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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, there are nine in the culturally-significant state of Jalisco. It’s the birthplace of tequila and sombreros! Here is a list of five beautiful pueblos magicos in Jalisco, many of which you can visit as day trips from Puerto Vallarta.

  1. The magical waterfalls and forests of Tapalpa, the first pueblo mȧgico in the state.
  2. The indigenous land of Tequila, birthplace of the eponymous drink.
  3. The historic city of Lagos de Moreno, with its UNESCO-worthy architecture. 
  4. The peaceful, mountainous village of San Sebastián del Oeste.
  5. The sleepy alpine town of Mascota, known as “the emerald of the sierra.”

5 Gorgeous Pueblos Magicos In Jalisco

1. Tapalpa

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 tallest waterfall in the state (there’s an 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 (from US $9 or CDN $11) or just under two hours by taxi (from US $50 or CDN $62). The closest airport is in Guadalajara (GDL), 87 miles (or 140 kilometers) away.

From Puerto Vallarta, it’s a 5 hr 38-minute drive  (290.8 km) via JAL 544.

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 feng-shui inspired decor and enjoy mountain views over a fireplace from your room.

2. Tequila

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 in comfort, there’s a two-hour coach bus ride from Guadalajara to Tequila (from US $5 or CDN $6).

Another popular but pricy choice is the Jose Cuervo Express from Guadalajara (from US $110 or CDN $137). The closest airport, Guadalajara (GDL), is 50 miles (or 80 kilometers) away.

You can also visit Tequila as a day trip from Puerto Vallarta.

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.

3. Lagos de Moreno

lagos de moreno mexico

Lagos de Moreno is 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 (from US $7 or CDN $8) or a two-hour taxi (from US $140 or CDN $174). Since it’s over 500km from Puerto Vallarta, this wouldn’t make a suitable day trip.

A closer city is León, which is only 45 minutes to one hour away by bus or taxi (from US $4 to $30, or CDN $5 to $37). The closest airport is 34 miles (or 55 kilometers) away in Aguascalientes (AGU).

Stay overnight at La Casona de Tete, a boutique hotel right in 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.

4. San Sebastián del Oeste

Cupala church of San Sebastian del Oeste, Jalisco Mexico

This quiet alpine village has over 5,000 people, making it an ideal day trip location or a very relaxing one-night mountain stay.

Hikers and nature enthusiasts will enjoy La Bufa, a nearby mountain lookout. If you’re interested in a challenging 14-mile (22-kilometer) hike, I recommend hiring a trekking guide for this trail.

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

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.

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 take a one-hour taxi from Puerto Vallarta (from US $120 or CDN $150) or a this guided tour to San Sebastian.

However, if you’re traveling from the Jalisco state capital Guadalajara, there’s a 2.5-hour bus (from US $98 or CDN $122). The closest airport to San Sebastián del Oeste is Puerto Vallarta (PVR), 40 miles (or 65 kilometers) away.

5. Pueblos Magicos Jalisco: Mascota

Like 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, visitors may 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 take a 1.5-hour taxi from Puerto Vallarta (from US $90 or CDN $112). Travelers visiting Mascota will probably fly into the closest airport, Puerto Vallarta (PVR), a 59-mile (or 95-kilometer) drive away.

However, the cheapest transportation to Mascota is the direct bus departing Guadalajara (from US $13 or CDN $16). 

The other four Pueblo Magicos in Jalisco are Tlaquepaque, Talpa de Allende, Ajijic, and Mazamitla, although the latter is not recommended to visit for safety issues.

Which Jalisco Pueblo Magico is your favorite?

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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 and Instagram

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