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Tepoztlán is a popular tourist destination near Mexico City. According to myth, Tepoztlan is the birthplace of Ce Acatl, later known as Topiltzin Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl, and who may be the possible historical basis of the Mesoamericangod Quetzalcoatl over 1200 years ago, the feathered serpent god widely worshiped in ancient Mexico.

We saw references to “the Sedona of Mexico” (like in this article) and it fits – dramatic arid peaks surrounding, a similar heat and color palette, and a new-agey hippie vibe (more on that in this article) flavored with a strong sense of local culture. At our hotel (more below), it was clear the area is a popular destination for Mexicans, as well as US couples seeking a Romantic weekend or girls’ getaway – Los Angeles and New Yorkers in particular. In short, it’s a lovely climate with great scenery, relatively affordable and easy to get to, has enough to keep you entertained, and feels safe enough.

Note for drivers: the road from Mexico City is new and in fine condition; the town itself is close to undriveable for standard vehicles with stone streets in terrible shape.

Sites:

  • The archaeological site of **El Tepozteco is centered on the 13th-century temple dedicated to Tepoztēcatl, god of pulque. The sanctuary is located at 2,310 meters above sea level (7,579 feet) – a serious climb from the main plaza of Tepoztlán at 1,715 m (5,627 ft). The pathway is well maintained, with stone steps, and most references quote a walking time of “30-90 minutes” to the top. We fell into the 45 minute category, and it was a pretty serious workout. From the summit the views of the town are wonderful. The temple itself isn’t much now, more of a reason to walk up and enjoy the vista.
  • Our hotel offered a “walking tour” of the old town, which was more of a driving tour with occasional stops. The **Tepoztlán Ex Convento was built by the Tepoztecan Indians under the orders of the Dominican friars between 1555 and 1580, dedicated to the Virgin of the Nativity. In 1993, INAH created a restoration project and in 1994 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It’s a pretty space, and the interior art is worth seeing. As of our visit (March 2023) the adjacent church was still under repair from the last major earthquake; planned reopening in September 2023.
  • The Sunday market is reportedly one of the largest in Mexico – it’s huge, but only a slight increase over the deeply impressive daily market, with permanent stalls and a truly impressive and succulent array of food options.

Food and Lodging:

  • We stayed at ***Hotel Amomoxtli, and it’s one of those places where the pictures don’t look quite real, and in person it’s even better. The rooms are private and comfortable, the pool is just incredible, there’s an (unfriendly) cat, and the food is interesting – not always successful, but creatively aiming for local flair and regional elements in a positive way. The drinks leaned sweet, but definitely ask for a jalapeno margarita – it was awesome. The facility provides a lot (they’ll arrange your transportation from Mexico city, book tours, etc.), and they offer cooking classes, tours, yoga sessions, and the like. Service was bumpy at times, but overall it’s such a pretty place it didn’t particularly matter.
  • *Los Colorines: recommended by our tour guide, this place has been around for 50+ years and has okay food. It’s cute, but definitely for the tourists.
  • [Didn’t go] HOTEL POSADA DEL TEPOZTECO: the historic place to stay, also has a fine dining restaurant.
  • *Tepoznieves is a famous ice cream brand of the area, with 200+ flavors and an especially cute scoop shop. Unfortunately, what also goes with a huge inventory? Freezer burn.

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