Magical Towns: Tapalpa

In Culture, Magical Towns by Belen Molina

Magical Towns: Tapalpa

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.

Tapalpa, whose name comes from Náhuatl and means “land of colors,” is a town located in the Southwestern region of the state of Jalisco, approximately 118 kilometers from the capital city of Guadalajara. Tapalpa stands out due to the beauty of its natural environment, which is characterized by mountains and pine forests. Its turquoise sky, emerald green forests, and red tones of the soil, create a visually striking landscape.

What to eat

Tapalpa offers visitors a wide range of culinary delights. This town’s most famous dish is the traditional borrego al pastor (roasted seasoned lamb). Other traditional offerings include dairy products, milk caramels, milk candies, fruit in syrup, preserved fruits, mezcal, rompope (a Mexican eggnog-like drink), fruit punches and pulque, which is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant.

One of the most popular places to eat in Tapalpa is at a restaurant called La Culebra, which is located on the outskirts of the magical town. Here, visitors can enjoy some of the most authentic and delicious Borrego al pastor in town, which is served with freshly made tortillas and a delicious portion of frijoles charros (Mexican cowboy beans). And to wash it all down, don’t forget to order a delicious glass of pomegranate punch, the most famous beverage in town.

Things to Buy

Some of the most traditional handicrafts produced in the region are: blankets, jorongos (traditional Mexican coats), penachos (headdresses), huaraches (traditional Mexican sandals), carved wooden items, embroidery, and earthenware.

Places to visit

  • The Cultural Center and Sculpture Garden, which exhibit works by Sebastian and Alejandro Colunga.
  • The Old San Antonio (Saint Anthony) Church, which was built in the 17th century by Franciscan friars, still preserves its original mesquite floors.
  • Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe) Church (The New Church)
  • Ekopark, which is located 9 kilometers from Tapalpa, is a great place to practice extreme sports, such as climbing, rappelling, trekking, zip-lining, and paintball.
  • The Nogal Dam, which is located just 8 kilometers from Tapalpa, is a great place to practice sports fishing, canoeing, camping, and open-water swimming.
  • The famous Las Piedrotas, which are located just a couple kilometers from Tapalpa, are a group of colossal geological formations that are surrounded by prairies from which you can get a great view of the valley.
  • El Salto del Nogal Waterfall is located 10 kilometers from Tapalpa and is 105 meters tall.

Insider Tip: After a long day of hiking and sightseeing, let yourself relax in downtown Tapalpa. Sit down and on an equipal, a traditional artisan leather chair, and order a banderita de tequila, which includes tequila, lime, and sangrita. We can’t think of a better way to end your day.

For more useful information, such as how to get there, where to stay, and more, please visit:


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