Travel guide for Mexico

5 Mystical Towns Located a Short Bus Ride Away from Mexico City

Mexico has a lot to offer; an electric megalopolis, majestic beaches, exotic fauna and flora, beautiful camping grounds. However, the magic of this country lies within its mystical small towns scaterred throughout the Mexican Republic.

If you are planning on paying Mexico City visit, take a look at our curated list of mystical towns worth exploring around the capital. They are all accessible with a short bus ride from the capital.

1. Dolores Hidalgo – Guanajuato

Best known as the “Cradle of National Independence”,  this town was the witness, more than 200 years ago, of the shout of Independence, when a priest rang the bell of his church and gave the pronunciamiento (call to arms) that triggered the Mexican War of Independence. To learn more about this historical event, we recommend visiting the Casa Hidalgo Museum, an 18th century mansion with books, documents and furniture from that period.

After lunch, visit the Main Square (Plaza Principal), a beautiful and traditional Mexican public space, perfect to take as many photos as you want and see how the locals live. We also recommend trying their famous ice cream. Among the most particular flavours are avocado, mole, nopal, tequila, beer and cheese.

The best time to go: September, since different celebrations are held for being the patriotic month.

How to get there: 5-hour bus ride from Mexico City, for as little as 23 USD.

Aerial view of Dolores Hidalgo

2. Huauchinango – Puebla

Looking for a relaxing city break surrounded by rivers, waterfalls, dams and the “Cerro de Zempoala”, a mountain known for its perfect rock climbing façades? Then this town is perfect for you.

Start by visiting the Xopanapa Waterfall, where you can hike, camp and rock climb. If you want something quieter, you can go on a boat trip through the Tenengo Dam or to the Campestre Las Truchas, a dam with a small waterfall where you can enjoy a deliciously prepared trout and go horseback riding while enjoying the scenery.

Do you want to take home a souvenir? Visit the craft shop “El Sabor de la Sierra“, where you can find jams, liqueurs, typical Mexican sweets, wooden toys and amate paper.

The best time to go: late February and March, since the Flower Fair is held.

How to get there: 2 hours away from Mexico city, you can catch a bus for 5 USD.

3. Huichapan – Hidalgo

If you go through the cobblestone streets of this beautiful city, you will discover colonial buildings, old houses and quiet squares full of trees.

You will be able to find thermal hot springs and a zip line that overhangs an imposing 155-meter long aqueduct. Adrenaline lovers can get their fix in Huichapan!

The traditional dishes are carnitas, barbecue (mutton, beef or chicken) and meat or chicken mixiotes. The traditional drinks are the pulque de mamey and the Carnavalito (tequila, orange juice and cinnamon).

The best time to go: after Easter is the Fiesta del Calvario, a five-day festival with dance, music, bullfights and livestock as well as artisanal exhibitions.

How to get there: A short 3-hour ride away from Mexico City for only 10 USD.

Door of a typical colonial church in Huichapan, Mexico

4. Tecozautla – Hidalgo

Similar to Huichapan, Tecozautla stands out for its spas with thermal baths, perfect for a relaxing time. We highly recommend you visit the Balneario el Geyser. With a temperature of up to 38ºC this thermal hot spring holds many minerals that will do wonders for your skin. In addition to its healing properties, it has water slides, multiple pools and whirlpool tubs. 

Other staples of this town are the Ex-convent of Santiago Apóstol, founded in the 16th century by the Franciscan friars, the Main Square (Plaza Principal) and the Pañhú, an archaeological zone with typical architecture from the years 450 to 950.

Foodies should try the rich chicken and potato skins, green and red mole and, if you are very brave, the escamoles (ant larvae, considered luxury food in Mexico) and mesquite and maguey worms .

The best time to go: on July 25 the celebration of Santiago Apóstol and the Fruit Fair is held.

How to get there: Sit on a comfortable bus for 4 hours from Mexico City and you will arrive at your destination for 12 USD.

5. Zacatlán de las manzanas – Puebla

Manzanas means apples in english is, so it is fair to say that this quaint town is famous for having the best apples in the country. Wether they are dried, in spirits, in jams or right off the tree, the apples from Zacatlán de las manzanas are known across the region! The old Franciscan Convent, surrounded by foggy landscapes also reels in people from all over with its watchmaking tradition.

You also cannot miss the Valle de Piedras Encimadas, where you can go horseback riding and explore all the rock formations.

Don’t forget to visit the Museum of Watchmaking and the floral clock located in the central square. Every hour, it interprets one of its nine melodies.

If you get hungry, we recommend you try the quesadillas with fried pork and mole poblano and a special bread made in the town stuffed with cheese.

The best season to go: in August they celebrate the Apple Festival with music, dances and parades of allegorical floats.

How to get there: 7 USD and 3 hours on the bus from Mexico City will get you to Zacatlán de la manzanas.

Floral clock of Zacatlán, playing one of nine melodies every hour

The beautiful and mystical towns of Mexico have so much to offer. With a state of the art bus system and a modern fleet of buses, you can easily visit all of these towns from Mexico City.

At Busbud we are proud to be the first international bus booking platform that offers ADO routes, the main bus company in Mexico. For the first time, tourists and travelers in Mexico will be able to buy bus tickets in their currencies and languages.

Discover all of our Mexican routes and start planning your trip! Do you want to get the most out of your trip? Check out the 10 top commandments for bus travel in Mexico and our Mexico travel guide.

Let us know your favourite Mexican town in the comments below!

This article was written by Ana Blanes, freelance writer in love with travel, movies and good food.