Mexico City

Mexico City’s 1985 Earthquake

$95.00 USD

per person:

Archive photos © Museo de La Ciudad de México
Mexico City’s 1985 Earthquake
Mexico City’s 1985 Earthquake
Mexico City’s 1985 Earthquake
Mexico City’s 1985 Earthquake


4 Hours

Departure Time:

9:45 am

Tour Guide:

Licensed Architect



Mode of Transportation:

VW Beetle convertible or VW classic Combi bus with a guide & driver

Visited Places:

La Juárez, La Roma, Tlatelolco and more.


In the early morning of September 19, 1985, Mexico City experienced the most powerful earthquake it had ever recorded. The city shook and shuddered for two long minutes and the tremor was followed by scenes of chaos, utter destruction and countless lost lives. During our 4-hour tour, you will learn how just a few minutes changed the city forever. How despite the horror of the event and the city’s lack of preparedness, Mexico City’s residents came together in an incredible show of solidarity. You will visit the remains of some of the hundreds of buildings destroyed and thousands damaged that stand as reminders of this brutal event over 30 years later. You will discover why this particular earthquake caused more damage than any other and reshaped the city forever. A look into the causes of a disaster that forced the city to rethink its building codes, disaster responsiveness and even its apparently unstoppable rush towards urbanization.

More About This Tour

The ground first shook at 7:17 AM on Thursday September 19, 1985, 15 kms beneath the seabed off the coast of Michoacán, Mexico. What followed was a quake on a 8.1 moment magnitude scale that would travel 210 miles in just 2 minutes before reaching Mexico City. The 1985 Mexico City earthquake, also known as the Michoacán earthquake, was the strongest ever registered in Mexico’s history. Equivalent to some 1,300 Hiroshima bombs, the quiver of the quake was felt as far as away as Houston and Guatemala City.


During the course of our 4-hour tour, we will look into the geological factors that not only caused the massive 8.1 earthquake, but also magnified its effects. We will visit the remains of some of the more than 400 buildings that collapsed and the over 3,000 others that were structurally damaged and understand why despite all odds the older buildings often withstood the earthquake far better than the newer ones. You will hear many incredible stories of survival and discover why over three decades after the event the 1985 earthquake has left indelible scars on those who lived through it and even the younger generation that came after it. You will gain insight into how the 1985 Mexico City earthquake shook everything in its path from the foundations of buildings themselves to the very foundations of government power, but also how it woke up the people’s conscience and led to incredible scenes of unity.


Despite the magnitude of the tragedy, you will also discover that the earthquake’s legacy has helped to develop modern Mexico City in many surprising ways. With far stricter building codes, new zoning laws, an advanced warning system and trained disaster response units, Mexico City has made a giant leap into the 21st century.


On September 19, 2017, 32 years later to the day, another major earthquake hit the city. Although it was not quite as powerful – 7.1 on the Richter scale – it left scores of victims, among them 22 children trapped in a school. Once again, the community pulled together and thousands of soldiers, rescuers and civilians – including college students – worked side by side through tall piles of rubble from dozens of crumbled buildings. We’ll end our tour by taking a look into how the lessons drawn from the 1985 quake were translated on the ground, and into what went right and what went so tragically wrong.

Tour Highlights

  • Gain insight into two major natural disasters that reshaped Mexico City
  • Understand how each event affected construction norms and urban planning
  • Find out how the authorities and the population reacted in wake of each earthquake
  • Gain isight into the social, economical and political context at the time
  • Find out what has changed (and not) since both earthquakes occurred

What does the tour include?

Your tour includes:

  • Transportation in a Beetle convertible or VW vintage Combi bus
  • Your driver & guide during the 4hour tour
  • Bottled water
  • Hotel pick-up & drop-off


Not included in your tour are:

  • Meals* aside from your snack if you do not opt for our picnic option at checkout
  • Purchases you may choose to make along the way
  • Gratuities you may choose to give at your discretion

Rates & Conditions

  • Adult (Shared Tour) $95.00
  • Adult (Private Tour) $110.00
  • Child (Private Tour) $55.00
  • Child (Shared Tour) $47.50
  • Adult (Solo Passenger Tour) $210.00

Map & Directions

Book your City Tour now! We only require a small reservation fee.

Full payment by credit card or in cash is only required on the day of your tour.

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