Hot Air Balloon Mexico City: The Ultimate Expert Guide 2024

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Ashlea J. Russell

Considering A Hot Air Balloon In Mexico City? I’ve Got All The First-Hand Info You Need To Take Flight.

Taking a ride in a hot air balloon is the stuff of dreams. Floating in a basket under a big balloon has been on my bucket list since I was a kid but it always seemed more like magic than reality, until now.

This year, I decided to make this dream come true and where better to float my hot air balloon than the ancient Aztec city of Teotihuacán, just outside of Mexico City?

I spent hours researching the right trip and scouring the internet for information on what to expect, what to wear, will they weigh me, how to get into the baskethow to get out 😳.

And now I’m here to share my experience with you and answer all your questions so you can feel prepared and have the trip of a lifetime.

Let’s get into it!


My Hot Air Balloon

I booked this Hot Air Balloon experience in Mexico City with Volare, the longest running ballooning company in the country. The experience was outstanding, super safe and something I’ll never forget.

Hot Air Balloon Mexico City

Taking a hot air balloon ride over Teotihuacán is arguably the best thing to do in Mexico City.

And that’s saying something, since Mexico City is bursting with incredible ways to fill your time.

The gorgeous Central Mexican landscape paired with an ancient Aztec city and an enchanting, giant balloon makes this an experience I’ll never forget, and one I hope you’ll try.

The hot air balloon rides in Mexico City come in various packages with transfers, mariachi bands, breakfast (even breakfast in a natural cave), and additional time to visit the archeological site of Teotihuacán itself.

If you’ve already decided to try this amazing experience, then I’m going to help you choose the right tour and prepare for your flight. And if you’re still on the fence, I’m going to convince you to do it!

Is a Hot Air Balloon at Teotihuacan Worth It?

I can honestly say that taking the hot air balloon ride over Teotihuacán was one of the best things I have ever done in my life. This experience was totally worth the price tag and waking up at 4:30am.

I think a hot air balloon ride anywhere in the world would be amazing. The serenity of floating through the air under a colourful balloon is pure magic.

But doing it at Teotihuacán made it even more special.

Ashlea riding in a hot air balloon with the pyramids of Teotihuacan in the background.

Flying over the pyramids, so close it felt like I could reach down and touch them, watching the golden sunrise splash across the agave and cacti covered landscape and counting the other balloons waltzing up and down in slow motion, all made for an experience I’ll never forget.

I can’t recommend this enough. If you are on the fence or even have an ounce of desire to hot air balloon over Teotihuacán I urge you to do it. You won’t regret it.

Are the Hot Air Balloons in Mexico City Safe?

Yes, hot air balloons in Mexico City are safe provided you fly with a reputable company.

When choosing a company to hot air balloon with make sure you’re choosing one that doesn’t cut corners on safety.

My hot air balloon operator, Volare is very up front about safety standards. Their license number is publicly listed on the website, and they are certified by the World Travel & Tourism Council as a Safe Travels operator.

All of their pilots are certified by the AFAC in Mexico as well as the FAA in the US, and they are fluent in both Spanish and English. They have an impeccable safety record and are fully insured.

Volare is also the oldest ballooning company in Mexico, operating continuously for almost 20 years.

When choosing your hot air balloon operator in Mexico City make sure they are:

  • AFAC Licensed (Bonus Points for FAA Licensing)
  • Fully Insured
  • An Experienced Operation

Best Hot Air Balloon In Mexico City

Before I settled on my hot air balloon experience in Mexico City I went deep down the research rabbit hole because I don’t believe that just because a tour is the most popular that means it’s the best.

In this case however, that’s exactly what it means.

The hot air balloon experience I chose in Mexico City is the best rated, has the most 5* reviews, is operated by the most experienced company in the country, with an outstanding safety record, was great value, and gave me the experience of a lifetime.

My tour cost $2,700MXN [$161USD/$218CAD] per person plus the $400MXN [$24USD/$34CAD] I added on for transfers ($3,100MXN/$185USD/$252CAD total) and included:

  • Comfortable Round-Trip Transportation From Mexico City
  • 30-50 Minute Hot Air Balloon Flight With English Speaking Pilot
  • Transportation Back To The Balloon Port After Landing
  • Pre Flight Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Bottled Water & Biscuits
  • A Champagne Toast
  • Personalized Colour Certificate Of Flight
  • Post Flight Buffet Mexican Breakfast
  • Live Mariachi Band Entertainment
  • Flight Insurance
  • Optional 3hrs At Teotihuacán Including Transportation

  • If you opt for a different tour, read the fine print and watch for hidden costs. Several tours I considered seemed to be cheaper but had extra costs that added up to more. Read all the tour details carefully before booking.

This tour comes with three options, without round-trip transfers, with round-trip transfers, and with round-trip transfers including 3 hours at Teotihuacán archeological site.

  • The transfers cost the same whether you choose extra time at Teotihuacán or not. I strongly encourage taking the transfers instead of trying to find the balloon port in the dark. Note: Transfers do not serve Airbnbs or private homes but they will pick up at any hotel in Centro.

Volare operated like a well-oiled machine. There was no confusion at any point, everyone knew where they were supposed to go and when, they were friendly and the staff had a genuine passion for ballooning.

A view of hot air balloons floating over the pyramids of Teotihuacan taken from a hot aair balloon.

Every member of staff I encountered from my pilot to the check in clerk to the caretakers were lovely and happy.

I highly recommend this tour as part of any Mexico City itinerary and if I ever hot air balloon in Mexico City again, I will choose the same company.

What To Expect

I’m the sort of person who likes to have all the information up front so I can relax and feel prepared. But when I was researching hot air balloons in Mexico City before my trip I had a hard time finding complete information on what to expect.

So, I’m going to walk you through my whole experience, answer the questions I had before travelling and share a few things I really wish I knew ahead of time.

Pick-Up Process

  • Confirming The Transfer
  • The Pick-Up
  • The Journey

During this trip I stayed at Casa Prim in Colonia Juárez which is a small boutique hotel that was not on the transfer list. I Whatsapped Volare after booking and they confirmed that they would pick me up at my hotel without issue.

  • Volare will pick up at any hotel or hostel in tourist zones such as Centro Histórico, Condesa, Roma, Reforma, and Juárez. They do not pick up from private homes or rentals like Airbnb. If you’re staying somewhere private, you can find a nearby hotel and use that as your pick up point.

The day before my balloon ride I received a WhatsApp message in English confirming my hotel location followed by a pick up time along with instructions to bring photo ID with me.

Any official ID such as passport or drivers license are accepted and for children they accept passport or school ID.

  • I strongly recommend you download WhatsApp before travelling anywhere in Mexico. WhatsApp is the main way to communicate with anyone from hotels to tour guides to laundry services and more.

Pick ups start as early as 4:30am and the office does a fantastic job of grouping guests in similar areas and planning the most efficient route.

My pick up time was 5:15am, the van arrived at 5:25am and the driver came to the door and asked for me by name.

There were very few cars on the road at this hour and most of the people we saw were street cleaners cleaning the roads before the city woke up. This made for a really easy drive.

The journey to the balloon port took about an hour, including an extra pick up stop we made along the way and most of the drive is smooth on a well-lit highway.

Before The Ride

  • Check In
  • Refreshments
  • Balloon Assignment

When we arrived at the balloon port there was already quite a few people there. I headed inside and to the back of the room where the check in desks were located.

There are flags on the wall that indicate Spanish or English so I made my way to the English desk. There was no line and I was able to check in right away.

The clerk was very friendly, she found my name on a list, checked my ID and had me fill in a brief passenger intake form. They did not weigh me or ask my weight or height at any time.

Volare hot air balloon port outside of Mexico City.

Passengers are then given a coloured wristband depending on if they want extra time at Teotihuacán or not. She also told me that if I changed my mind I could come back to the desk later to change my wristband.

  • It’s important that if you change your plans you let the staff know asap. They assign passengers to transfers in advance and plan according to where each person is going including hotel drop off routes.

I then had about 30 minutes to wait before the sun started to rise and things got exciting.

Inside the door of the balloon port was a coffee bar with a clerk serving fresh coffee, tea, hot chocolate and biscuits.

  • They also have complimentary bottled water behind the counter. They don’t leave them out but if you ask for a bottle they’ll gladly give you one.

There is also a vending machine selling Coca-Cola products, free washrooms with toilet paper and a little photo op with a mini balloon. There are no lockers at the balloon port. Anything you bring comes in the basket with you.

Outside there is a grassy area with benches, portable gas heaters, a first-aid tent, and an adorable little stand selling cute souvenirs.

As the sun starts to rise, everyone gathers on the grass and watches as the crew start to prepare the balloons for flight.

Ashlea standing in front of the hot air balloons being inflated at Teotihuacan.

Watching the crew inflate the balloons is actually really exciting. The balloons are so much bigger than I imagined them being and we were all taking pictures and videos.

Everyone really started to wake up at this point and there was a buzz in the air as we all chatted about the balloons.

The staff give a 10 minute warning over the loud speaker to gather on the grass so this is the time to go to the washroom and finish up any beverages.

When the balloons were nearly ready a staff member came out to give instructions, first in Spanish and then in English. She read off names in groups and each group was assigned to a balloon.

There were 12 people in my group and we waited by the balloon while the crew inflated it and prepared the basket.

During The Ride

  • Boarding
  • In Flight
  • Landing

Once the balloon was upright and ready, it was time to climb in!

The basket is divided into five sections, one in the middle for the pilot and one in each corner for the passengers. The crew assign each person one by one to a specific spot in the basket.

Something I wasn’t prepared for is how challenging it is to actually get into the basket!

To board the balloon you climb the foot holes in the side of the basket. The main challenge here is that one is very close to the ground and the other is very close to the top of the basket.

  • Consider your clothing! To enter the basket you need to bend your legs significantly. Avoid skirts, dresses, or tight pants without stretch. If you are injured or unable to climb the crew can lift you in but it’s an awkward process.

I’m a woman of average height, 5’6, and I found it difficult to reach my leg to the top hole and to balance as there was nothing to hold on to other than the basket itself.

The hot air balloon pilot and crew preparing the balloon and basket for flight.

It’s snug inside the basket. I was with two other women in my section and we each had bags that we set on the floor of the basket. Although it’s tight, everyone faces out for the beautiful view.

  • Because the balloon turns throughout the flight, everyone gets a panoramic view. I don’t think any spot in the basket is better or worse than others.

After a quick safety briefing the crew began our take off. It was so smooth, I barely noticed we were off the ground until I saw we were above the heads of the crew.

All the balloons take off at different times and the crew guides the basket by hand over the airfield until it’s safe to let go.

Then we were floating!🎈

The flight took 40 minutes and travelled over 6kms. The pilot played a themed playlist of songs about flying and everyone started to snap photos.

I loved watching the other balloons in the air, I think they created a really enchanting atmosphere but I think my favourite part was flying over the pyramids.

I was shocked at how close we got to the pyramids. It was incredible to see them up close and from this angle. The pilot was an absolute master at flying us right up to the pyramid and then up and over the top.

A view of a hot air balloon floating over the side of the pyramid at Teotihuacan near Mexico City.

Flying in the balloon was so serene and felt surprisingly normal. It wasn’t scary at all and another passenger even mentioned that he’s afraid of heights but felt totally comfortable during the flight.

After about 35mins our pilot, Nando, started to plan our landing and briefed us on how prepare. We held onto the rope handles and bent our knees to brace for landing in a field.

He did a fantastic job of landing in an open area between the cacti and other plants.

The landing isn’t as smooth as the take off but it was just a bit of a bump and then we were on the ground.

After The Ride

  • Pick Up
  • Breakfast
  • Departure

While we waited for the crew to come and get us Nando popped open two bottles of champagne and we had a customary toast to our flight.

The pick up process took about 15 minutes as we waited in the basket, chatting and sipping our champagne.

The crew loaded the basket (with all of us still in it) onto the back of a flatbed and strapped it in. They also deflated the balloon and safely packed it away.

  • While we waited a few locals on bicycles came by offering to sell some small souvenirs. They aren’t pushy and if you aren’t interested simply say “Gracias” and they will move on.

We then climbed back out of the basket and loaded into a comfortable transfer van along with the pilot and a driver.

A pilot leading the champagne toast inside the basket of a landed hot air balloon.

The drive back to the balloon was quick and easy. Upon arrival we were given personalized flight certificates marking the date and time we flew.

  • The pilot takes a time lapse video of the flight on a GoPro strapped to the balloon. The video cost $600MXN [$35USD/$48CAD] total so my group of twelve paid $50MXN [$3USD/$4CAD] cash each. The pilot airdropped or WhatsApped the video to everyone individually. It was great value!

Back at the balloon port there is a lovely, colourful courtyard full of tables where everyone gathers for breakfast. The breakfast buffet is traditional Mexican with dishes like chilaquiles, bread, fruit, etc.

A mariachi band dressed to the nines plays Mexican music while everyone eats.

After about an hour there is another announcement over the loudspeaker for everyone to meet at the front of the balloon port.

The courtyard prepared for breakfast at Volare hot air balloon port near Teotihuacan.

This is when people are assigned to vehicles either heading back to Mexico City or over to Teotihuacán.

The drive back to Mexico City is definitely the only downside of this experience but it’s unavoidable. Traffic entering Mexico City is always an issue regardless of the time of day so do expect a slow down when you reach the city bounds.

The driver has a planned route and will drop everyone off at their prearranged location.

Extra Time At Teotihuacán

If you decided to add on extra time at Teotihuacán the shuttle will drop you off, usually at the gates closest to the pyramids. This is good news because you don’t have to walk the full Avenue of the Dead which is 1.5 miles/2.4 km.

  • Entrance to the archeological site is not included. Tickets cost $85MXN [$5USD/$6.75CAD] cash only. You can also hire a guide at the gates which usually costs around $850MXN [$50USD/$67CAD] for two hours.

The crew will let you know when and where to meet your shuttle back to Mexico City. The extra time at Teotihuacán is usually around three hours which is enough time to explore the site and museum before returning back to Mexico City.

Teotihuacán Hot Air Balloon Tips

Here are a few of my top tips to make sure you have the smoothest ride and best experience on your hot air balloon ride over Teotihuacán.

Don’t Cheap Out

Hot air balloon rides often cost a premium and there’s a reason for that. Although it’s natural to want to get a good deal there’s some truth to that old saying “you get what you pay for”.

When you eliminate the breakfasts, transfers and mariachis and just look at the experience itself it’s easy to see where the money goes.

It takes a crew of about four people to get a balloon in the air. There’s a licensed pilot flying the balloon, fuel to power the flight and insurance to protect everyone involved.

After the balloon lands there’s a crew that comes to find you. They then safely deflate and pack the balloon, and drive you, the balloon and the basket the several kilometers back to the balloon port.

There are a lot of people, training, licensing and insuring involved in making an experience like this memorable but more importantly, safe.

  • Asking around for local deals or booking back alley balloon rides is strongly discouraged.

Make sure you’re trusting people who are regulated, licensed, insured and experienced professionals. That means paying for the best, not the cheapest.

Take The Transfer

When I was choosing my hot air balloon tour I explored every possible way to get from Mexico City to the balloon port. I looked at Ubers, taxis, buses, you name it. But in the end I decided to pay the extra $400MXN [$25USD/$32CAD] for the tour company round-trip transfer and boy am I glad I did.

For starters, the transfer was prompt, comfortable and easy but the real benefit was in finding the balloon port.

When you leave the highway you take an unpaved shoulder road up to the overpass and make a sharp U-turn back in the other direction. There are no lights in this area other than the headlights of the van and it’s still very dark out.

The dark lane leading to the Volare hot air balloon port.

Soon you reach the small “town” which consists of a gas station, balloon ports and several speed bumps.

The entrance to the balloon port is down an unlit, unmarked, unpaved, narrow, walled laneway riddled with pot holes.

  • It would be very easy for rental cars or Ubers to be damaged or even get stuck, especially if it’s been raining.

The transfer is a small premium and actually works out to be cheaper than an Uber from Mexico City. Even if you have your own car or rental car I strongly encourage you to make your life easy and spring for the transfer.

Bring Layers

Dressing for Mexico City is always a challenge because it’s chilly in the morning and evening and very warm and sunny during the day. This is also true for taking a hot air balloon near Mexico City.

In the balloon itself it’s actually not that chilly because the fire keeps things toasty but before the balloon ride is when you’ll need to bundle up.

I found a nice big scarf, a jacket and the outdoor heaters were enough to keep me from shivering while I waited for my flight.

If you’re planning to visit Teotihuacán after your balloon ride you also need to prepare for the opposite. The sun can be unforgiving and there is no shade on the large avenue to the pyramids.

You’re going to want a t-shirt or light top, sunglasses and a hat to keep you cool while you explore the site.

And remember to wear clothes you can climb in! Avoid skirts or pants that restrict your ability to get into the basket.

Go It Alone!

I did my hot air balloon ride in Mexico City solo and I was surprised at how many other solo travellers I met during my experience.

Mexico City is a great place for solo travellers, and if you’re travelling alone and you want to do the tour, go for it! People chatted to me before, during, and after my flight. People offered to take pictures and videos for me and everyone was really friendly.

Ashlea in the hot air balloon basket over Teotihuacan at sunrise with a balloon floating in the background.

I think we were all just really excited to do this amazing experience! Don’t let being solo deter you from crossing ballooning off the bucket list.

Enjoy The Moment

It’s easy to get lost in trying to take the perfect picture or video of the experience but make sure you also take time to bask in the moment.

Because the hot air balloon ride is at sunrise the view is always changing. Leaning on the edge of the basket and gazing out at the other balloons, the pyramids and the golden sunrise to the soundtrack of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds is a memory I’ll never forget.

This is one of those experiences that makes life so special so be sure to savour it.


You’ve got questions about hot air balloons in Mexico City and I have answers!

What Do You Wear to a Hot Air Balloon in Mexico City?

When taking a hot air balloon ride in Mexico City it’s best to dress in layers, especially if you plan to visit Teotihuacán after.

Before the ride when the sun is still down is the coldest time. You’ll want at least a jacket, scarf, long pants like jeans and maybe even a hat. You also need to wear clothes you can bend in to climb into the basket (I do not recommend skirts).

As the sun rises, so do the temperatures. I was able to remove my outer layers and store them in my backpack. If you plan to head to Teotihuacán after, it can be very hot with limited shade so a t-shirt or light top, sunglasses and water are essential.

How Long Is the Balloon Ride in Teotihuacán?

My balloon ride at Teotihuacán lasted approximately 40 minutes but the ride can last anywhere from 30 – 45 minutes depending on the weather and wind.

My pre-ride time at the port was about 35 minutes and post-ride was approximately 1hr 45mins including transportation back to the port, time for breakfast and entertainment and loading back onto the return shuttle. In total the experience lasts about 5 hours.

How Much Does It Cost to Ride a Hot Air Balloon in Mexico City?

Hot air balloon rides in Mexico City start at $140USD/$185CAD depending on the package and inclusions you choose.

Summary: Hot Air Balloon Mexico City

Taking a hot air balloon ride in Mexico City was something I had toyed with on all of my trips to Mexico City over the years and I’m so glad I finally took the leap.

From free walking tours to Lucha Libre, and sunset rooftop cocktails, there are so many experiences that make Mexico City worth visiting. But this experience is one of my favourite things I’ve ever done in my life and a memory I’ll cherish forever.

I hope this guide has answered your questions about ballooning over Teotihuacán and you decide to go for it, and enjoy this incredible experience as much as I did.