Monday, December 9, 2013

January 2012 - Tepoztlán, Another "Magic Town"

On the same trip in January of 2012, Alejandro and I took a day's excursion to another one of the "pueblos mágicos", the town of Tepoztlán.  Tepoztlán is located to the south of Mexico City, just on the other side of the mountains.

(Image from the web)

Tepoztlán is located in a dramatic setting of mountains and cliffs.  The town feels more "touristy" than Malinalco (see previous post) due to its proximity and ease of access from Mexico City.  Like Malinalco, but on a larger scale, wealthy families from the capital are buying up properties and building weekend homes there.  It also seems to be popular with aging hippies and "new agers" who claim that the area has "good vibes."  The town was added to the list of "Pueblos Mágicos" by the Secretariat of  Tourism of the Mexican government in 2002.  However in 2009 it was removed from the list.  I was unable to find out why it was removed, but perhaps it was due to over-commercialization.  However, Tepoztlán was reinstated as a "Pueblo Mágico" the following year.

Tepoztlán is an ancient city.  Pottery fragments found here show that the area was inhabited as early as 1500 B.C.  It was venerated as the birthplace of Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent God, and was also a center for the worship of Tepoztecatl, the god of pulque, a mildly alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant. 
At the edge of town, atop a mountain known as Tepozteco, is a small pyramid dedicated to the pulque god.  In pre-Hispanic times it was a center of pilgrimage, drawing worshippers from as far away as Guatemala. 
There is a 1.3 mile trail which goes up the mountain to the pyramid.  It begins as a paved staircase (similar to the trail at Malinalco) but soon is turns into a steep, arduous, rocky path. 

We finally made it to the pyramid at the top of the mountain.

(photo by Alejandro)
From the pyramid, there is a view of the town below.  The view was not as spectacular as I had hoped, because I was facing the sun, and because of the haze.  (Even though we were on the other side of the mountains from smoggy Mexico City, the nearby city of Cuernavaca now has its own air pollution problem.)
Climbing down the pyramid was scarier than the climb up.  I was unsure of my footing as I made my way down the rocky path.
(photo by Alejandro)

Back in town at last, we visited the 16th century Augustinian monastery.

At the gate leading into the atrium of the monastery, there are murals which depict the history of Tepoztlán.  These are created out of seeds, and are redone each year.

We found a restaurant to have a late lunch.  It was located on the second floor of a building on the main plaza.  From the window we could see the mountain that we had climbed. (The arrow points to the pyramid.)  I couldn't believe that I had climbed all the way to the top.  I'm glad that I had made the climb, but, if I should return to Tepoztlán, it's not something I would do again!



  1. Thank you for letting us in on the secrets of Mexico! Your guide is a delightful blend of travelogue and insider's tips, making it the perfect companion for anyone ready to explore the hidden wonders of this beautiful country.