Tepoztlán is a small town is the Mexican state of Morelos and is about 85km South from the centre of Mexico City, an hour and a bit drive on a weekend morning without traffic. Tepoz, as it’s usally referred to, is one of the closest Pueblo Mágico (magical village) to CDMX. Due to it’s all-year mild climate, many people from the capital own houses there or make day trips to Tepoz. It is mostly known for the Tepozteco hill with ruins of a small pyramid on top, as well as for the ice-cream called Tepoznieves.
We decided to go to Tepoz for a day trip from CDMX to do some hiking up the hill, visit the market and have some local food, so we left Polanco at about 9.20am and arrived to Tepoz at 10.45am.
Breakfast at the market
Our plan was to start the day with a breakfast at the local market. After an initial walk around the market we looked for a food stall to have our breakfast at. We decided to trust this lady, as her stall seemed very simple and rather clean.
We ordered a bunch of quesadillas with flor de calabaza (courgette flower), champiñones, and nopales (cactus). We also ordered a gordita with chicarrón for our visitor to try (I don’t like chicharrón) and a sope with potatoes and rajas. All the dishes were with masa azul (blue corn) which adds a little different taste and is (maybe) a little healthier. Clearly, the downside of this type of food is the quantity of dough/flour one eats and the pork fat it is prepared with.
At a stall just behind our cook they had barbacoa (slow-cooked sheep) meat, so we ordered some tacos from there as well. To drink we got some aguas (fruit drinks) from another stall not far from there.
Needless, to say that all the food was delicious with the real local flavour. I really enjoyed the experience of eating at a local market. It was also a nice memory for our visitor from Europe who apart from the food also enjoyed taking pictures all over the market.
Hike up the Tepozteco
After the huge breakfast we went for the hike to Tepozteco hill to burn some calories. The hill is at 2,310m above sea level and is 595m above the town below. The hike up is mostly on loose stones and stone steps and it took us about an hour to climb up. It is not a very difficult hike, but due to the altitude one can get out of breath quite quickly.
After coming to the top, on the right-hand side there is a small archaeological area, which consists of a small three layer pyramid, and on the left-hand side there is a view point overlooking the town below. They charge an entrance fee of 50 pesos for the archaeological area immediately as you come up the hill and they don’t even allow you to go to see the viewpoint for free. You’re pretty much left with no choice and I think is unfair to charge for the viewpoint as there is no ruins on that side.
Anyway, I do suggest paying the fee and climbing up the pyramid, the views from there are really nice. Just as we wanted to leave the pyramid (between 1.00ap and 1.30 pm) there was a short talk by someone from the local community (or INAH?) about the history and the significance of the site. It was quite nice to learn some information about it so I would recommend it, however, I’m not sure if one can find information about these talks anywhere online.
Some interesting looking animals called coati (nasua) are wondering all over the archeological site at the hill-top. They are quite friendly and are trying to get some food from the visitors to the hill.
The descend back to Tepoz also took us about an hour. Not because it would be physically challenging, but because descending the steps and stones down is quite tough on your knees and demands a lot of attention not to slip.
Walk through the handicraft market
Another thing Tepoz is known for is the handicrafts market in the centre around the main food market. The market is not too big but offers some really nice artistry, so we found nice things to buy. I think it’s especially good for presents.
On the main market street there are a couple of Tepoznieves branches for the obligatory ice-cream. The interesting things about this ice-cream brand are the decoration of their shops, the complicated names for their flavours, and some unusual combinations of ingredients (mostly fruit).
We decided to take the medium cup, which costs 25 pesos and gives you the choice of 3 flavours. However, when she prepared the ice-cream I was quite astonished how big it was, it looked rather like 6 balls.
We were still very full from breakfast and the ice-cream was so big that we decided to skip lunch and head back to CDMX for dinner. It was a short but very lovely day trip from CDMX. Tepoz is a cute little village, the hike to Tepozteco is good for your health and the ice-cream is a nice reward after hiking up the hill.
I highly recommended this day trip, especially to bring your visitors and introduce them to a small Mexican village and local way of life, eating delicious food and buying handicrafts for presents.