Pueblos Mágicos (magic towns) encapsulate the cultural heritage, colonial history, and overall magic of Mexico. A trip to Mexico isn’t complete without visiting these magic towns in Mexico.
For the uninitiated, Pueblo Mágico is a title given by Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism to specific towns in Mexico for their rich history, folklore or unique flair. The magical towns of Mexico aren’t just handed this prestigious title; they have to earn it. It’s no wonder these magic towns are some of the most beautiful and important places in Mexico to visit.
But with over 177 official magic towns in Mexico, which ones should you choose? We’ve scoured the entire country and handpicked our favorite pueblos mágicos in Mexico for you!
Table of Contents
- Magic Towns in Mexico
- The Best Magic Towns in Mexico
- Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Baja California
- Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Chiapas
- Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Chihuahua
- Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Guanajuato
- Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Guerrero
- Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Jalisco
- Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Michoacán
- Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Morelos
- Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Puebla
- Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Querétaro
- Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Quintana Roo
- Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in San Luis Potosí
- Pueblos Mágicos in The State of Mexico
- Pueblos Mágicos in Veracruz
- Pueblos Mágicos in Yucatan
- Why Visit a Magic Town in Mexico?
Magic Towns in Mexico
How do Towns Become Pueblos Mágicos?
Mexico’s government launched the Pueblos Mágicos program in 2001 (surprisingly recent!) which designates certain towns and villages across the country as “magical towns”. The goal was to incentivize tourism and recover the importance of these towns by giving them a distinctive and prestigious title.
For a town or village to become one of Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos, it has to fulfill a series of criteria – for example, the town should have a population of at least 5000 and it should located no more than 300 km from a big city. Once given the title, the town is assigned a budget to improve its infrastructure, product offering, and experience, while making sure it maintains traditions.
Since its launch, the Pueblo Mágico program has created pride and recognition for Mexicans. For travelers, it just means there are more options beyond the standard beach towns and more charming places offering authentic experiences to visit.
How Many Pueblos Magicos in Mexico?
Every few years, the Secretary of Tourism in Mexico reevaluates the list — and some towns are added, while some get removed. For 2023, Mexico’s secretary of tourism received more than 100 nominations across 27 states. A total of 45 towns met the requirements, and their addition brings the number of Magical Towns to 177.
As of 1 August 2023, there are 177 Pueblos Mágicos in Mexico. Every state in Mexico has at least one pueblo mágico. So, no matter what region of Mexico you’re visiting, you’ll get to visit one magic town or two.
Mexico’s Magic Towns Map
Here’s a map where you can find the best magic towns in Mexico:
How to use this map: Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. To open a larger version in a new tab, click on the top right corner of the map. You can also click on the star to save to your Google Maps.
The Best Magic Towns in Mexico
Out of the 177 Pueblos Mágicos in Mexico, I’ve picked 30 of our favorite magical towns based on how beautiful they are and their historical or cultural importance. Here are the best Pueblos Mágicos, grouped according to the states they’re in and ordered alphabetically.
Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Baja California
1. Todos Santos
Nestled at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California, Todos Santos has a beguiling blend of artistry, history, and natural splendor. Along the town’s narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll find 18th century colonial architecture splashed in vivid hues and intricate wrought-iron balconies. The town was founded in 1733 as a Spanish mission, and it has been a thriving community ever since.
Venturing beyond the bustling town center, a world of adventure awaits. To the west, the Pacific Ocean’s cerulean waves embrace pristine beaches, attracting surfers from around the globe seeking to ride the legendary breaks. Meanwhile, the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains to the east offer hiking trails that wind through verdant oases and showcase the region’s biodiversity. Todos Santos effortlessly captures the essence of Mexico’s soul, where the spirit of artistry thrives amidst the desert’s rugged beauty.
How to Get There: The nearest airport to Todos Santos is Los Cabos International Airport (SJD), which is about 110 km away. It takes about 1 hour 15 minutes to drive from the airport to Todos Santos. You can also take a taxi or bus from the airport to Todos Santos, which will cost around $100 USD.
Loreto is located on the Sea of Cortez, known for its natural diversity and beauty. Founded in 1697 as a Spanish mission, Loreto is blessed with several well-preserved colonial buildings including the Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó (a UNESCO Heritage site). The historic center of Loreto whispers tales of its colonial past through its well-preserved architecture and cobblestone streets.
Surrounded by the Sierra de la Giganta mountains, there are so many nature-focused things to do in Loreto and beyond: from snorkeling and scuba diving to biking or camping. Loreto is also a popular destination for golfers from all over the world, as it’s home to several golf courses.
How to Get There: Loreto has an International Airport located just 10 minutes away from the center of the town, so there’s not an easier way to visit this beautiful magical town of Mexico.
Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Chiapas
3. San Cristóbal de las Casas
The crown jewel of Chiapas, San Cristóbal de las Casas is a pueblo mágico bursting with colors and Indigenous culture. Perched at an elevation of over 7,200 feet (2,200 meters), San Cris -as it’s affectionately known- is lined with cobblestoned streets and terracotta-roofed colonial houses, surrounded by misty mountains and hilltop churches. Indigenous Tzoztil ladies saunter along the sidewalks in their embroidered huilpil, hawking beautiful artisan and textiles.
Under the colorful surface of this pueblo mágico lies a dark history. An armed insurgency by the Zapatistas (a socialist militant group) in the ’90s that went on until recently, made the Mexican army a fixture in the region. It crippled the development of the state, making it one of the poorest in the country. That said, today’s San Cris is no longer plagued by insecurity – it’s packed full of culturally rich institutions, pedestrianized streets, traditional markets and world-class restaurants.
How to Get There: The nearest airport to San Cristóbal de las Casas is Tuxtla Gutierrez International Airport (TGZ), which is 1.5 hours away by car. From other parts of Mexico, you can catch the ADO bus (Mexico’s biggest bus company) that has comfortable, air-conditioned buses that run on time. Book your bus tickets online!
4. Chiapa de Corzo
Chiapa de Corzo makes for one of the most interesting pueblos mágicos in Mexico for its rich history and historic remnants. The town was founded in 1528 by the Spanish conquistador Diego Mazariegos, and it’s one of the oldest settlements in Mexico that is currently inhabited. This region was also an important center for the Zoque, a pre-Hispanic civilization, and you can still see many ruins and remnants of this culture.
In addition to its history and culture, Chiapa de Corzo is known for its natural beauty, as it is located next to the Grijalva River and surrounded by impressive rainforests and mountains. The town serves as the gateway to the Sumidero Canyon, a popular destination for ecotourism for it offers the perfect landscapes for hiking, birdwatching and kayaking.
How to Get There: You can get to Chiapa de Corzo from Tuxtla Gutiérrez International Airport (TGZ) by car or taxi. The drive takes about 39 minutes. You can also take a taxi from the airport to Chiapa de Corzo.
Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Chihuahua
Backdropped by the dramatic Sierra Tarahumara in northern Mexico, the pueblo mágico of Creel, Chihuahua appeals to nature-loving travelers with its rugged, mountainous landscapes. As if plucked from a postcard, Creel’s town center exudes a quaint, timeless appeal, with its adobe buildings, vibrant colors, and a bustling Zócalo.
But Creel is more than just a charming town; it’s the launchpad for extraordinary adventures. Creel is surrounded by a patchwork of rugged canyons, dense pine forests, and sheer cliffs that define the majestic Copper Canyon. Whether you’re embarking on a journey into Mexico’s highest mountains aboard the Copper Canyon Chepe Train or hiking the ancient trails of the Rarámuri indigenous people, Creel offers a peek into the beautiful backcountry of northern Mexico.
Read my guide to Creel, Chihuahua.
How to Get There: Chihuahua International Airport (CUU) is the closest airport to Creel, and it’s about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Creel. To get to Creel, catch the Chepe Regional train which leaves from Chihuahua every Wednesday and Saturday. Read my Chepe train guide for full details on prices, schedules and itinerary. Alternatively, if the schedule doesn’t fit you, buses to Creel leave regularly from Chihuahua’s main bus station 7km east of the center. Book your bus ticket here.
Tucked at the foot of a valley in the rugged Copper Canyon, Batopilas is a remote village, accessible only by treacherous mountain roads. Hemmed in by towering cliffs and surrounded by lush vegetation, Batopilas exudes an air of solitude and mystery. Its cobblestone streets meander through a labyrinth of adobe buildings, some dating back centuries, while the mesmerizing echoes of the Urique River add a soothing cadence to the ambiance.
It was once one of the most important silver mining centers in Mexico in the 17th century, and you can still find several well-preserved colonial buildings from that era. Today, it is still home to different indigenous communities, and their traditions are very much alive.
How to Get There: The closest airport is Chihuahua International Airport (CUU), but there’s not a direct route from there to Batopilas. The most scenic way to get there is taking el Chepe train through the Copper Canyon to Creel before taking the bus down to Batopilas.
Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Guanajuato
7. San Miguel de Allende
With a magical setting and a distinct European flair, San Miguel de Allende has stolen the hearts of many, including mine. One of the first towns in Mexico to be named a pueblo mágico, San Miguel has that special charisma that sets it apart from the others. Pastel-colored colonial buildings and leafy green parks line the enchanting cobblestoned streets; church bell towers ring and the smell of jacaranda flowers fill the air.
Culturally, San Miguel de Allende is a treasure trove of historical sites. In fact, the entire old town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Thanks to its location in the central highlands, it has eternal spring weather, and the city is surrounded by wineries and hot springs. San Miguel is also considered one of the safest cities in Mexico. It’s no wonder Condé Nast Travellers Magazine named it the “best city in the world” two years in a row!
Read my favorite things to do in San Miguel de Allende.
How to Get There: The nearest airports to San Miguel de Allende are Del Bajío International Airport (1.5 hours by car), and Querétaro Intercontinental Airport (1 hour). An alternative is flying into Mexico City, a 3-hour drive from San Miguel de Allende. From there, take the excellent first-class bus from Mexico City on ETN or Primera Plus. Or book a transfer.
8. Mineral de Pozos
Mineral de Pozos is a charming magic town, known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, its rich mining history, and beautiful natural setting. One of the main attractions in Mineral de Pozos is the Mina Cinco Señores (Five Lords Mine). This former silver mine is now a popular tourist destination, and visitors can take guided tours of the underground tunnels and learn about the history of mining in the area.
In addition to its historical attractions, Mineral de Pozos is also home to a number of natural attractions. One of the most popular is the Prismas Basálticos (Basalt Prisms). This geological formation is made up of thousands of hexagonal basalt columns that rise up out of the ground. Visitors can hike to the top of the Prismas Basálticos for breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
How to Get There: You can get to Mineral de Pozos from Querétaro International Airport (QRO) by car in 1 hour 20 minutes. You can also take a taxi or bus from the airport to Mineral de Pozos. The bus ride will take about 2 hours and cost around US$10.
9. Dolores Hidalgo
Dolores Hidalgo is known as the “Cradle of Mexican Independence” as it happens to be the place where Father Miguel Hidalgo gave the cry for independence from Spain on 16 September 1810, so expect a great celebration if you visit on Mexico’s Independence Day. You can find many well-preserved colonial buildings such as the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, the church where this important historic event took place.
With its historical significance, colonial architecture, vibrant culture and natural beauty, Dolores Hidalgo is one of the most well-know magic towns in Mexico. Just an hour from Guanajuato city and San Miguel de Allende, this town makes for a great stopover. There are plenty of things to keep you entertained: from museums, to ecotourism activities, art galleries and a traditional market where you can buy artisanal pieces.
How to Get There: The closest airport is located in León del Bajio Airport (BJX) which is about 45 minutes by car. I suggest renting a car and driving yourself; you can turn it into a road trip around Guanajuato.
Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Guerrero
Taxco is a whimsical pueblo mágico that was put on the map thanks to its silver mines and jewelry. The town has a lot of character and it’s worth spending the day (or even two) exploring. There are lots of cute shops selling silver jewelry, as well as other souvenirs. You can visit the Casa Humboldt Museum which is dedicated to the German explorer, Alexander von Humboldt.
At 3 hours from the capital, Taxco makes for a good day trip from Mexico City. Located in the hilly mountains of the state of Guerrero, the magical town is iconic for its Spanish colonial architecture, subservient of its red roof tiles and white-painted walls. Plaza Borda is the town’s main feature, which is an 18th-century Santa Prisca church commonly referred to as ‘Zócalo’ by the locals.
How to Get There: Head to Mexico City’s Terminal Taxqueña to catch a bus to Taxco or book a tour of Cuernavaca & Taxco for 1000 MXN/US$49.
Ixcateopan was an important center of the pre-Hispanic Nahua civilization and was the birthplace of Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec emperor. The town is also home to a number of important historical sites, such as the Ex-Convento de San Agustín, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This town is a place to visit if you want to learn about Mexican culture and explore its adventurous nature. Besides its museums and historic buildings, you can find the Parque Nacional Grutas de Cacahuamilpa, a national park where you can explore some of the largest and most impressive caves in Mexico, as well as some other natural attractions like waterfalls and rivers.
How to Get There: The closest airport to Ixcateopan is Acapulco International Airport (ACA), which is about a 4-hour drive. You can take a bus from Acapulco to get there.
Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Jalisco
Do you like tequila? Then you’ll love to visit the town where it was invented. Tequila is one of the most famous magical towns in Mexico, rightfully so as the birthplace of this iconic liquor. The agave landscapes and ancient industrial facilities of Tequila have earned UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Tequila is home to some of the biggest distilleries in Mexico (Herradura and José Cuervo), that offer visitors a chance to learn about the history and culture of tequila production. There’s also the Tequila Volcano, located just outside of the town, and it’s a popular destination for hiking and camping.
How to Get There: First fly into the Guadalajara International Airport (GDL), and take the Tequila Express train, which is not only a way of transportation but a whole experience on its own. Otherwise, book a day trip that includes distillery visits, tequila tasting and lunch.
Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Michoacán
Pátzcuaro is one of the prettiest magical towns in Mexico, known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, its rich indigenous culture, and its stunning natural surroundings. Pátzcuaro is considered one of the best places to celebrate Day of the Dead, as the area around Lake Pátzcuaro has a strong indigenous population. In fact, the town’s name, Pátzcuaro, means “the door to heaven” in indigenous language.
Many of the Day of the Dead traditions here are rooted in the local Purépecha culture. On the night of 1 November, a candlelit procession leads from Pátzcuaro to the nearby island of Janitzio. This event, known as “Noche de Muertos,” features colorful canoes and boats adorned with candles and flowers, creating a beautiful sight on the lake. The island is known for its iconic tradition of creating large candlelit figures that represent various themes. These figures are displayed along the hillsides of the island and create a mesmerizing visual spectacle.
Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Morelos
Tepoztlán, located just outside the large city of Cuernavaca, is yet another pueblo mágico that many visit on day trips from Mexico City. It’s reputed as the birthplace of Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec feathered serpent god.
Tepoztlán’s most famous attraction is the Temple of Tepozteco. It sits on a clifftop in the Sierra de Tepoztlán that overlooks the city. The small and unassuming temple was built in homage to the Aztec god of pulque, Tepoztecatl. Pulque is Mexico’s oldest alcoholic beverage made from the pulp of cactus. The hike up to the temple is a proper workout, but the views from the top are definitely worth the climb.
Tepoztlan center is made up of narrow cobblestone walkways, with papel picado (paper flags) often flapping overhead. It has a large market with lots of locally sourced produce, hand-crafted souvenirs, and many taco stands. I had some yummy roasted grasshoppers with my tahini-paste-ladened michelada at the markets and highly recommend them!
How to Get There: Catch a bus to Tepoztlán from Mexico Taxqueña station on the outskirts of Mexico City. The bus drops you off a little out of town and it’s about a 15-minute walk to the center, but the scenery on the walk is insane. Or book a day tour here.
Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Puebla
Unknown to many, Cinco de Mayo (one of the most important Mexican holidays) is largely celebrated in Puebla, as it commemorates a battle that took place right here. If you happen to be in Mexico City during Cinco de Mayo, we highly recommend taking a day trip to this brightly colored colonial town.
One of the safest cities in Mexico, Puebla is blessed with spectacular architecture and plenty of historical monuments. The most notable buildings are the Puebla Cathedral and the Palacio Municipal (Town Hall). Just outside of Puebla, Cholula is famous for having the largest pyramid in Mexico.
The Great Pyramid of Cholula is actually bigger than the famous Teotihuacan pyramids. But unlike Teotihuacan, the Cholula pyramid is not visible as it’s covered by earth and grass. Even if you haven’t heard of it, you’d have seen pictures of the yellow Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios sitting majestically on top of the pyramid, backdropped by the snow capped Popocatepetl Volcano.
How to Get There: Take the bus to Puebla from the eastern bus terminal in Mexico City. It takes around 2 hours and costs $160 MXN ($8 USD). From Puebla, you can get to Cholula by taxi in under 15 minutes. Alternatively, book a day tour.
Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Querétaro
Backdropped by an iconic monolith, San Sebastián Bernal (better known as Bernal) is one of the most picture-perfect pueblo mágicos in Mexico. The town is home to the eloquently named Chapel of Souls and the Museum of the Masks.
At 433 meters tall, Peña de Bernal is one of the world’s tallest monoliths and it looks really impressive up close. The monolith, composed entirely of pinkish-gray leucocratic-igneous rock, is thought to be over 65 million years old! It’s considered one of the 13 wonders of Mexico, so it’s certainly worth the 3-hour drive.
The stunning monolith attracts rock climbers from Mexico and around the world, with a number of routes of varying degrees of difficulty. For the less adventurous, a moderately strenuous 30-minute hike will take you as far as you can safely scale the rock without ropes. Get started early to beat the mid-morning rush and fierce heat.
How to Get There: Bernal is approximately 3-hours from Mexico City; Catch a bus from México Central Norte station to Ezequiel Montes then take a taxi to Bernal for 200 MXN ($10 USD) each way. Alternatively, book a day tour to Bernal.
Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in Quintana Roo
15 years ago, when I visited Tulum for the first time, I was smitten. Tulum was a sleepy beach town then, with just a handful of hostels and wooden beach huts. The tumbling turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea would lap up against white sugary powder sand, backdropped by the wild, untamed jungle. It felt like a backpacker’s dream come true.
Fast forward to today, Tulum has transformed into a hip, trendy destination where bourgeoisie beach clubs stand alongside eclectic art galleries and eco-chic boutique hotels. There are more vegan cafes and smoothie bars than taco carts, more upscale hotels than simple beach shacks. Tulum is now one of the fastest-growing magic towns in Mexico.
Thankfully, all is not lost. Unlike neighboring Playa del Carmen and Cancun, Tulum still retains a jungly setting, with large swathes of wilderness surrounding it. Besides the vast Si’an Kaan Reserve that encircles Tulum, there’s a multitude of interesting spots to explore in and around Tulum: mysterious cenotes, secluded lagoons, and Mayan ruins that have been tumbled and shaped by time.
Read my Tulum travel guide.
How to Get There: Tulum doesn’t have an airport yet, but the new airport is currently under construction. For now, Cancun airport is the closest airport to Tulum and it’s only a 1.5-hour hour drive away (or 73 miles / 118 km away). The easiest way to get from Cancun to Tulum is to book a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportations.
Crystal clear, spearmint blue water, and swinging hammocks hanging from overwater palapa — Bacalar Lagoon is a sort of modern-day paradise that every traveler dreams of.
Once here, it’s easy to see how Laguna Bacalar earned the nickname, “Laguna de Siete Colores” (lagoon of seven colors). You’ll see all kinds of blue in the water: from light turquoise to sky blue and dark indigo.The reason is because of the varying depths of water in the lagoon, ranging from 10 to 300 feet deep. The shallow parts have clear, spearmint water; while the deepest points have dark blue water.
Bacalar Lagoon (or Laguna Bacalar) is just a 2-hour drive from touristy Tulum, but it cannot be more different. Oozing laidback, mellow vibes, the sleepy town tends to draw curious travelers seeking less conventional places. Officially named a Pueblo Mágico in 2006, Bacalar is definitely one of the most beautiful spots in the Yucatan Peninsula.
How to Get There: The closest airport to Bacalar is Chetumal International Airport (CTM), which is 45 minutes away by car. It’s a small airport, and you will need to transit in Mexico City to get here from abroad. Alternatively, take a bus from Tulum or book a transfer.
Located off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel is the biggest island in the Mexican Caribbean. Cozumel Island is just 12 miles (20km) off Playa del Carmen, where we currently live. Having been added to the Pueblos Mágicos program in 2023, Cozumel has so much to explore: from ancient Mayan ruins to national parks and mangrove swamps.
In contrast to commercialized coastal cities like Cancun and Tulum, Cozumel Island is wild and relatively unspoiled. Most of the island is covered by lush tropical forests, nature reserves and empty beaches. Yes, it is a popular cruise destination – but time your visit to avoid the cruise ship and you’ll have the island to yourself.
Read my guide to Cozumel Island.
How to Get There: The most popular way to get to Cozumel is by ferry from Playa del Carmen, a beach town just 1 hour away from Cancun. Read my guide on how to get to Cozumel island. If you want to be free of the stress, I recommend booking a private transfer which includes transfer to the ferry terminal in Playa del Carmen AND the ferry to Cozumel.
20. Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is a small island just off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, directly across the water from Cancun. Just a short 15-minute ferry ride from Cancun, the island is much smaller than Cozumel and its beaches are much more pristine than those in Cancun, Tulum or Playa del Carmen.
Isla Mujeres has a quieter and more relaxing vibe than what you’ll find across the bay in Cancún, and there’s plenty to keep you entertained: scuba diving and snorkeling off the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second-longest coral reef system in the world), visiting a turtle farm or driving to the southern tip for spectacular views. Most of the island is covered by lush tropical forests, nature reserves and empty beaches.
How to Get There: Taking the high-speed ferry is the most popular way to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, but those with limited time should opt for the day cruise or private boat charter. By booking a catamaran day trip to Isla Mujeres, you won’t have to worry about transportation and logistics.
Mexico Pueblos Mágicos in San Luis Potosí
21. Real de Catorce
Tucked high in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico, Real de Catorce was once a thriving silver mining hub. Now the magical town offers visitors a glimpse into its rich past through its cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and well-preserved mining relics. The town’s mystical ambiance is heightened by its reputation as a spiritual center, attracting those seeking solace and introspection.
Real de Catorce is also renowned for its vibrant arts scene, hosting various festivals and exhibitions that showcase local talents. The surrounding desert landscape, with its dramatic canyons and cacti-dotted plains, provides a striking contrast to the town’s high-altitude charm.
How to Get There: You can fly to the San Luis Potosí International Airport (SLP) and then take a bus from the Terminal Terrestre Potosina bus station to Matehuala, then take another bus to Real de Catorce. The whole journey takes around 4 hours. Alternatively, book a day trip here.
Pueblos Mágicos in The State of Mexico
22. San Juan Teotihuacan
San Juan Teotihuacan is home to one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Mexico: Teotihuacan, the city of the gods Just 1 hour outside Mexico City, the Teotihuacan ruins are the biggest pyramids in Mexico and the most visited archaeological site in the country. It makes for an excellent day trip from Mexico City.
The ancient site is home to the Pyramid of the Sun, one of the largest pyramids in Mesoamerica – and you can actually climb it! When you reach the top, the panoramic views of the Valley of Mexico are breathtaking. Other spots worth exploring are the mysterious Pyramid of the Moon, and the forgotten Temple of Quetzalcoatl. Read my guide on visiting Teotihuacan.
I went on a hot air balloon flight over Teotihuacan, it was one of the best travel experiences I’ve had in Mexico. The tour ($137 USD) included transportation from Mexico City, admission to Teotihuacan, an English-speaking guide, and a hot air balloon ride over the pyramids. Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
How to Get There: Make your way to México Central Norte terminal in Mexico City and get the bus from terminal 2 to Teotihuacan. Alternatively, take an Uber (for around US$40) or book an early-access tour that includes transfers.
Tepotzotlán may be difficult to pronounce but that doesn’t take away its magic. This is a charming and historically rich destination that captivates you at first sight. This pueblo mágico has a beautifully preserved colonial historic center with cobblestone streets and colorful facades.
At the heart of this magical town, you’ll find the amazing San Francisco Javier temple and ex-convent, a Unesco World Heritage Site with exquisite Baroque architecture and artistry. This town is perfect for history buffs as it also features the Museo Nacional del Virreinato (National Museum of Viceroyalty), a showcase of Mexico’s colonial past, in a delightful and enriching experience.
How to Get There: Tepotzotlán is just 1.5 hours from Mexico City; it makes for a great day trip from Mexico City. To get there, you can take a bus from the Central Poniente or Observatorio bus stations. . Book your day trip here.
24. Ixtapan de la Sal
Looking to pamper yourself? This pueblo mágico has just what you need as it is famous for its some of the best hot springs in Mexico,. Visiting Ixtapan de la Sal is the perfect opportunity to unwind as you enjoy their natural thermal waters and pools, which are believed to have healing properties.
Besides the therapeutic experience, you can get to explore its colonial town center’s colorful streets, local markets and relaxing atmosphere. Ixtapan de la Sal is also perfect for nature enthusiasts as it offers an ideal destination with beautiful countryside to enjoy hiking.
How to Get There: You can fly directly to Toluca International Airport (TLC) and then take a 1 hour drive to Ixtapan de la Sal or book a transfer from Mexico City
25. Valle de Bravo
Surrounded by the embrace of lush pine forests and kissed by the sparkling waters of Lake Avándaro, Valle de Bravo emerges as a Mexican gem with an air of elegance and adventure. This charming magical town, often referred to as Mexico’s “Little Switzerland,” marries the tranquility of lakeside living with the thrill of soaring through the skies.
One of the coolest things to do in Valle de Bravo is to go paragliding, where you’ll experience the sensation of soaring like a bird and take in panoramic views of the peaceful lake from above. It’s a perfect destination for those seeking both culture and adventure.
Pueblos Mágicos in Veracruz
Known as the “Coffee Capital of Mexico,” this enchanting pueblo mágico boasts a rich coffee-growing heritage, where the air is infused with the tantalizing scent of freshly roasted beans. Coffee lovers, don’t miss the chance to go on tours of the coffee plantations, where you can witness the meticulous craft of coffee production and savor the earthy, flavorful brews.
Beyond its coffee charm, Coatepec’s quaint streets reveal colonial architecture, vibrant markets, and a bohemian atmosphere that captivates the artistic spirit. This hidden jewel in Veracruz offers its visitors the promise of aromatic wonders.
How to Get There: You’ll need to fly to Veracruz International Airport (VER), which is just 45 minutes from Coatepec. From there, taking a taxi may be the easiest option; there are an official taxi stand in the airport and you’ll need to get a ticket in advance.
Nestled amid the emerald green of fertile landscapes, Papantla is a place where ancient Totonac traditions blend seamlessly with modern life. What truly sets this town apart is the mesmerizing ritual of the “Danza de los Voladores” or “Dance of the Flyers.” As you stand beneath the towering pole, you’ll witness daring performers descending gracefully from the heights, spinning like human windmills, a breathtaking spectacle that pays homage to the skies.
Beyond this cultural marvel, Papantla boasts bustling markets where you can savor exotic tropical fruits and immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of local life. Near Papantla lies the ancient city of El Tajín, where you’ll find some of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico.
How to Get There: You can fly to Poza Rica (PAZ) and then take a bus from the Poza Rica station (the ADO bus is around 50 MXN and they have departures every hour). You can travel straight from Veracruz city or Mexico city as well but they are 4-hour journeys by car. You can also book a day-trip from Veracruz.
Visiting Orizaba will take you back in time as its colonial architecture and historical landmarks perfectly match the rugged beauty of the surroundings. The city’s rich heritage is evident in its well-preserved churches and museums, providing a window into Mexico’s past.
Yet, it’s the looming presence of Pico de Orizaba, the highest peak in Mexico, that truly sets Orizaba Veracruz apart from other magic towns in Mexico. After wandering around the stunning pueblo mágico, challenge yourself on trek the mountains. Pico de Orizaba is the perfect setting for thrilling hikes and mountaineering expeditions; but be warned, you need to be an experienced climber to trek this mountain.
Read my guide to Orizaba, Veracruz.
How to Get There: You can fly to Xalapa (JAL), 3 hours away from Orizaba, or Veracruz Airport (VER), a 2-hour drive away. Alternatively, you can take a bus straight from Mexico City as the companies ADO and Autobuses Unidos will take you there for approximately MXN 1,160. You can also book a day trip from Veracruz city.
Pueblos Mágicos in Yucatan
Calm and unpretentious Valladolid is one of the best-kept secrets of the Yucatan Peninsula. Despite being the closest town to Chichén Itzá, Valladolid is surprisingly quiet and laid back, with a small town feel. It’s also one of the safest cities in Mexico. Many visitors pass through Valladolid on their way to see Coba and Ek Balam ruins nearby, but few actually stay and get to know the town.
Listed as one of Mexico’s pueblo mágicos, Valladolid is lined with cobblestoned streets, pastel-colored houses and old colonial buildings converted into art galleries or indie boutiques. It also has a large Mayan population — you’ll see plenty of locals walking around in traditional dress and lots of restaurants serving typical Mayan dishes.
One of the best things to do in Valladolid is to wander around town aimlessly. It’s such a pleasure strolling along the streets, admiring the pastel colored houses and wondering what surprise is in store around each corner. The most photogenic street in Valladolid is the Calzada de los Frailes, which has been tastefully restored with indie boutiques, museums, and small cafes.
How to Get There: Valladolid is just a 1.5-hour drive from Tulum and 2 hours from Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It’s easy to rent a car from Cancun Airport. I always book my car rental online on Discover Cars, as they have consistently given me the best prices and service. If you don’t drive, the ADO Bus is a good alternative as it’s reliable and punctual.
Izamal, one of the oldest pueblos mágicos in this list, is nicknamed La Ciudad Amarilla (the Yellow City) for good reason. The magic town is studded with traditional golden-yellow buildings that spiral out from the center like a budding daisy. The small provincial town is easily explored on foot, and spiffy horse-drawn carriages add to the city’s charm.
As you stroll through its charming streets, you’ll be transported to a different era created by the town’s old-world charm. Izamal also boasts ancient Mayan pyramids like Kinich Kakmó, offering a glimpse into its pre-Hispanic history. This tranquil town effortlessly blends history and culture, inviting travelers to savor its unique charm and bask in the warm glow of its timeless beauty.
How to Get There: The easiest way to visit this pueblo mágico is flying to Merida and then taking a bus from the Terminal de Autobuses del Centro station. You can also book a day-trip from Mérida to have your logistics taken care of. Check out my post on the best things to do in Merida.
Why Visit a Magic Town in Mexico?
Each of Mexico’s pueblos mágicos has its own magic. If you’re looking for a sense of authenticity, these magic towns in Mexico will give you a taste of the real Mexico. Here you won’t find commercial theme parks or massive all-inclusive resorts; what you will find are genuine cultural experiences, local businesses, handmade crafts, and lots of small town charm.
In short, Mexico’s magic towns are worth visiting for those seeking a genuine connection with Mexico. I hope my curated list of pueblos mágicos in Mexico have given you an idea of how many charming towns there are in Mexico and have helped you decide where to visit. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments field below.
For those who are planning to travel more of Mexico, check out other articles I’ve written on Mexico:
- Best Places to Celebrate Day of the Dead
- 20 Safest Cities in Mexico
- My Guide to Orizaba Veracruz
- My Guide to Creel Chihuahua
- My Guide to San Miguel de Allende
- Oaxaca Road Trip: My 10-Day Oaxaca Itinerary
- 10-Day Yucatan Itinerary
- 10-Day Guanajuato Itinerary
- 10-Day Copper Canyon Itinerary
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