Taking the Bus to Los Guachimontones: A How-to Guide

Los what?

That’s a common reaction to have if you’re researching day trips from Guadalajara, as Los Guachimontones makes the list for being one of only two former civilizations in the world with round pyramids.

Needless to say, if you’re trying to figure out how to take the bus from Guadalajara to Los Guachimontones, learning how to pronounce “Guachimontones” is your first step. The phonetic spelling is as follows:

WHAH-chee-mohn-TOHN-ace.

Are you still struggling with wrapping your tongue around so many syllables? If so, writing “Guachimontones” on a piece of paper and pointing at it when you’re at the bus station does the trick too.

Ready to learn how to get to Los Guachimontones by bus? Let’s get started.

Accessibility Note: Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn details about wheelchair accessibility in Los Guachimontones.

Some Stats for Context

I visited Los Guachimontones in January 2022.

So, the bus schedules and prices you’ll find in this post are valid as of that time.

If you experience different bus departures, costs, or anything else that varies from what I talk about, I’d appreciate it if you return here to leave a comment. Your experience will prevent future readers from having trip hiccups.

Los Guachimontones vs. Teuchitlán

Los Guachimontones and Teuchitlán share the characteristic of extraordinarily hard names to pronounce.

But they differ in this sense: Teuchitlán is the town where Los Guachimontones is located.

Nevertheless, when you arrive at the bus station, the ticketing agents will know that you need to catch a bus to Teuchitlán if you say “Los Guachimontones.”

Just don’t waste time looking for a bus that says “Guachimontones.” Instead, scan the buses for a Teuchitlán sign like this one:

River bus with sign to Teuchitlan.

Taking the Bus from Guadalajara to Los Guachimontones

You’ll need to head to the Central Vieja bus station in Guadalajara to catch a bus to Los Guachimontones.

The Central Vieja station is an old, open-air space that has two separate ticketing and boarding areas according to what side of the city you’re traveling to.

The bus station has two entrances. Regardless of which way you enter, head to the right and you’ll land in the correct area for buses to Los Guachimontones.

Bus Company Choices, Oh My!

There are two main bus companies that run the route from Guadalajara to Los Guachimontones:

  • River (second class)
  • ATE (first class)

We took River on our way to Los Guachimontones and ATE on our return. ATE was undoubtedly the more comfortable option, but having known no other way in Guadalajara, River served its purpose.

River ticket booth at the Central Vieja bus station in Guadalajara.
River ticket booth at the Central Vieja bus station in Guadalajara.

I’ll talk more about River and ATE shortly. But for now, I’m sure you’re itching to know their bus schedules.

Bus Schedules to and from Guadalajara

Here’s the good news: Although Los Guachimontones is off the main path, getting to Teuchitlán is easy since buses run regularly.

Bus Schedule: Guadalajara to Teuchitlán (Los Guachimontones)

Bus CompanyHoursFrequency
River5:00 am - 8:30 pmEvery 30 minutes
ATEEvery 20 minutes

Bus Schedule: Teuchitlán (Los Guachimontones) to Guadalajara

Bus CompanyHoursFrequency
River
ATE7:40 am - 8:00 pmEvery 20 - 30 minutes

If Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

Should you find yourself losing track of time as you drink at one of the local bars in Teuchitlán or chow down on frog legs by the lake (yes, really), all hope isn’t lost if you miss one of the buses above.

Instead, head to the main road and stand on the opposite side of the gas station. Buses to Guadalajara pass through there until the mid to late evening.

Alternatively, you can hail a cab.

The approximately 40-mile journey won’t be a drop in the bucket, but it shouldn’t break the bank for being a travel emergency, either.

Bus Prices to Guachimontones

The cost of a bus ticket from Guadalajara to Guachimontones depends on the bus company you chose. As of January 2022, the bus prices are as follows:

  • River: 50 pesos
  • ATE: 75 pesos

The bus ticket prices are per way, meaning that even if you go with the fancier bus company ATE, you’re looking at around a $7 round trip expense.

You can’t purchase your bus tickets from Guadalajara to Guachimontones in advance.

I’m not sure if this will be reassuring, but standing is permitted on both buses. For my Sunday trip, no one had to stand on the way down to Teuchitlán. But on our way back, the aisle was packed with people trying to get back to Guadalajara before the work week started.

Needless to say, you shouldn’t have issues with availability. However, it might not be the most comfortable ride if you end up having to stand for 2+ hours.

River vs. ATE Buses

Perhaps unsurprisingly, River isn’t nearly as comfortable as its first-class ATE counterpart.

The River buses have hard plastic seats, an older appearance, and don’t feel quite as clean (although there was someone mopping our bus floor before we boarded in Guadalajara).

Here’s a peek at the inside our River bus:

Plastic seats on the River bus from Guadalajara to Los Guachimontones.

In contrast, our ATE bus had plush cloth seats that reclined. We had more legroom, and there was air conditioning on board (in the moments when our driver decided to turn it on).

This is what our ATE bus looked like:

Plush seats on the ATE Plus bus from Guadalajara to Los Guachimontones.

Timing-wise, both buses run the same route and stop to pick up passengers on the way. So, you won’t get to your destination faster by choosing one bus over the other.

Where to Sit for the Best Views

I’m all about finding the best side of the bus to sit on when traveling.

But when it comes to the trip between Guadalajara and Guachimontones, it’s hard to go wrong with picking a side.

More than half of your trip will likely be spent in Guadalajara city traffic. Once you finally break away from the city, sugar cane and agave fields will surround you, framed by some small mountains in the distance.

From my experience, the bus was practically empty leaving the Guadalajara Central Vieja bus terminal. Since there isn’t assigned seating on the River or ATE buses, you can choose where to sit.

If I absolutely had to pick, I’d say that the passenger side has slightly better views when traveling from Guadalajara to Guachimontones.

On the way back, keep your fingers crossed that you’ll be able to land a seat at all. Since Teuchitlán is a stop on the route to Guadalajara, it’s possible that many people will have gotten on the bus before you.

How Long Does It Take to Get to Teuchitlán?

ATE Plus bus from Guadalajara to Los Guachimontones.

The travel time by bus from Guadalajara to Teuchitlán takes around 1 hour 40 minutes to over three hours. Several factors influence the timing, including:

  • Time of day
  • Day of the week
  • Accidents or road work

Our journey from Guadalajara to Teuchitlán took 1 hour, 50 minutes.

On the return, it took nearly 3.5 hours, landing us at the Central Vieja station well after dark. That’s not something I recommend you aim for—even during the day, safety is mediocre at Guadalajara’s downtown bus station.

What to Do Once You Arrive in Teuchitlán

Teuchitlán is an adorable countryside town. Everyone seems to know each other—they certainly knew us by the time we walked the 3-block path between the main road and plaza several times over.

Needless to say, Los Guachimontones isn’t a common tourist stop—yet.

The locals were thrilled to learn that I’d be writing about it. They said they want their (adorable) town and ruins to gain tourist attraction to boost their local economy.

But I digress.

When you arrive in Teuchitlán, your bus will let you off at the gas station on the side of the main road. If you cross that road and continue walking straight, you’ll hit a lake-looking dam called La Vega.

Here’s a photo run-down of how that’ll look:

The bus station in Teuchitlán where your bus will let you off.
The gas station in Teuchitlán where your bus will let you off.
When you look down from the gas station away from the highway, this is the road you'll see.
When you look down from the gas station away from the highway, this is the road you’ll see. It’ll lead you directly into downtown Teuchitlán.
As you approach Teuchitlán's plaza, you'll come across colorful streamers in the street.
As you approach Teuchitlán’s plaza, you’ll come across colorful streamers in the street.

To get to Los Guachimontones from Teuchitlán, you’ll have the following two options:

  • Hike
  • Take a cab

Let’s explore both.

Hiking to Los Guachimontones

If you have a good dose of stamina and water, hiking to Los Guachimontones is an option.

Getting there is easy, direction-wise; simply walk straight from the gas station on Calle Hilarion Romero Gil S into the main town.

After passing through the plaza (there’s a nice market on the left side with delicious food and nice restrooms), hang a right onto Calle Allende Ote.

When you arrive at Calle Benito Juarez N, take a left and begin the upward climb on a quiet, cobblestone street to arrive at Los Guachimontones.

Or, just put it into Google Maps—cell reception works great in Teuchitlán.

The hike should take around 40 minutes.

Taking a Cab to Los Guachimontones

Provided that you don’t arrive at lunchtime as we did, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a cab to take you to Los Guachimontones.

While it’s possible to hail a taxi driving by or find one at the plaza, your best bet is to walk behind the gas station. There, a few cabs often sit in front of the ATE bus “station” (a.k.a. office), waiting for the next bus arrival.

Most of the marked cabs in Teuchitlán are yellow and white, but a few are solid yellow.

A yellow and white taxi that'll take you to Los Guachimontones.

Because of our lunchtime arrival, we ended up finding a woman who so kindly called her cab driver friend for us. He was a wonderful man and waited for us to tour Los Guachimontones and visit the museum.

If you don’t plan on walking from Los Guachimontones to Teuchitlán after you visit the ruins (which would be a downhill journey), I recommend asking your cab driver to wait for you. Very few people and vehicles visit the ruins. Plus, you’ll be supporting the livelihood of a local.

Our cab driver charged us 200 pesos ($10) for nearly two hours of his time during our visit at Los Guachimontones. It was well worth it, and we gave him a 100 pesos tip.

Safety in Los Guachimontones

Being a solo female traveler, I wasn’t thrilled at the thought of hailing a street taxi or walking up a desolate road to get to Los Guachimontones by myself—a requirement to arrive there.

So, I went with a friend.

In hindsight, the town of Teuchitlán is filled with friendly countryside locals. I felt safe during my entire visit and would have likely been just fine going at it on my own—whether it be walking or in a street cab.

Leaving Los Guachimontones for Guadalajara

I’ll be honest—I’m not 100% sure where to catch the River bus in Teuchitlán to go back to Guadalajara.

Some people I asked made it seem like it was at the gas station where the bus dropped us off upon our arrival. Others said that it’s a block behind the ATE station (two blocks back from the gas station).

In either case, it appears that standing on the side of the highway opposite of the gas station will give you the opportunity to flag down a bus going to Guadalajara.

The good news is that you can skip all that and go to the ATE bus station instead.

There’s nothing about the ATE bus station in Teuchitlán that makes it stand out as such. So, this is what you’re looking for:

The ATE bus station in Teuchitlán that will let you take a bus from Los Guachimontones to Guadalajara.

Make sure to go inside the one-room building and purchase your tickets before the bus arrives.

You can choose to wait at the few seats inside of the station or on wooden benches across the small, seemingly dead-end street.

FAQs About Guachimontones

Do you still have questions about taking the bus from Guadalajara to Los Guachimontones? These answers might help you out.

Does Uber work in Teuchitlán/Guachimontones?

No, Uber doesn’t work in Teuchitlán. So, you can’t take an Uber from Teuchitlán to Los Guachimontones.

Does Uber work in Guadalajara?

Yes, Uber works in Guadalajara. From my experience, there aren’t tons of drivers relative to the population, so you may have to wait 10 minutes or so for a ride. You might be able to arrange an Uber to take you from Guadalajara to Los Guachimontones.

Is it better to drive or take the bus to Los Guachimontones?

If you’re looking to save time, driving is the best way to get to Los Guachimontones from Guadalajara. Taxis don’t typically wait at the ruins unless you arrange so with a taxi driver. Therefore, you can lose quite a bit of time if you don’t have a vehicle unless you plan for it.

How much time do you need at Los Guachimontones?

We took a private tour of Los Guachimontones that lasted around 1.5 hours (250 pesos with an English-speaking guide). The site is small, though. So, if you go at it solo you can easily visit the ruins in 30 – 40 minutes. Allow another 20 – 25 minutes for the museum (assuming you watch the 15-minute documentary that they show in English and Spanish).

What’s the entrance fee for Los Guachimontones?

I had read that there’s not supposed to be an entrance fee for Los Guachimontones as long as you don’t visit the museum. That wasn’t our experience. Instead, we passed by a stand where a woman said we had to pay 30 pesos per person to enter. We were happy to contribute the $1.50 per person, and the museum was included.

Are there restrooms at Los Guachimontones?

Yes, there are two different restroom facilities at Los Guachimontones. The restrooms are large, clean, and modern.

Is there a lot of walking at Los Guachimontones?

In order to arrive at Los Guachimontones from the main parking area, you’ll need to walk uphill for about 300 meters. The walk is quite steep. However, you’ll get excellent views over the La Vega dam and countryside as you get higher, making it pleasant for taking breaks.

Once you’re at the actual ruins, Los Guachimontones is quite flat (although the terrain is uneven with a lot of rocks).

Are there snacks for sale at Los Guachimontones?

There’s a little shop with snacks by the parking lot in Los Guachimontones. Make sure you load up on water before embarking on the walk to the ruins, as there’s little shade and the sun can be brutal at 5,000+ feet in elevation.

When is the best time of year to visit Los Guachimontones?

Los Guachimontones is open year round from Tuesday – Sunday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. If you want to visit when there’s more greenery, August is the best month. Of course, you also stand a higher chance of encountering rain that time of year.

Wheelchair Accessibility at Los Guachimontones

Los Guachimontones is partially wheelchair accessible. It’s better suited for power chair users, as the steep uphill climb makes it challenging for most manual wheelchair users (and those helping to push).

Once you arrive at the parking lot of Los Guachimontones, there’s a paved sidewalk that runs up the 300-meter uphill cobblestone road.

The cobblestone path up to Los Guachimontones.

From there, drop-down curbs will help you follow a grass path to the first soccer field.

Things get trickier from there, as you’ll need to cross through more grass terrain with many small to medium-sized rocks strewed about.

In some areas, you’ll need to cross over larger rocks or dirt and rock steps to get to the next section. So, you’ll likely need to observe the pyramids at Los Guachimontones from a distance.

A view of the main pyramid in Los Guachimontones.

The Guachimontones museum is accessible, including the movie room where they show a 15-minute documentary in English and Spanish. There’s also a wheelchair accessible restroom by the parking lot.

If you’re looking for details on wheelchair accessible things to do in Guadalajara, make sure to check out our guide on accessibility in Guadalajara.

Ready to Take the Bus to Los Guachimontones?

There’s a lot of travel time involved in visiting Los Guachimontones from Guadalajara. So, I recommend doing what we didn’t do—take the bus there in the morning so you have time to visit the waterfront after seeing the ruins.

They say there are several restaurants with views. And, yes, frog legs are supposedly the must-try dish.

Do you still have questions about taking the bus from Guadalajara to Guachimontones? Leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to help.

And, please, I’d love to hear from you after you visit Los Guachimontones, especially if you experience any changes to the bus schedule/prices.

P.S.—If you’re interested in taking other day trips from Guadalajara, check out my guides on how to take the bus from Guadalajara to Tequila, Guadalajara to Chapala, and Guadalajara to Ajijic.

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