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.

This post contains affiliate links. That means that I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of these links.

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

San Cristobal de Las Casas travel guide

Nestled in the highlands of southern Mexico, surrounded by lush green hills, you’ll find one of Mexico’s most beautiful small cities. 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 have easily spent many more. The vibe here is just immaculate.

It’s a colorful town oozing with culture and surrounded by natural beauty. It is the perfect home base for exploring the stunning attractions that Chiapas has to offer. From its endless markets, art galleries, cafes, and lively nightlife scene, Sancris never had me bored a moment of my two months. 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. This is an amazing destination for travelers looking to explore the beauty of a colonial city. Taxco boasts stunning views and breathtaking landscapes sure to captivate any traveler.

I’d argue that Taxco de Alarcon is the cutest town in Mexico. I mean, it definitely helps that all the taxis are these cute white Volkswagen Beetles. With its cobblestone streets lined with brightly colored buildings, Taxco has a unique atmosphere that stays true to its centuries-old roots. It’s more than just a pretty face, too. This vibrant city offers numerous activities and attractions, from lively markets to historic churches. Just a short trip outside of Taxco, one can find natural attractions like waterfalls and massive cave complexes. With its rich history and culture, Taxco provides the off-the-beaten-path traveler with an unforgettable experience.

The Complete Travel Guide to Taxco de Alarcon, Guerrero

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 the ruins of Tepozteco at the top, where one will find some beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. These sacred mountains are also believed to be the birthplace of the feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl.

Tepoztlan is a small but lively village. It’s cobbled streets are lined with dozens of murals, and on the weekend, the vibe is unlike any other. 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.

One of the main attractions in Tequila is visiting a tequila distillery. There are several distilleries located in and around the town that offer tours and tastings. Some popular distilleries to visit include La Rojeña, José Cuervo, and Herradura. If you plan on staying a bit longer, don’t worry, there’s more to do than just getting drunk.

Tequila is home to several historic haciendas, as well as the baroque 17th-century church of San José. For outdoor lovers, Tequila has got something for you, too. Tequila is surrounded by rolling hills and lush forests, making it a great destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, or horseback riding. Avid hikers can also visit the nearby Tequila Volcano National Park, which is a popular spot for trekking or getting some fresh air.

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. A big highlight of Patzcuaro is its thriving indigenous culture. The Purépecha people have lived in the region for thousands of years and maintain their rich cultural heritage. From their traditional arts and crafts, music, dance, and celebrations, that presence can be felt all throughout the region. Visitors can find a variety of artisan markets selling handmade crafts and textiles, as well as local museums showcasing the history and culture of the Purépecha people.

Patzcuaro is also surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery, including the nearby Lake Patzcuaro. Be sure to visit the nearby town of Janitzio, located on a small island in the middle of the lake. From the statue atop the island, one can catch stunning views of the lake and countryside. It’s a steep climb, but the colorful markets and street musicians and dancers will keep you distracted from the burning of your legs.

While Michoacan isn’t the safest place to visit right now, you should be okay visiting with a local guide or travel agency.

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. The sleepy town is surrounded by miles of pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters, making it a popular destination for kicking back and relaxing.

Mazunte is one of the best little towns to escape life for a while. It’s also home to Punta Cometa, my favorite sunset spot in Mexico, as well as that $7 a night hostel with the epic view pictured above. If you’re lucky, you can see whales right from your balcony.

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. Tulum offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural history, and laid-back charm. The beaches are still some of the most stunning in Mexico, and the ancient Mayan ruins offer a fascinating glimpse into the history of the region. The lazy town’s boho atmosphere, with its colorful street art and vibrant nightlife, just adds to Tulum’s well-rounded appeal as a holiday destination.

However, visitors should be mindful of the impact of tourism on the local environment and community. Some steps that can be taken to minimize this impact include supporting sustainable tourism practices, such as staying in eco-friendly accommodation, reducing plastic waste, taking advantage of bicycle rentals, and supporting local Mexican businesses.

Ultimately, whether or not Tulum is “worth visiting” will depend on your preferences and priorities. I found the crowds of obnoxious tourists (and a price tag to match) to be a turn-off. However, the mix of natural beauty, cultural history, and nightlife is a combination that can be hard to find anywhere else in Mexico. Objectively, Tulum is paradise on earth. Beautiful beaches, stunning cenotes, Mayan ruins, and more. 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. Sayulita, Mexico is a charming coastal town located in the state of Nayarit. Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant surf culture, and hippie atmosphere, Sayulita is a popular travel destination for those looking for a laid-back beach getaway with a touch of local flavor.

There’s just something about surf towns that I fall in love with. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or simply looking to try something new, Sayulita is a great destination for anyone looking to ride the waves. 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.

Teotihuacan, Mexico City

teotihuacan pyramid of the moon

Teotihuacan, Mexico is an ancient city located just outside of Mexico City. They might just be the best ruins in all of Mexico, despite Chichen-Itza getting the World Wonder nod. Known for its stunning pyramids, rich history, and incredible cultural significance, Teotihuacan is a must-visit destination for history buffs, archaeology enthusiasts, and anyone interested in the ancient civilizations of Mexico.

The main attraction in Teotihuacan is its incredible pyramids, none more so than the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, both of which can still be climbed. These ancient structures are some of the largest and most impressive in the world, and offer a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of the ancient Teotihuacan civilization. Although steep, be sure to hike to the top of the pyramids for stunning views of the surrounding area, and explore the many temples and palaces that once formed the heart of this ancient city.

Teotihuacan an easy day trip from Mexico City, taking about an hour each way to get here by bus or by guided tour. 

Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato

dolores hidalgo mexico

The historical significance of this pueblo magico can’t be overstated. One of the main highlights of Dolores Hidalgo is its rich history. The town was the birthplace of Father Miguel Hidalgo, the leader of Mexico’s War of Independence, and is home to a number of historic monuments and landmarks that commemorate his legacy. Visit the Church of Our Lady of Dolores, where Hidalgo gave the famous “Cry of Dolores” that launched Mexico’s War of Independence. Because of this, Dolores Hidalgo is widely regarded to be the birthplace of Mexican Independence.

For culture and history lovers, this is a can’t-miss pueblo magico. However, I did find it to be a little less exciting than the other pueblos magicos that I’ve visited.

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. Bernal a great day trip from the hustle and bustle of Santiago de Queretaro. Although there is not much to do besides hike up the monolith and enjoy the town’s delicious cuisine, Bernal is well worth a visit.

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.

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.

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!

If this post helped you out, show some love and support for the blog and help keep my adventures going by buying me a beer! My adventures are entirely self-funded, so any show of support is greatly appreciated, and allows me to keep writing helpful travel guides and creating travel content to help you all travel the world on a budget.

Oh, and before you go, make sure to have good travel insurance handy whenever you’re out adventuring. I use SafetyWing to keep me covered throughout my travels for as low as $40 a month.

Leave a Reply