• Adam

The Mystical Town of Tepoztlán

About an hour south of Mexico City sits a town nestled in a canyon between majestic peaks of green and brown. Tepoztlán, as it is called, is a place to relax, hike, and immerse yourself in new world therapies and rituals. I've never been to Sedona (Arizona, USA), but when I was reading up on this place, the vibe of Sedona was a comparison I came across a few times.

Away from the main road, the streets are quiet and steep in places. Many of them are paved in cobblestone. There is also a central square (Zócalo) which is a cute little park in the center of town. The most unique experience here is the Temazcal, a ritual Aztec sweat lodge ceremony where the body and mind are cleansed. As badly as I wanted to do this, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging, sweating it out in an enclosed space with a handful of people didn't sound like a great idea. So, I will have to save that for my next visit. Instead, I went hiking in the mountains above the town. There is an Aztec pyramid called the Tepozteco that is situated hundreds of feet above the town, and there is a path of stairs leading up to the pyramid. There is an entry fee around 50 pesos and the pyramid offers some great views.

Or so I was told.

I trekked up to the entrance to the pyramid complex, which only took about 30 minutes from the base in town. I was drenched in sweat despite it being only 9am in December. I made sure to arrive during operating hours, but the gate was closed! (I later learned that it is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) I did not want to turn around after coming up all that way, so I started looking for a way to continue uphill in an effort to at least get a good view of the town, which is not visible from the path up to the pyramid.

The path to the pyramid Sad that the entrance is closed!

After turning around from the locked pyramid gate, barely 200 feet back and on the right was a trail that continued uphill. There was a yellow "no passing" tape but as no one was around, so I ducked underneath and hiked uphill. As I continued higher, I saw more yellow tape crossing over the trail, so perhaps you may not want to do as I did, but the trail looked safe. Keeping track of where I went, I ended up behind the ridge in beautiful forest and eventually atop the ridge with stunning views of the entire valley and beyond. I even got to look down on the pyramid! The trails appeared to continue around the entire valley, but as I saw what I had come for and did not want to get lost, I backtracked the way I had come and within an hour I was back in the center of town.

Looking down on Tepoztlán The Tepozteco pyramid seen below

To reward myself, I got a massage. Along the main north/south road in the center of town are a handful of massage places. The going rate was about 700 pesos for an hour, but a few blocks north of the center square on the left in a hot pink building, I got an hour massage for 500 pesos. It felt great. The masseuse wore a mask and face shield, so I felt safe given the the current pandemic.

Tepoztlán is known in the region for its exotic flavors of ice cream. Here's a picture of pine nut ice cream. They also had corn, coconut, and many others. Come here and give it a try!

The town also has a large market adjacent to the center square. Here you can buy all sorts of food and toys. I stopped for lunch and had a cheap delicious meal.

For dinner I had pozole, a delicious stew with hominy (large corn kernels) and meat. With the water's recommendation, I ordered mine with red seasoning (vs. white) and with pork (vs. chicken). It came with tons of fixings on the side and despite being about 85 pesos (US $4.25) it was very filling!

Getting to Tepoztlán is very easy, buses leave Mexico City's south bus station (Tasqueña) a few times per hour and a one-way ticket is around 160 pesos. Travel time is about 1 hour 15 minutes, or more if traffic is bad.

A view down the main drag in the center of town.

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