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Mexico state tourism
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
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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).
sunset on the Valle de Bravo lake
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.

Left picture : sunset on the Valle de Bravo lake



At 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.

At the south of state

Metepec 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.

a tree of life, Metepecictures of Metepec

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 internationally famous.


view on Metepec Metepec

Santiago Tianguistengo

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.


Further 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.

entrance sign in Malinalco Malinalco

The site

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 temple.

Left picture : entrance sign in Malinalco

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.

ring of Tzinacalli
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.

     Below pictures: Left, Cuauhcalli, and right : View from the idols Hill



View from the idols Hill Cuauhcalli










statuette in Schneider museum 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 !
war drum displayed in the same museum


Left picture : statuette in Schneider museum

Right picture : war drum displayed in the same museum










The village

church of San Juan 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.

     Right picture : church of San Juan


A little further....

Saint Augustin convent in Malinalco
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.

     Above picture : Saint Augustin convent in Malinalco

     Map of the spa resort :

view of Ixtapan de la Sal

     Right picture : view of Ixtapan de la Sal








At the south-west of the capital, Toluca

National Park of Nevado de Toluca

Nevado of 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.

Left picture : Nevado of Toluca



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 Mazahuas Indians.
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 market.
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 village.

Map of the village :

the lake of Valle de Bravo 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.

     Right picture : the lake of Valle de Bravo

The scenic landscapes, the mountains, the diversity of tourist, cultural and sporting activities are many assets common to both sister cities.

Source : Visitor center in Barcelonnette : www.barcelonnette.com


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