Magical Towns: Mazamitla

In Culture, Magical Towns by Belen Molina

Beyond the luxurious resort experiences offered at Mexico’s most exclusive beach destinations, there is a vast group of “Magical Towns,” or Pueblos Mágicos, that are located all across the country and that remain largely undiscovered. In 2001, the Mexico Tourism Board acknowledged that Mexico offered a magical element that went beyond its beaches and that kept tourists coming back. For this reason, they created the Magical Towns Program, an initiative that seeks to promote a series of towns across the country that are significant due to their history, rich culture, unique traditions, and natural beauty. These towns welcome visitors from all around the world, offering them a truly magical experience.

Mazamitla, whose name comes from Náhuatl and means “place where arrows to hunt deer are made,” is a traditional mountain town located in the southeastern region of Jalisco, just 124 km south of Guadalajara. The town center has the rural-rustic feel of a very old town that is characterized by cobblestone streets and white adobe houses with red tiled roofs and wooden doors.

Mazamitla was founded by the Aztecs in 1165 and was later invaded by the Purépecha from Michoacán. After the Spanish arrived, the region was adjudicated to Hernán Cortés. It is believed that during the beginning of Mexico’s War for Independence, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest and one of the leaders of the Mexican Army, held a mass in Palos Gordos, a ranch located within the municipality, where a tree trunk that was used as the altar still stands.

Located in the forested mountain range known as the Sierra del Tigre, the magical town of Mazamitla is often referred to as La Suiza Mexicana, or The Mexican Alps, because it is reminiscent of a European alpine village. The Sierra del Tigre offers magnificent views of its forested mountains and wooden cabins, as well as a variety of natural attractions, such as streams, waterfalls, and meadows nestled in between hills.

Mazamitla offers a wide range of activities for thrill-seekers, such as mountain biking, paragliding, ATV adventure tours, and zip lining; as well as other leisure activities for those looking to enjoy a more laid-back experience, such as horseback riding, hiking, exploring the surrounding forest and waterfalls, as well as leisure strolls around the village and ranches nearby.

This charming mountain town is ideal for ecotourism lovers and for those looking to experience peace and harmony with nature. Mazamitla not only offers breathtaking views, pine-scented fresh air, delicious regional food, rustic architecture, and cool weather. It is a great place to spend the night and reconnect with family and friends around a fireplace, inside a cozy cottage or a cabin, surrounded by trees and by the warm scent of burning oak coming from the fireplace.

How to Get There: We recommend that you rent a car in Guadalajara and take the Guadalajara/La Barca Toll Road 15D. You could also take a bus from Guadalajara’s New Bus Station (Central Nueva) that takes you directly to the Terminal de Autotransportes Mazamitla.

Where to stay: Hotel Huerta Real is a charming rustic retreat that offers scenic views. It is set in the mountains, just 3km away from the famous waterfall of El Salto. The cottages and cabins all come with fireplaces. Breakfast and Wi-Fi are included.

You can’t miss: The famous waterfall of El Salto, the Parroquia de San Cristobal, taste the traditional “Bote” soup made with three kinds of meat or the traditional Mazamitla-style jellies and jams.

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