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Teotenango

Photo credit: Thelmadatter / Foter / CC BY-SA
Teotenango
  • (worth a detour)
  • 1-2 km
  • Moderate
  • Low
  • half day
  • 2 2

Get off the beaten path by visiting these underrated ruins

Teotenango Tenango de Arista, State of Mexico

Mexico has over 42,000 archeological sites and hence, it would be impossible to visit them all in a lifetime. The most visited include Chichén Itzá, Teotihuacán, Tulum Ruins, Palenque and others but a myriad of other amazing ones are always left unvisited by tourists due to lack of promotion.

 

A perfect example of this is Teotenango – located in Tenango de Arista, a small town in the State of Mexico only 76 kilometers away from Mexico City. The name of the site comes from the Nahuatl language: teotl means “god), tenamitl means “fortification” and co means “place”.

 

This lush set of small Aztec ruins stands in the middle of a valley that creates a gorgeous backdrop to them. It existed for a thousand years and was abandoned after the Spanish conquered it. In fact, right at the entrance of the place stands a small chapel along with a cross that shows the presence of the Spanish in the site.

 

Teotenango has more than forty monuments and it is organized into five groups of buildings that are labeled with letters: A, B, C, D, and E.

  • Conjunto A is a plaza with a pyramid, the same as Conjunto B.
  • Conjunto B is made of of platforms, a small altar and a nearly complete pyramid. The buildings are roofed with mud and the floors show proof of fires used by the Aztecs to cook meals.
  • Conjunto C contains some of the oldest structures of the site.
  • Conjunto D, also known as “Plaza de la Serpiente” (Serpent’s Plaza)  and contains a Serpent Base that measures 120 meters long and 40 meters wide and a sculpted stone in the shape of the head of a serpent.
  • Conjunto E, or “The Ball Court Area” is located south of Conjunto D and contains a court where the city’s inhabitants played games that often served as rituals. There is also a purification bath (commonly referred to as “temazcales” in Mexico) right next to the ball court.

 

The entrance ticket is $30 pesos. This site in particular is well worth a visit for those looking to get off the beaten path and discover places that will rarely be found in travel guides.

 

You can roam about the place freely, climb the pyramids and structures with freedom unlike other more well-known archaeological sites in Mesoamerica where this has been prohibited due to the vast amount of people who visit them daily.



Opening hours

9:00 - 17:00

Closed on Mondays

How to get there

Due to the lack of tourism infrastructure, getting here is only possible by taxi or by renting a car.

The closest big city to it is Toluca, which can be easily accessed to from Mexico City via bus (all bus stations have shuttles there). From Toluca station, you can take a colectivo bus for $10 pesos to the village of Tenango and from there, you'll have to take a taxi.

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