If you're planning to travel in Mexico by bus, you'll likely start, take a break from, or end your journey in one of the four main bus stations in Mexico City, the nation's capital and central hub of transport and commerce.
Being such a large metropolis, Mexico City reformed its policy concerning buses in the 1970s to help ease traffic congestion in the city, resulting in the construction of four main bus terminals in each of the cardinal directions (north, east, south, and west). Each terminal now provides bus services to a different geographic region of the country and houses multiple bus companies.
Whether you're coming into or heading out of Mexico City by bus, you'll need to know how to get to and navigate these four stations in order to complete your travel. Whichever direction you're headed, knowing these four terminals and the public transit options available at each will go a long way to getting you to your destination.
Terminal Central del Norte: North
Most travelers who start their bus adventure in the United States arrive in Mexico City via the North Central Terminal, known locally as the Terminal Autobuses Central del Norte. Along with acting as the base for multiple bus companies, this terminal is also home to a number of shops, a few quick dining options, baggage storage, coffee shops, banks, and even a pharmacy.
Terminal Central del Norte primarily serves the northern area of Mexico as well as locations along the border of the United States, which include "Las Piramides," or the ruins at Teotihuacan; other destinations include:
You can access the Central del Norte by taxi or by taking the Mexico City metro yellow Line 5 or the green Line A to the Autobuses del Norte station. Line A runs directly from the north to the south bus terminal, so it's the best option if you're just passing through Mexico City on your way from the U.S. border to southern Mexico.
Terminal Central del Sur: South
Known locally as Terminal Central del Sur (South Central Terminal) is the smallest of the city's four bus stations. Unlike the other terminals, South Central only offers bus services, so you won't find any shops or cafes inside the terminal itself. However, there are a few nearby retailers and some restaurants within walking distance if you have a long wait for your next bus.
As the name would suggest, Terminal Central del Sur provides as a central hub for buses traveling to destinations in southern Mexico such as:
You can access the Terminal Central del Sur on either Line 1 (Pink) or Line 2 (Blue) of the Mexico City Metro by getting off at Tasqueña Station, which shares a building with the bus terminal for out-of-city services.
Terminal de Autobuses de Pasajeros de Oriente (TAPO): East
Locally known as La Tapo, which is based off the station's acronym TAPO that stands for "Terminal (de Autobuses) de Pasejeros del Oriente," this station provides service to the eastern neighborhoods of Mexico City and is connected to the metro's San Lazaro Station.
Nine bus companies including Estrella Roja, Ado, and AU operate out of this terminal, providing service to the south, east, and Gulf areas of Mexico, including the following destinations:
- Quintana Roo
Both the Line 1 (Pink) and Line 8 (Green) metro services stop at San Lazaro Station, which is attached to La Tapo Bus Terminal; you can also just tell a cab driver "La Tapo," and he or she will know exactly where to go.
Terminal Centro del Poniente: West
Terminal Central del Poniente, or Central Terminal of the West, provides services for western destinations in Mexico and Mexico City. Along with bus services, this terminal also has several restaurants, bakeries, torterias, luggage storage facilities, shops, bookstores, and internet cafes.
This terminal operates bus services from 5:30 a.m. to midnight daily. Eight bus routes provide service to destinations along the western coast of Mexico including:
- State of Mexico
You can access the Terminal Centro Poniente by taking the Metro Line 1 (Pink) bus to Observatorio Station then walking a short block to the terminal and shops.