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Visiting Mexico’s magic towns is one of the best things to do in the country, and there are nine pueblos magicos in Jalisco to explore.

The best part is, many of these magic towns in Jalisco can be visited as day trips from Puerto Vallarta. While others are suitable as weekend trips or day trips from Guadalajara due to their distance.

In this guide to Jalisco’s Pueblo Magicos, I’ll share a bit about each town and the easiest way to visit.

colorful flags magic town mexico

What are Pueblos Magicos?

Mexico is a magical country full of traditions and small towns, or pueblos.

In the early 2000s, the country’s government established a pueblo mȧgico designation (“magical town”) for remote towns with traditional and unique festivals, food, and activities.

Mexico created this “magic” designation to direct tourists to these hidden villages. 

Of the over 130 pueblos, nine are in the culturally-significant state of Jalisco. It’s the birthplace of tequila and sombreros!

Here is a list of the nine pueblos magicos in Jalisco and how to get to each one from Puerto Vallarta or Guadalajara.

Pueblos Magicos Near Puerto Vallarta

The three magic towns below are close enough that they can be done as day trips from Puerto Vallarta.

San Sebastián del Oeste

Cupala church of San Sebastian del Oeste, Jalisco Mexico

San Sebastian del Oeste is a quiet alpine village with around 5,000 people. It’s got a cooler climate than Puerto Vallarta, making it a perfect escape if you’re looking to beat the heat.

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting San Sebastian from Puerto Vallarta.

Hikers and nature enthusiasts will enjoy La Bufa, a nearby mountain lookout.

Most visitors explore the spectacular viewpoint by renting a four-wheeler and driving to the summit, which you can rent from the town.

On a clear day, you can see as far as Puerto Vallarta. While we were visiting, there were clouds in the sky, but it was a mesmerizing feeling standing above them.

lora standing on la bufa lookout in san sebastian mexico
La Bufa, San Sebastian

If you’re interested in a challenging 14-mile (22-kilometer) hike, I recommend hiring a trekking guide for this trail.

In the town, sign up for a tour of the colonial haciendas and relax with a raicilla drink, tequila’s sister, at the Rincon San Buenaventura.

The historic center is charming to walk around and is on the tentative list of new UNESCO world heritage sites in Mexico.

It’s a quiet town, making it ideal for a relaxing one-night mountain stay if you want to stay longer. Villa Nogal Hotel Boutique is a good option, with gorgeous views of the mountain landscapes from the terrace.

Best Season to Visit: November through April are the driest and best months to visit San Sebastián del Oeste.

Travel to San Sebastián del Oeste: The quickest way to travel to San Sebastián del Oeste is to rent a car from Puerto Vallarta and drive.

It’s just 47 miles away, but it feels worlds apart. The drive takes about an hour and a half as you travel almost 1,500m on a scenic mountain road.

Unfortunately, there’s no direct bus to San Sebastian, but there is one to Talpa de Allende.

One of the best ways to visit is on a guided tour. This highly-rated tour includes a walking tour around the historic town center and a stop at a coffee farm and agave plantation.



Like the neighboring village San Sebastián del Oeste, this sleepy pueblo sits in the Sierra Madre foothills.

Known for its greenery and coffee production, Mascota has been nicknamed la esmeralda de la sierra (“the emerald of the sierra”).

The most visited attraction is the Templo Inconcluso de La Preciosa Sangre, a partially-constructed but unfinished church.

Another favorite building is El Pedregal, a house of stones owned by a local artist. However, no visit to Mascota is complete without a visit to a coffee farm such as Cafe Tercer Cielo.

For a luxurious stay, consider an overnight visit to Sierra Lago Resort and Spa.

This all-inclusive resort features Mexican-style luxury chalets with wooden floors, brick walls, and terraces overlooking the lake. In addition, they offer a variety of outdoor activities like fishing, horseback riding, and water sports.

Best Season to Visit: In the winter and spring, from November through April.

Travel to Mascota: The quickest way to travel to Mascota is to rent a car and drive from Puerto Vallarta. It’s a 59-mile (or 95-kilometer) drive away and takes about 2 hours. Mascota is an hour away from San Sebastian del Oeste, so the two can be done as a day trip together along with Talpa de Allende.

This highly-rated tour takes you on a day trip to both Mascota and Talpa de Allende, including pickup and drop-off at hotels in Puerto Vallarta, as well as breakfast and lunch.


Talpa de Allende

Eighteen miles from Mascota is Talpa de Allende, a historic mining town that is 1,200 above sea level.

Like San Sebastian, Talpa de Allende was a silver mining town founded by the Spanish in 1599. The best thing to do here is to simply wander around the picturesque streets and enjoy food from the local street markets.

You can’t miss the large 18th-Century European-style church. It receives thousands of pilgrims every year who come to visit Talpa’s tiny Virgin statue.

If you’re looking to go hiking near Puerto Vallarta, the Mable Forest near Talpa is a great place to go.

For a luxurious stay, consider an overnight visit to Sierra Lago Resort and Spa.

This all-inclusive resort features Mexican-style luxury chalets with wooden floors, brick walls, and terraces overlooking the lake. In addition, they offer a variety of outdoor activities like fishing, horseback riding, and water sports.

Best Season to Visit: November through April.

Travel to Mascota: Renting a car is the best option to visit all three magic towns, including Talpa de Allende, but I recommend staying overnight in one if you do this. Otherwise, it would make for a very long day of driving.

If you want to stay overnight in Talpa de Allende, the Doña Francisca Hotel Boutique is a great option. It’s just a few meters from the Basilica of Talpa, with 22 rooms furnished with modern amenities in a historical setting.


Pueblos Magicos near Guadalajara


tequila historical center mexico
Tequila, Mexico

Yes, this town is the birthplace of the world-famous agave-based alcohol tequila. For this reason, UNESCO designated the Tequila Valleys region a “World Heritage” for its production of agave plants.

Established by the Mexican government as a pueblo mȧgico in 2003, Tequila is popular with tourists for its traditions, such as La Feria Nacional del Tequila (“The National Festival of Tequila”), held every December.

Enjoy sipping the best tequila in the world at locations like La Rojeña or Casa Sauza distilleries. 

Finally, this is Native land, and one site of interest is the archaeological wonder Guachimontones, circular structures that the Teuchitlán people created. The sites are culturally significant and unique to the Tequila Valleys. 

Best Season to Visit: Most of the year is good to visit Tequila, though October through May will be the most comfortable months.

Travel to Tequila: For budget travelers who wish to commute comfortably, there’s a two-hour coach bus ride from Guadalajara to Tequila.

Another popular but pricy choice is the Jose Cuervo Express from Guadalajara.

You can also visit Tequila as a day trip from Puerto Vallarta, although I recommend spending the weekend there or combing it with a trip to Guadalajara, as it’s a four-hour drive.

Stay overnight: Matices Hotel de Barricas is one of the most unique places to stay in Tequila! Their rooms are shaped like tequila barrels, and it’s located next to a factory that offers tours and tastings.



Umbrella street in Tlaquepaque
Umbrella street in Tlaquepaque

Tlaquepaque is conveniently located less than 10km southeast of Guadalajara, making it the perfect add-on to your itinerary if you’re visiting for a week.

Tlaquepaque is an artisan town where you can find mansions turned into shops and galleries. The city is known for handicrafts, especially pottery, textiles, and handblown glass. It’s an excellent place to pick up authentic souvenirs from Mexico.

Spend some time wandering the town’s colorful streets, central plaza, and historical monuments. The best way to visit is with a local guide, who can tell you about pre-Hispanic history.



mountains in ajijic

The next closest pueblos magico to Guadalajara is Ajijic. It’s a small town on the north shore of Lake Chapala surrounded by mountains.

It’s one of Mexico’s newest magic towns. However, that decision was somewhat contentious as, unlike most pueblos magicos, Ajijic does not have the centuries-old architecture that most other towns do. In fact, there are only three buildings left with historic significance.

Still, the town is home to Mexico’s biggest expat population, so there’s definitely a reason to visit.

Given the proximity to Lake Chapala and the Sierra Madre Mountains, Ajijic is the perfect place to disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature. There, you can enjoy spending time in the lake and natural hot springs.

Getting there: Renting a car and driving the 34 miles from Guadalajara to Ajijic is the quickest way, or you can get a direct bus. Alternatively, check out some of the day tours below.



Streets in Mazamitla
Streets in Mazamitla

Nestled between the lush forests and waterfalls of the Sierra del Tigre on the other side of Lake Chapala, you’ll find the charming town of Mazamitla.

It was designated a magic town because of its traditions, community, and overall charm, so spend some time walking around the town to appreciate it. You’ll find traditional Mexican markets here, where you can buy artisan crafts and enjoy excellent cuisine.

You can’t miss the Church of San Cristobal, which has an eclectic architectural style with Chinese influences much different than most churches in Mexico.

This mountain town offers a cooler climate, so it’s a perfect place to go hiking by waterfalls.

Nearby to the town is an adventure park called Mundo Aventura, where you can soak in the incredible natural scenery. There’s a 1150-long bridge you can cross over at the park, offering stunning views.

How to get there: From Guadalajara, it’s a two-hour drive. You can rent a car or join a guided tour below that takes you to the town and eco-park.


tapapa pueblo magicos jalisco

With just under 20,000 inhabitants, the tiny town of Tapalpa was established in 2002 as Jalisco’s first pueblo mȧgico.

Rural Tapalpa is a dream ecotourist destination with its highland forests, wild animals, and agricultural delights.

Notably, the Salto del Nogal region offers a refreshing swimming hole and the state’s tallest waterfall ( easy 2-mile hike to the waterfall).

Other nature highlights include zip lining in the Ekopark or walking amongst Las Piedrotas in the Valle de Los Enigmas (“The Large Rocks in the Enigma Valley”).

Don’t forget to try the town’s famous cajeta (caramel) candies and ice cream.

Best Season to Visit: In the winter and early spring, between December and March.

Travel to Tapalpa: From the state capital of Guadalajara, it’s a four-hour bus to Tapalpa or just under two hours of driving.

Stay overnight at Hotel La Casona, a gorgeous colonial-style building just a 10-minute walk from the center of town. Hang out on the terrace furnished with Fengshui-inspired decor and enjoy mountain views over a fireplace from your room.


Lagos de Moreno

lagos de moreno mexico

Last but not least is Lagos de Moreno, a charming city with photo-worthy architecture, particularly in the historic downtown.

Fans of neoclassical architecture will enjoy the Templo del Calvario, mimicking the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Take photos on the grand staircase leading to the cathedral’s entrance, and take a look over the downtown.

This high-altitude city sits in the foothills of the Sierra de Lobos (“Wolf Mountains”), so nature lovers will also enjoy visiting this pueblo for a horseback ride through the highlands with Cabalgatas Las Haciendas.

Best Season to Visit: In the late spring and early summer, between April to June, and in the fall, between September and November.

Travel to Lagos de Moreno: From Guadalajara, it’s a direct four-hour bus to the town or a two-hour taxi drive.

A closer city is León, which is only 45 minutes to one hour’s drive away. The closest airport is 34 miles (or 55 kilometers) away in Aguascalientes (AGU).

Stay overnight at La Casona de Tete, a boutique hotel on the main square of the historic center of Lagos de Moreno. The hotel is a beautifully restored 19th-century home with individual Mexican-themed decorated suites.

Which Jalisco Pueblo Magico is your favorite?

Planning a trip to Mexico? Don’t miss these posts!

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 Lora Pope is a travel content creator who’s been wandering solo for over a decade. She lives a nomadic lifestyle and is on a quest to visit every country in the world - always on the lookout for new adventures, hidden gems, and dogs to pet. You can follow her adventures on Explore with Lora</a or any channels below.

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