High up in the mountains of Morelos, a two-hour bus ride from Mexico City, lies an ancient pyramid at the end of a spectacular hike through the Mexican cloud forest.
Dedicated to Tepoztecatl, the Aztec god of Pulque, the shrine attracted pilgrims from as far away as Guatemala in its day. Today, the pyramid overlooks the quaint mountain town of Tepoztlan, known throughout Mexico for its supposed mysticism, far flung community of European and American expats, and production of Mezcal. The pyramid has two rooms inside, one opening out onto the monumental stairs and the other a smaller chamber in the interior.
The hike from the town up to the archeological site is filled with spectacular waterfalls, dense sub tropical vegetation, rock formations that would make Dr. Seuss jealous, and playful coatis. The path leading up to the mountaintop temple tracks along beautiful ancient stairs before devolving into a trail of rough boulders. The final stretch before reaching the pyramid cuts right through a thin rock canyon that frames the edifice. The gorgeous forest hike makes it easy to see why the devoted would travel from other countries just to worship at El Tepozteco.
If visiting Tepoztlan on a Friday morning, also be sure to visit the “Organic Farmers Market,” where the local expat community gathers to exchange goods and good times.
Know Before You Go
Follow Calle Del Tepozteco towards the jagged mountain peaks to the trail head, it's impossible to miss. Despite their cuteness and the temptation, try not to feed the clans of coatis that congregate around tourists at the top of the mountain begging to be fed. Feeding them human foods damages their health and habituates them to people causing human-wildlife conflict in the town which ultimately they pay for with their lives.