Let’s just turn up, see how we go. This tried and true method of travelling has rarely steered me wrong. And when it has (Like that time we turned up for an overnight bus in Spain, from Madrid to Sevilla, at the end of a long weekend, without a reservation, amidst hundreds of other students doing the exact same thing, and were told a flat “No.” when we inquired about the buses, despite our fanatic reassurances to a lost English girl that we’d get on a bus without any issues) I probably wouldn’t have changed much about it anyways.
So we turned up with our luggage to the main bus terminal in Mexico City, Terminal Norte, with the notion of going to Teotihuaćan during the day to visit some pyramids, and heading towards Guanajuato that evening.
The Christmas holidays are a busy time in Mexico, and it appears to be more domestic travel than anything. We were consistently some of the very few non-Mexican people we saw, in Mexico City, on transit, and at the pyramids. This rise in travel undoubtedly leads to shortages of bus seats. When we began inquiring, from counter to counter, about tickets to Guanajuato, we were certainly disappointed. First of all, the majority of companies didn’t operate trips to there. It appeared as though we had two main options: Primera Plus or ETN. Primera Plus was the cheaper of the two, coming in at 450 pesos for the 4.5 hour trip (ETN was 580). Primera Plus, however, were sold out until the following morning. Our only option, it appeared, was to book on the expensive ETN or wait until the next day. The hassle, wasted time, and money we’d have to spend for another night where we didn’t really want to be led us to decide to book, this one time, on the expensive bus line and make sure to sort ourselves out better in the future. We planned our evening bus trip, hopped on an easy-to-sort-out bus to Teotihuaćan, and proceeded to enjoy our day, which was really Tim’s day, as it was his birthday.
Teotihuaćan is about an hour by bus from Mexico City. It’s easy to catch the metro to Terminal de Norte (get off at the Autobuses del Norte stop). Once inside the terminal, head to the ticket counters on the far left side, and buy your tickets from the second-to-last counter (84 pesos each, round trip). After arriving at Teotihuaćan, it’s pretty tricky to get lost. Entrance to the grounds costs 59 pesos, and it is well worth it. Teotihuaćan was once home to one of the most important ancient civilizations in Mexico, predating both the Mayans and the Aztecs. The city began construction in the year AD 1, and flourished to include the Pyramid of the Sun (the world’s third-largest pyramid) and the Pyramid of the Moon. The city can get packed, and indeed most photos we saw included throngs of people. We luckily managed to escape most of the crowds and were able to enjoy the city and the pyramids’ splendour. (Go early, and avoid public holidays).
We headed back into Mexico City and got ready to board our ETN bus for Guanajuato. Holy. Freaking. Luxury. It felt like we’d gotten first class tickets on an airplane. There were two huge, plush, armchair-like seats on one side of the aisle, and one seat on the other side. The seats came with footrests and reclined to be nearly horizontal. There were only about twenty seats on the full-sized bus. The bus included a movie (dubbed in Spanish, of course), Wi-Fi (that wasn’t working at the time, unfortunately), and free refreshments (which we didn’t get, presumably because we never asked for them). This was travelling in style. True, we promised ourselves to never do it again, as it just seemed a bit extravagant, but if you’re worried about the comfort of the buses in Mexico, don’t be. You can get as much of it as you want; you just have to pay for it.