Cuicuilco is one of Mexico’s most ancient sites. Take the short trip out of town to see the circular pyramid, which was partially buried by a volcanic eruption and is set amid a nature preserve.
Cuicuilco was once home to as many as 20,000 people, but when a volcano erupted in about A.D. 400, it covered the area in lava and forced the population to disperse. It has remained uninhabited ever since.
The focal point of the ruins is the Piramide de Cuicuilco, a circular structure in the center of the hill. Standing at 18 meters (59 feet) tall and containing five stories, the pyramid is impressive even today. Used as a ceremonial and religious structure during the Mesoamerican era, it remains beautifully preserved.
Cuicuilco is also a nature reserve, so bring a lunch and enjoy stunning views of nearby Mexico City from the top of the hill. This view is popular with tourists and locals alike. Thousands of visitors make a pilgrimage at the Spring Equinox to watch the sunrise, which is traditionally believed to provide spiritual awakening.
On your way back into Mexico City, be sure to take a look at the Museo Arqueológico Cuicuilco, which is located on Avenida de los Insurgentes. It contains some of the unique artifacts that were uncovered in Cuicuilco, ranging from pottery to jewelry to tools. It also provides historical context on this rare religious area and is a good way to further understand its significance.
Cuicuilco is located 12 miles south of downtown Mexico City’s. Visitors can take the subway to Ciudad and catch a bus or cab to the ancient ruins, or simply take a cab from downtown. It is easy to spend the entire afternoon at Cuicuilco. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and prepare to be outdoors for most of the day.