The state of Mexico is a very industrialized state but it succeeded
to preserve the history with cities like Teotihuacán
and Tepotzotlán (not to be
mistaken with Tepoztlán close to Cuernavaca).
For itineraries reasons, Tepotzotlán
is in the same chapter as Teotihuacán
with Tula and the monastery
of Acolman. The state circles about the whole capital. With
a lot of fertile valleys, rivers and mountains ranging from 1
800 to 5 400 m (from 5905 ft to 17716 ft) of altitude, it benefits
from a healthy and pleasant climate, which is the reason for being
a province of vacation. Its main resources are cereals, maguey,
coffee and sugar. The fabrication of pulque is an important resource
in this state too.
the north of state
9 km (5.6 miles) north from Toluca,
off the highway 55, a dirt road leads to the archaeological zone
of Calixtlahuaca (open 10 AM-5 PM Tue-Sun, $41) where a circular
pyramid is dedicated to Ehecatl, God of wind. Three periods are
represented there. You can see a three level altar, a pyramid and
temples. This ceremonial center has Toltec origin and it has been
occupied by the Matlazincas since the thirteenth century. Take the
bus in Toluca at the corner of
the Streets Independencia and Juárez to go there.
Almoloya (at the north-west) is famous for finely adorned tablecloths.
There are neither lion nor desert in the Desert of Lions (desierto
de los leones) : it is a National Park with beautiful pine
wood, close to the highway 15, from Mexico
City to Toluca. You can also
explore the ruins of a Carmelite convent from the seventeenth century.
the south of state
Not far from Toluca (7 km) is the
Indian village of Metepec, famous for its beautiful potteries. They
are full of imagination, especially the ones representing a tree
of life, arbol de la vida. It is an indigenous interpretation of
the tree of the Garden of Eden.
The important personages, Adam, Eve and the snake,
are carved in a fantastic style. It is a quiet village with few
tourists. You can visit the workshop Beto Hernandez, Altamirano,
58 whose owner is a friendly person.
There are a lot of craft stores between Ignacio Zaragoza and Ignacio
Allende, on the side Ignacio Comonfort. Look at the map of the city
to visit the tree of life, San Juan Church, the Fountain of the
Siren and the Calvario Church. Nativity scenes, pots, jugs, saucepans
and dozens of magnificent works have made this town nationally and
At the south of Metepec, the Indian village of Santiago Tianguistengo
is famous for its sarapes, very typical colored wool blankets. Go
to the market on Tuesday. It is HUGE.
south and close to Malinalco
Continuing south, you will come to Tenancingo a village lying in
a beautiful valley, nestling in the mountains, where there are hundreds
of greenhouses with the loveliest, most delicate flowers in the
region : roses, chrysanthemuns, gerberas, pompoms, gladioli and
carnations, now sold on the market. Before you get to this village,
you can stop off at two intriguing places, Parque Hermenegildo Galeana,
a leafy forest of cedars and pines, ideal for picnics and the "Cerro
de las Tres Marías", with its spectacular look-out set
above the sculpture of Cristo Rey. Once in Tenancingo, you can walk
through the center and explore the main square surrounded by archways,
the "Palacio Municipal" and beautiful monuments. We suggest
you visit the "Iglesia de San Francisco de Asis", whose
façade combines two styles from different ears : the neo-classical
and the baroque. Along the way you can sample the local drinks and
food, such as the "tacos de Obispo". In the north stands
the "Cerro del Calvario", the site of the Basalíca
de San Clemente or del Calvario, built in the 19th century and closely
linked to famous figures such parish priest Epigmenio de la Piedra,
benefactor and promoter of the construction of this church. One
of the most important celebrations in Tenancingo is the traditional
Fería del Rebozo, or Shawl Fair, held during the first week
of september. On this occasion, several of these garments, woven
on traditional local looms, are displayed.
Like Metepec, Tenancingo is famous for its handicrafts, which include
genuine works of art. Some of the best known include shawls, baskets,
embroidery, cloth, leather work and wooden and palm furniture as
well as delicious liqueurs made from local fruit. Go to the market
on Thursday and Sunday; you will enjoy.
It is the starting point of the visit of the Aztec site Malinalco
(open 9AM - 5PM Tue-Sun, MXN$41). The site, located on the Cerro
de los Idolos (the Idols Hill) is built like the aerie of an eagle
at the top of the hill (the eagle represents the day and the jaguar
the night). You can see sculptures of eagle and jaguar in the main
This temple with a thatch roof, leant against
the mountain, is the Cuauhcalli, the house of eagle where are preserved
the statues of three eagles and a jaguar. The entrance represents
the mouth of Quetzalcóatl, the feathered snake whose head
is carved on the walls of the façade. Inside, the young warriors
ritually devoted their life to the sun, represented by the mortal
remains of the eagle and the jaguar. In the middle, the eagle was
used as an altar lighted by the sun rays on the winter solstice
day. Lined with the door, on an adorned bench, the supreme officer
sat enthroned on a jaguar. Other less well preserved buildings are
also on the platform.
The vast ring of Tzinacalli was used to celebrate the funerals of
the warriors who died in war while the temple of Sun, looking east,
seems to be used for the celebrations of New Year.
Malinalco was also an astrological center. The site is being restored.
The ascension of 426 steps leading to the visit of the site allows
an incomparable view over the valley of Toluca.
Stop often on the way up to read the diverse explanations in Spanish
and English about the site and the flora.
Don’t miss a very beautiful museum, the Museo Universitario
Luis Mario Schneider (open Tue-Sun 10 AM-6 PM, MXN$15), down the
site. This museum doesn’t have big archeological pieces but
offers an unexpected multimedia interactive tour. There are English
Speaking guides too, but the explanations are restrained !
The village is located 1.5 km (1 mile) from the site and is popular
for the capitalinos (visit the Ex-Convento Agustino and San Juan
church). This monastery ex-convent was built by the Agustinians
in 1540. It possesses one of the most beautiful cloisters in colonial
Mexico (monumental atrium and a Plateresque façade).
The tourism Office is located on the Zócalo. See also the
"Presidencia municipal" and the "Casa de la Cultura".
A market is set up at weekends in its main streets.
In the Museum of Teotenango, a fortified city dating from the seventh
century, 18km (12 miles) south of Toluca off highway 55, there is
a rich archaeological collection.
Malinalco is part of the "magic
village" since 2010.
Ixtapan de la Sal
This pampering spa resort, popular and famous for
the healing waters, is located south of Toluca
on highway 55. The origin of the 105 mineral springs is still a
mystery, but the Aztecs visited the Sacred Green lagoon, created
by a volcanic eruption according to the villagers. The high season
is in winter when the tourists rush from cold climates for relaxation
and hydrotherapeutic cures. There are two cities, Viejo Ixtapan,
purely Mexican, rural and glorious with tropical vegetation and
colored houses, and Nuevo Ixtapan, very well equipped, with a modern
hotel, a 9 hole golf course and other conveniences.
Ixtapan de la Sal has everything from inexpensive inns to Grand
Tourism hotels to suit every budget. They all tend to offer spa
services, taking advantage of the abundant springs in the area,
whose fame has spread to other countries. It also has modern spaces
and installations for recreation, such as Parque Acuático
Ixtapan, the largest water park in Latin America where you can spend
a wonderful day enjoying the water slides, the pools with thermal
water and dozens of games for all the family. Another possibility
is the "Balneario Municipal", which also has thermal waters
for your total relaxation. The center of the city has a plaza with
a typical kiosk, where the locals meet to talk, and snacks and curiosities
are on sale.
Map of the spa resort
the south-west of the capital, Toluca
National Park of Nevado de Toluca
The Nevado (snowy) appeared only in the nineteenth century and the
top is at 4,690 m (15,387 feet). The crater of the volcano (with
a diameter of 1,600 m or 5,249 feet) comprises the Sun Lake, full
of rainbow trout and the Moon Lake. You can drive to the top and
enjoy a fantastic view. A cable-car goes down the crater. This dead
volcano, which was called Xinantecatl (the naked man) by the Indians,
is the fourth mountain in Mexico. It is snowy most
of the year. The visit to the park is beautiful if the weather is
nice but don’t forget that you are above 4,000 m (13,123 feet)
of altitude. Driving a car is the best means to go there since there
is neither a bus nor a tour.
Valle de Bravo
Valle de Bravo, scenic mountain village (called Mexican Switzerland),
is located 130 km (80 miles) south-west of Toluca,
on highway 134. You drive to Temascaltepec then you cross a forest
before arriving at this village going down the shores of a lake
since the construction of a dam in 1955. Embedded between the slopes
of the mountain ranges of Cruz de Mision and La Pena de Principe,
Valle de Bravo ("pueblo
mágico"), at 1,890 m (6,200 feet) of altitude, offers
an ideal climate for water sports. The quiet lake of 34 km2 (8,402
acres) is wonderful for water skiing, swimming, sailing, rowing
and fishing. There are also trout in the rivers that flow onto the
lake. The Bridal Veil Fall is popular with tourists. If you are
interested in a nice sunset, go up to the "Mirador de Cruz
de la Misión" (via a street behind the church).
This is a colonial village with cobblestone streets, very clean,
residential, on the shores of a lake. It is also an art and craft
center, famous for the colorful pottery and the fine lace of the
It is worth strolling around Plaza Independencia and the surrounding
neighborhoods, visiting the Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís,
standing opposite this square, and the Templo de Santa María
Ahuacatlán, built in the 17th century. Although, it contains
a Black Christ, worshipped by the locals. Go and visit the craft
This village of 28 000 inhabitants is invaded on weekends by the
chilangos (people from Mexico City).
The residential neighbor predominantly sets on the western shore
of the Avandaro Lake. Mid March, every year, is held the festival
of music and ecology; it promotes culture and environment in this
Map of the village
Barcelonnette sister city with Valle de Bravo in Mexico
On November 28 and 29, 2004, the cities of Barcelonnette (France)
and Valle de Bravo (State of Mexico) became sister cities in order
to make alive the historical and cultural links that unit the cities
since the time of the first barcelonnette emigrants to Mexico.
Named after the hero rebel Nicolas Bravo, Valle de Bravo also houses
the still astonishing and spectacular migration of the Monarch
Butterfly : millions of them fly more than 6,000 kilometers
(3,728 miles) from Canada.
The scenic landscapes, the mountains, the diversity of tourist,
cultural and sporting activities are many assets common to both
Source : Visitor center in Barcelonnette : www.barcelonnette.com
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