15 Enchanting Mexican Small Towns

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Mexico isn’t all about Cancun beaches and bustling cityscapes. Scattered throughout the country are hidden gems—small towns bursting with charm, history, and a unique glimpse into the country’s soul. Forget the all-inclusive resorts; these 15 “pueblos mágicos” (magical towns) will make you love their colorful streets, delicious local eats, and genuine Mexican hospitality.

Tequisquiapan, Querétaro


Wine lovers should ditch the tourist traps and head to Tequisquiapan, situated amidst the rolling vineyards of Querétaro. Wander cobblestone streets lined with colorful colonial buildings, and be sure to go to a local bodega (winery) for a tasting. In the historic center, take in the beauty of the Santa María del Tule Parish and the La Pila monument, symbolizing the town’s founding.

Bacalar, Quintana Roo


Trade the crowded beaches of Tulum for the serene beauty of Bacalar. This town centers around a stunning lagoon boasting seven distinct shades of blue. Kayak through the crystal-clear waters, check out the ancient Mayan canals or relax on the lagoon’s shores and soak up the tranquility. Don’t miss a chance to try a traditional Mayan dish like “cochinita pibil” (slow-roasted pork) at a regional restaurant.

Bernal, Querétaro

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Get ready to be dwarfed by Peña de Bernal, a massive rock formation that dominates the skyline of this central Mexican town. Visitors hike to the top of the monolith for breathtaking panoramic views or explore the network of caves beneath its surface. Bernal is also known for its delicious “atole,” a warm, thick corn-based drink perfect for a chilly evening.

Mazunte, Oaxaca

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On the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, Mazunte has a laid-back beach vibe with a bohemian charm. Surf the waves, relax on the golden sand, or spot nesting sea turtles on the protected beaches. After a day in the sun, explore the town’s art galleries and boutiques and enjoy fresh seafood at a beachfront restaurant.

Real del Monte, Hidalgo


Ever imagine stumbling upon a piece of England in the heart of Mexico? Real del Monte offers a fascinating glimpse into Mexican history intertwined with British influence. Check out the Cornish Pasty shops lining the main square, a legacy from 19th-century Cornish miners who came to work the silver mines. Take a mine tour for a unique historical experience, or go to the Panteón Inglés, a hauntingly beautiful English cemetery.

Tequila, Jalisco


Step into the heart of tequila country in Tequila, Jalisco. Tour a traditional hacienda (estate) to learn about tequila-making, from harvesting the agave plant to the distillation methods. Sample different tequilas, but be sure to savor the experience responsibly! Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the National Tequila Museum for a deeper dive into this iconic beverage.

Valle de Bravo, State of Mexico

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Craving an outdoor escape? Head to Valle de Bravo, a charming town nestled amidst mountains and bordering a vast lake. Hike or bike through the scenic trails, kayaking on the lake, or simply relax and enjoy the fresh mountain air. You can also have fun paragliding for breathtaking aerial views of the surrounding landscape if you are feeling adventurous. 

Chapala, Jalisco


Head to Chapala, the country’s largest freshwater lake, for a relaxed lakeside experience. Stroll along the malecón (waterfront promenade), rent a boat for a peaceful cruise on the lake, or simply unwind on a beach chair and soak up the sun. Chapala is also known for its hot springs, offering a chance to soothe your muscles and rejuvenate.

Xilitla, San Luis Potosí


Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe Xilitla. This hidden gem boasts Las Pozas, a whimsical sculpture garden created by Edward James, a British artist with a wild imagination. Xilitla is also a haven for nature lovers, with hiking opportunities, swimming in hidden waterfalls, and exploring the Huasteca Potosina region. 

Patzcuaro, Michoacán


Set on the shores of Lake Pátzcuaro, this picturesque town is steeped in indigenous tradition and colonial history. Walk the cobblestone streets of the historic center to find vibrant markets and artisan workshops with handmade crafts and traditional textiles. Also, visit the stunning Basilica of Our Lady of Health, a pilgrimage site revered for its ornate Baroque architecture and religious significance. Pátzcuaro is best known for its vibrant Day of the Dead celebrations, which draw visitors from near and far to witness the colorful festivities.

Creel, Chihuahua

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If you like dramatic landscapes, Creel, situated in the heart of the Copper Canyon, will leave you breathless. Often referred to as Mexico’s answer to the Grand Canyon, the Copper Canyon boasts breathtaking vistas, cascading waterfalls, and diverse ecosystems. Hike or bike through the rugged terrain, take a scenic train ride in the canyons, or soak in a hot spring nearby. Keep your eyes peeled for native wildlife like deer, bears, and even wild turkeys!

Valladolid, Yucatán


Valladolid is renowned for its proximity to several ancient Mayan ruins, including the iconic archaeological site of Chichén Itzá, just a short drive away. With its well-preserved colonial architecture and rich Mayan heritage, this charming town has a glimpse into the country’s diverse culture. Cool off from the Yucatán heat with a refreshing dip in one of Valladolid’s nearby cenotes, natural sinkholes filled with crystal-clear water.

Tecate, Baja California


Calling all beer lovers! Tecate is a must-visit for those seeking a hoppy adventure. This border town boasts a booming craft beer scene, with numerous breweries offering unique and flavorful brews. Sample regional IPAs, stouts, and lagers, and pair them with delicious pub fare at one of the many gastropubs. Beyond the beer, Tecate offers opportunities for off-roading adventures in the nearby desert landscapes or exploring the historic Tecate Cultural Center.

Todos Santos, Baja California Sur


Todos Santos offers a unique blend of laid-back beach vibes and a thriving artistic scene. Catch waves on the world-class surf breaks, enjoy the golden sand, or discover art galleries and studios showcasing local talent. Enjoy fresh seafood at a beachfront restaurant in the evenings and soak up the town’s bohemian atmosphere. Don’t miss the chance to visit the nearby Hotel California, which is rumored to be the inspiration for the iconic Eagles song.

Barra de Navidad, Jalisco


This charming coastal town has a relaxed atmosphere, pristine beaches, and stunning natural beauty. Go for long walks on the beach, fish in the Pacific Ocean, or simply unwind in a hammock strung between palm trees. Enjoy a boat ride to see humpback whales migrating in the winter months.

Written by Devin J