Besides enjoying their traditions, cuisine, little known places and interesting sites, the Magic Towns program attempts to reevaluate, consolidate and promote these Mexican tourist destinations.
In this fourth part of the special report Magic Towns, we will get to know the flavors and most interesting sites from Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas and Tlaxcala.
Located in southern Quintana Roo, Bacalar is between the Bacalar Lagoon and the city of Chetumal, a prime location to observe its waters with different shades of blue.
With a large extension and shallow waters, the Bacalar Lagoon is one of the most beautiful spots from this Magic Town. Its blue waters, similar to pure crystals, and its white and soft sand, are characteristics that enchant visitors. The San Felipe Fort, built in 1729 to stop pirate attacks on the Mexican coast, preserves its bastions, its thick walls and a pit that is currently being used as a garden.
With clear turquoise waters, the Cenote Azul (a deep pool) also attracts people to Bacalar due to its 245 feet in depth, inviting visitors to discover its caverns and secrets by scuba diving.
Due to the influence of the neighboring regions, the rice and beans mix, cooked with coconut oil, is a dish frequently requested throughout the municipality.
The tamales are also a traditional food, in addition to a great variety of others options offered at Bacalar; one of the most traditional dishes is the mucbil, which is oven-baked chicken. Fish and seafood, such as the red snapper and lobster, are also local favorites.
San Luis Potosi
Real de Catorce
With mountains of great altitude, and hosting many films, Real de Catorce has only one entrance gate to the town, the Ogarrio Tunnel, which is almost 7,600 feet in length. This is where the magical journey begins.
The Hidalgo Garden, the town’s heart; the Purisima Concepcion Temple, with a neoclassic facade; the Pueblo Cemetery, home to the first chapel ever built; and the Casa de Moneda, built in 1863, place in front of us a Magic Town surrounded by legends, peace and traditions.
The cobblestone streets, the ruins, the Padre Flores Mine, the bullring, the Paredon (a rock wall) and the Arms Plaza are some of the interesting spots found on this San Luis Potosi municipality.
International cuisines are present in Real de Catorce. However, if you are looking for traditional dishes, shredded beef, oven-baked goat and goat cheese are the perfect regional delicacies to accompany them with mescal or pure maguey nectar.
Recently named a Magic Town, Xilitla is a coffee producing municipality located in the highest areas of the Huasteca region.
The town’s name means in Nahuatl language “snail land”, and heavy rains are part of the year-round weather, making it an evergreen region.
The Surrealistic Edward James’ Las Pozas Garden, in the middle of Xilitla’s jungle vegetation; the Swallows’ Dungeon; the Xilitla Caverns, with cave paintings depicting the Huastecos’ origins, are the ideal places to immerse oneself on the town’s Huichol history.
The former Agustino Convent, built in 1557 by Augustine missionaries, represents San Luis Potosi’s oldest building.
The Huasteca enchiladas with cured beef, the shredded beef, the pork rinds and the barbecued pork are the perfect dishes combined with drinks such as agave liquor, and hog plum, pin cherry and orange wine.
The pineapple and corn hot drink, and chayote candy are the region’s most delicious snacks.
Former home to Indian tribes such as Tepehuanes, Acaxes and Xiximies, the Pre-Hispanic name of this Sinaloa municipality is Quetzalla or Cozatl, meaning in the Nahuatl language “the place with beautiful surroundings”.
Its narrow, cobblestone streets lead to the Guadalupe Chapel, built of adobe; the Santa Ursula Temple, built in 1730; and the Quinta Minera, a building of utmost ancient luxury.
Products derived from cane sugar milling, fruit preserves, milk candy, pasties, cheese, tamales of different flavors, Mexican sausage and other delicacies are the most popular flavors throughout the region.
With a notorious urbanization and located on Sinaloa’s northeastern region, El Fuerte is part of the ecotourism circuit Sea of Cortes-Copper Canyon.
Architectural art can be admired at the City Hall, the Public Library, the Arms Plaza, with an attractive kiosk made of cast iron, the Jesus Sacred Heart Church, among others ancient buildings.
The Fuerte River, which crosses the Tarahumara Mountains in the state of Chihuahua, meets this Magic Town where ancient engravings from 800 to 2,500 years ago can be found.
Due to the abundant bass industry, this specie is prepared as a chicken-fried fillet, grilled or flamed.
Meatballs, pork rinds, beef jerky, red chilly beef stew, fried tacos and even pozole, are the traditional dishes
Founded in 1865, this colonial city has received the title of “The Portals City” due to its centennial buildings framed by unique arches.
The Main Square has a kiosk more than 100 years old, and next to it, one can find the City Hall, a building from 1899 that has preserved its iron columns, a tower and large windows.
The Purisima Concepcion Parish, a town’s symbol; the Alameda, the Casa de Moneda and the Kissing Alley, similar to the one found in Guanajuato, are sites that reflect a part of this Magic Town’s history.
Cheese stew, menudo, liver with sautéed onions and casserole are some of the traditional dishes from this municipality. However, beef cuts are also a local favorite.
And for dessert, a delicious guava or milk caramel, or guava pasties, are the ideal choice to combine them with bacanora, a traditional alcoholic drink made of a cactus plant and mescal.
Standing out due to being the first human settlement in the state of Tamaulipas, Tula was named a Magic Town in October, 2011.
This municipality, founded in 1617, is credited with being the birthplace of the cuera, a traditional attire in the state.
Buildings from the 19th century, such as the Minerva Home, currently the Public Library; the Rosario Temple or the San Antonio de Padua Temple, are the emblematic sites from this region.
The dish most frequently requested by visitors are the tulteca enchiladas, prepared with cheese, Mexican sausage, onions, peas, lettuce, tomato, chicken and red tortillas.
With a cattle industry tradition and haciendas everywhere, Huamantla means in the Nahuatl language “the place of trees put together”.
Its popular festival “The Night When Nobody Sleeps”, celebrated in August, gives life to the whole town with its sawdust carpet found throughout the streets, and the wide diversity of accessories hanging from walls and facades.
Also taking place in August, the traditional Huamantlada stands out throughout the state due its similarity with the San Fermin Festival, in Pamplona, Spain, where fighting bulls are let loose on the street for the aficionados to run among them.
Of course, the Bullfighting Museum, the City Hall with a neoclassic style, the former San Luis Obispo Convent, a building from the 16th century, and other buildings, offer an insight into the history of this Tlaxcala municipality.
The main gastronomic bases within the region are corn and maguey, natural products that lead to the delicious maguey nectar; or the traditional shredded beef, mixiotes (meat wrapped in banana leaves) or the maguey worms are also some of the options.