If you think it’s hard to find exotic Mexican food like the one you watched on TV, let me tell you the place is just an hour from Mexico City. The mystic energy that came from the mountain that gives its name to the town, it’s vegetarian prehispanic cuisine, and the vast offer of rites to purify one´s soul, are seductive traits for an unconventional traveler. The picturesque of the “Place of the copper ax”, which is what Tepoztlan means, seems to charmingly embrace three dimensions in time: the life of native Mexicans, the architecture of Spaniards during the conquer, and the eclectic vibes from European foreigners! There are 7 activities to experience the unparagoned energy of the town, of which 3 are not to be missed if it’s your first visit. I used to be a tourist guide and have wandered all around the town, but here are my must see places and must do activities in Tepoztlan.
Tepozteco mountain is easily spotted when entering the town. At first sight, its peak seems reachable, but when you start to climb it, you’d have no idea how it looked an easy task. The elevation is 600 meters high and is wrapped by foliage that helps protect you from the sun’s rays. And and the steps that are in the first half of the hill, make the trip more bearable. You can also enjoy spotting wildlife! Tepozteco is home to 12 endemic reptiles, among which stands out a poisonous lizard that is in danger of disappearing; the enchaquirado lizard. But if you don’t happen to see any, do not fret because you will hear the concert of 42 species of birds that inhabit the Tepozteco. My tip Enjoy a mojito in your trek! You can find this fresh beverage in every corner of Tepoztlan.
Tepozteco Archeological Site
It’s at the top of the Tepozteco peak! Please note that before entering the archeological site, there is a large Ahuehuete tree, also known as Montezuma cypress and is sacred for the natives. Some locals believe that their ancestors planted it to indicate the entrance of the ceremonial center. And about the archeological site, it was built to pay tribute to their god of fertility and at the solstice, people climb to the top to get charged up. By the way, this pyramid has inarguably the best view of the landscape. Tepozteco Archeological Site Schedule Open Monday through Sunday from 9 am to 5:30 pm. Ticket: $55 MXN
Market Of Exotic Food
The main market is between the kiosk and the church Ex Convento de la Natividad. In order to enter, you have to go down some stairs and maybe you won’t see much due to slight haze from the roast of the exotic dishes. Think of it like the triumphal entry to the pre-Hispanic delicacies. You should try “itacates”, a triangular-shaped blue tortilla filled with different stews. But “tlaltequeadas” are not to be missed! They are small balls and are made of different ingredients:
- Chaya leaves with carrot and pumpkin flower;
- Betabel with rose petals from Castilla, Jamaica flower, stalks of celery and toasted oats;
- Of seven seeds with quinoa and cranberry;
And for the sweet-tooth one´s:
- Yucca with roasted pear, apple and grated coconut; and
- Banana, pineapple, blueberries, sesame, and amaranth.
Some other exotic food you can taste in the market are deer, wild boar, scorpion, viper, and maguey worms. You can accompany them with a fresh passion fruit water or lime – chia water. The best of all? Everything is on a very affordable budget. My Favorite Restaurant El Tlecuil restaurant is in the heart of the market. I have not found another place with the seasoning that their cuisine has!
Free Purifying Rite
Being the mountain of the Tepozteco a place of high concentration of energy, the natives of indigenous roots have shared their rites for the purification of the body, mind, and soul. But not only them, but people from all over the world have brought to this vibrant town geomancy, holistic spas, and even oriental practices related to the healing of the soul. But there’s an old man dressed in white with a white beard wandering around downtown who says those things shouldn’t be paid for. He says that whoever wants to do good to another soul, should not profit from it. So you can receive a wonderful massage and soul alignment from this man for free! How To Get There? You have to chase him because he offers his services on the streets! Most of the time he is in downtown from 12 pm to 4 pm. It’s easy to spot him: he is thin, about 65 years old, always dressed in white, and carrying a mat.
Handcraft Made Of The Divine Poxote Tree
Buy local handcraft like lamps, dolls, cups, and ornaments that are made of the dried fruit that comes from the Cuatecomate tree. Test your search skills to spot small houses made from the thorns of the Poxote tree! Some of them remind me of the rock-carved city of Petra! Where To Buy Handcraft? Go to the Revolución de 1910 street to buy Cuatecomate art craft. And go to the alley that is between the church Ex Convento de la Natividad and the market to find Poxote wood little houses.
Exotic Ice Cream Flavors
Taste the extravagant flavors of Tepoznieves. These ice creams were inspired by the Mexican pre-hispanic gods. The more than 100 flavors of ice creams are made with Mexican flowers, fruits, and vegetables! The history says that the king from Tepoztlan introduced in its religious festivities a special delicacy prepared with snow from the volcano Popocatepetl. They added fruits and the tradition has been carried through generations. Where To Find Tepoznieves? In almost every corner of Tepoztlan.
Ex Convento de la Natividad
Visit this church of the sixteenth century that is a world heritage site. It was built by Zapotec Indians by orders of Dominican friars. In the atrium, you can see the original bells. However, please note the 80% of the church is closed due to the effects of the earthquake of 2017. My Tip Go before 5 pm, otherwise, it will be closed. And the entrance is at the back of the church next to the Carlos Pellicer Museum.
Carlos Pellicer Museum
This small but peculiar museum is worth the visit. Carlos Pellicer was a prodigious Mexican thinker lover of our antique roots. He was also a museographer and collector of prehispanic figurines, and this museum is part of that collection. The pieces are wonderful and their shapes are rarely seen in other museums in Mexico. You will see representations of men and women sick with smallpox after the arrival of the Spaniards. Also scenes of everyday life as young people playing with their dogs. How To Get There? The museum is in the back of the church Ex Convento de la Natividad on the street Arq. Pablo González # 2. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Ticket: $10 MXN Enjoy your stay! There is a lot more to know about Tepoztlan, Mexico. It’s full of traditions, carnivals, and legends. There are tours that depart from Mexico City or you can take a bus that will take you directly to Tepoztlan (from the Southern Bus Terminal Tasqueña). If you liked the information, please share!