Tepoztlán is a Magical Town cradled in front of its legendary hill El Tepozteco, which offers history, traditions, festivals, and other charms. Less than two hours from Mexico City, here are five reasons why travelers should have Tepoztlan, Morelos on their bucket list.
Climb the Pyramid of El Tepozteco
At the top of the El Tepozteco hill, there is an adoratory complex built in the mid-twelfth century by the indigenous Tepoztec Xochimilcas. It is dedicated to Ometochtli-Tepuztécatl, the spirit of drunkenness and god of wind and crops. The ascent of the hill is somewhat arduous, so you should take it easy. The pyramid measures almost 10 meters, and for a long time, it was covered by vegetation until the community cleaned it up.
Back to Tepoztlán after ascending El Tepozteco, it is only fair that you get a snack to celebrate your archaeological and sporting feat. We recommend that you enjoy the delicious tepozteco ice cream and one of the most famous traditions of this picturesque town. You will find the classic flavors, but you may want to encourage yourself to try some of the exotic combinations they prepare. You will not be disappointed!
Visit the Former Convent of the Nativity
This majestic religious building was built in the sixteenth century by the Dominican Order, which used indigenous Tepoztec labor. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1994. In the portal, there is an image of the Virgin of the Rosary and a dog holding a lit torch with its mouth, one of the symbols of the Dominicans. On the internal walls, there are still some original murals. On the premises, you will find the Museum and Center of Historical Documentation of Tepoztlán, which covers the different aspects of the local culture.
The former convent temple is now the church that venerates Our Lady of the Nativity. Its large atrium has four posa chapels, an architectural solution provided by colonial Mexico to universal art. These chapels were used to place the Blessed Sacrament when it was taken out in procession and impart catechesis to children. The church has an intense activity during the festivities of El Tepozteco in August and September.
Explore the San Miguel Neighborhood
One of the most popular and active neighborhoods of Tepoztlán is San Miguel, where they venerate their eponymous saint. Along with its patron archangel, the other great symbol of the San Miguel community is the lizard. In the pre-Columbian indigenous culture, this animal was the protector of ballplayers and the guardian of good warriors. San Miguel is a place of lively commercial activity, where you can buy souvenirs, arts and crafts, with one of the emblems representing this vibrant neighborhood.
Take a Comforting Temazcal
In the Nahuatl language, the “temazcalli” is the “house where you sweat,” The temazcal has become synonymous with steam bath according to the Mexican indigenous tradition. The bathroom walls are heated with a wood fire, as well as water, which carries medicinal herbs to help detoxify the body through sweating and expectoration. Some hotels in Tepoztlán offer this therapeutic bath, and it’s an incredible experience. Posada Santo Domingo is a hotel near downtown that offers this experience to their guests guided by experienced shamans and is also one of the best rated.
Celebration of the Day of the Dead
The Day of the Faithful Departed, which is celebrated every November 2 according to Catholic tradition, has pre-Hispanic, colonial, and more recent reminiscences in the towns of Mexico. The celebration in Mexico dates from pre-Columbian times, as the Mexica, Mayan, Totonac, and Purépecha civilizations commemorated it. From the union of these ancestral customs with contemporary ones, a tradition has remained that has its particularities in each Mexican locality. In Tepoztlán, the Day of the Dead has a peculiarity, since the inhabitants, especially the children, go out to the street at night to “ask for calaverita,” that is, sweets and other gifts.
Tepoztlán offers a little something for everyone. During the week, the town is mellow and peaceful, while the weekend is bustling and vibrant. The city’s international vibe means great food, music, and a slate of activities throughout the year, preserving its small-town charm and quiet ambiance post-sunset. Whenever you choose to visit, you will find many great things to see and do.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com