yellow city of izamal mexico pueblos magicos

33 Mexico Pueblos Magicos You’ll Want to Visit in 2021


Planning to visit some Mexico magic towns?

Mexico pueblos magicos, or magic towns, are pueblos (smaller towns as opposed to large cities) recognized by Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism for certain special qualities. These “magical” qualities include unique folklore, rich history, stunning natural beauty — and tourism infrastructure.

As Mexico pueblos mágicos are promoted by the country’s Tourism Secretary, these towns are very welcoming to tourists. In the case of some of the best pueblos mágicos in Mexico, like Tulum and San Cristobal de las Casas, they’re also some of the most popular Mexico travel destinations.

The list below includes both of those towns, and the rest of the top pueblos magicos in Mexico. While there’s also a section that will show you ALL 132 pueblos magicos, the ones highlighted in this article with longer text descriptions are the unmissable pueblos magicos.

Let’s start out by answering some of the most common Mexico pueblos magicos FAQs — including What are the Mexican pueblos magicos? — and then get to the list of the 33 best pueblos magicos in Mexico.

Mexico Pueblos Magicos

Mexico Pueblos Magicos FAQ

What is a Mexico pueblo magico?

Meaning magic town in Spanish, pueblos magicos in Mexican are small towns highlighted by the Mexican government’s official Pueblo Magico Program for their “magical” qualities. This could be its beauty, historical importance, natural wonders and more.

The designation of pueblo magico is similar to that of a UNESCO World Heritage Site; however, it is limited to just Mexico. Though only a country-wise designation, it is a great honor for a town to be declared a pueblo magico in Mexico.

How many pueblo magico Mexico towns are there?

As of the most recent list published in December 2020, there are 132 Pueblos Mágicos México officially recognized in the program. You will find the entire list below, as well as the 33 best pueblos magicos in Mexico that most visitors seek out when traveling to Mexico.

While there are 132 pueblos magicos at the time of writing this, that number can (and likely will) change in the future. Want to see the most recent and complete list of Mexico magical towns? Head here 🇲🇽

Each year, the Secretary of Tourism in Mexico reevaluates the list — and some towns are added, while some get removed. In the case of San Miguel de Allende, the town had to be removed from the list once the population got too high for it to be called a pueblo (small town).

colorful street in San Miguel De Allende Mexico
San Miguel de Allende was once a pueblo magico, but was removed from the list — though it is still a Mexico UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mexico Pueblos Magicos Map

All of the 33 best pueblos magicos in Mexico have been pinned to the map below for your convenience. After seeing where they are located, keep scrolling for detailed info on the pueblos magicos in Mexico you’ll want to visit.

Use this Mexico pueblo magico map to find all the best magical towns in Mexico!

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS in Yucatan Peninsula

1. Tulum, Quintana Roo

Tulum pueblo magico is one of the most popular travel destinations and best beaches in Mexico. In fact, most don’t even realize it’s a pueblo magico, because Tulum is so popular without the designation. 

If this will be your first visit to Tulum in the Yucatan Peninsula, you’re in for a treat. There are so many things to do in Tulum — from the beautiful beaches along the Caribbean Sea, to all the Instagram worthy Tulum Beach art and hotels, the gorgeous Tulum cenotes, and more.

However, an absolute must do Tulum activity is to visit the Tulum Mayan ruins. They are located right on the beach, just 10 minutes or so from Tulum Town (Downtown Tulum) and considered among the best Mayan ruins in Mexico.

Need a Tulum hotel, or additional suggestions on where to stay in Tulum? Check out these related Tulum blogs, with options and accommodations for all budgets, travel styles and group sizes!

While not known as the most inexpensive Mexico travel destination, visiting Tulum on a budget is certainly possible.
BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

2. Valladolid, Yucatan

Valladolid pueblo magico is a beautiful colonial city, and among the best day trips from Merida, Mexico. There are so many things to do in Valladolid, like visiting the Parque Principal (Main Park) where you’ll find the Iglesia de San Servacio church, as well as colorful, colonial buildings, shops and restaurants.

Don’t miss the picturesque Calzada de los Frailes (AKA Calle de los Frailes). The street is lined with flower pots, colorful boutique shops, cafes and hotels — it is actually part of the reason Valladolid is considered one of the most Instagram worthy Mexico cities, and a must see Yucatan Peninsula travel destination.

Among the best shops on this street, there’s Coqui Coqui Perfumeria, a boutique fragrance store, and Kuxtal Galería de Arte Popular Mexicano & Café, a Mexican folk art shop. At the end of the street, check out the 16th Century Ex-Convento de San Bernardino de Siena.

Strolling the colorful Calzada de los Frailes is among the best Valladolid things to do.

Located only minutes from downtown, you’ll want to visit Cenote Zaci. This partially-open cenote (swimmable sinkhole) is beautiful and popular with locals and visitors alike. There’s also an onsite restaurant where you can mingle with the locals and enjoy a meal after your swim.

When in Valladolid, Mexico, you’re not far from Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and other great Valladolid cenotes, like Cenote Suytun and Cenote Ik Kil. For those who want to spend a few days here, there are many gorgeous yet affordable Valladolid hotels right in downtown.

Contributed by Deborah of Passport The World, who recommends Valladolid because of its lovely Mexican vibe and beautiful colorful houses.

RELATED ARTICLE 🇲🇽 Valladolid Mexico Travel Guide: Best Things to Do, Cenotes, Hotels

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

3. Bacalar, Quintana Roo

Bacalar pueblo magico is a quiet town in the southern part of Quintana Roo, Mexico, in the Yucatan Peninsula. It became popular because of Bacalar Lake, AKA the Lagoon of Seven Colors, a freshwater lagoon where you can see seven shades of blue, from indigo to turquoise.

The best way to experience Bacalar Lagoon is on a sailboat tour where you’ll visit sites like Isla Pajaros (Bird Island) and Canal de Los Piratas (Pirate’s Channel). It’s also worth spending time exploring the Bacalar cenotes, like Cenote Azul and Cenote Cocalitos.

RELATED ARTICLE ⛵️ How to Visit Bacalar Lagoon Mexico: The ULTIMATE Travel Guide

When you get hungry, head downtown to eat at a local restaurant, visit the historic fort and shop for souvenirs. If you have extra time, check out Mahahual, Mexico. This Costa Maya beach town, located less than 1.5 hours from Bacalar, offers relaxed vibes and world class diving.

While its popularity grows by the day, Bacalar still feels more low-key than many places in Quintana Roo, like Tulum and Cancun. For now, however, you can still enjoy a quiet getaway and inexpensive Bacalar accommodations.

Make sure NOT to put any sunscreen before getting in the water. Laguna Bacalar has a very fragile ecosystem, and even a reef-safe sunscreen can damage its stromatolites. These are large rocks, similar to coral, believed to be some of the oldest living things on Earth.

Contributed by Daria of The Discovery Nut, who recommends Bacalar because of its incredible scenery and wonderful atmosphere.

a sail boat in the middle of the blue waters of bacalar lagoon mexico
Laguna Bacalar (AKA Bacalar Lake) is the main attraction in the pueblo mágico Bacalar.
BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

4. Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo

Isla Mujeres pueblo magico is one of the best Yucatan travel destinations. To get there, you’ll take the Cancun to Isla Mujeres ferry, for the short 20-30 minute ride over to the island across the Bahia de Mujeres. 

Meaning Island of Women, Isla Mujeres was once a popular site with Maya women making the pilgrimage to the island to worship the Mayan goddess, Ixchel. This jaguar deity was the goddess of the moon, childbirth, medicine and midwifery.

Overlooking the Caribbean Sea at Punta Sur, the southern tip of Isla Mujeres, you’ll find the Ruins of Ixchel Temple. When you’re ready to swim, head to the Playa Norte on the northern tip of the island with a long stretch of white sandy beach and calm waters perfect for swimming.

Isla Mujeres is a five-mile-long island in the Mexican Caribbean, located just eight-miles from Cancun, Mexico by boat.

One of the best things to do in Isla Mujeres is swim with the whale sharks — which aren’t actually sharks! They are, however, the largest fish in the ocean, averaging 35-feet-long.

If you visit from May-September, large groups of whale sharks pass by Isla Mujeres on the annual migration. During this time, you can take an Isla Mujeres or Cancun whale shark tour to swim alongside these gentle giants.

whale shark tours in ISLA MUJERES

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

5. Izamal, Yucatan

Izamal pueblo magico in the Yucatan Peninsula has been nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage Site list — though for now, it remains simply a Mexico pueblo magico. Located about 1.5 hours away from Merida, Izamal is one of the best and most popular Merida day trips.

The yellow Izamal convent, Convent of San Antonio de Padua, located in the town’s main square.

Nicknamed “The Yellow Town,” Izamal is, well — yellow — as in, all buildings in Downtown Izamal have been painted bright yellow. Wondering, Why is Izamal painted yellow? Well, no one knows for sure how the paint color in this Yucatan hidden gem came to be, which is even more intriguing.

As Izamal, Mexico, is a small town and you can explore all of downtown in a few hours. While there, don’t miss the Convent of San Antonio de Padua in the Zocalo (Main Square), and if it’s too hot to walk around, take a calesa tour (horse-drawn carriage) to see the rest of Izamal.

When you work up an appetite, head to either Kinich Restaurant or the Mercado Municipal De Izamal (market) to enjoy some authentic Yucatecan food. At the market, sample one of the area’s most interesting dishes, dzik de venado, a local delicacy similar to salpicon, but made with shredded venison.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS near mexico city

6. Teotihuacan, Estado de Mexico

Teotihuacan (pronounced tay-oh-tee-wok-con), one of the 35 Mexico UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is also one of the most important ruins in Mexico. Located about an hour from Centro Historico (Historic Downtown), it also makes for one of the best day trips from Mexico City.

The origins of this mysterious site are unknown, though some scholars say the ancient Toltecs built it before the Aztecs inhabited it. Nowadays, millions visit each year to climb the three Teotihuacán pyramids: Pyramid of the Sun, Pyramid of the Moon and Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl.

RELATED ARTICLE 🇲🇽 4 Day Mexico City Itinerary: The Ultimate CDMX Travel Guide

Teotihuacan hot air balloon ride
The best way to experience the Teotihuacan pyramids? From above on the Teotihuacan Balloon Ride Tour, a once in a lifetime experience!

Though most only know about the Teotihuacan archeological site, it is located in the San Juan Teotihuacan pueblo magico. When visiting the pyramids, reserve some time on your Mexico City itinerary to enjoy the town as well — especially the famous La Gruta cave restaurant.

If you’re short on time, book a Teotihuacan hot air balloon tour and you can see both the pyramids and also the town from above. This once in a lifetime experience is the best way to see Teotihuacan and experience how massive this historic site is.

Teotihuacan tours

BEST mexico pueblos magicos

7. Cholula, Puebla

Puebla state, where the Cholula pueblo magico is located, feels like its own country. Poblanos, as the locals are known, have their own foods, slang and customs from the rest of Mexico — and in fact, Puebla is considered a foodie capital of Mexico, along with Oaxaca.

the colorful colonial town of Cholula, one of the most unique places to visit in mexico

If the name Cholula rings a bell, that’s because Cholula hot sauce is named in homage to this 2,500-year-old Colonial town. While this particular hot sauce isn’t a part of traditional Publano cuisine, do make sure to try cemitas (large sandwiches), and mole poblano (Puebla mole).

Located only about 30 minutes from the capital, Puebla City, Cholula is one of the most colorful towns in Mexico. Its iconic yellow and while Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios (Church of Our Lady of Remedies) is just one of the brightly-colored things to see in Cholula.

Right under the church, which sits atop a cliff, you’ll actually find the largest pyramid on Earth by volume. The Great Pyramid of Cholula (AKA Tlachihualtepetl) is located in the Cholula Archeological Zone, and you can walk through its many underground passageways and tunnels.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

8. Tepoztlán, Morelos

The Tepoztlan Mexico pueblo magico is located in Morelos state, only about one hour from Mexico City. This adorable little town deserves a place on your Mexico City itinerary for several reasons.

Among the best things to do in Tepoztlan, Mexico, you’ll want to visit the main mercado (market) in town, the City Market of Tepoztlan. There, you can buy traditional handicrafts and sample prehispanic foods like alache, a dark green veggie, itacates, fried corn cakes and tlaltequeadas, veggie pancakes. 

If you eat meat, try the cecina. This dried steak meat is served throughout Central Mexico, but from Morelos state. Tepoztlan is also known for its pulque (pronounced pull-kay). This ancient adult beverage is made from fermented agave — the same plant used for tequila and mezcal.

Located atop a mountain overlooking town, you can also climb up to the Tepozteco pyramid. This Aztec pyramid is dedicated to Tepoztēcatl, the ancient god of pulque. It is an intense 30-60 minute climb up, but the views are spectacular and you can see all the way to the neighboring town of Cuernavaca.

Tepoztlan makes a great day trip from Mexico City, and you can drive your rental car, use Uber or a taxi, or take a bus from Mexico City. Once there, getting around on foot will allow for the best experience in this walkable city.

Contributed by Juli from Letters From A Traveling Girl, who recommends Tepoztlán because of its charm, history, and amazing food.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

9. Taxco, Guerrero

Taxco pueblo magico is a delightful hillside town in Guerrero, Mexico. This picturesque city is actually the only Guerrero pueblo magico — and also among the most popular Mexico City day trips.

Taxco has narrow, cobblestone streets and winding alleyways lined with gorgeous colonial buildings and churches. It is known as one of the top silver mining towns in Mexico, where you can see artisans hard at work in their tiny talliers (workshops), and buy silver directly from them.

large tan church with colorful dome in the ornate baroque style site high atop the town of taxco, one of the most unique places to visit in mexico
As far as magic towns of Mexico, it’s hard to top Taxco in the beauty department!

Semana Santa, the Holy Week leading up to Easter, is a special time to visit Taxco, Mexico. Activities during Semana Santa in Taxco range from nightly processions with lines of penitents carrying heavy crosses on their backs through town, to Biblical reenactments during the day.

If that’s not your cup of tea, head there during the other 51 weeks of the year, as Taxco, Mexico, is one of the most beautiful places in Mexico. To get there, you can drive your rental car or take a bus from Mexico City’s South Central Bus Terminal. The journey takes less than 2.5 hours.

Contributed by James of Travel Collecting, who recommends Taxco because of the silver artisans and unique Semana Santa festivities.

Mexico City to Taxco Tours

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

10. Valle de Bravo, Estado de Mexico

Valle de Bravo pueblo magico sits on Lake Avandaro, located west of Mexico City. The beautiful lake makes yacht tours and water sports some of the best things to do, but for the adventurous, Valle de Bravo hangliding from the town’s mountains and cliffs is also popular.

The Santuario Piedra Herrada Monarch Butterfly Reserve, a habitat for millions (maybe even billions) of migratory butterflies, is located just north of town. This sanctuary is part of the larger UNESCO World Heritage Property Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico.

RELATED ARTICLE 🇲🇽 Ultimate Valle de Bravo Mexico Travel Guide

If you visit during the Mexico butterfly season — which runs from mid-November to April, though the best time to see butterflies in Mexico is from January to early-March, you must visit Valle de Bravo to see them. It is a truly special site to stand in the forest as millions of butterflies fly by!

During other months, stroll the beautiful cobblestone streets around Plaza de la Independencia to see the 17th Century Parroquia de San Francisco de Asis church. There’s also a great hiking trail to the Mirador La Pena overlook, and a short hike to the Cascadas Velo de Novia waterfalls. 

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

11. Ixtapan de la Sal, Estado de Mexico

Located about two hours from Mexico City, Ixtapan de la Sal pueblo magico is known as a healing and relaxing destination in Central Mexico. There is the large Parque Acuático Ixtapan (Ixtapan Water Park), which is fed from thermal waters coming from underground springs.

Charming downtown Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico. (Photo: Thelmadatter via WikiMedia)

Many chilangos (Mexico City locals) have homes in Ixtapan de la Sal, as it’s popular for weekend trips and among the most popular day trips from Mexico City. For visitors, you can rent one of these amazing yet affordable Ixtapan de la Sal hotels, many of which offer spa facilities.

If you hadn’t guessed already, Ixtapan de la Sal is known as a place to relax, enjoy the slower pace of life and be surrounded by nature. Not far from the Ixtapan Water Park, you’ll want to jump in your rental car and head to the Grutas La Estrella (Grotto/Cave of Stars).

Downtown Ixtapan de la Sal has a charming vibe, with some beautiful colonial architecture and authentic locals’ feel. As this town is popular with national tourism, though definitely an off the beaten path Mexico destination for international visitors, Ixtapan offers a true glimpse of Mexico.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

12. Real de Monte, Hidalgo

Located about an hour from the Basaltic Prisms of Huasca de Ocampo in Hidalgo state, you’ll find the charming Real de Monte pueblo magico. Sometimes called Mineral del Monte, this was once among the biggest Mexico mining towns, and you can still see the Acosta Mine to this day.

Just one of the seven pueblos magicos Hidalgo has, Real de Monte is among its prettiest. 

Real de Monte, though overshadowed by other places in Hidalgo, namely the picturesque Grutas de Tolantongo caves and hot springs, is a charming small town in its own right. It is known as “Little Cornwall,” as many residents trace their lineage back to Cornwall, England.

Head to the Plaza Principal (Town Square) to see the beautiful Spanish colonial buildings and old churches, and to sample a local delicacy called paste (pronounced past-tay) from a Paste Shop. These hand pies are similar to the Cornish pasty from Cornwall, England. 

Want to check out other places to see and things to do in Hidalgo, Mexico? Head to the colorful, historic capital city of Pachuca de Soto, the Tollan/Toltec ruins in the city of Tula de Allende and the Huasca de Ocampo basalt prisms and the Tolantongo Grutas hot springs and caves.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

13. Atlixco, Puebla

Atlixco pueblo magico is just one of the 10 pueblos magicos Puebla state has. In fact, Puebla has the most pueblos magicos of any state in Mexico! Of them all, Cholula is the most popular, though Atlixco is right behind it, and it makes for a popular day trip from Puebla City.

Atlixco Puebla Mexico is a beautiful town year-round, not just during festival season.

The best time to visit is during the annual Festival de la Flor (Flower Festival), which takes place the last two weeks of March. The festival celebrates Atlixco’s main economic activity, growing flowers, and you’ll see giant “carpets” of flowers lining the streets and large flower sculptures.

Though this is the biggest, most colorful festival, there are others throughout the year. The Desfile de Calaveras (Skull Parade) takes place November 2, during Day of the Dead — and though the Oaxaca City Dia de Muertos celebration is the country’s largest, Atlixco’s is also amazing.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS in Central Mexico

14. Xilitla, San Luis Potosi 

Xilitla (pronounced hee-leet-la) is the oldest town in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, dating back to the 16th Century. This small town is surrounded by limestone cliffs and has a lusher feel than the rest of the Bajío — the lowland region of Central Mexico where Xilitla lies.

The town is not the easiest place to get to, being on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve. However, many make this part of the country its own trip by traveling to Xilitla, the Sierra Gorda and the Huasteca Potosina.

large surrealist sculpture with arches and stairways in the jungle at Las Pozas or Xilitla, one of the most unique places to visit in mexico

The main draw in the Xilitla pueblo magico is the Surrealist Gardens of Edward James, also called Los Pozas (The Pools). Inspired by his love of surrealist art, this eccentric Englishman began building his dream home and gardens, though passed away before completion.

Xilitla, Mexico, itself is about 165 miles from Queretaro City, and 50 miles from Jalpan de Serra. It is about an eight hour drive from Mexico City via rental car. You can take a bus to Xilitla from all these places, but be ready for a long journey, twisting through the Sierra Gorda.

a natural waterfall spilling over into a pool in the jungle in Las Pozas, one of the most unique places to visit in mexico

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The small town of Xilitla doesn’t have much else in the way of attractions, but it is among the most relaxing Mexico travel destinations. When visiting, make sure to book one of these Xilitla hotels, all located not far from the Edward James Surrealist Gardens.

Contributed by Nat of Natpacker, who recommends Xilitla because it’s a true Mexico bucket list site, with surreal garden and dramatic feel.

large surrealist sculpture with arches and stairways in the jungle at Las Pozas or Xilitla, one of the most unique places to visit in mexico
The pueblo magico Xilitla is most known for the Surrealist Gardens of Edward James.
BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

15. Bernal, Queretaro

San Sebastian Bernal, better known as simply Bernal pueblo magico, is famous for the Peña de Bernal — the third tallest monolith in the world at 1420-feet (433m). Wondering, Just what is a monolith!? In short, it’s a freestanding, single upright rock.

Bernal is among the best magic towns Mexico has because it appeals to so many travelers: climbers and nature lovers, art lovers, wine drinkers, and holistic seekers.

Though it’s a pretty tough hike, there are many places to stop off along the climb to the top of  Peña de Bernal, which means Bernal Stone. Even if you have no interest in hiking, you can always just admire the Peña while enjoying a meal at El Mirador Restaurant & Bar.

Aside from the Peña itself, there are some cool things to do in Bernal, like visiting the iconic yellow Templo de San Sebastian. For a small town, it has quite a few interesting amazing museums like the Museo de la Mascara (Mask Museum) with beautiful cultural masks. 

This Queretaro, Mexico, destination is known as a holistic healing center, and many claim there’s an energy vortex in Bernal. Though it’s a popular year-round Mexico City day trip destination, many head there during the Spring Equinox for alternative medicine rituals.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

16. Ajijic, Jalisco

One of the newest pueblos magicos Jalisco State has, Ajijic (pronounced ah-hee-heek) was added to the list in December 2020.

Located just 35 miles south of Guadalajara on Mexico’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Chapala, the Ajijic, Mexico offers an escape from crowds. Part of the Chapala Riviera, Ajijic is famous for its tropical weather, lush vegetation and natural beauty.

Ajijic pueblo magico is located along Lake Chapala, the largest freshwater lake in Mexico. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Jalisco state, along with Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara.

Ajijic pueblo magico has charming cobblestone streets lined with colorful bougainvillea, with plenty of enticing restaurants and cafes. It is a popular place for expats and considered one of the best places to live in Mexico.

Nights here are silent, broken in the morning by a cacophony of birdsong at sunrise and the pealing of church bells. Those who are particularly fortunate, will be tucked away in one of these best Ajijic hotels during one of the town’s spectacular thunderstorms.

Contributed by Carole Terwilliger Meyers, who recommends Ajijic because it’s low-key, lush, and a rewarding place to explore on foot.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

17. Tequila, Jalisco

The beautiful agave plant fields in and around the Tequila pueblo magico were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. Agave is the plant used to make the popular drink that bears the town’s name — which was first made in Tequila, Mexico, centuries ago.

Nowadays, Tequila is a fun, colorful town, with cool street art and murals in the Plaza Principal (Town Square). There’s also museums and distilleries to learn more about the history of the area and its popular creation, where you can also buy tequila directly from artisanal producers.

large Mexican flag, big tree with bright yellow flowers and the colorful colonial buildings in the downtown area of the city of Tequila, one of the most unique places to visit in mexico

As it’s a smaller town, many people opt for a Puerto Vallarta to Tequila day trip, or a Guadalajara to Tequila day trip. However, if you’re planning to visit distilleries outside of town, you’ll want to book one of these best hotels in Tequila, and stay a night or two.

Contributed by Vicky of Buddy The Traveling Monkey, who recommends Tequila because it is the birthplace of the popular drink.

Tequila Tours

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

18. Sayulita, Nayarit

Sayulita pueblo magico, located on Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, is so deserving of its designation as a Mexico magical town. Want to know more about Sayulta? Check out this article for travel and safety tips, Is Sayulita Safe? Best Sayulita Mexico Travel Tips.

With an idyllic seaside location just south of the bustling tourist city of Puerto Vallarta, this once-sleepy fishing village is just being discovered by visitors. However, surfers have been coming for decades, as Sayulita is among the best places to surf in Mexico.

One of the best Mexico beach town pueblos magicos, Sayulita is popular with surfers, yogis, healers, and artists. It is considered one of the safest cities in Mexico for tourists.

In keeping with the government’s requirement pueblos magicos have a “unique cultural identity,” Sayulita stands apart from other small towns with a close-knit artist community and surfing culture. Add to that some of the best local food and seafood, and it’s easy to see what makes Sayulita special.

Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita day trips are quite popular, though if you can, spend at least one night at one of these charming Sayulita hotels. Getting to Sayulita is easy — it’s less than an hour by rental car, Uber, bus or taxi from the Puerto Vallarta Airport.

Contributed by Lori of Travlinmad, who recommends Sayulita because it’s the perfect Mexico Pacific Coast destination for beach-goers and surfers.

Sayulita Tours

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

19. San Sebastian del Oeste, Jalisco

One of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta is take a day trip up into the Sierra Madre Mountains to San Sebastian del Oeste. Founded in 1605, it feels like you’re stepping back in time to this well-preserved town, complete with historic haciendas, centuries-old homes and cobblestone streets. 

old liquor store with vintage sign that says "Licoreria" on a white building with red and purple flower bushes on the side s by the entrance in San Sebastian del Oeste, one of the most unique places to visit in mexico

Among the most unique places in Mexico, San Sebastian is just 67 miles from the hustle and bustle of popular Puerto Vallarta — though you’ll want a 4X4, truck or SUV to drive there. If you aren’t renting a car, you can always take a group tour to San Sebastian.

While in San Sebastian, you’ll visit several beautiful colonial haciendas like La Hacienda Jalisco, La Galera and La Hacienda San. Rounding out the list of best things to do in San Sebástian del Oeste, don’t miss the Iglesia de San Sebastian, an 18th Century church dedicated to San Sebastian Martir.

If you did rent a 4X4, you can do the drive up to picturesque Cerro de la Bufa (La Bufa Hill). This hillside trail is about 45 minutes away from Downtown San Sebastian del Oeste, and offers views all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

red and white buildings line the cobblestone streets of san sebastian del oeste, one of the most unique places to visit in mexico
Step back in time in San Sebastian del Oeste pueblo magico, located less than 70 miles from bustling Puerto Vallarta. (Photos: Ed via Flickr)
Best MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

20. Tequisquiapan, Querétaro

Located not far from Bernal, another one of the pueblos magicos in Queretaro state, many also visit the Tequisquiapan pueblo magico. This small town is used as the starting point for Central Mexico’s Wine and Cheese Route. 

Didn’t know Mexico even had vineyards and wineries? You’re not alone! The biggest Mexico wine region is Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California state on the west coast, but the second biggest is around Tequisquiapan, where you’ll find several vineyards and cheese caves.

Foodies and wine lovers traveling to Mexico City will enjoy the Cheese and Wine in Tequisquiapan from Mexico City day trip to explore the region. Among the stops, the Finca Sala Vive by Freixenet vineyard and Cava de Queseos Bocanegra cheese cave are standouts.

Though one of the smaller states in Mexico, there are so many places to visit and things to do in Queretaro. Besides Bernal and Tequisquiapan, there’s the capital, Santiago de Queretaro (AKA Queretaro City), and the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

21. Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi

Real de Catorce pueblo magico is a historic Mexico Ghost Town in San Luis Potosí state. It is quite popular among tourists — and for those wanting a true Mexico off the beaten path trip, you can visit all the best places in San Luis Potosí: Xilitla, Huasteca Potosina and Real de Catorce.

This desert town way up in the Sierra Cartoce Mountains really provides a unique experience to its visitors. You’ll enter by driving your rental car through the mystical Tunel de Ogarrio, a 1.25-mile-long tunnel carved out many years ago when this was a bustling mining town.

Real de Catorce, usually called just Real (pronounced ray-al), was once among the biggest Mexico silver towns. Nowadays, its broken forts and crumbling stone buildings provide such a beautiful, unique look, films like The Mexican with Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt, were shot there.

Among the best things to do in Real de Catorce, don’t miss La Luz, San Antonio de Coronados, Potrero, Alamitos and a horseback ride through town. As with many ghost towns, some say there are mystical qualities and energies in the town, which attract visitors to Real year after year.

Contributed by Utkarsh of Journeys From Heart, who recommends Real de Catorce because of its mystical vibe, unique history and culture.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

22. Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato

Located about one hour from the state’s capital, Guanajuato City, the Dolores Hidalgo pueblo magico is a beautiful, colorful colonial town. It also has a deep history, and is known as the place where the Mexican War of Independence from Spain began.

Dolores Hidalgo is a historic town, and one of the six pueblos magicos Guanajuato has.

Nowadays, Dolores Hidalgo makes for a great day trip from Guanajuato City, San Miguel de Allende and Quetertaro — as it’s an hour or less from these major cities. When visiting, head right to the Plaza de la Constitucion (AKA Zocalo, or Main Plaza), the main hub of activity.

Here, check out the Museo de Vino (Dolores Hidalgo Wine Museum), which also has a wine tasting room. Dolores Hidalgo is a popular stop along the Mexico Wine & Cheese Route, with notable vineyards like Vega Manchon Winery and La Santisma Trinidad just outside downtown.

Dolores Hidalgo is also known for two other things: ice cream and Talavea ceramics. Besides Puebla state, considered the birthplace of the colorful Mexican Talavera tiles, pottery and art, local artisans in Dolores Hidalgo also produce beautiful Talavea creations.

You can buy some Talavera pieces in the Main Plaza, and after working up an appetite from shopping, make sure to try an ice cream. Technically, the local ice cream is called nieves, similar to an Italian ice, though Dolores Hidalgo is famous for its unique and delicious flavors.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

23. Patzcuaro, Michoacan

Situated in the highlands of Michoacan state only about 35 miles from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Morelia, the Patzcuaro pueblo magico is best known for its Day of the Dead celebrations. However, this unique town is worth a visit at other times of year as well.

Small, walkable and dotted with leafy plazas, its cobblestone streets are lined with adobe houses topped with red tile roofs, museums, colonial buildings and churches. Don’t miss the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Salud church, an important Catholic pilgrimage site.

Charming Pátzcuaro, Mexico, is also a hub for exploring the indigenous Purepecha villages, festivals and archeological sites dotting nearby Lake Patzcuaro. The Purepecha (or Tarascans) are an indigenous group from northwestern Michoacan.

Among the best things to do in Patzcuaro, don’t miss these places:

  • Janitzio Island (seen in the photo below ⤵)
  • Artisan markets of Quiroga
  • Mask-makers of Tocuaro
  • Copperware workshops of Santa Clara del Cobre
  • Stringed guitar shops of Paracho, and
  • Markets with colourful, hand-painted lacquerware trays in Uruapan. 

Contributed by Michele Peterson of A Taste for Travel, who recommends Patzcuaro for its rich Purepecha culture and history.

Approaching Isla Janitzio in Patzcuaro, Mexico, by boat — the only way to get to this island pueblo. (Photo Manon Guerin, via Tumblr)

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS in Baja Mexico & Northern Mexico

24. Todos Santos, Baja California Sur

Known by the locals as simply Todos, the Todos Santos pueblo magico is fast becoming a must visit Baja California town on Mexico’s west coast. This laid back pueblo, once a haven solely for surfers, yogis and artists, is among the Mexico hidden gems that won’t stay hidden for long.

Colorful Mexican folk art flags (papel picado) on a street in Todos Santos pueblo magico (magic town), a great place for Solo Mexico travel in Baja California, Mexico,

Once-sleepy Todos is now a popular destination for all kinds of travelers. For a relaxing day, spend some time strolling the cobblestone streets in downtown, lined with boutique hotels, art galleries, hip restaurants, cool bars and locally-made artisanal goods in quirky shops.

Located not far from downtown, jump in your Mexico rental car and head to all the best beaches in Todos Santos, like Cerritos, Punta Lobos and Playa Tortugas. Speaking of rental cars, Todos is a must see Mexico town on any Baja California Sur road trip.

Among other things to do in Todos Santos, hike up to Punta Lobos for gorgeous views of the beach cove below. During January to March, take a whale watching tour to see the grey and humpback whales. If you visit in late-April, enjoy the GastroVino Todos Santos Food & Wine Festival.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

25. Santiago, Nuevo León

Santiago pueblo magico is located in northern Mexico, close to the city of Monterrey in Nuevo Leon state. Though many deem the entire north part of the country as unsafe, places like Santiago and Monterrey are among the safest places in Mexico.

Cola de Caballo (Horse Tail Waterfall), is an 82-foot-tall waterfall just outside Villa de Santiago, Mexico. (Photo: Betty via Flickr)

From Monterrey, it is an easy drive to Santiago in your rental car by just following the road signs along a three-lane highway. The town is known for local craft stores that have both smaller artisan goods and large, unique furniture, and also colonial buildings like the Parroquia Santiago Apostol church.

One of the best things to do in Santiago is head out of the city and into nature! The Rodrigo Gómez Lake, AKA Presa La Boca, is the perfect place to just relax and enjoy a day by the water. For those more adventurous, head to Parque La Huasteca, Cascada Cola de Caballo and Matacanes Canyon.

Contributed by Venaugh of Venaugh Travel Blog, who recommends Santiago for the local crafts, relaxing lake and clean air.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

26. Loreto, Baja California Sur

Loreto pueblo magico is a sleepy little town in the central Baja Peninsula, which is only starting to get the attention it deserves.  For now, it remains one of the best hidden gem Mexico beach towns, perfect for those looking to get away from the more touristy Mexico beaches.

Situated on the Gulf of California, the Loreto beaches offer a true place to relax in nature. Unlike with many places in Baja California, Loreto beaches don’t have large waves so they are perfect for kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and swimming.

colorful homes on the water and mountains in the background in beautiful loreto, one of the Best Mexican Beach Towns
Loreto, Mexico, one of the Baja California pueblos magicos, is a must-visit on any Baja road trip.

Among the best things to do in Loreto, make sure to take a boat tour to the surrounding islands. On the way to Isla Carmen and Isla Coronado, both full of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, you’ll likely see pods of dolphins and in the winter months, maybe even some whales

The snorkeling in Loreto and it’s waters offshore is legendary, and among the best in Mexico.  Scuba divers also enjoy Loreto because the water is so clear and you’ll (almost) always encounter some marine life as the coral reefs underwater are quite healthy. 

Back on land, head to the Loreto Malecon (Boardwalk/Walkway) to enjoy delicious fresh seafood and an ice cold beer. While strolling, make a stop at the first Mission in Baja California, the Mision de Nuestra Señora de Loreto, built in the 17th Century.

Loreto Tours

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

27. Tecate, Baja California

Tecate pueblo magico is a small border town, only about one hour from San Diego. With its gorgeous nature, much of it located along the La Rumorosa Road, local wineries, fine dining, arts and culture, and famous Rancho La Puerta spa — Tecate is a popular weekend or day trip from Southern California.

La Rumorosa mountain pass road in Tecate, Mexico. (Photo: Cbojorquez75 via WikiMedia)

Though nearby Valle de Guadalupe is the more famous Mexico wine region in Baja California, smaller wineries are making a name for themselves in Tecate. Speaking of adult beverages, yes, Tecate does share its name with the popular Mexican beer, which is brewed in this town.

Located about 1.5 hours from Tijuana, Tecate offers more of a laid back, cultural experience than the infamous Mexico party town. Don’t miss the impressive Centro Cultural and Kumeyaay Museum in downtown Tecate, and the world class CEART Tecate Art Center.

🏩 Looking to stay overnight and experience this magical town? The Las Juntas Glamping Bubble offers a truly unique Mexico glamping experience, and Santuario Diegueño is one of the best hotels in Tecate, Mexico.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

28. Creel, Chihuahua 

Have you ever heard of the Copper Canyon? It’s actually the eighth largest canyon on Earth, second largest in North America (after the Grand Canyon), and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To see it, you can take the well-known El Chepe Express train which goes through some areas.

The El Chepe Express (AKA Copper Canyon Train), making its way into Creel, Mexico.

For many taking the El Chepe Train, they will board in the city of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, and travel about 220 miles (350km) to Creel, Mexico. As it’s quite remote and there’s not an airport near Creel, the train is the best way to travel there unless you’re getting a Mexico rental car.

Though this train is the most popular of all things to do in the Creel pueblo magico, there are others as well. For nature lovers, there’s also the Cascada Cusaráre, or Cusarare Waterfall, and Valle de los Monjes, or Valley of the Monks, known for its unique rock formations.

This off the beaten path Mexico town offers beautiful nature and a chance to get up close with Mexico’s rich history and indigenous cultures. While traveling to Creel, make sure to plan to visit the local Tarahumara Tribe, who offer day tours and unique experiences for visitors.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

29. Tula, Tamaulipas

Tula pueblo magico is one of the oldest towns in Tamaulipas state in Northern Mexico. Juan Bautista de Mollinedo founded the town in 1617, and in 2011, it was declared as a Mexico pueblo magico because of its cultural and historical significance.

There are many historical places to visit and things to do in Tula, Mexico. The Plaza de Armas and San Antonio de Padua Church showcase the town’s marvelous 16th Century architecture, and the Templo del Rosario has the oldest Christ image in the Tamaulipas state.

The colorful Plaza Mayor (Main Plaza) in Ciudad Tula, Mexico. (Photo Adanreyes, via WikiMedia)

Ciudad Tula town is also famous for its artisanal pottery and ornate leather jackets. Cuera, a fringed and embroidered clothing style often seen on leather jackets and dresses, originated here. Numerous celebrities around the world have adorned Cuera, worn as a style statement on special occasions.

As this town is quite remote, you’ll want to stay overnight at the Hotel Quinta San Jorge, considered among the best hotels in Tula, Mexico. While there, make sure to sample all the delicious norteño cruise, which is one half of what’s known as Tex Mex cuisine.

Contributed by Ruma of The Holiday Story, who recommends Tula as one of the best off the beaten path Mexico hidden gems.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS in southern mexico

30. San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

San Cristobal de las Casas pueblo magico is one of the best things to do in Chiapas — a state known for authentic Mexico culture travel. As one of the most-visited Mexico pueblos magicos, there’s colonial architecture and churches, a friendly bohemian vibe and delicious cuisine.

This town has an interesting mix of indigenous and European cultures, so you get an authentic cultural feel mixed with a posh side in the gorgeous San Cristobal de las Casas hotels with resort-style amenities. You’ll also find some of Mexico’s best coffee and chocolate.

San Cristobal de las Casas is known for beautiful textiles, which you see displayed at the Centro de Textiles del Mundo Maya (Mayan Textile Museum). You can buy some in the boutique artisan shops around town, and sold on the streets by local indigenous people.

To buy textiles, souvenirs and handmade crafts, head to the bustling Mercado Viejo (Old Market) and Mercado de Artesanias de Santo Domingo (Artisan Market). The mercados are an iconic part of the local culture, and among the best things to do in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Contributed by Daniel of the Layer Culture, who recommends San Cristobal de Casas because of its unique location, rich cultural heritage, and for having home to some of Mexico’s best coffee beans.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

31. Mazunte, Oaxaca

Mazunte pueblo magico is among a short list of pueblo magico beach towns, though there are others on this list including Tulum, Sayulita, Todos Santos and Loreto. It is located in Oaxaca state, and many combine visiting Oaxaca City with some time at the best beaches in Oaxaca.

Mazunte is the true definition of a pueblo (small town). There are no stoplights, one main dirt road going through town, and only about a dozen or so dining options. There are, however, some really great Mazunte hotels that offer quaint yet luxurious accommodations.

Playa Mermejita, the best beach in Mazunte, is located in the most famous of all the six pueblos magicos Oaxaca state has. (Photo: Dan Nevill via Flickr)

The beaches are the main star in this town, and some would say Mazunte’s Playa Mermejita is the most beautiful beach in Mexico. Just before sunset, many locals and visitors hike up to Punta Cometa to watch the sunset and see the beautiful views of this beach below.

Besides Mermejita Beach, don’t miss Playa Mazunte, where you’ll find all the restaurants, bars and Mazunte tour operators. One of the best things to do in Mazunte is take the nighttime tour to Laguna Manialtepec, a bioluminescent lagoon near Puerto Escondido. You can easily book Manialtepec tours in Mazunte.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

32. Xico, Veracruz

Xico pueblo magico was declared the Jewel of Veracruz state in 2010! Along with its neighboring town of Coatepec, another one of the pueblos magicos Veracruz has, this part of the state is well known for its amazing coffee.

The town’s full name is Xicochimalco, meaning “where there are bee hives of yellow wax” in the Náhuatl (Aztec) language — but called Xico (pronounced hee-co) for short. It makes for an amazing day trip from Xalapa, Veracruz, and many combine it with a stop in Coatepec.

The best time to visit Xico during the annual Fiesta de la Magdalena, a weeklong festival held in honor of the town’s patron saint, Santa María Magdalena. It takes place July 19-25, with elaborate street parties and parades through downtown, and the colorful Alfombra de Aserrín.

Meaning sawdust carpet, the Alfombra de Aserrín, is a temporary “carpet” that covers downtown. It is created by townspeople who make beautiful art with colorful sawdust that lines the streets in downtown, depicting Santa María Magdalena and various religious scenes.

BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

33. Palenque, Chiapas

Chiapas is a lesser visited Mexico state, but definitely worth a trip to see its breathtaking landscapes and beautiful pueblos magicos — like San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapa de Corzo and Palenque. This small town is located in the Selva Lacandona (Lacandon Jungle), a rainforest which stretches into Honduras.

Among the best things to do in Palenque, the one can’t miss site is Palenque Mayan Ruins, an ancient pre-hispanic city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally called Lakamha, the site was founded in about 226 BC and flourished around the 7th Century.

When visiting, don’t miss the beautiful Temple of the Inscriptions, the largest Mesoamerican stepped pyramid on Earth with eight levels. It is named after the hieroglyphic Inscription Tablets found inside, which helped shed light on some mysteries of the Maya civilization.

In Palenque itself, check out the Plaza del Artesano, the perfect place to find a souvenir to bring home, and the Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman church. Palenque makes a great starting point to visit the nearby waterfalls, Misol Ha and Agua Azul, where you’ll find some of the best natural pools in Mexico.

Contributed by Claudia Tavani of My Adventures Across The World, who recommends Palenque because it’s quite simply the most exciting Mayan site in Mexico.

Mexico Pueblos Magicos

All Mexico Pueblos Magicos: A State By State List

Here is the complete list of 132 magic towns in Mexico! This is the most updated list of pueblos magicos in Mexico; released December 1, 2020. As mentioned, there are pueblos magicos in all states, and Puebla state has the most pueblos magicos, with 10.

The most recent additions to the 2020 list were these 11 new magical towns in Mexico: Isla Aguada, Maní, Ajijic, Mexcaltitan, Paracho de Verduzco, Juquila, Santa María del Río, Sisal, Tetela de Ocampo, Tonatico and Zempoala.

  • Aguascalientes Pueblos Magicos: Real de Asientos, Calvillo, San José de Gracia
  • Baja California Pueblos Magicos: Tecate
  • Baja California Sur Pueblos Magicos: Todos Santos, Loreto
  • Campeche Pueblos Magicos: Isla Aguada, Palizada
  • Chiapas Pueblos Magicos: San Cristóbal de las Casas, Palenque, Chiapa de Corzo, Comitán 
  • Chihuahua Pueblos Magicos: Creel, Batopilas, Arteaga, Casas Grandes
  • Coahuila Pueblos Magicos: Parras de la Fuente, Cuatrociénegas de Carranza, Viesca, Candela, Guerrero, Melchor Múzquiz
  • Colima Pueblos Magicos: Comala
  • Durango Pueblos Magicos: Mapimí, Nombre de Dios
  • Estado de Mexico Pueblos Magicos (Mexico State): San Juan Teotihuacán, Valle de Bravo, Ixtapan de la Sal, Malinalco, El Oro de Hidalgo, Metepec, Aculco De Espinoza, Villa del Carbón, Tonatico
  • Guanajuato Pueblos Magicos: Dolores Hidalgo, Mineral de Pozos, Jalpa de Cánovas, Salvatierra, Yuriria, Comonfort
  • Guerrero Pueblos Magicos: Taxco 
  • Hidalgo Pueblos Magicos: Huasca de Ocampo, Real del Monte, Mineral del Chico, Huichapan, Tecozautla, Zimapán, Zempoala
  • Jalisco Pueblos Magicos: Tequila, Ajijic, San Sebastián del Oeste, Lagos de Moreno, Mascota, Talpa de Allende, Tlaquepaque, Mazamitla, Tapalpa
  • Michoacán Pueblos Magicos: Pátzcuaro, Tlalpujahua, Cuitzeo, Santa Clara del Cobre, Angangueo, Tacámbaro, Jiquilpan, Tzintzuntzan, Paracho
  • Morelos Pueblos Magicos: Tepoztlán, Tlayacapan 
  • Nayarit Pueblos Magicos: Sayulita, Mexcaltitán de Uribe, Jala, Compostela
  • Nuevo León Pueblos Magicos: Santiago, Linares, Bustamante
  • Oaxaca Pueblos Magicos: Mazunte, San Pablo Villa de Mitla, Capulálpam de Méndez, Huautla de Jimenez, San Pedro y San Pablo Teposcolula, Santa Catarina Juquila
  • Puebla Pueblos Magicos: Cholula, Atlixco, Cuetzalan, Zacatlán, Pahuatlán, Chignahuapan, Tlatlauquitepec, Xicotepec, Huauchinango, Tetela de Ocampo
  • Querétaro Pueblos Magicos: Bernal, Tequisquiapan, Jalpan de Serra, Cadereyta de Montes, San Joaquín, Amealco de Bonfil
  • Quintana Roo Pueblos Magicos: Bacalar, Isla Mujeres, Tulum
  • San Luis Potosí Pueblos Magicos: Xilitla, Real de Catorce, Aquismón, Santa María del Río
  • Sinaloa Pueblos Magicos: El Fuerte, El Rosario, Mocorito
  • Sonora Pueblos Magicos: Álamos, Cosalá, Magdalena de Kino
  • Tabasco Pueblos Magicos: Tapijulapa
  • Tamaulipas Pueblos Magicos: Tula, Ciudad Mier 
  • Tlaxcala Pueblos Magicos: Huamantla, Tlaxco
  • Veracruz Pueblos Magicos: Xico, Papantla, Coatepec, Coscomatepec de Bravo, Orizaba, Zozocolco de Hidalgo
  • Yucatán Pueblos Magicos: Izamal, Valladolid, Sisal, Maní
  • Zacatecas Pueblos Magicos: Jerez de García Salinas, Teúl de González Ortega, Sombrerete, Pinos, Nochistlan, Guadalupe
colorful streets of the colonial mexican town san cristobal de las casas, one of the most unique places to visit in mexico
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, is one of the most popular pueblos magicos Mexico has.

How does a town qualify as a Mexico pueblo magico?

There are a few steps to apply, often starting with the town forming a Pueblo Magico Committee. The committee handles the application, and when approved, sees that the town lives up to its commitment to remain a place of value for Mexico tourists. If not, their status can be revoked the following year. 

There are three basic requirements to be considered for pueblo magico status, including that the town’s population must be at least 5,000 residents. It must also be relatively easy to reach from a major city in Mexico via public transportation or well-maintained roadways.

The last criteria is that the town must have something unique, or magical about it, that visitors will want to experience. There isn’t an exact definition of magical, but it can range from a unique annual festival, to stunning natural beauty, interesting folkloric traditions, etc.

Which were the first Mexico pueblos magicos?

The Mexico pueblo magico program launched in 2001 with just a few cities, including Tepoztlan, Mexcaltitán de Uribe, Huasca de Ocampo and Real de Catorce. These four are still on the list of pueblos magicos, though Tepoztlan and Mexcaltitan did both temporarily lose their status.

In 2009, there were 35 pueblos magicos — and by 2012, there were 83, with at least one pueblo magico in all Mexico states (except Mexico City). Each year the program grows more and more, as towns make attaining pueblo magico status a top priority.

Puebla Mexico pueblos magicos includes Cuetzalan, Mexico, a town famous for its Poza Pata de Perro, meaning "dog foot pool"
Puebla has the most pueblos magicos of any state in Mexico — including this one, Cuetzalan Mexicoand it’s famous “Poza Pata de Perro,” or dog foot pool.
BEST MEXICO PUEBLOS MAGICOS

Final Thoughts: Mexico Pueblos Magicos

The magical towns of Mexico aren’t just handed this prestigious designation — they have to earn it by maintaining the unique characteristics they are known for. Then, with each passing year, the towns have to be re-approved and make the list all over again.

As the program falls under the country’s Tourism Secretary, the pueblos Mexico deems as magical have to keep striving to be places tourists actually want to visit. The intention with the program is to bring tourism to smaller communities, and give visitors a look into “real Mexico.”

Are pueblos magicos worth visiting?

Pueblos magicos are worth visiting for those who like venturing off the beaten path. In Mexico magic towns, you won’t find big name all inclusive resorts; but you will find interesting experiences, mom and pop businesses, handmade crafts, and lots of small town charm.

In short, the pueblo magicos are worth visiting for those seeking a genuine connection to Mexico. They are a bit rustic, but that’s part of the experience, and for certain travelers it’s the exact experience they long to have.

Which Mexico pueblo magico caught your eye?

Which Mexico magic town will you visit first? Did your favorite pueblos mágicos in Mexico make the list?I’d love to hear from you, so please drop me a line in the comments below!

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19 Comments

  1. WOW! I had no idea that Mexico had so many beautiful cities, and incredible looking swimming holes – amongst other things. As I began, I was in love with the look of San Miguel de Allende, and couldn’t imagine why it was removed from the list. But then there was picture after picture of beautiful cities and beaches and more. Saved to my bucket list! Thanks for enlightening me.

  2. This is so interesting; I had no idea about the pueblo magicos…i just LOVE that. Sayulita, Tulum and Isla Mujeres were already at the top of my list but now I have all these other places to check out! We are moving back to California eventually so Tecate will be another place that will be easy to visit. This is such an interesting and amazing list… thank you for putting this together! – Linzey @thefamilyfuntour

  3. Well, this came at just the right time! I am searching for a little town to disappear to for a while. Some of these really spoke to me. Especially Todos. Saved for later exploration (both online and for real!) Thank you!

  4. I never new magical pueblos exist in Mexico, and there are a lot! Wow! I’d be happy to see any of these pretty places….

  5. Wow – what an amazing article about Mexico. I have never heard the term pueblos magicos before while visiting down there. It is amazing there are 132 designated locations. This is one of the best articles on things not to miss while visiting Mexico I have seen!

  6. This is such a great post. I had no idea what pueblos magicos were but now I completely understand. I am adding all of these to my must-see list!!

  7. Wow, I didn’t know anything about pueblos magicos! I’ve only ever visited Mexico City, and have always planned to return to explore more of Mexico. I’m definitely going to factor in a visit to one of these incredible pueblos magicos when I get back. Thanks for this great post!

  8. I love the idea of Pueblos Magicos! I’d love to make my way down the list!

  9. I didn’t know about pueblos mágicos, so it’s great to learn about them. There are so many!! I would love to visit some of these pueblos someday 🙂 Thank you for this list!

  10. Ajijic is pronounced wrong it’s “Ah-hee-heeck” not “Ah-he-he-heek”

  11. What a great post! I feel like Mexico is so underrated as a travel destination as a whole. There is so much natural beauty! I’d particularly love to visit Laguna Bacalar. I can’t believe how blue the water is! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. Hi there, I’m so happy I found your website and this post. I’m actually planning to move to Mexico in 1 year time. And was thinking that I do not want to live in a big city, so un pueblo magico would be ideal for me. I’ll make sure I follow you on social media, it would be good to stay connected with someone who knows los pueblitos magicos de Mexico so well 🙂 if I were to choose from your list, I would go with 23. Patzcuaro. That’s because I’ve always wanted to be in a little pueblo on Dia de Muertos and experience the celebrations in the most authentic way :). Thank you so much for this blog post, you cannot even imagine how much it lifted my spirit, as everything related to Mexico does 🙂

    1. hi Carmina, thanks for writing! i hope your move to mexico is all you hope it will be. Patzcuaro is somewhat remote & you’ll want to have some Spanish fluency before moving there (if you don’t already), but it’s a charming place that’s full of culture & colorful celebrations all year, even beyond día de muertos.

  13. simplyjolayne says:

    After seeing all of the pictures, I can understand why these small towns would fall into the “Magicos” category. They are colorful and perfectly instagrammable.

  14. Love this list, I’m glad you explained what went into becoming a Pueblo Magico!

  15. Wow, this is an exceptional list of the pueblos in Mexico. I really want to see some of the Mayan heritage – it’s spectacular. Alongside the beautiful Convent of San Antonio de Padua in Izamal – I love religious buildings.

  16. Petsitter Barbi says:

    Who knew there was such a thing as a Pueblo Magico Program? This is an awesome guide to the most charming and authentic destinations that Mexico has to offer. I am vowing to petsit my way to the entire list!

  17. i love learning the history of little towns like this! each of these pueblos look so beautiful and unique!