Use your vacation time to get to know magical towns and other tourist destinations, many of which are located around Mexico City
Although Mexico City has so many alternatives for entertainment, like restaurants for design lovers, odd museums or secret bars, sometimes we need a break from the hustle and bustle and to breathe some fresh air. If you’re itching for an out-of-town getaway but are a bit short on time, we recommend some places close to the city you can travel to in just a few hours. An inactive volcano, 30 meter high waterfalls, the biggest flower garden in the world and an old mining town are all day trips from Mexico City which will take you by surprise.
Tourist destinations around Mexico City
1. Nevado de Toluca
In under just three hours of driving you can get to Xinantécatl, better known as Toluca Mountain. Get your boots and warmest coat ready because this is a trip that can’t be missed by anyone who lives in Mexico. Imagine yourself spending the day in a volcanic crater with two lakes and a stoney landscape without any kind of pollution: not visual, auditory nor actual physical pollution in the air. For city-dwellers, these are the ideal conditions for any perfect escapade.
This natural wonder is found in our neighboring Mexico State at 4600 meters above sea-level. Its name means naked man in Nahuatl and it’s a dormant volcano that offers many possibilities to explore in addition to mountain sports. It’s best to go in your own car and to leave the city early to avoid those always-tantalising traffic jams. Unless you have a bike and the physical condition of a good athlete, you should park when you’ve arrived at the top of the crater or where there’s a shelter with bathrooms (approximately 40 minutes from the top). There are various trails to take to arrive at the lakes and The Eagle and The Captain peaks, which will be snow-covered depending on the time of year that you visit.
2. Jardines de México
The largest floral garden in the world measures 91 acres and is located in Mexico. Just an hour and a half outside Mexico City, Gardens of Mexico (Jardines de México) offers a lush experience for lovers of all kinds of forms of vegetation, in Tehuixtla, Morelos.
The space is divided into seven themed gardens, all of which you can comfortably visit by using their free transportation within the garden, which makes your stay there totally tranquil. The garden is outlined by a fan of flowers—literally a giant fan made up of thousands of multicolored flowers.
The Four Springs garden contains more than 130,000 flowers that change shape and color throughout the year but never stop blooming, as if it were always spring; the cactus garden has 200 species that are representative of the semi-arid zones in Mexico and, in contrast, the tropical garden has an orchid nursery as well as a few waterfalls.
There are two gardens inspired by countries on the other side of the globe: the Italian garden, which evokes the beauty of the Renaissance, and the Japanese garden which inspires peace through the balance of elements and symbols that belong to the oriental culture.
3. Prismas Basálticos
If you want to see some of the most surprising natural landscapes that the central area of our country has to offer, we recommend that you visit the Basaltic Prisms, one of the most famous attractions of the magical town Huasca de Ocampo in Hidalgo.
Located in the publicly-owned land of Santa María Regla, approximately an hour and 50 minutes outside of Mexico City, you’ll find the ecotourism park and rock structures that have been carved out by water for millions of years. The 30-meter waterfalls that emerge from the geometric formations are highly instagrammable. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to take a photo of this landscape, which is one of the 13 natural marvels of Mexico.
In addition to getting splashed with natural spring water from the Blue and San Antonio Regla dams, there’s also a hanging bridge from which you can take wonderful shots of the forest. You can hike, there are pools and slides for kids, soccer fields and volleyball courts, as well as horseback riding.
You can bring your own food and organize a picnic with your family and friends, or you can eat classic cuisine from Hidalgo in the local restaurants that are within the park, ask for some enchiladas mineras or some barbacoa tacos, gastronomic staples of the region.
Whoever has traveled to Puebla knows all too well the toll booths in Chalco in Mexico State. If you decide to take this route, 30 minutes after the tolls you’ll arrive in Amecameca, a town famous for being basically the equivalent to La Marquesa, but in the southeast of Mexico State. Along the highway you’ll see green open spaces with restaurants and moped rentals, but the most amazing part about Amecameca is in the center of town. The hill that rises right in the middle of town is called
Sacromonte, its summit holds a sanctuary that was constructed on top of the ruins from the Teocalis and Amoxcallis cultures, and is famous for the Christ made of cornstalks which can be found inside the sanctuary. It’s rumored that one of the crypts outside the temple is actually a secret door and has a tunnel that brings you to the Cathedral in Mexico City. We can’t confirm this but it sounds exciting.
The most impressive part of Sacromonte is the view, which gives you an uninterrupted outlook over the entire town below and its two neighboring volcanoes, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. Once you finish your visit on the hill, visit the Temple of the Virgin of the Assumption, which was constructed in 1560. In addition to its architecture, the building boasts a Baroque alterpiece that alludes to the cornstalk Christ. Outside the church is a market in which you can try mushroom or bone marrow soup in addition to the classic garnachas.
5. Real del Monte
Along the rocky Eastern Sierra Madre is one of the magical towns with the most colorful streets, Real del Monte, which forms part of the passage to the mountain in Hidalgo (just two hours from Mexico City). In its alleyways you’ll see buildings that date back to the 18th century, restaurants and remnants of a mining town dominated by the Brits in the 19th century.
You can take a tour through the old mines, find an ecotour, go hiking or simply walk through the streets in which a large number of soap operas have been filmed like Que Pobres Tan Ricos or En El Nombre Del Amor.
In addition to getting to see the Parish of the Assumption and the central plaza, in which street musicians perform or where you might even be able to catch a street theater performance, there is also a post in which you can watch the fliers of Papantla.
You can’t visit Real del Monte without trying some delicious pastes—not empanadas!—the ones with meat, potato and bean are the most tradicional, but you’ll also be able to find some more sophisticated plates like mole verde, peppers with cheese and even some delicious sweets.
Tours and Information
We have created some tours so you can meet these incredible places. Check out our Wild Experiences or ask for more information about our personalized tours.
The Wild Oscar Front Desk
Phone: +52 (55) 6844 0300
Whatsapp: +52 (55) 3432 2464
By Gil Camargo, Bernardo Robredo and Alejandra Villegas, Time Out México