Oaxaca mural

Oaxaca mural

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Arches

On Saturday Alejandro took me on another one of our excursions outside of the city.  We drove northwest out of Mexico City on the main highway which heads to Querétaro.  As always traffic was heavy with people leaving the city for the weekend.  After about an hour we reached the exit for Tepotzotlán, an historic town about 25 miles from the capital.  Tepotzotlán's magnificent colonial church and monastery have earned it a designation as a "Pueblo Mágico" (Magic Town) by the Mexican government.  Because of road construction in the town and the resultant traffic snarls, Tepotzotlán did not seem very "magic" that day.

We had visited Tepotzotlán on one of my previous trips to Mexico.  Our destination was a spot located 18 miles beyond the town, the Aqueduct of Xalpa.  We took a two lane country road that was not in very good repair, but, in spite of the potholes, it was nice to get away from the city traffic and out into the countryside.

We finally reached the acueduct, also known as "los Arcos del Sitio".  It is an impressive structure that was begun in 1760 to bring water from the Oro River.  Its construction was directed by the Jesuits, but because the religious order was expelled from the Spanish Empire in 1767, the acueduct was not completed until 1854.  It was considered an engineering marvel in its day.

The acueduct runs for over 1400 feet across a gorge.  It consists of 43 arches which rise 200 feet above the basin below.  Today it is an eco-park, and, in spite of its somewhat isolated location, it attracts a fair number of local tourists.  (I suspect that I was the only "gringo" visitor there.)  From the visitors' parking lot, you can walk across the acueduct, and then follow a trail which circles back to your starting point.  Along the trail there are fine views of the acueduct, and there are a couple of hanging bridges which cross the ravine.  

Here are some pictures from our excursion...

  The lovely countryside of the area.  To the lower right you can see one of the hanging bridges which we crossed.

As you can see from the pictures, the weather was beautiful.  There are so many fascinating places in Mexico that are off the beaten track of the typical "gringo" tourist, and this was yet another one that I was able to discover thanks to my friend Alejandro.


  1. Lovely photos. I'll have to visit the spot with the aqueduct one of these days.

    I've been to Tepozotlán and have some lovely pictures which I've been meaning to put on my blog one of these days. In particular, there's one with the full moon rising over the church that's fantastic.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where it's leaf-raking season. Blah!

    1. Thanks, Kim.
      I really enjoyed our visit there. It was worth the drive.
      Tepozotlán's church and museum are really spectacular, but, as I said, the town was a snarl of traffic on that day.

  2. I missed those arches when I visited Tepotzotlan in 2014. (Although I love the town itself, its church and its barbacoa.)

    Thanks for sharing - this is worth seeking out next time!

    1. As I said, the road out there is not the greatest, and it seemed farther than 18 miles, but it was definitely worth the effort to get there.