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Pueblos Mágicos Mexico
What are Pueblos Magicos Mexico?
With 132 Pueblos Mágicos, Mexico’s tourism attracts visitors to off the beaten path destinations. Each of the Pueblos Mágicos is rich with history and culture. Or perhaps it is their architecture, food, or traditions that are worthy of sharing. Each Pueblo Mágico earns its designation for a unique aspect worth highlighting. Beginning in 2001, the list started with only four Pueblos Magicos, growing exponentially, particularly after 2010. At that time, the government allocated funds for the Pueblos Magicos to improve their infrastructure and maintain the quality of their local attractions. The program’s success resulted in a financial boon to the towns and surrounding areas.
Maps of Pueblos Mágicos Worth Visiting
Two separate maps highlight Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos. This will help you get an idea of where these towns are located in relation to each other and major airports. Clicking on the location or the name to the right, takes you directly to the section about that Pueblo Mágico.
Northern Map of Pueblos Mágicos
Southern Map of Pueblos Mágicos
Pueblos Mágicos Worth Visiting Southern Map
Izamal was an important ceremonial place founded by the Maya over 15 centuries ago. It was surrounded by five major pyramids hence its nickname “City of hills”. Known as the “City of three cultures” because it has a harmonious blend of traces from its Mayan, colonial and contemporary development. What makes Izamal most distinctive at first sight is the yellow color that covers all buildings. The town was painted in “Mexican” yellow sometime in the 90s for an unknown reason so Izamal is now best known as the “Yellow City.”
When the Spaniards came to Izamal, the town was already abandoned by the Maya. However, the conquerors deiced to build a Franciscan convent here because of Izamal’s religious importance. They used the stones from one of the town’s great pyramids to build a Catholic church where they converted the Maya to Catholicism. Nowadays, many pay a visit to the statue of the miraculous Virgin of Izamal who grants people their deepest wishes.
While in Izamal, climb the Kinich Kak pyramid dedicated to the Mayan God of the Sun. It is a lovely place for meditation where you can get a view of the entire town. Right beside the convent, you will find a lively market where you can immerse yourself in the locals’ everyday life.
By Eva from Elevate Calm
One of three Pueblos Mágicos in the state of Yucatán, Valladolid is a stunning city less than 2 hours away from either Mérida or Cancún. Visiting Valladolid is like stepping into a different world of culture and charm.
What makes this pueblo mágico worth visiting is the incredible Cenote Zací, which is located easily in the centre of the city. The cenote sits under a cave, but is partially open to sunlight, making it a perfect place to float around on a hot afternoon. The water is around 100m in depth, meaning you can launch yourself off some of the cliffs if you dare.
After you’ve visited this most central of the Valladolid cenotes, there’s plenty to explore in the rest of the city, such as the famous Convento de San Bernardino de Siena, the beautiful colourful houses of La Calzada de los Frailes and even the history of tequila and mezcal (with tasters!) in El Museo del Tequila.
By Lozzy from Cuppa to Copa Travels
Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo
Set just a short ferry ride away from Cancun–so short, in fact, that on clear days you can make out the skyline of Cancun across the water in the distance–Isla Mujeres, Mexico is both a fantastic island and one of Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos.
With Caribbean beaches covered in soft white sand, this small island is easy to navigate and easy to relax on–you can comfortably cover the entire island on a golf cart over the course of a day, though you probably won’t want to move that fast. Relaxing is the name of the game in Isla Mujeres.
In addition to planting yourself on legendary Playa Norte for the day, some of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres include visiting the Ixchel Ruins on the southern tip of the island, watching the sunset on Playa Sol, renting a cabana at a beach resort for the day, visiting the island’s turtle sanctuary, and, from June to September, swimming with whale sharks.
In the center of town, the main drag of Avenida Miguel Hidalgo is a must-see, though expect higher-than-average prices on food and souvenirs here.
With its beautiful beaches (arguably among the best in Mexico!), its relaxed vibes, and number of things to do, Isla Mujeres is a fantastic–one might even say magical–destination in Mexico.
by Kate from Our Escape Clause
Tulum, Quintana Roo
Located on the Caribbean Coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Tulum is one of Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos worth visiting. Long known as an eco-friendly destination, Tulum is especially perfect for nature lovers, with long stretches of uncrowded white sand beaches, unique Mayan ruins, and beautiful turquoise water.
No doubt at the top of the list of what to do in Tulum is touring the well-preserved ancient ruins, the only Mayan city erected directly on the ocean. Built at the edge of steep cliffs, the ruins overlook one of the best beaches in Tulum. To fully experience the site, plan to spend at least half a day here.
Other popular must-sees around Tulum are snorkeling or diving in the nearby cenotes, collapsed limestone caves filled with crystal clear water, or taking a guided bike ride through the jungle. Just south of Tulum, and easy to get to, is the Unesco World Heritage site of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Preserve with its pristine landscape, historic Mayan trade channels, and an incredible array of wildlife.
The downtown area of Tulum is just a short distance from the coast featuring organic cafes, funky bars, shops, boutique hotels, and restaurants to enjoy the local cuisine.
By Lori from Travlinmad
Bacalar, Quintana Roo
Located almost on the Belize border, lies the Pueblo Mágico of Bacalar. Described as what Tulum used to be, the quiet little town of Bacalar is experiencing a renaissance. Historically important over the centuries, the town played a key role in the colonial era when the Spaniards fought pirates.
Visitors flock to the Bacalar Lagoon, nicknamed the Lagoon of Seven Colors, for its incredible array of blues and turquoise. A day in Bacalar should include a boat ride to see the magnificence up close. Time your boat tour near sunset to watch the nightly migration to Bird Island. Or lay on an over-water hammock all day and relax!
Fans of water activities will find lots of amazing things to do in Bacalar. From kayaking to standup paddleboards, or exploring one of the beautiful cenotes, don’t forget your reef-safe sunscreen. The Bacalar Rapids, one of the few places in the world with stromatolites, is a not-to-miss activity.
Bacalar is perfect for a relaxing getaway from busy destinations. The shores of the lagoon are dotted with second homes, hotels, hostels, and yoga retreats. There is something for every budget here. So find a spot with an over-water swing and enjoy a cold draft beer from the local Cerveceria Bacalar.
If you’re visiting Mexico on a cruise ship, Bacalar is one of the few Pueblos Mágicos that can be visited during a shore excursion. Bacalar’s shore excursions depart from Mahahual, also called Costa Maya by some cruise lines.
By Annick from The Common Traveler
The town of Palenque may not be the prettiest Pueblo Mágico in Mexico but its location is definitely magical. Situated in the north of the state of Chiapas it is surrounded by lush, tropical jungle full of wildlife, an array of sparkling waterfalls, and impressive ancient ruins.
The majority of visitors to Palenque town use it as a home base to explore the nearby Palenque Archaeological site with the incredible uncovered structures of an ancient Mayan city. However, the town itself is working hard to create a welcoming and comfortable place to rest and replenish.
Most visitors will stay along either La Cañada or Avenida Juárez. La Cañada is a pretty, cobblestone street lined with modern hotels and charming jungle restaurants catering mainly to tourists. Avenida Juarez is an older street where locals and tourists mix so it feels a bit more authentic and prices are generally lower. The town of Palenque is small and walkable so wherever you stay it’s easy to explore on foot.
Things to do in Palenque include wandering the winding streets, sitting in the square, and visiting the church of Santo Domingo. Nearby take time to explore the Maya ruins, go on a jungle trek, and see some of the beautiful waterfalls. You can even swim in the unique Agua Azul and Misol Ha falls.
By Sarah from Live, Dream, Discover
When you think of beach towns in Mexico, your mind might immediately jump to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum. While those are amazing places to experience the beaches of Mexico, they are often too crowded. Even the most breathtaking natural scenery is diminished when you are surrounded by drunk and loud tourists.
If you are someone that enjoys the peace and quiet while being surrounded by beautiful peaceful beaches, then the pueblo mágico of Mazunte might be perfect for you. Located on Mexico’s Pacifico Coast, Mazunte is a nice destination for anyone that is coming from Puerto Escondido or San Jose Del Pacifico.
With less than 1,00 inhabitants, Mazunte’s laid-back vibe and several beaches (including Zipolite, Mexic’s first and only legal nude beach) are perfect for days of relaxing. Mazunte is also famous for its sea turtles that come to lay eggs on the beach. Though visitors are unlikely to witness that on their own due to their protection, there are many ecotourism centers such as Sea Turtle Center where they can learn more about it.
Don’t forget to visit Punta Cometa for the sunset. Here you will find a sizable number of the residents admiring the sunset and living the life every evening!
By Sean from LivingOutLau
Coatepec, Veracruz is an off the beaten path pueblo mágico with beautiful scenery and delicious coffee. Nestled into the mountains of Veracruz, this scenic town is known for its incredible coffee and tasty regional food. In fact, coffee shops throughout the country are quick to announce it when their beans hail from Coatepec.
The town itself is compact and colorful. The cobblestone streets are blanketed by wide sidewalks (a rarity in this part of Mexico), making it pleasant to wander about and soak up the ambiance. The buildings in the center of town are painted in vibrant colors, which contrast beautifully with the green mountains behind the town. Keep an eye out for the Pico de Orizaba (one of North America’s tallest mountains), as you can see it looming dramatically in the distance on clear days.
The busy town square is bordered by awesome restaurants where you can sample local cuisine. A popular dish to try in this area is mole de Xico (Xico is a neighboring town) and it definitely won’t disappoint. Amongst boutiques selling art and handicrafts, you’ll encounter a plethora of cafes selling locally roasted beans and fresh brewed coffee. Definitely take the time to sample a few brews.
Another regional specialty you’ll encounter here is a beverage called torito. This creamy liqueur is locally made and comes in a range of different flavors, including coffee, peanut butter, chocolate, and many more. If you have a sweet tooth, this liqueur makes a delightful topper for ice cream or addition to cup of coffee.
Coatepec makes a wonderful day trip from the nearby city of Xalapa but may not offer enough to warrant spending a night, though, there are a handful of beautiful countryside hotels just outside of town.
By Janine from Janine in the World
Cholula is a must-visit destination in Mexico. Located about a 1.5-hour drive from Mexico City, Cholula is most commonly visited on a day trip and is actually one of the best things to do in Mexico City!
The most popular attraction in Cholula is the Great Pyramid of Cholula. This pyramid is mostly underground and you can explore it best through a series of tunnels. On top of the temple is a brightly colored church that you can visit. The pyramid is the largest in all of Mexico by volume and around it are exposed ruins for exploring! It is a unique attraction and unlike anything else you’ll see in Mexico.
But besides the Pyramid of Cholula, the town itself is beautiful. The main plaza features tons of amazing restaurants with outdoor seating. There are also lots of bars in Cholula and for a small town, it has vibrant nightlife!
By Bailey from Destinationless Travel
Not well known to travelers, the magic town of Tepoztlán hits all the notes of a good getaway: a gorgeous setting nestled in the mountains, a walkable city center, and plenty of things to keep you occupied. Most visitors come to climb the summit of El Tepozteco, a local mountain crowned with a temple on top. Supposedly it still has strong spiritual energy — but if that’s not your thing, there are still gorgeous views. You’ll find more connections to the spirits here with new-age spas, as well as more traditional temazcals and shamanic ceremonies.
Tepoztlán is one of the most popular day trips from Mexico City for locals, and travelers should start jumping on the bandwagon since it’s only an hour by bus. On weekdays, the city is relatively quiet and a good chance to sightsee the picturesque streets without the crowds. On weekends, Sunday especially, the city comes to life with a street fair, arts and craft stalls, and live music. Either way, don’t miss the pre-Hispanic food stall in the public market: the food is tasty and hard to find in other parts of Mexico.
By Becky from SightDOING
Mexico has so many magical towns and Taxco is definitely one of the prettiest among them. Taxco is located around 170 kms from Mexico City and is a great weekend destination from Mexico City.
Taxco is especially known for its silver making and people from around the world come to buy jewelry and silverware from Taxco. In addition, due to the old style cobbled streets and white houses of Taxco, it resembles more like a European city. Visit in Spring and be floored with the whole city in bloom. Another important event during the year is the ‘Holy Week of Taxco’ which coincides with Easter week. Several processions are held throughout the town and the main church of Santa Prisca Church. However, be warned that they can be a little gruesome to watch since flagellation is common during the processions.
The main square is a gorgeous area and you can spend time wandering around the many shops in the area and learn how they make different types of silverware. Don’t forget to take a ride in one of the white Bochitos (Volkswagon Beetles) to some of the viewpoints around the town, especially to Cristo Rey Cristo Monumental. It is a fun experience to watch how they navigate these cars through the small alleys of Taxco.
By Soumya from Travel, Books And Food
Pueblos Mágicos Worth Visiting Northern Map
Teotihuacan, Estado de Mexico
The world famous Teotihuacan archeological site, the main draw in the pueblo mágico of San Juan Teotihuacan, is located about 90-minutes northeast of Mexico City. It is one of the most popular day trips, which nearly every visitor has on their Mexico City itinerary.
Teotihuacan (pronounced tay-yo-tee-waa-kan) is also one of Mexico’s 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The origins of this mysterious and large archeological site are unknown, though scholars tend to believe the ancient Toltecs built it, and eventually, the Aztecs did inhabit it. Nowadays, millions of visitors flock to Teotihuacan each year. In fact, Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World located not far from Cancun, regularly tie one another for most annual visitors to any Mexico archeological site.
Though not a Wonder of the World, Teotihuacan has one thing going for it that Chichen Itza does not — visitors can climb actually the pyramids! There are three pyramids at Teotihuacan, the Pyramid of the Sun, which is the largest one, the Pyramid of the Moon, and the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl, dedicated to the most important Aztec god.
After working up an appetite climbing pyramids all morning, head to the famous La Gruta restaurant for lunch. La Gruta translates to the cave, and like the name says, this beautiful restaurant is located inside an actual cave.
By Shelley from Travel Mexico Solo
Ixtapan de la Sal, Estado de Mexico
Ixtapan de la Sal is a magical town located circa 2 hours driving away from Mexico City. A lot of Mexico City residents have their vacation homes there. There are two ways to get to Ixtapan: by renting a car or taking a public bus. Ixtapan is most famous for its thermal water, underground caves and nature. Despite the fact that the town is pretty small, there are plenty of things to do in Ixtapan de la Sal!
Most people come to Ixtapan for a relaxing weekend trip: there are a few nice spa hotels to choose from! However, for those on a budget, there are plenty of affordable rooms and guesthouses, where you can stay. The main attraction in Ixtapan is its water park, however, the town centre is also very pretty. Mexico has great weather all year long, however, in winter, it’s especially pleasant in Ixtapan and it’s not too hot. If you’re coming to Ixtapan for a weekend, it’s also possible to combine it with visiting another stunning town, Taxco, that is famous for its silver.
By Liza from Tripsget
Valle de Bravo, Estado de Mexico
Valle de Bravo, located just over 84 miles from Mexico City, is well worth a visit. While being on the shores of Lake Avandaro, with all the accompanying water sports, is enough of a draw, there’s one more really spectacular reason to visit Valle de Bravo. The Monarch Butterfly makes a journey all the way from Canada down to Mexico each year. This incredible migration can be witnessed at the Piedra Herrada Sanctuary, which is just outside of Valle de Bravo and can be reached by taxi.
The things to do in Valle de Bravo don’t end there. This charming village with cobblestone streets also offers some hiking with amazing views. With plenty of pine forests and lake views abound, save time to enjoy the hikes that can be reached right from town. For those brave enough, it’s also the perfect location to give paragliding at try.
The best time to visit Valle de Bravo to see the butterfly migration is between November and March. The temperatures at this time are also favorable for outdoor activities like hiking and stand up paddleboarding.
By Celine from Family Can Travel
This charming pueblo mágico of Tequisquiapan is known for its traditional architecture, cobbled streets, and striking pink church (Church of St. Mary of the Assumption) in its sunny central square. You can also shop for handicrafts at the crafts market and unwind at one of the hot spas surrounding the town.
Tequisquiapan can be found in central Mexico – quite literally! Local people will tell you their town is located at Mexico’s most central point and there’s even a monument in ‘Tequis’ (as it’s locally known) showing a map of Mexico with a point piece of metal coming out of the centre to represent the town.
Tequisquiapan is located in the state of Queretaro an hour’s drive from Queretaro city. You can spend a day exploring the Queretaro wine route, stopping at various wineries, enjoying lunch in a Tequisquiapan cafe, and finishing the day is an equally pretty Pueblo Mágico, Bernal, just a 40-minute drive from Tequis.
By Rose from Where Goes Rose?
Queretaro is one of the tiniest among the States of Mexico. Yet it is brimming with amazing places to visit, starting from its capital city, Santiago de Queretaro. The capital is full of museums, delicious restaurants, and points of interest. Among the unmissable things to do in Queretaro, is a visit to Bernal. A visit to the pueblo mágico of Bernal makes a perfect day trip from the capital – perfect for any itinerary. Located only one hour by bus from Santiago the Queretaro, it is possible to visit in one day. Staying for the night would be a nice escape and offers the possibility of enjoying the pretty town and the delicious food after hiking to the monolith.
Bernal is most popular for the majestic monolith at the back of the colorful town. Anyone in fairly healthy condition can easily hike this “rock.” It takes no more than 1 hour to get to the viewpoint from where a spectacular view of the city awaits as a reward for the effort. The bravest and professional climbers would be able to go further but with cords and all the necessary equipment. It is preferable to hike early morning before anyone arrives there, otherwise, it can get crowded and not so enjoyable. That’s why the best way to visit Bernal is to stay overnight and get up early morning to hike.
If the itinerary schedule is tight, though, no worries. It is indeed possible to visit Bernal on a day trip from Queretaro, including the hike, and on your own. Try the delicious gorditas, sort of tacos but thicker, that you can stuff with all kinds of fillings. Suitable for meat eater and vegans alike.
By Isabella from Boundless Roads
Pinos, like Isla Mujeres near Cozumel, is one of the Pueblo Magicos in Mexico. It is found in the desert zone of El Gran Tunal in Zacatecas, 500 km north of Mexico City, a 6-hour drive away.
Pinos is a beautiful walking town with cobblestone roads, historical and religious buildings scattered about, and lovely gardens. One of the best things to do is visit La Parroquia de San Matías (Saint Matthias’ Parish Church) with its exquisite carvings on its facade. You can also explore its Museo Regional y de Arte Sacro (Regional and Sacred Art Museum) to help better understand the historical and cultural heritage of Pino.
A fun time to visit Pinos is during its Fiesta de los Faroles (Lantern Festival), held on December 8 every year since 1601 in honor of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. During this festival, colorful lanterns adorn the entire old neighborhood of Tlaxcala and its main street.
Pinos is 145km from the city of Zacatecas which contains amazing sites to explore on a day trip from Pinos. This includes La Quemada archaeological site, a large pre-Columbian settlement and Mina El Edén, an old silver mine with an underground train that allows you to see extraordinary rock formations and antique mining machinery.
By Nicole from Go Far Grow Close
Sayulita, one of only four Pueblo Mágicos in the state of Nayarit, is best known for its laid-back atmosphere and incredible surf opportunities. In fact, it’s one of the best surfing destinations in the entire country. While the closest airport to Sayulita is in Puerto Vallarta, about forty minutes away, getting to Sayulita is both easy and affordable, at only $2 USD by public transportation, or even $20 USD for a private car. The small town is extremely walkable, however, you can also easily rent a golf cart or motorbike from shops by the town square.
Travelers visit Sayulita for its relaxing and restorative opportunities because even if you aren’t a fan of surfing, there are lots of hiking trails, animal conservation experiences, yoga and exercise studios, mezcal tasting tours, horseback riding, and even diving spots in Islas Marietas National Park. Sayulita also has a strong relationship between tourism and the local community. Its local-run tourism board, Sayulita Insider, highlights locally-owned restaurants, hotels, businesses, and organizations to provide tourists the opportunity to explore Sayulita on a more authentic level.
By Kay from The Awkward Traveller
When looking for Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos with lots of activity and things to do in the surrounding area, visit Creel! This off-the-beaten-track location in Mexico is a real gem for visitors interested in history and indigenous culture. Are you are familiar with the Chihuahua state and the Copper Canyon? If so then you are not far from trying out some of the unique things to do in Creel.
Pay a visit to the Tarahumara, a local indigenous tribe. Its members offer various group tours for visitors. One of the main landmarks in Creel is the San Ignacio Church, built by Jesuits in the 18th century. This active church, visited by tourists, remains a house of worship for the local indigenous people. All in all, whilst in the state of Chihuahua a trip to this magical town is well worth a visit.
By Dan from Travel Culture
Tecate, Baja California
The tiny border town of Tecate just an hour from San Diego received the Pueblos Mágico designation in 2012. While best known for the beer that carries its name and the Rancho La Puerto Spa, this eclectic town offers something for everyone. Vast expanses of nature, including La Rumorosa, wineries, art, culture, and fine dining make Tecate a can’t-miss day trip or weekend getaway.
A downtown cultural center highlights indigenous life, with displays of artifacts, and offers historical information related to Mexico’s earliest inhabitants. The city also boasts a first-rate arts center, CEART Tecate, which includes a state of the art performing arts center. In addition to its theater performances, CEART offers revolving art exhibits, as well as art and music classes.
Foodies can enjoy top-notch dining not often found outside major cities. For lunch or a casual dinner try El Lugar de Nos. The menu has a nice selection of tostadas and salads and offers ample servings. For a more formal meal, visit Asao. This upmarket restaurant serves Baja-Med cuisine by international award-winning chef Martin San Roman. Additionally, Asao offers an extensive wine list and its views are amazing.
Though nearby Valle de Guadalupe is the better-known Mexican wine region, small wineries are taking off in Tecate. After hiking picturesque La Rumorosa, relax with a visit to Veramendi: Casa Vinicola. This small woman-owned estate winery operated by a mother-daughter team.
By Susan from GenXTraveler
Loreto, Baja California Sur
Loreto, located along the Gulf of California in Baja California Sur, is a gem among Mexican towns and cities on the Baja Peninsula. Loreto’s history dates back to its founding in the late 17th century. Much of the original architecture and city design remains. An early morning stroll through the town center will bring out the magic. You can see and visit the original Jesuit Mission, built in 1697. The nearby Public Plaza is a romantic place to spend an evening at one of the restaurants. They serve up delicious food and have performers entertaining throughout the night. Enjoy great sea views while walking along the Malecon that runs along the coast.
But what really makes Loreto special is the access it provides to coastal wildlife. Loreto is one of the most popular places to go on marine life tours in all of Baja. Take a tour toward the islands of Coronado, Carmen, and Danzante. Tours almost guarantee to turn up large pods of dolphins, sea lions, and a variety of whales. Loreto is one of the only places where you may see the world’s largest animal, the blue whale. Loreto is an incredibly popular place to visit and with good reason!
By Chris from Called to Wander
Todos Santos, Baja California Sur
Nestled into the western coast of the Baja California peninsula, the Pueblo Mágico of Todos Santos sits where the Pacific Ocean meets the desert and the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. An hour north of the popular resorts of Cabo San Lucas, this sleepy little town slipped under the radar for decades as a laid-back getaway for artists, surfers, and hippies.
Today, the cobblestone streets of Todos Santos are full of art galleries, boutique hotels, and hip restaurants and shopping. Its beaches are the perfect place for learning to surf. Kick back with a cold beer and fresh locally-caught seafood. Nature lovers can hike at Punta Lobos for breathtaking views of the coast. Or they can take a boat excursion to see gray whales. Stay at the boutique Hotel Casa Tota. Just out of town, visitors find beachfront resorts like the luxe Hotel San Cristobal and charming Villa Santa Cruz. For unique souvenirs and local art, check out the graphic arts workshop and gallery La Sonrisa de la Muerte. Don’t miss a chance to take a photo at the Hotel California, long-rumored as the Eagles song’s inspiration.
Adrienne from The Haphazard Traveler
If you’re looking for more Mexico content, check out these posts:
- Best Places to Visit in Mexico
- Best Things to do in Mahahual
- 12 Best Things to do in Merida
- Reasons to Visit Guanajuato
Have you visited any of the Pueblos Mágicos Mexico before? Which is your favorite?
Annick, The Common Traveler