By Ashley Curtin via Baja.com
Baja’s Magic Towns are more than just a concept in a travel guide: They are actual places that have been designated by the government as magical.
The Pueblos Magicos (or Magic Towns) are villages or cities throughout Mexico that have been characterized as historic, beautiful and culturally symbolic. Currently, there are more than 80 Magic Towns that have been identified, and three of those are in Baja California and Baja California Sur.
The Ministry of Tourism of Mexico originally created the program as a way to highlight towns that represent the nation’s indigenous past, and that feature the dramatic visual legacy of Spanish colonial influence as well as the cultural traditions of Mexico. To be considered Pueblos Magicos, each town must have a population of at least 20,000 residents, be located — by ground transportation — no further than 124 miles from a major tourist attraction, and retain beautiful architecture. The program is also being used as a way to honor citizens in the towns for carrying the rich historic culture though the generations.
Have a Baja Moment (or several) and visit Tecate, Todos Santos and Loreto to witness the natural and cultural beauty these Magic Towns offer to travelers.
One of Baja's Magic Towns, Pueblos Magicos, is Tecate, on the border with the United States.
Right at the US/Mexico border, Tecate is a small town — easy to navigate — bursting with Mexican charm and traditions. This quiet but growing pueblo was once home to the Kumiai people and boasts strong indigenous origins. From traditionally made Kumiai houses constructed with twigs to designed Mexican ranchos, the Museo Comunitario de Tecate (Tecate Community Museum) offers tourists a true understanding of the town’s history. And Tecate has stayed true to its origins with its traditional infrastructure:
The main plaza (zocalo) is located in the center of town, and from there churches and the town hall are alllocated within walking distance. Within this plaza is Parque Hidalgo that is alive with vendors selling typical Mexican arts and crafts. Tourists and locals alike relax on benches and under large trees in the park area of the plaza taking in the town’s happenings — or even playingcheckers.
Mount Cuchumá, with supposed magical powers, stands watch over Tecate. Photo courtesy of Wikicommons.
Tecate is nestled in a valley and rolling hills and mountains surround the town. Cuchumá Mountain is a prominent place, with supposed mystical powers, where people hike or bike. Because Tecate is at an elevation of 1,775 feet, the climate is typically dry and warm during the summer and cool and windy in the winter.
Olives, grapes and grains are staple crops of the town. Green vegetation and wild flowers bring distinction and beauty to the region, as well. And, the Magic Town is home to coffee processing plants and the famous Tecate Brewery. Although a border town, this peaceful colonial place will ‘transport’
tourists to another kind of Baja with its serene environment bustling with traditional Mexican culture.