Tepoztlan

 

Tepoztlan is an interesting, lively and fun little town located 80km south of Mexico City.  We traveled by bus from Cuernavaca and it took about thirty minutes.  It’s a blend of well-preserved indigenous cultures and New Age beliefs and spirituality.  The town is believed to be a magical place and claims to have a sort of creative energy.  For this reason Tepoztlan attracts its fair share of writers and artists.  Astrologers frequently travel here to investigate reports of UFO sightings.  In addition, the town is believed to be inhabited by witches, but of the good variety.  Alternative medicine shops, psychics and aura cleansers can be found around every corner, many owned and operated by expats from abroad, and the town itself has come to be known as somewhat of an international post-hippie mecca.

One of Tepoztlan’s main attractions is its local market.  We visited on Sunday which is one of the busiest and most animated market days.  Vendors lined the streets throughout the center of town and inside the Zocalo.  There were separate areas for fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, clothing, accessories and crafts.  Scattered among them were stands selling ice cream, water ice and drinks called Micheladas.  A very popular beverage and one that the town is known for, a Michelada is a mixture of two kinds of hot sauce, lime juice, and Corona.  People were already drinking them from giant styrofoam cups when we arrived around 11 a.m.  Finally, we opted to try the smaller version, and as I suspected it was pretty gross, but I think I might have been the only one to think so since people were lined up all over the place to buy them and Carlos finished the whole cup.

Recently, it seems there is a pyramid or archaeological site to tour nearly everywhere we visit and Tepoztlan was no exception.  The cliff-top Piramide de Tepozteco is located approximately 2.5km from the city center.  Of that distance, 2km is made up of rugid, steep stone staircases that snake up the side of the cliff.  From the city center the pyramid is visble as nothing more than a white speck on the top of the mountain side.  So small in fact, I could barely get it to appear in any of my photographs.  At first it seemed hard to believe that it was possible to hike to the top, but after climbing countless steps and nearing complete exhaustion we finally made it.  While not nearly as large as some of the other sites we have visited, the fact that it remains so isolated and difficult to reach made it all the more impressive.  And even more impressive was the fact that people were working at the top selling tickets and beverages.  Imagine having that as your daily commute!

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