Although Tlaxcala and Tepoztlán lie only 60 miles apart from each other on the map, there are two massive (very selfish) volcanoes between the two towns. This means there is no obvious easy route to drive between them, and no direct bus. We had to get quite creative to get from one to the other by public transport!
Understandably, Mexico City is the glue which connects the towns and cities around it together. The problem is that Mexico City is MASSIVE, with several different bus terminals. We were excited to see a direct bus from Tlaxcala to the capital, but it only went to the east bus terminal, TAPO. This gave us a bit of a headache, as we needed to get to the south terminal, Taxqueña, for the departing bus to Tepoztlán.
We didn’t want to have to face trying to cross Mexico City with our huge bags, so we needed another solution. We knew that there were fairly frequent buses leaving from Puebla’s main bus terminal, CAPU, heading for Taxqueña. After a democratic chat, we decided that we would much rather have a change in Puebla than navigate the busy, over-heated capital city!
Tlaxcala to Tepoztlán (via Puebla and Mexico City Taxqueña)
Leg 1 – Tlaxcala to Puebla CAPU
Local bus, 30 pesos each, 1.25 hrs
We left Tlaxcala by one of the local minibuses at 10.30am. The buses depart regularly from the main central marketplace. You will find a huge open space with lots of minibuses, which can seem extremely chaotic at first glance. It is still overwhelming on your second and third glance so save yourself some time and ask the first driver you come to where you can find a bus for Puebla’s main bus terminal CAPU. Honestly, they are friendlier and much more helpful than they look!
Leg 2 – Puebla CAPU to Mexico City Taxqueña
ADO, 218 pesos each, 2.5 hrs
There are ADO buses leaving CAPU for Taxqueña roughly every hour (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less). We had just missed one when we arrived, so we had an hour to wait. We passed the time by getting our caffeine fix. Unlike most of the retailers in the terminal, Ruta Café has a actual coffee machine (as opposed to a kettle and instant!) and a decent menu, our americanos were just 23 pesos (less than a £1) each. You can’t really tell from the front, but there is a nice little outside area at the back where you can sit and enjoy your drink away from the terminal’s craziness.
We left Puebla at 12.45pm.
Leg 3 – Mexico City Taxqueña to Tepoztlan
OCC, 130 pesos each, 1.25 hrs
There are OCC buses leaving Taxqueña regularly, and we only had 20 minutes to wait before our 3.35pm departure. Although OCC are run by ADO, they do have their own desk (under the name of OCC) for tickets. You can find them at the far end, by the Pullman de Morelos desk.
Be aware that the the gate numbering system here makes very little sense. There are five gates, which aren’t in a logical order. The fourth one, the one we needed, is tucked away in the middle of the terminal. We had a small panic trying to find it, before conceding and asking for directions.
On the way to Tepoztlán the scenery changed drastically compared to Tlaxcala, where we had woken up that morning. Gone were the welcoming gangs of cacti by the road. The land became lusher, with lots of green trees and rolling hills.
The bus will drop you off at the terminal, which is just on the outskirts of town (see map). We opted to get a taxi to avoid lugging our bags through the hilly windy streets. The taxi to our centrally located hotel cost us 30 pesos (about £1.40) and we thought this was well worth it for convenience.
We chose the above route because we trust ADO, they are punctual and professional, and they also have an up to date website where we could check times and routes. With a bit more Spanish than we have, you might find the following options work better for you instead (if they do, please let us know!).
Bus via Mexico City TAPO
If you are braver than us, and know your way around Mexico City, you could get the bus we mentioned from Tlaxcala, to Mexico City TAPO. We think the company is called ATAH, but we couldn’t find a website for them. From TAPO, you would need to work your way across the city to Taxqueña, for the bus to Tepoztlán (same as Leg 3 above).
Bus via Cuernavaca
We know very little about this route, but we saw some mention of it online and it looks like a potential alternative. We aren’t sure how much time it would save, and we think it might cost a little more than the option that we did.
Leg 1 – Tlaxacala to Puebla CAPU
Exactly as Leg 1 above, get the collectivo minibus from the main market in Tlaxcala.
Leg 2 – Puebla CAPU to Cuernavaca
We saw that a bus company called Autobuses Oro run buses between Puebla and Cuernavaca. Looking at the website the cost is around 290 pesos per person.
Leg 3 – Cuernavaca to Tepoztlán
There are two options here.
The first option is by bus. We know that there are buses running between Cuernavaca and Tepoztlán, but we don’t know anything about the companies, prices, or where they pick up/drop off. Be aware that our copy of Lonely Planet mentions that there have been robberies on the buses along this route, so please use caution.
The second option is by taxi which can take between 30-60 minutes, depending on the time of day, and we think it should cost around 150 pesos.
Thinking back, we wished we had enquired about the cost of a direct taxi all the way from Tlaxcala to Tepoztlán. It took almost seven hours door to door on the buses (via Mexico City Taxqueña), and cost around 750 pesos for the two of us. Looking at Google route maps the journey should take about 2.5 hours in a car, so it might be quite close in cost, and would even be worth a little extra for the time saved. This might be an even more economical option for you if you’re travelling as a group.
Hopefully this guide helps, we really enjoyed our time in both Tlaxcala and Tepoztlán and, in our opinion, the journey was worth it. Check out our other posts on Mexico for more inspiration and handy tips!