The Best Pueblos Magicos to Visit in Mexico

Mexico City has no shortage of incredible towns to visit. You’ll find magic in every corner of Mexico. So much magic, in fact, that Mexico’s government has over a hundred towns designated as literal “magic towns”, or pueblos magicos. Currently, there are 132 pueblos magicos in Mexico, although that number changes every few years as new towns get added or some get upgraded to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. San Miguel de Allende, for example, was a pueblo magico until it became a recognized UNESCO site.

When I’m traveling through Mexico, I often check if there’s a pueblo magico near me. There’s usually a good reason why a village gets the designation. While some may not be too exciting, there are some that will utterly blow you away. Of the pueblos magicos I’ve visited so far in Mexico, these are my favorites.

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San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

San Cristobal de Las Casas travel guide

San Cristobal de las Casas, or just Sancris for short, holds a special place in my heart. I spent nearly two months in this pueblo magico and could easily spend many more. The vibe here is just immaculate. It’s a colorful town oozing with culture and surrounded by natural beauty. Experience it for yourself, and you’ll see why it was so difficult for me to leave.

The Ultimate San Cristobal de las Casas Bucket List

Taxco de Alarcon, Guerrero

taxco de alarcon travel guide guerrero mexico

This city of all white nestled in the hills of Guerrero state is arguably the most beautiful town in Mexico. As my bus pulled into town around sunset, I was literally in awe. The all white buildings stacked on top of each other was something to behold. Golden hour only made it infinitely more beautiful. Taxco de Alarcon is the cutest town in Mexico. It also helps that all the taxis are white Volkswagen Beetles.

The Complete Travel Guide to Taxco de Alarcon, Guerrero

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Tepoztlan, Morelos

tepoztlan mexico travel guide

Located about two hours from Mexico City, Tepoztlan makes for a popular weekend getaway from the city. Its mountains are more than just a beautiful backdrop. It’s home to ruins at the top, as well as some beautiful views. The mountains are also believed to be the birthplace of the feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl. Tepoztlan is a small but lively village. The local food market was one of my favorites in Mexico, and EKKO Hostel served as the perfect home base for chilling out and relaxing in between adventures.

The Backpacker’s Travel Guide to Tepoztlan, Morelos

Tequila, Jalisco

guide to visiting tequila jalisco mexico

You already knew this was going to be on here. I mean, this blog is called The Partying Traveler. Tequila is like, a holy site for me basically. When I visited on a day trip from Guadalajara, I could immediately feel the energy. The plaza was bumping with music and everyone was dancing. It helps that you can buy cocktails right on the street and in the plaza.

Patzcuaro, Michoacan

patzcuaro michoacan travel guide

Michoacan is one of my favorite states in Mexico, and easily the one that surprised me the most. The pueblo magico of Patzcuaro and the neighboring island of Janitzio are must-visit destinations in Mexico, especially around Day of the Dead. While Michoacan isn’t the safest place to visit right now, you should be okay going with a local guide or travel agency.

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Mazunte, Oaxaca

mazunte travel guide oaxaca mexico

Mazunte town isn’t much to see, but the beaches here are among my favorite in Mexico. It’s a calmer alternative to the party hub of Puerto Escondido. Life is simple here. Mazunte is one of the best little towns to escape life for a while. It’s also home to my favorite sunset spot in Mexico, Punta Cometa, and that $7 a night hostel with the epic view pictured above.

The Complete Travel Guide to Mazunte, Oaxaca

Tulum, Quintana Roo

gran cenote tulum

Tulum has absolutely exploded in popularity in recent years. It’s not hard to see why. Objectively, Tulum is paradise on earth. Beautiful beaches, stunning cenotes, ruins, and more. It’s been spoiled recently by overtourism, but if you can escape the crowds, there are few places out there as magical as Tulum.

The Backpacker’s Guide to Tulum, Quintana Roo

Cholula, Puebla

Puebla cholula Mexico

Just outside of the bustling big city of Puebla, you’ll find San Andres Cholula. It’s a small town, but boasts some big time fun. Aside from being one of my favorite nightlife destinations in Mexico, it’s home to one of the world’s largest pyramids. Well, you can’t really see the pyramid part of it anymore. There’s a big yellow church on top of it now. On a clear day, there are few views in Mexico better than the yellow church with the mountainous backdrop behind it.

Valladolid, Yucatan

Chichen Itzá Mexico

While many parts of the Yucatan Peninsula can feel very Westernized, Valladolid is a gem in the heart of the peninsula. It is a much more local vibe than the tourist hubs of nearby Quintana Roo. Staying in Valladolid will put you in the midst of the Yucatan Peninsula’s best attractions. The World Wonder of Chichen-Itza and the numerous nearby cenotes are just a few of the amazing adventures you can experience from Valladolid.

Sayulita, Nayarit

This surfer haven on Mexico’s Pacific Coast is a top beach destination. It’s a small town but the immaculate vibes will undoubtedly suck you in. It’s a short bus ride away from the more-developed Puerto Vallarta, making it a great getaway from the big city.

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Teotihuacan, Mexico City

teotihuacan pyramid of the moon

The pyramids of Teotihuacan might be the best ruins in Mexico. While Chichen-Itza got the World Wonder nod, I found Teotihuacan to be more impressive. Plus, you can still hike up the pyramids, including the massive Pyramid of the Sun. It’s an easy day trip from Mexico City, taking about an hour each way to get here. 

Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato

dolores hidalgo mexico

The historical significance of this pueblo magico can’t be overstated. Dolores Hidalgo is widely regarded to be the birthplace of Mexican Independence. It is where the priest, Miguel Hidalgo, rallied the citizens of the city, eventually leading to a domino effect that resulted in Mexico’s independence. For history-lovers, this is a can’t-miss pueblo magico.

The Backpacker’s Guide to Guanajuato

Bernal, Queretaro

pena de bernal queretaro mexico

Mexico is full of surprises. In the state of Queretaro about an hour outside of Santiago de Queretaro, you’ll find the cute town of Bernal. It’s a colorful colonial town, but the real draw is the huge monolith overlooking the city. It’s a great day trip from Santiago de Queretaro. There’s not much to do besides hike up the monolith and enjoy this lively small town’s cuisine. Regardless, it’s well worth a visit.

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Guide to Visiting Peña de Bernal, Queretaro

Comitan de Dominguez, Chiapas

comitan chiapas travel guide

While San Cristobal de las Casas might get most of the attention, Comitan de Dominguez is worth a visit as well. It’s about two hours from San Cristobal, but if you want to explore the natural beauty of Chiapas, Comitan is arguably the better home base. Two of my favorite natural attractions in Mexico are Cascadas El Chiflon and Lagos de Montebello, and both are easily accessible from Comitan. While Comitan doesn’t have the tourist infrastructure of San Cristobal, it boasts a beautiful city center and a fraction of the tourists that San Cristobal receives.

Is Comitan, Chiapas Worth Visiting?

Xilitla, San Luis Potosi

xilitla san luis potosi mexico travel guide

Xilitla is further out of the way than the other places on this list, but it truly is worth going out of your way for. It’s part of a region known as La Huasteca Potosina, which in my opinion, is the most beautiful of Mexico. The main attraction to Xilitla is the Surrealist Garden of Edward James. This abandoned castle is like Alice in Wonderland meets Lord of the Rings. There’s nothing in the world quite like it.

The Complete Travel Guide to Xilitla, San Luis Potosi

Angangueo, Michoacan

monarch butterfly migration michoacan mexico

Without a doubt, the most memorable thing I did in Mexico was witness the monarch butterfly migration. The pueblo magico of Angangueo isn’t much, but it is worth visiting just for the monarch butterfly migration. You know how Michelin stars are given on the basis of how out of the way something is worth going for? Well, I’d give the monarch butterfly migration all the Michelin stars. It’s possible to visit as a day trip from Morelia or Mexico City, just be prepared for a long drive.

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The monarchs call Michoacan home from November to March. Make sure to visit during this time because otherwise, they’ll be long gone. For a complete guide on how to witness this natural marvel, check my other post on how to see the monarch butterfly migration.

Palenque, Chiapas

palenque chiapas travel guide mexico

The town of Palenque isn’t much to behold, but it is a great home base for some of Mexico’s most unforgettable adventures. If you want to feel like Lara Croft, explore the neighboring archaeological site of Palenque. Feel like chasing waterfalls? You’ve got a ton to choose from. Misol-Ha, Aguas Azules, and Roberto Barrios are some of the can’t-miss ones in the area.

Tlaquepaque, Jalisco

Tlaquepaque, is quite literally, an oasis in the chaos of Guadalajara. This pueblo magico is located entirely within Guadalajara. If you’re looking for small town vibes in the hustle and bustle of Mexico’s second largest city, then Tlaquepaque is for you. It’s a beautiful area to roam around aimlessly in and enjoy traditional Mexican culture.

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Bacalar, Quintana Roo

The laguna of Bacalar is one of the most beautiful destinations in Mexico. Located close to the border with Belize, it’s well worth going out of your way to experience this pueblo magico. It’s yet another of Mexico’s otherworldly natural wonders.

Also, be sure to check out my complete itinerary for backpacking in Mexico with 77 jam-packed pages covering over 33 different destinations in this amazing country!

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