There is more to Mexico than Cancun, Puerto Vallarta or Los Cabos as a vacation or retirement destination. If you’re looking to really immerse in the ” Authentic Mexico” you have to take a look at a Pueblo Magico.
A Pueblo Magico is a certification awarded to small villages in Mexico by the tourism board (Secretaría de Turismo). This program was launched in 2001, with only 32 towns selected. After the success of the program, it was relaunched in 2010—this time with a total of 83 towns. In 2015, the list was expanded to its current 111 towns. These villages can be found among deserts, beaches, in valleys, on mountains, and hidden in dense jungles. Pueblos magicos have been selected on account of their: unique traditions, rich folklore, natural beauty, historical significance, arts and crafts, cuisine, and stellar hospitality. All 31 Mexican states have one (Mexico City is the only territory which has none), and here is a complete list so you can take a day trip and visit your nearest ones.
1. Tecate, Baja California – Visit this famous pueblo magico with the Tecate brewery, drink coffee at casa Paris, the Frenchified site in a corner of the Miguel Hidalgo Park, and take a tour by tourist train.
BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR
2. Loreto, Baja California Sur – Take a bike ride at the Arcos del Sitio ecotourism center, go hiking in the Sierra de la Giganta, and see the old Salinas Bay saltworks on Isla del Carmen.
3. Todos Santos, Baja California Sur – Attend the Art Festival, dance reggae in one of the bars, and observe (from a distance) turtle nesting areas.
4. Batopilas, Chihuahua – Explore the main rivers and streams on foot, visit the La Bufa mine, go hiking in the Barranco de Batopilas.
5. Casas Grandes, Chihuahua – Visit the town of Mata Ortiz, famous for its Paquimé-style pottery; eat red chile burritos, chile pasado and beans with cheese; and get to know Nuevo Casas Grandes.
7. Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila – Travel around the area of Pozas by mountain bike, fly in a balloon over the Cuatro Ciénegas valley, and walk along the sand dunes.
8. Arteaga, Coahuila – Glide down the ski slope of Bosques de Monterreal, visit the Museum of the Mummies in San Antonio de las Alazanas, and try the wines made in Cedros and Cofradía del Viento.
9. Viesca, Coahuila – Stroll and take pictures in the Dunes of Bilbao, admire the chapel of the Ex Hacienda Santa Ana de Hornos, and enjoy the typical sweets of the town—and their sotol.
10. Candela, Coahuila – Explore the caverns of Carrizal, admire the Texas rodeo shows in the town, and photograph the emblematic towers of the town: Candela Peak and the Bell Tower of the Church.
12. Parras, Coahuila – Ride or bike through the vineyards of San Lorenzo, swim during the summer in the huge pond of La Luz, and savor the wines produced in the wine cellars of Parras.
13. Mapimí, Durango – Throw yourself in the zip line over Ojuela, visit the peculiar Mapimí cemetery, and explore the nearby caverns at the Grutas del Rosario in this pueblo magico.
14. Linares, Nuevo León – Savor the barbecue tacos, tortas compuestas, and glorias. Tour the center and kayak through the Cerro Prieto dam.
15. Santiago, Nuevo León – Bungee jump off the Cola de Caballo, enjoy adventure tourism in the mountains, and enjoy kayaking in the Presa de la Boca.
17. The Rosario, Sinaloa – Admire the main altarpiece of the Parish of Our Lady of the Rosary and pay homage to Lola Beltrán in her museum.
18. Mocorito, Sinaloa – Appreciate the mural Mocorito Arteneo Sinaloense in the company of locals, buy chilorio and chorizo to take home, and try a breaded pigeon—the original dish of Mocorito.
19. The Fort, Sinaloa – Take the El Chepe train to go to Los Mochis or Chihuahua, sleep in a colonial mansion that is over 250 years old, such as: El Fuerte hotel or Posada Hidalgo, and take photos of El Fuerte river.
20. Magdalena de Kino, Sonora – Try the original chimichangas and visit the baseball stadium—their most popular sport—which Sergio Robles Valenzuela (a famous American MLB player) frequented as a youth.
22. Mier, Tamaulipas – Stroll along the banks of the Bravo and San Juan rivers, eat a cabrito en salsa, and buy a clay pot painted in the local style with seven different colors.
23. Tula, Tamaulipas – Visit the Chapel of the Rosary, buy a cuera tamaulipeca, and eat some enchiladas tultecas in this pueblo magico.
25. San José de Gracia, Aguascalientes – Make the circuit of hanging bridges in Boca de Túnel, live the devotion of the pilgrims towards the Cristo Roto, and sleep in the cabins with a visit to the canyon.
27. Comala, Colima – Visit the parish of San Miguel Arcángel, take home a craft of the region, and participate in the coffee tour.
ESTADO DE MÉXICO
28. Valle de Bravo, State of Mexico – One of the most famous pueblos magicos. Attend a yoga retreat at one of the hotels with spas, enjoy nature on the waters of the lake onboard a kayak.
29. Aculco, State of Mexico – Buy cheeses produced in the ranches, walk the arches of the main square, and practice climbing in its canyons.
30. El Oro, State of Mexico – Go mountain biking through the Brockman Dam, climb the north shot to see the town from there, and admire the Monarch butterfly at the La Mesa Sanctuary in winter.
32. Villa del Carbón, State of Mexico – Observe the Charra tradition on the weekend, enjoy a boat ride at the Taxhimay dam, and visit the Souvenir House of Ofe.
33. Tepotzotlán, State of Mexico – Take a bike ride at the Arcos del Sitio ecotourism center, enjoy colonial dishes at La Hostería del Convento, and fly in a balloon over the town of Tepotzotlán.
34. Ixtapan de la Sal, State of Mexico – Enjoy family spas, buy some crafts in mud or wood, and swim in the hot springs and then relax with a massage.
35. Metepec, State of Mexico – Rent a bike in the Plaza de Los Magueyes to explore the streets, buy handicrafts in the artisan corridors, and try the garañona at the bar El Dos de Abril.
37. Mineral de Pozos, Guanajuato – Get to know the canteen of Pozos in the Jardín Juárez, go in search of the art crafts school that operated in the porfiriato, and rent a bike to tour the ruins of the old mines.
38. Jalpa de Cánovas, Guanajuato – Go through the vineyards of Bodega El Lobo, go to Cañada Park to ride a bike or kayak, and get a massage at the Linving Spirit hotel.
39. Yuriria, Guanajuato – Search in the afternoon (behind the Ex Convent of San Pablo) the cart that sells fruit bread from the oven, eat chimichangas or enchiladas mineras at El Monasterio restaurant, and try garbanzo, tamarind and guava atoles.
40. Salvatierra, Guanajuato – Buy wafers, churros and rompope from the capuchinas nuns that still live there, and observe from the top of any church the Cerro de Culiacán.
41. Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato – Meet in the municipal pantheon the Mausoleum of José Alfredo Jiménez, enter the canteens El Incendio and La Hiedra where time seems to have stopped, and try the nieves (Italian ice) of borrachita and garambullo.
42. Taxco, Guerrero – One of the most famous pueblos magicos. Enter the legendary Bar Berta founded in 1930, visit the mural by Juan O’Gorman at the Posada de la Misión hotel, and walk through the cobbled alleys around Plaza Borda.
43. Real del Monte, Hidalgo – Tour the Museum of La Mina de la Dificultad, try the pastes, and get to know the tombs of the English pantheon.
44. Mineral del Chico, Hidalgo – Enjoy the wooded landscape, go fishing in the lakes of the local nature reserve, and climb in its more than 300 wooded formations.
45. Huichapan, Hidalgo – Visit the Museo del Chapitel, visit the Museum of Archeology and History of Huichapan, and enjoy barbecue and carnitas outside the market.
46. Tecozautla, Hidalgo – Visit the former Convent of Santiago Apóstol, enjoy some nieves (Italian ice) of garambullo and nopal in the Main Square, and discover the archaeological zone El Pañhú.
47. Huasca de Ocampo, Hidalgo – Visit Hacienda Santa María Regla, enjoy the trout in El Parián, and fly in a balloon over the Huasca de Ocampo region.
49. San Sebastián del Oeste, Jalisco – Climb the Bufa hill, walk through the artisan cigar factory, and visit the Quinta Mary—where 100% organic coffee is produced.
50. Talpa de Allende, Jalisco – Walk to the chapel of La Cruz de Romero to admire the mountainous valley, buy coffee, guava sweets, and chilte crafts, and visit the maple forest.
51. Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco – Get to know the tranquility of the parish, enjoy a charreada in the Hacienda La Cantera or Rancho Verde, and take a horseback ride through the surrounding ranches.
52. Mazamitla, Jalisco – Get to know the parish of San Cristóbal, go on a zip line at Mundo de Aventura, and travel around the Sierra del Tigre.
53. Mascota, Jalisco – Cycling and hiking in the communities, stay in a reservation in a hotel that was once a hacienda, and eat jocoque and panela.
54. Tapalpa, Jalisco – Visit the ruins of the first paper mill in Latin America, take a horse ride through the forest, and paraglide over the valley.
55. Pátzcuaro, Michoacán – Walk through the streets of the town, take a boat ride on Lake Pátzcuaro, and buy handmade crafts in the downtown shops.
57. Cuitzeo, Michoacán – Admire the temple of Santa María Magdalena, go on a photographic safari through Lake Cuitzeo, and walk through the streets of the town in search of the neighborhood chapels.
58. Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán – Buy crafts in one of the workshops, admire the Vieja Huatapera, and practice canoeing or kayaking on Lake Zirahuén.
59. Tacámbaro, Michoacán – Admire the landscapes from the viewpoints, walk through the center and visit the cathedral, and stroll through La Alberca and La Laguna.
60. Jiquilpan, Michoacán – Enjoy the jacarandas gardens, visit the sericícola workshop, and admire the bighorn sheep in Lake Chapala.
61. Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán – Admire the historic convent of Santa Ana, and visit the archaeological site of Las Yácatas.
62. Tlalpujahua, Michoacán – Buy spheres and decorative objects made of blown glass and feather art, tour the Dos Estrellas mine, and enjoy the Monarch butterflies in the nearby Sanctuary of Sierra Chincua.
63. Tlayacapan, Morelos – Tour the town by motorcycle-taxi to see the neighborhood chapels, explore the cave paintings of the archaeological corridor, and enjoy the dances of the chinelos at the carnival parties.
64. Tepoztlán, Morelos – Visit the former Convent of the Nativity and its museum, see the crafts of the stalls in the center of the town, visit the Carlos Pellicer Museum, and climb the Tepozteco mountain to see the pyramid at the top of this pueblo magico.
65. Jala, Nayarit – Meet the legend of La Sierpe, attend the corn fair (where you can admire 50-centimeter-long corn) and see the sunset from the top of Ceboruco Volcano.
66. Sayulita, Nayarit – Learn to surf, dance to the rhythm of cumbia on Fridays at the beach club Camarón, and walk to Malpaso beach to enjoy the solitude of its rocky landscapes. This pueblo magico is quickly becoming a tourist hotspot.
67. Tequisquiapan, Querétaro – Fly in a balloon at dawn and have a picnic in the heights, visit the Museum of the Basket, and make the journey of legends that leaves from the Plaza de Armas.
69. Jalpan de Serra, Querétaro – Take a dip in the Escanela River, try the acamayas (endemic to the Huasteca), and walk among the ahuehuetes that surround the Jalpan River.
70. San Joaquín, Querétaro – Walk through one of the archaeological sites, explore the grotto of Los Herreras, and take a bicycle tour through a section of the Sierra Gorda.
71. Bernal, Querétaro – Climb the Peña de Bernal, meet the cave of La Calavera, take a tour and do a tasting at Vinos Azteca, and buy a walnut custard at Dulces Bernal.
72. Xilitla, San Luis Potosí – Try the delicious organic coffee of the area, dance in the traditional huapangueada on Sundays, and take a temascal in Los Comales, next to Las Pozas.
73. Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosí – Buy a mask with beads or a dreamcatcher crafted with care by Huichol hands, and climb a Willy to explore the surroundings.
74. Tlaxco, Tlaxcala – Meet the altarpieces of the eighteenth century of the Parish of San Agustin, and drink pulque in the haciendas of Xochuca and Tepetzala.
76. Jerez, Zacatecas – Try the famous raspanieves of the El Paraíso ice cream shop, get to know the Jerez Institute of Culture, and take a tour of the Dolores pantheon—one of the oldest in Zacatecas.
77. Nochistlán, Zacatecas – Take a look at the centuries-old La Palestina grocery store, try the famous Barrón nieves (Italian ice), and get to know the San Sebastián neighborhood and its yellow-facade temple.
78. Pinos, Zacatecas – Enter the oldest canteen in town, visit the underground passage of the Mesón del Conde Hotel, and visit the San Francisco Temple.
79. Teúl, Zacatecas – Savor the oven-baked gorditas in oak leaf, get to know the bar decorated with tickets from the cantina La Herradura, and attend a show at the Teatro José Isabel Flores.
80. Sombrerete, Zacatecas – Get to know La Barra, a bar in the Zaragoza garden that looks like a beer museum, and see the Cerro del Cristo from the Municipal Presidency.
82. San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas – Walk from the Temple of Santo Domingo to the Temple of Carmen, try the posh in La Poshería, and make short trips to Zinacantán, Amatenango del Valle, and San Juan Chamula.
83. Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas – Get to know the ruins of the Church of San Sebastián, go around the mudejar-inspired pile that the city boasts, and taste the pozol and the tascalate in the market.
84. Comitán, Chiapas – Take a tour of the Central Park, try the chincualjes and the liquor comiteco, and visit the Hotel El Parador to see its collection of Sacred Art.
85. Palenque, Chiapas – Meet the church of Santo Domingo, eat at Don Muchos on the way to the ruins of Palenque, and visit the town of Ocosingo.
86. Capulálpam, Oaxaca – Listen to a New Esmeralda marimba concert with local children, watch the sunrise from the La Cruz viewpoint, and taste the delights that are offered on Sunday at Los Portales.
87. Huautla de Jiménez, Oaxaca – Appreciate the population and the Sierra Mazateca from El Mirador Loma de Chapultepec, enjoy the coffee produced in the region, and learn about the shamans María Sabina and Julieta Casimiro.
88. San Pablo Villa de Mitla, Oaxaca – Find out how much time you have left from the Columna de la Vida of the archaeological zone, enjoy the mezcal made in the region, and take home clothes made with looms operated by pedal.
89. San Pedro and San Pablo Teposcolula, Oaxaca – Visit the Casa de la Cacica, visit the colonial constructions of Alarcón and the Alcantarilla, and explore the hill of Pueblo Viejo.
90. Mazunte, Oaxaca – Take a class of Hridaya Hatha yogas in the center of the same name, sleep in a tepee surrounded by nature in the Hotel Copal, and support communities buying products of natural origin. One of the most famous pueblos magicos.
91. Cuetzalan, Puebla – Enter the imposing Parish of San Francisco de Asís, enjoy a dinner at La Peña Los Jarritos, and visit the Xoxoctic Botanical Garden full of orchids and ferns.
92. Atlixco, Puebla – Admire the murals of Juan Martínez Caltenco in the Municipal Palace, contemplate at the foot of the Popocatépetl from the Cerro de San Miguel, and in December do not miss the Illuminated Villa.
93. Chignahuapan, Puebla – Try the fig and cheese bread from La Condesa bakery, and visit the Sanctuary of the Honguito in Ixtlahuaca.
94. Huauchinango, Puebla – Nothing in the pools under the waterfalls of Totolapa and Salto Chico, try the tamales de puñete and papatla, and buy ornamental plants in the Mercado Isabel Díaz Castilla in Tenango de las Flores.
95. Pahuatlán, Puebla – Cross the suspension bridge that connects Pahuatlán with Xolotla, try the famous fried chilies with chiltepin, and attend the dance of the flyers.
96. Tlatlauquitepec, Puebla – Admire the paintings of Luis Toral González in the cural house, on one side of the parish. Buy organic coffee from Mazatepec and try the yolixpa—a typical liquor from the Sierra Poblana.
97. Xicotepec, Puebla – Wander through the gardens of Casa del Monje, try the vodka and acachul drink that is prepared in El Gallo bar, and go in search of the small church of Santa María Guadalupe in Ahuaxintitla.
99. Cholula, Puebla – Go up to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Remedies, know the main squares of San Pedro as of San Andrés, and savor any dessert of Café Ocho 30 in San Andrés. Explore the trendiest nightlife in all of Puebla city, or catch a jazz show and a rajas pizza at Jazzatlán.
100. Tapijulapa, Tabasco – Meet the church of Santo Domingo, nothing in the natural pools of the paques, and try the mone and the pishul.
101. Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo – Snorkel or dive in the Marine Park, swim with dolphins and whale sharks, and admire the landscape of La Punta Sur. Explore quaint bars with a rich and welcoming nightlife. Don’t miss this incredible pueblo magico!
102. Tulum, Quintana Roo – Swim in one of the many cenotes of the region, walk and rest on the beach of Tulum, and visit the archaeological site of Cobá, about 40 km away. Enjoy the 2-for-1 Thai basil margaritas at Mezzanine at happy hour.
103. Bacalar, Quintana Roo – Explore all the corners of the lagoon by kayak, try a typical dish while enjoying the view on the shore of the lagoon, and visit the Fort of San Felipe Museum.
104. Orizaba, Veracruz – Ride the cable car—the third longest in Mexico—visit the zoo on the banks of the Orizaba River, and refresh yourself with a mischievous orizabeña.
106. Coscomatepec, Veracruz – Visit the workshops where cigars are made, know the history of the town in the murals of the Municipal Palace, and take a tour of the Monday market.
107. Papantla, Veracruz – Taste some besos papantecos in the Nakú restaurant. Take a pottery class at the Center for Indigenous Arts, and relax on one of Costa Esmeralda’s lovely beaches.
108. Zozocolco, Veracruz – Swim in Pozas del Diablo, Callejón, Junta and Las Golondrinas, talk to the inhabitants to learn about their traditions, and visit the El Jabalí nature reserve.
109. Coatepec, Veracruz – Learn to recognize the different types of orchids that festoon the town, go to El Resobado, a bakery over 100 years old that bakes with wood, and sleep in a coffee plantation.
110. Izamal, Yucatán – Take a ride in the traditional carriages, climb to the top of Kinich Kak Moo (the main archaeological site), and tour the town by bike.
111. Valladolid, Yucatán – Become an expert of regional cuisine in La Casona, sleep surrounded by a blanket of sky in the Zentik hotel, and enjoy a massage in what used to be the old perfume shop in Coqui Coqui. One of the most spectacular pueblos magicos.
The Mazatlan Post
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