Hot Air Ballooning Over Teotihuacán

When I began planning my trip to Mexico I knew I wanted to visit Teotihuacán, an ancient Mesoamerican city located an hour outside of Mexico City. And what better way to see ancient ruins than by hot air balloon at sunrise?

I chose to go hot air ballooning with Volare although they’re a little pricier than some of the other hot air ballooning companies. But if I’m ever willing to shell out a little extra money, it’s when I’m in a tiny basket floating hundreds of feet above the ground.

We set off at 6 a.m. to drive an hour to the ruins. When we arrived at the launch site, I realized I was dressed completely wrong – shorts in 30-degree weather? Not fun.

Hot Air Ballooning Over Teotihuacan

As I attempted to stave off hypothermia while wrapped in two blankets, we watched the other balloons fill up and take off. When my dad and I finally climbed into our basket around 9 a.m., my fingers were icicles and I was so grateful for the balloon’s burner.

Hot Air Ballooning Over Teotihuacan

As our balloon started to rise, the town below us began to look like a candy-colored dollhouse. It was fun seeing village life from above – we could hear roosters crowing, and when we descended briefly, the village dogs barked at us ferociously.

Hot Air Ballooning Over Teotihuacan

As we drifted towards Teotihuacán, I could see why the Aztecs believed it was the place the gods created the universe – it’s otherworldly.

Hot Air Ballooning Over Teotihuacan

Hot Air Ballooning Over Teotihuacan

In between firing the (very loud) burner, our guide pointed out the different ruins that comprise Teotihuacán: the Avenue of the Dead, the Moon Temple, the Sun Temple and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent.


Quick history lesson – scholars estimate Teotihuacán was established around 100 BC, and most likely collapsed in the 7th or 8th century. Human sacrifices occurred every 20 days at Teotihuacán during the Aztec period, so it’s clear they believed it to be a sacred site.

Also, did you know the sun temple is the third largest pyramid in the world?

Hot Air Ballooning Over Teotihuacan

Hot Air Ballooning Over Teotihuacan

Hot Air Ballooning Over Teotihuacan

Towards the end of our ride our guide surprised us with a bottle of bubbly. While lukewarm rosé moscato isn’t my favorite sparkling wine, I was still touched by the gesture.

Hot Air Ballooning Over Teotihuacan

I was a little worried about landing, but it was surprisingly peaceful – we merely floated to the ground in the middle of a field.

After the men packed up the balloon into the truck, we drove back to the launching site for a breakfast of chilaquiles, eggs and beans. Several guests stayed on to climb the pyramids, but we had a food tour scheduled.

As we headed back to Mexico City, I was kicking myself for not scheduling more time to climb the pyramids. But as they say, it only gives me more reason to return.

[box type=”bio”] Practical info.

  • Wear layers! Teotihuacán can get cold, and is especially frigid in the morning, so make sure to dress warmly.
  • Show up early to the meeting point. If you miss the scheduled meeting time, you’ll have to find your own transport to the pyramids – not something you want to deal with at 6 a.m.
  • Research your tour company. Volare was overall a pretty good tour company, but for how much we paid for our trip, I was a little disappointed that my “sunrise” tour started at 9 a.m. Also the pickup was very disorganized, and I wish they would’ve confirmed my reservation that week.
  • if you don’t have a few hundred dollars to drop on hot air ballooning, visit the temples anyway. I’ve heard climbing them is any incredible experience. [/box]

Have you ever ridden in a hot air balloon? Would you wan to go hot air ballooning over Teotihuacán?

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

28 thoughts on “Hot Air Ballooning Over Teotihuacán”

  1. I’m dying to go hot air ballooning (particularly in Cappadocia, Turkey) but I am admittedly a little bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to activities like that!

  2. Ashley, have you checked out the The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta? Your ballooning adventure in Mexico seems like a great warm up for the real thing!


  3. I visited Teotihuacan but sadly, not in a hot air balloon. This looks like an amazing experience especially since the ruins are so vast and you have no idea how much there is from the ground. I did get to climb one of the castillos, although I’ve forgotten which one :)

    Poor you about the lack of warm clothing! But yeah, central Mexico with higher altitudes-nothing tropical about it :)

  4. Awesome! I didn’t know they do hot air ballooning there. What a pity I didn’t do it. The place looks so quiet at this time of the day

  5. I was just talking to someone about how terrifying I imagine hot air balloon rides to be… I’m just a little afraid of heights. But it looks like such a unique and unforgettable way to get to know a new place! Thoughts?

  6. I just went for my first balloon ride in Marrakech. And yes, I was also very grateful for the burner of the balloon. I didn’t have such clear skies but we ended up being over the clouds which was completely surreal!

  7. Those views look wonderful! I think a hot air balloon ride would be absolutely stunning, but I have a very strong fear of heights. I don’t know what it is like in a basket, but I don’t know what to do. Any advice for a first timer?

  8. Beautiful photos. We are headed to Mexico City for the first time this July, and this looks like a must do. Your photography is gorgeous. I’m a newborn and family photographer in Indianapolis. Do you mind sharing the camera you use for travel photos? Thank you so much!

  9. Hi Ashley,
    wooow, this sound like a great experience. We are planning our trip through Mexico for early next year and the ballon ride is definitely on my list now. :)
    You said, that you were a little peeved, that you didn’t take off until 9 a.m. Are there rides, that start much earlier? And do you know from which providers?

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