By Silvia Cristina Higareda
Content Manager, SUAVS
"Deep in the heart of rural Mexico, you'll find the Pueblos Mágicos, a select group of Mexican villages whose cultural, historical, or natural treasures have been deemed, well, magical". - Minube via HuffPost
I am a travel enthusiast. For as long as I can remember I’ve prioritized travel and done my best to travel as often and as long as my finances and responsibilities have allowed me. I often get asked “What has been your favorite country so far?” and it is never an easy question to answer. Every country has its own unique and rich culture, history, landscapes, people, architecture and cuisine. Every country has so much to offer and admire.
However, lately I have been thinking on answering that question with: Mexico. Yes, it is a biased answer, I am Mexican, but it also feels to me like an honest answer. Sometimes we hope and dream of traveling far and wide and we forget about the treasures in our own backyard.
I realized this more than ever on a recent trip I made to Mexico. I stayed for a week in Guadalajara, Jalisco a city known for bringing tequila and mariachis to the world.
However, it is on the outskirts of this metropolitan city where my inspiration took place. About forty minutes outside of Guadalajara is a small town called Tlaquepaque and in 2018 this small town was given the title of Pueblo Magico.
WHAT IS A PUBELO MAGICO?
Pueblo Magico literally translates to, Magic Town or Magic Village. In brief, the governmental initiative to name small towns known for their cultural richness, natural marvels, traditions or history Pueblos Magicos began in 2001.
That year they named four towns in Mexico, Pueblos Magicos. Today, there are 121 Pueblos Magicos in Mexico. The government's goal to complement and further diversify tourism into the interior of Mexico has benefited smaller towns and villages that might have gotten overlooked in the past. Consequently, the awareness of these Pueblos Magicos has also benefited tourists who are looking for roads less traveled.
Which brings us to Tlaquepaque. As soon as you enter the town you can sense the colonial and small town vibes. I went on a Sunday, and it was full of people enjoying their day off. Grandma's were buying their grandchildren some elotes (corn), couples held hands in the park, a religious ceremony was going on in the church, and folkloric dancers tapped away in front of the main plaza.
Tlaquepaque is known for its art. You can find it on the walls, you can find it in the stores. As you walk through the stoned streets Tlaquepaque’s colonial buildings house modern boutiques and galleries. One can spend hours strolling along, looking at traditional artisanal work meshed with a bit of modernity. Food is another thing which permeates the center of town. From corn to sweets to good ol’ street grubs, you will want to stop every few steps to try something new - and you should.
In the main square there are two churches that are right next to each other. Traditional architecture that sits in front of a varied vegetation.
A THOUGHT ON PUEBLOS MAGICOS
I describe being in these Pueblos Magicos as a magical encounter with Mexico. These preserved towns, with their traditions, foods, art and historic buildings unveil the idyllic and romanticized version of Mexico to the foreign and local eye.
Mexico has great cities and most of the cities are not too far away from one or two Pueblos Magicos. With an extensive list to choose from, next time you are in Mexico do some research and check one out. I am sure there will be one close by, and what you will get is an intimate experience with the heart of Mexico.
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