway from Mexico City on this list, so it might be best suited for a weekend trip depending on your schedule.
Cuetzalan is located in the Rocky Mountains of Puebla state. Around the area, you can explore caves, waterfalls, and coffee plantations. Cuetzalan is one of the country’s top coffee producers, so be sure to try a cup of joe while you’re there. I’d recommend even booking a tour to one of the local coffee plantations like Reserva Azul.
You should also leave time for wandering Cuetzalan’s cultural center. On the weekends, you can shop around the town’s traditional marketplace. Here you’ll find vendors selling indigenous handicrafts and various types of produce. It’s a great way to get familiar with the local Mexican culture on your trip to Mexico.
📚Have a Friend Visiting Mexico Soon? Get them a gift they’ll actually use by checking out Taylor’s list of the top 26 Mexico Travel Gifts for 2022.
Cacahuamilpa Caves National Park
Instead of spending your day trip basking in the sun, you can always retreat underground with a visit to the Cacahuamilpa Caves. It’s one of the largest cave systems in the entire world.
Many visitors dub Cacahuamilpa as the coolest caves they’ve ever seen. The Cacahuamilpa Caves National Park is one of the country’s most popular cave systems for travelers to explore. You can even stay overnight if you want because there are places to camp available.
At the caves, you’ll be able to participate in activities like rock climbing and see two underground rivers. The Cacahuamilpa Caves National Park also features a botanical garden and a pool. This is a fun Mexico City day trip for families because children tend to be mystified by the underground world, and they can learn a lot along the way.
The easiest way to spend the day at the Cacahuamilpa Caves is by joining a tour. My top recommendation is this Cacahuamilpa Caves and Taxco Tour. It’s private and includes transportation, so you can get right to exploring the caves.
👉Pro Tip: Make sure you wear pants and bring an extra layer to stay warm. It can get super cold in the caves, even if it’s warm outside.
Though a long day trip from Mexico City, there’s no denying that Las Grutas de Tolantongo is one of the most beautiful sites in Mexico. The primary attraction are the stunning hot springs. The cascading pools they are set in make Las Grutas de Tolantongo one of the more Instagram-worthy excursions from Mexico City.
See my full guide to visiting Las Grutas de Tolantongo to learn how to visit.
FAQs About Day Trips from CDMX
What is there to do outside of Mexico City?
Popular things to do outside of Mexico City include visiting a magical town or an ancient city, stopping by the floating gardens, or getting into nature at a national park. There are also a variety of unique cities near CDMX like Puebla, San Miguel de Allende, Valle de Bravo, and more.
Mexico City is an enormous city, so you’ll probably have a lot of exploring on your to-do list already. But, you should try to make some time for a day trip or two from CDMX because there are many different options a few hours away!
How many days do you need in Mexico City?
Travelers should plan to spend at least 3 to 4 days in Mexico City, but it is a large city with many things to do, neighborhoods, restaurants, and areas. You could reasonably plan to spend a week or more in Mexico City and still have plenty to do on a second trip.
Thanks for sticking around. That’s the end of my guide to the best day trips from Mexico City. Have you found the perfect day trip from CDMX?
If so, let me know in the comments which day trip you’ll be embarking on when you get here!
Just started planning for your big Mexico adventure? Make sure you read Nate’s 22 Mexico Travel Tips before you arrive.
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