Most visitors to the ancient Teotihuacan Pyramids do so on a day trip from Mexico City. They arrive in the morning, spend a few hours wandering the ruins site, then hop back on an outbound bus. Somehow, that just didn’t feel right to me. I wanted to explore the ruins at leisure, to have time to climb both the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon without feeling rushed or worrying about missing a bus. Rather than do the day trip, I decided to stay in the small town of San Juan Teotihuacan, located jut a couple of miles away from the ruins.
I took a one-way bus to San Juan Teotihuacan, got off in the middle of town, and began looking for a place to stay for a couple of nights. Picking my way through rubble-filled streets torn up for sewer installation, I circled the central plaza but didn’t find even a single hotel. Shop owners directed me to the outskirts of town, where all the international chain hotels were located, but when I explained my desire to stay in the center of town, most just scratched their heads or shrugged. Finally, one shop owner directed me to a a very economically priced posada – an inn – on a side street off the plaza.
Located behind a simple brick arched doorway, the Posada Familiar Mexiquense was easy to miss; I walked up and down the block twice before I finally located it. Beyond the archway I found an open-air inner courtyard but no one was in sight. After calling out several times with no response I assumed the inn was either fully booked or closed due to the street construction. Fortunately, as I started to leave a local resident came to my rescue; he fetched the owner from her second floor residence and she led me to a very basic, tiny ground floor room.
The metal door and windows of my room were rust riddled and peeling paint and the rough concrete walls were slathered with several coats of glossy tan paint, but the room was clean and it included cable TV and an ensuite bathroom. Strangely, when I asked for a key the owner explained that they do not give out keys. I simply needed to pull the door shut behind me to lock it when I left, and ring a bell when I returned. No matter the hour, the owner would come down and let me in.
Despite this minor inconvenience, Posada Familiar was a pleasant option, especially since the town was safe to walk about alone at any hour of the day. I stayed three days, wandering around the delightful town plaza, browsing through the market, and sampling delicious homemade food at stalls surrounding the plaza. In a tiny grocery store the owner took time out from stocking fresh vegetables to explain the difference between several varieties of mangoes and then gave me two for free. In the ice cream shop I pigged out on a double scoop. Rather than taking a taxi van to the ruins, I leisurely walked the two miles to the ruins, stopping to chat with a local sheepherder and pet one of his baby ewes. Best of all, the price was a very affordable $250 pesos, or about $20 USD per night. Posada Familiar Mexiquense is located at Nicolas Bravo No. 12, Centro Teotihuacan de Arista. If no one is around when you arrive, look for the bell (timbre) on the door jamb.