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Teotihuacan Hot Air Balloon Flight: All You Need to Know

Seeing Teotihuacan by hot air balloon is undoubtedly one of the best experiences I’ve had in Mexico. Read about how you can also have the experience.

If you’ve never been on a hot air balloon before, Teotihuacan is an extraordinary place to fly. Onboard a Teotihuacan hot air balloon flight, you’ll be able to see the ancient pyramids poking above the tree canopy from far beyond and watch the ruins sprawl across the plains, right beneath your feet. Not only do you get a sense of its magnitude, but you also get a different perspective from above.

For those planning a trip to Mexico City, be sure to include a Teotihuacan hot air balloon flight into your itinerary. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one that will stay with you for awhile. I recently went on a hot air balloon flight with Tinggly to celebrate Mother’s Day and am here to share my experience with you.

teotihuacan hot air balloon - hot air balloon teotihuacan mexico

Teotihuacan Hot Air Balloon Guide

Our Experience on a Teotihuacan Hot Air Balloon Flight

As we rise above the bush, we see the sun’s rays slowly peeking over the horizon. Soon enough it’s blazing above our heads and splashing the entire horizon in gold. As we float higher, the valley beneath our feet takes on a different dimensions The occasional bellow of the hot air pierces the tranquility, reminding us that we are floating mid-air in nothing more than a wicker basket and a balloon.

Our hot air balloon flight had started earlier that morning, at the crack of dawn (6.30am). These hot air balloons can only rise in the early hours of dawn because of the colder temperatures, explaining why flights only occur in the early morning. Besides, temperatures at Teotihuacan can skyrocket to a scorching 38 degrees Celsius (95F) at noon, making it hard to fly anytime after dawn.

teotihuacan hot air balloon

Shivering in the chilly morning air, we watch our pilot and his crew set up for the flight. The enormous balloon is as tall as a 14-story building, so it takes a few pairs of hands to set it to its take-off position. Just as the balloon is fired up to a vertical position, all 10 of us hop in quickly, giddy with excitement. As soon as the balloon lifts off, we rise slowly above the plains and watch as the village beneath us become smaller and smaller.

At one point, we get so close to the Temple of the Sun (biggest pyramid in Teotihuacan) that we all hold our breathes as we float just a few inches away from it. But the flight is so slow and relaxing, so much so that we barely noticed that we reach an altitude of almost 800m (2,600 feet) above the ground. After almost 45 minutes in the air, we land safely back on the ground and celebrate with a round of champagne.

teotihuacan hot air balloon - sunrise

How to Book a Teotihuacan Hot Air Balloon Experience

I received the Teotihuacan hot air balloon flight as a Mother’s Day gift from Tinggly. My husband and daughter came with me, and it was made all the more special as my friends who were visiting from Singapore joined us. It truly felt like a celebration.

See also  Is Mexico City Safe for Travel in 2024? 

Tinggly is primarily a gifting company and they offer over 100,000 experiences and 150,000 hotel stays in over 100 countries worldwide. I love their slogan “give stories, not stuff”. You simply select a gift from different themes – they range from helicopter rides to jeep tours and harbor cruises. Meanwhile those who receive Tinggly gifts have all the freedom to choose when they want to use it; there’s no expiry date! They can just redeem it on Tinggly and book the experience for a specific date.

All of their gift collections can be done by more than one person, which allows you to do the activity together as a group of friends or family. With every gift collection purchased one or more trees are planted. Since 2022 Tinggly has already planted 334,330 trees. In addition, all CO2 emissions (of any experience that is done) are offset by 200%. 

What’s Included in the Teotihuacan Hot Air Balloon Flight

I booked this particular Teotihuacan hot air balloon flight on Tinggly as it had the best price and reviews. The experience cost US$152.12, a reasonable price for a hot air balloon flight. But our experience only included the hot air balloon flight (no transport or entrance fees to the archaeological site). We had to get an Uber to the meeting point – which is an hour from Mexico City – and it cost around 800 MXN (US$50) each way.

If you’d rather have all your transport and breakfast included, book this experience instead. It costs US$249 per person but you’ll won’t have to worry about getting your own transport and food. You’ll have free time to explore the Teotihuacan ruins on your own after the balloon flight and breakfast, and transport back to the hotel.

We were all very happy with the experience we chose and would highly recommend it. Our pilot was professional and driver extremely helpful (he gave us a free ride to the ruins after the flight). I’ve been on hot air ballooning in Egypt, Turkey, Spain and Australia – and this was one of the most organized experiences I’ve had.

Things You Need to Know about Teotihuacan Hot Air Ballooning

  • Teotihuacan is 1 hour outside of Mexico City. As hot air balloon flights always take place at sunrise, you may need to walk/Uber/taxi somewhere at 4:30 or 5am to reach there on time. Uber is easily available in Mexico City and you can schedule a pickup before hand. It costs around 800 MXN (US$50) each way. 
  • Some experiences offer pickup and drop-off from the city — make sure you check if transport is included before you book it.
  • The hot air balloon flight will last 30-45 minutes and after which the ruins are just a 10-minute drive from the takeoff site.
  • Certain experiences include entrance to the archaeological site (which is just 80 MXN or US$5 per person) and a guide in the ruins, but most don’t.
  • Teotihuacan archaeological site is massive, so plan to spend at least 2-3 hours exploring the ruins. Wear running shoes, lightweight clothes and prepare to walk a lot.
  • It gets hot at Teotihuacan by noon (regardless of when you’re visiting); make sure to bring a cap or hat and lots of water. There are plenty of shops in and around the ruins so you can always buy supplies there.
  • It’s not allowed to bring any handbag or backpack onto the hot air balloon. You can only bring your phone or camera on the flight. The operator will store your belongings or provide you with a locker.
  • Our operator provided us with the option of purchasing a drone video of us taken during the flight. It cost an extra 1000 MXN (US$60) and we split the cost among us. We weren’t thrilled with the video though and found it a waste of money.
See also  Visiting Teotihuacan: My Guide to the Mexico City Pyramids
teotihuacan hot air balloon

Teotihuacan Hot Air Balloon Accident

Sadly, there was a Teotihuacan hot air balloon accident in April 2023. A hot air balloon had burst into flames and crashed near the pyramids. Two of the passengers died in the crash and their teenage daughter was injured. The pilot was charged with homicide. Read about it here

The Federation of Hot Air Balloons of Teotihuacán said the balloon that crashed was not registered with them. Every hot air balloon operator needs to be registered to have the proper permission to fly. In fact, the company responsible for the accident was a drive-in movie theatre company secretly offering hot air balloon flights under the table. 

Fatal accidents involving hot air balloons are relatively rare. I have been hot air ballooning a few times times (in Egypt, Spain Australia and Turkey); and every single experience was smooth-sailing and amazing. Just do your research, pick reliable companies and you’ll be in safe hands!

Teotihuacan Hot Air Balloon FAQ

Why are the Teotihuacan ruins so important?

The Teotihuacan pyramids are some of the largest in the world and the entire archaeological site is incredibly well preserved. Because of its historical significance, Teotihuacan was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What’s most impressive about Teotihuacan is the sheer size of its monuments – in particular, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. Not only that, these monuments are laid out on geometric and symbolic principles, bearing testimony to the engineering skills and advancement of ancient Mexico. Read my guide to the Teotihuacan ruins.

teotihuacan hot air balloon

When is the best time to visit Teotihuacan?

Teotihuacan is one of the most visited ancient ruins in Mexico; it can get busy on weekends, particularly on Sunday when it’s free for citizens and residents of Mexico. The best time to visit Teotihuacan is during the lower season months (April-September).

During high season it gets overrun with visitors, which somewhat takes the wow factor out of the place. Avoid visiting Teotihuacan during peak travel season – Christmas, New Year, Easter (Holy Week), and other Mexican holidays. Another busy period is during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) – 26 Oct to 2 Nov – when many flock to Mexico City for the vibrant celebrations.

teotihuacan hot air balloon

How’s the weather at Teotihuacan? 

In general, Teotihuacan is warm and sunny all year round. Its high elevation keeps the temperature pretty mild though the sun does beat down hard. The coolest months are between December and February, although temperatures still average around 72°F (23℃) in the day. Read my guide on when to visit Mexico City.

How far away is Teotihuacan from Mexico City?

Teotihuacan is located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northeast of Mexico City, and it takes around 1 hour to get there. It’s faster in the morning before dawn, but once traffic hits in the afternoon, it can take longer to get back to Mexico City.

See also  5 Days in Mexico City Itinerary [2024]

How to get to Teotihuacan?

The easiest way to get to Teotihuacan is catching an Uber. We spent around 800 MXN (US$50) on our way there and just 500 MXN (US$30) on our way back. Initially we were worried about not finding an Uber back as we’d read that there’s no cell signal in most of the complex. But we walked to Gate 5, had brunch at La Gruta restaurant, and it was super easy to get one.

You can take a bus, but the first bus leaves at 6am and you won’t be able to make it to the meeting point in time. Buses leave from Terminal Central del Norte station and it costs around $50MXN/$2.40USD each way.

teotihuacan hot air balloon

Is there a weight limit on a hot air balloon ride?

Yes, but they don’t usually weigh passengers. Different operators have different regulations, so make sure to check with your tour operator what their maximum weight is for each passenger. 

Can kids go on a hot air balloon?

Most operators require a minimum height of 1.2m for kids to fly on their hot air balloon. My kids just turned 9 years old and she thoroughly enjoyed her first hot air balloon experience. The reason for the height requirement is so that the passenger can see over the rim.

No responsible operator would be comfortable with parents hoisting their children up. What’s more, during landing, sometimes things can get a little bumpy. In such situations, little kids might not be safe.

What should you wear on a Teotihuacan hot air balloon flight?

You’ll be doing lots of walking under the hot sun at Teotihuacan, so make sure to wear comfortable hiking clothes. Remember that it gets chilly in the morning and at altitude! So pack a fleece or jacket, even if you’re going hot air ballooning in summer.

At Teotihuacan, there is very little shade and it can get very hot even in winter. Make sure you pack a hat, lots of water, and light, airy clothes. Otherwise, there are several souvenir shops within the archaeological site that sell hats, sunscreen, and water.

teotihuacan hot air balloon

Enjoy Your Teotihuacan Hot Air Balloon Flight!

Thank you for reading this far. A Teotihuacan hot air balloon is well worth every penny; it’s an incredible experience whether it’s your first or 10th time at Teotihuacan! If you have any questions or tips of your own, please leave them in the comments below and I will be happy to reply to any questions you have.

Read my articles on Mexico City below:

Disclaimer: This experience was made possible by Tinggly, but all opinions expressed above are our own.

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