Written by Paloma Quevedo on October 19, 2020
The Pueblos Magicos (Magic Towns) program is a government funded initiative led by Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism. It has been a successful attempt at promoting appreciation and increasing tourism in Mexico’s smaller towns and rural areas that boast as much beauty and culture as other touristic hotspots in Mexico.
The towns that are named Pueblos Magicos are chosen due to their natural wonders, cultural richness, folklore, historical importance, and the magical feelings they invoke.
Currently, there are 121 Pueblos Magicos in Mexico, with new ones being added each year. Here are 5 of our favorite Pueblos Magicos—each unique and magical in their own way:
Only a 45-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is a magical little surf town, hidden between acres upon acres of lush jungle and untouched beaches. With its ideal waves, world-class surfer from all across the globe visit Sayulita to practice—some even stay forever in this quiet town. There are plenty of beautiful places to stay, from hostels and hotels to jungle houses. Spend a day at the beach watching the surfers or walk along the colorful plaza that offers delicious seafood and fresh coconut juice at every corner. The crystalline water, kind locals, and quiet way of life will make you want to stay forever.
Hidden deep within the Copper Canyons of Chihuahua is a tiny town called Batopilas. Enclosed by the canyon and the Rio Batopilas, this town was named a Pueblo Magico in 2012 because of its deep historical relevance, vibrant Mexican culture, and natural beauty. Formerly a silver mining town, Batopilas is the perfect destination for the adventurous travelers looking to hike beautiful and difficult trails around the canyons, find hidden waterfalls, or see the stunning ruins of the Tarahumara natives that first settled those lands.
For those of you that didn’t know, Tequila, Jalisco, is the town where every single drop of tequila in the world is produced—if it’s not made in Jalisco, it’s not tequila. And like the town’s name, Tequila (the liquid), is what draws tourist to this exciting little town. Tequila is located about 2 hours from the city of Guadalajara and is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO because of the extensive agave crops that have been harvested for centuries in those parts. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, taking a tour of one (or two!) tequila distilleries is an exciting adventure. Taking a tour of the distilleries, most of which are very old and still utilize techniques that have been used for centuries, feels like walking through an important part of Mexican culture and history—also, tequila shots at the end of each tour! The town also offers a selection of impressive 5-star restaurants and fancy tequila bars for tastings. Due to increased tourism, the town has been largely remodeled and meticulously up-kept while still maintaining its historical integrity and beauty.
Valle de Bravo
Valle de Bravo is a stunning lake town at a 2-hour driving distance from Mexico City. Lake Avanadaro is a large and beautiful lake that surrounds the town, while on the other side is forest and immense mountains as far as the eye can see. This town is perfect for a weekend getaway or even longer trip because of all there is to do on land and water. Because of the lake that surrounds the town, water sports and fishing are popular tourist attractions. The surrounding forests have beautiful waterfalls and hikes to embark on. The town is full of historic sites dating back to the early 1800’s, as well as museums and beautiful churches to visit. With its close proximity to Mexico City, there are incredible chefs that operate 5-star restaurants in town. There is a lot to do in Valle de Bravo, however, some people visit for the scenic views alone.
Guadalupe is a little town located just 10 minutes outside of Zacatecas’s capital city. It is a quiet town that has kept its colonial architecture, Mexican culture, and unique beauty intact. It boasts of large ancestral churches, old government buildings still kept in their original state, and colorful homes that line the plaza. The town is full of vendors selling art that is unique to those areas, and restaurants selling food that is especially Zacatecana. Guadalupe is especially known for its woodworkers; people fly in from all over Mexico to purchase wooden furniture and art from this magical town.