The complex of ruins known as Teotihuacan, Mexico, is so enormous and varied it even looks spectacular from the air.

Built mostly between AD 150 and 600, the ruins were already abandoned by the time the Aztecs came to power and took over the site. Most visitors go to see the Pyramid of the Sun, the largest monument and the tallest pyramid in Mexico. Climb it for a view of the surrounding ruins. These include the smaller Pyramid of the Moon, the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Palace of Tepantitla—which features the remains of a famous, brightly colored mural.

Countless other buildings and monuments line the 3-mi-/5-km-long Calzada de los Muertos (Avenue of the Dead) that runs the length of the site. Excavation is ongoing, with new discoveries each year, including royal burials in the Pyramid of the Sun. The excellent museum includes ceramics and stone monuments as well as several mural reconstructions.

Plan a full day for the visit: We recommend arranging a guided tour (English available)—most will give good information and will still allow visitors plenty of time to explore on their own. Along the outskirts of the ruins are many stalls where you can buy jewelry and crafts (the pottery only looks ancient, by the way). Unfortunately, the hawkers are very pushy. Take lots of water, a good sun hat and sunscreen: There is very little shade on this dry plateau and the ruins cover a huge area.

Teotihuacan lies 30 mi/50 km northeast of Mexico City.

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