Located less than an hour and a half outside of Mexico City, the Pueblo Magico of Tepoztlán is a popular weekend getaway for Chilangos (Mexico City residents). Famous for its Aztec pyramid and strong ties to its prehispanic culture, Tepoztlán is a mystical and colorful town just waiting for you to discover. It’s a perfect day trip from Mexico City and is easily accessible by car or bus. Visit during the week if you want to enjoy a quieter trip, or opt for the weekend when it’s at its most vibrant and bustling. Whenever we want an escape from the city but don’t want to travel too far, Tepoztlán is always one of our go-tos.
Hike in the Footsteps of Aztecs to El Tepozteco
Overlooking Tepoztlán, high from the mountain top, is the Aztec Temple El Tepozteco. To reach the stunning view, you’ll have to put in some work. The hike up is about an hour and keeps you panting until the very top, where you’re rewarded with incredible views of the ancient Aztec temple, Tepoztlán down below, and the surrounding mountains.
Eat Prehispanic Food in the Local Market
Tepoztlán is a town tied to its prehispanic roots. One of the best ways to experience the indigenous culture here is through food! In the center of town is a large market filled with produce vendors and small food stalls. Several of these stalls offer prehispanic food which often included wild game and plenty of seeds and vegetables. Our favorite dish is the jabali (wild boar) with pineapple and nopales (cactus). It’s very spicy, but so worth a try if you can tolerate the heat. We also always order a side of the vegetable patties that are usually a mix of local seeds, mushrooms, squash blossom, and other flowers.
Browse the Weekend Market
As the weekend crowd fills the cobblestone streets, the artisanal market springs to life, offering many special crafts to remind you of your time in Tepoztlán. You can even find healing crystals and protection charms if you are looking to take back a mystical piece of Tepoztlán.
Try the Famous Tepoznieves
There is practically a Tepoznieve ice cream shop every other block in this small town. These popular ice creams or nieves (as they are called in Mexico) come in about a hundred different flavors. They offer nieves made with milk or water, just depending on if you want something more indulgent or lighter. My favorite flavors are the maracuyá (passion fruit) and coco nieves de agua.
Stay in the Tubohotel
Spend the night in a totally tubular hotel made out of construction materials. These unique concrete tube rooms are located on a peaceful property right outside of Tepoztlán. They’re far enough from the hustle and bustle of town for a relaxing stay, but close enough for you to reach the center of town by a short taxi ride.
Sip Some Mojitos
I think many people don’t realize when coming to Mexico City it’s illegal to drink in public. That means no walking streets with a drink in hand or enjoying a bottle of wine at your park picnic. However, in Tepoztlán the authorities apparently look the other way and you can stroll the streets with whatever beverage of your liking in hand. Mojitos are very popular but you could always opt for the famous Mexican michelada which usually consists of a chili and salt-lined-rim filled with beer, lime, and other savory mix-ins.
Experience a Traditional Temazcal
If you want to experience the spiritual side of Tepoztlán then participating in a temazcal should be high on your list. A temazcal is a sort of sweat lodge used by indigenous people across Mexico and Central America for thousands of years. They are known for cleansing the mind, body, and spirit, and are super hot. Some ceremonies last up to two hours as water is continuously added to a fire to keep the heat and steam going.
My final recommendation, and always one of my favorites, is just to wander the beautiful bougainvillea-lined streets. I think exploring on foot with no real destination in mind is the best way to discover a place. Tepoztlán has elegant churches, colorful buildings, lush flora, and plenty of history waiting for you to uncover.