Magical Towns: Valle de Bravo

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.

Valle de Bravo is a Mexican town located 156 km southwest of Mexico City, in the State of Mexico. Founded in the year 1530 by the Franciscan friar Gregorio Jiménez de la Cuenca, the town has an artificial dam that was created in 1947, which is an important tourist attraction where a wide variety of aquatic activities and extreme sports take place. Located high atop the mountains, this magical town is characterized by its colonial architecture and by its picturesque white stucco houses, wooden accents, red-tiled roofs, big windows, and balconies adorned with colorful flowers.

Valle de Bravo

Valle de Bravo

Culinary Delights

In the town’s main square you will find a great variety of food stands selling authentic Mexican Street food, including the famous Mexican street corn, or esquites, which are served with sour cream, cheese, fresh lemon juice, and chili powder. In the evening, you can find traditional artisan ice creams, as well as a variety of traditional Mexican dishes, like tacos, pambazos, tamales, atole, and pan de leña.


With its huge lake, green hills, and steep streets, Valle de Bravo is the ideal destination for nature lovers. This magical town offers a wide variety of activities, including hiking, mountain climbing, mountain biking, rappelling, paragliding, flying a delta wing, and other adventure sports. It is recommended that travelers dress in comfortable and warm clothing, as temperatures can get chilly at night.

You Can’t Miss…

  • Monte Alto offers some of the best views of the valley and is also the perfect spot to practice extreme sports, horseback riding and paragliding.
  • La Peña is a mountain located 20 minutes away from the valley and a great place for hiking. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the top.
  • La Plaza Independencia is the town’s main square and it has all the main characteristics of a traditional Mexican town. On Sunday afternoons, people gather to enjoy concerts by local bands.
  • The iconic San Francisco de Asis Parish Church is also located in the main plaza; it was built in the 17th century by the Franciscan friars.
  • In the Joaquin Arcadio Pegaza Avenue, you will find some of the most beautiful homes in the area, as well as galleries, shops, a cultural center, and the famous El Pino garden, where you can find a sacred Ahuehuete tree that is 600 years old.
  • The Joaquin Arcadio Pagaza Cultural Center showcases work from local and national artists, and it also shows exhibitions of painting, photography, and other visual arts.
  • In the town’s market and in the crafts market, a great variety of colorful pieces created by the indigenous peoples of the region are available for sale. Handcrafts like pottery, high-fired ceramics and weaving are very popular.
  • Carmel Maranatha (featured photo) is a Spiritual Center that was constructed in the 70s by the Carmelite Monks. It is characterized by its unique architecture, exquisite works and beautiful setting, as well as for being a great place to practice prayer and meditation.

Insider Tip: The best way to experience the cultural riches of Valle de Bravo is by heading over to the center of the town, where you will find a variety historic buildings, museums, cobblestone streets, colorful facades, small markets, parks, and shops.

To obtain more information about Valle de Bravo, such as how to get there, where to stay, and what to do, please visit:

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