Whenever a town is named a Magic Town, it is being recognized for its work and commitment to preserve the architectural, cultural and human heritage in order to share it with its visitors.
On this third part of our Magic Towns special report, we will submerge on the unique spots from Michocacan, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla and Queretaro to discover their magic and flavors.
One of the more admired natural landscapes in Mexico, and an architectural diamond that combines the baroque and neoclassic styles on its impressive buildings, Patzcuaro pays tribute to the meaning of its name in the Purepecha language: “Heaven’s Gate”.
The Main Square or Vasco de Quiroga plaza, the Once Patios House and the former San Nicolas College are important buildings from this Magic Town.
Its Janitzio Island, the most important one in Patzcuaro, is home to an old tradition that takes place every November 1st, where the whole island shines with lights and torches due to the procession lighted with candles and animated with religious chants performed by the local people.
The tamales, of pre-Hispanic origin and also known as tarascos, are prepared with white fish. The delicious tarasca soup made with tortillas, tomato sauce and cheese, is a very popular dish among visitors.
If you are looking for something sweet, ice cream of varied and exquisite flavors is found around Patzcuaro’s downtown.
Famous for the manufacturing of Christmas ornaments, mainly blown glass globes, this Michoacan municipality represents an excellent option to relax due to its peaceful environment.
The Carmen Ruins, with the remains of the region’s first church; the San Francisco Convent; and the Carmen Sanctuary with a baroque style from the 17th century, are the main attractions in this Magic Town.
Among the most popular dishes from Tlalpujahua one can find head beef and shredded beef, both cooked in adobe ovens.
The mushroom soup is also a frequently requested dish by locals and visitors to this municipality.
Cuitzeo, a Michoacan enchantment
Located only 40 minutes away from the city of Morelia, on the way to Salamanca, Guanajuato, its streets and buildings offer a journey back in time and along the history of this place and the state in general.
The former Santa Maria Magdalena Convent, with a plateresque style facade, stands out due to its beauty and its conservation state. This 16th century building encompasses the temple, the cloister, the garden, the open chapel and the Estampa Museum.
The Cuitzeo Lake, famous for the harvesting of the small charal fish, carps and catfish, is the symbol and main attraction from this Magic Town due to the arrival of Canadian ducks and swallows from October through March.
The black or white atole (a hot, corn drink), accompanied by the traditional uchepos tamales (prepared with just corn and butter), are an addition to the turkey mole (a spicy paste) with corn tortillas that is a tradition throughout the town.
Santa Clara del Cobre
With renowned copper craftworks, Santa Clara was founded in 1553 and was named a Magic Town in 2010.
The National Copper Museum displays the charming copper pieces, some of them were molded by the ancient Tarascan Indians, and others are the result of the hard work by craftsmen that have been awarded a variety of prizes in recognition of their work.
The many workshops throughout the town allow people to admire the techniques employed during the manufacturing of unique jewelry, which is renowned around the world.
The variety of dishes around the region includes white fish prepared in different ways, shredded beef, barbecued pork, tamales and atole.
The chalupa sandwiches with regional stews add popularity and daily choices.
Located a little over 30 minutes from Nuevo Leon’s capital, Villa de Santiago is framed by its landscape, with a colonial and romantic style, and by a relaxing environment that turns into the perfect mix for visitors.
The Boca Dam, with a distinctive beauty and surrounded by mountains, is open for activities such as water skiing and rides in a jet ski, boat or yacht.
The Cola de Caballo waterfall is one of the most visited sites in Santiago since it possesses crystal clear water streams that fall from a height of 82 feet in a shape similar to a steed’s tail.
The Ocampo Plaza, which includes the Santiago Apostle Parish, an icon in this Magic town and with a baroque style, invites visitors to explore all its beautiful spots.
Some of the most traditional and delicious dishes within the region are the stewed pork leg with fine herbs, and the red chili pork stew, usually accompanied by beans and rice.
Milk candy, orange preserves, corn bread and sweet potato candy are some of the flavorful deserts.
Calpulalpam de Mendez
Calpulalpam allows visitors to enjoy and get to know in detail its Zapotec culture traditions through its attractive views of traditional architecture with adobe, wood, tile and yellow quarry designs, and its cobblestone streets.
Throughout this Magic Town, one has access to indigenous medicine, an important foundation for the health of Calpulalpam’s inhabitants. Specifically, the Traditional Indigenous Medicine Center is a good example of such foundation.
The Saint Matthew Temple, built in the 16th century, stands out due to the conservation state of its wooden roof covered by clay tiles, and its reredos with a churrigueresque and baroque style.
Yellow, red, black or green mole, in addition to stuffed chili peppers, accompanied by tepache (a fermented pineapple drink) and yolk bread as the closing item.
Located in the state of Puebla, and 3,300 feet above sea level, Cuetzalan possesses a variety of natural landscapes that enchant its visitors.
Many architectural influences make its buildings appealing, such as the Saint Francis Parrish, with a Renaissance inspiration; the City Hall, a semi-replica of the Lateran Temple in Rome; the Concepcion Chapel and the Guadalupe Sanctuary, inspired on the French Basilica.
Located a little under an hour away from Cuetzalan’s downtown, tributaries from the Tecolutla River are found, where one can swim, dive and enjoy its intense currents of a renowned beauty.
The Cantona archeological site is located in the borderline between the states of Puebla and Veracruz; it is a magic place where obsidian production used to take place, and where interesting and confusing paths have been preserved, resembling the history of this fortified city.
The bigclaw river shrimp is a typical dish within the region. This crustacean, a sort of midpoint between a shrimp and a lobster, is prepared in almost all of Cuetzalan’s restaurants.
The pulacles tamales, stuffed with vegetables and wrapped in avocado leafs, the smoked cured meat accompanied by a nahuatlaca soup, mushrooms and tlacoyos (a stuffed gordita) are the town’s classic dishes.
Zacatlan de las Manzanas
One of the main apple producers in Mexico, Zacatlan offers multiple landscapes to enchant visitors arriving in this Magic Town.
The Main Garden with a monumental clock and surrounded by the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Parish, and another Franciscan church, is the most popular spot to meet and visit on this municipality.
Covered by pine forest, the Piedras Encimadas valley possesses a collection of giant rocky formations almost 65 million years old, and it is believed they are actually giant beings turned into rocks due to their evilness.
The chicken, beef, lamb or rabbit mixiote (pit-barbecued meat) is a traditional dish within the region; as well as the ever-present black beans. Apple cider and fruit wines made of quince, peach and apple are in important part of their drinks and flavors.
With a colorful landscape that includes cobblestone streets, San Sebastian Bernal is home to the world’s third largest monolith, a feature taken into account when it was named a Magic Town.
The Bernal Rock, a huge rock 1,150 feet tall and 10 million years old, is the most attractive spot from this municipality in the state of Queretaro, and people can get to the top by either climbing or walking.
The Castle, a viceregal building located downtown; the Animas Chapel, and the Saint Sebastian Martyr Temple, an eclectic style building from 1725, are architectural jewels in Bernal that are worth visiting.
The flavorful serrana enchiladas with cured meat, the shredded lamb meat cooked in a pit with agave stalks, and the holy cactus are the most exquisite dishes from this region.
Jalpan de Serra
Located in northern Queretaro, Jalpan combines its natural diversity with the baroque art from its buildings, resulting in a beautiful and interesting site.
Its beauty and World Heritage Site title, along with the five Franciscan missions, are part of this town’s main attractions.
The Sierra Gorda Museum, the Apostle James Church and the Main Garden encompass Jalpan’s center view, where most visitors concur.
The Jalpan Dam, and the Jalpan, Santa Maria and Tanchanaquito rivers are some of the vast natural sites where people can enjoy a wide diversity of activities, as well as sighting different animal and plant species.
Cured meat, teja atole and chicken chalupas; ground beef, red chicken and green chicken tamales; and the zacahuilt (a large tamale) delight locals and foreigners in Jalpan de Serra.
With a noticeable peaceful environment, Cadereyta was founded in 1640 as a linking and support site to put an end to the conflicts between Spaniards and Chichimec Indians.
The Zimapanpermite Dam, with its sport fishing activities, is one of this Magic Town’s icons due to its special beauty. The Saint Peter and Saint Paul Parish, the Saint Escala Temple and the Solitude Temple are some of the symbols from this town.
The lamb shredded beef and bishop’s weed, pumpkin and guava sweet treats are offered everywhere in town.