Located just 2 hours from Mexico City, Valle de Bravo is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway. Let me share with you my two days trip, as a lover of nature and a passionate discoverer of new places in Mexico.
After checking at our cabin 4 pm, we headed to the historic center of Valle de Bravo, looking for a place to seat, have some dinner and nice drinks. So, we found “El Rincon Suizo”, specialized in fondue. Surprisingly when we were parking, the owner of the restaurant came out to welcome us, suggesting the view on the terrace. To accompany the evening of cheese, we ordered a clericot jar, very well served by the way. Continuing with the gluttony, enjoying the fresh rain, we asked for the apple strudel with a cappuccino, just in case we needed to balance the sweetness. Wow! but how lucky I was, finding such a famous dessert.
The service offered and the quality of the food with the panoramic view of the dam, is a good reason to stop at this eating place.
But in Valle de Bravo, the rain is a good excuse to stay in a rustic cabin, on the outskirts of the town, in the middle of the forest. I chose “Rancho Las Joyas”, which has pool and a temazcal (a prehispanic steam room), in addition, rooms are equipped with fireplace and some of them with tub. But you must know, that this place is for travelers in search of adventure, without luxury needs or high expectations. Because as we returned, we found out that there wasn’t electricity, but they lent us some candles to spend the night.
The ranch is “pet friendly” and charges $150MXN per night for it. But what I liked the most, was to hear early in the morning the twittering of another species; the barn swallow.
It took me just a minute to jump out of the bed, take the binoculars and walk through the ranch, looking for some birds. As we arrived at the ranch, I noticed that there was a huge Montezuma pine, with a unusual thick trunk, very different from the others. Unanticipatedly, we saw several black and white birds, coming in and out of the ocote pine. But what for a surprise, they were acorn woodpeckers! I forgot my camera lens for catching the moment, but I was aware of my two eyes, to enjoy them along with their toc toc sound.
Continental breakfast was included, but would be served until 10, and we decided better to take advantage of time and get to know another important attraction in Valle; the boulder. It is convenient to have your own car to drive up to the viewpoint, where you will find a small parking lot, otherwise you will have to pay for a taxi or go by foot.
This majestic rocky massif, formed by limestone, is located west of the historic center. And it was the birthplace of the Matlatzincas between 1280 and 1320, founding the ancient town called Temascaltepec. The name was given by the Aztecs, because of the discovering of several temascales (steam bath rooms) as part of an important ceremonial center.
Between the rock formations you will have an unparalleled view of the dam, and it will be easier to dimension the size of it. Surely, the lake will make you think on the prehispanic and colonial heritage, covered now with water and forgotten by the growing construction. Speaking of this just in case you didn`t know, the dam was created until 1947 as part of the “Miguel Alemán” Hydroelectric System, Balsas River.
Hunger could not wait longer, after taking a few photos, we deserved an energizing breakfast. What led us to find “La Batucada”. A hotel in downtown, that opens the doors of its restaurant for breakfast and lunch. But how friendly are all in here! Again the good customer service was surprising, when the person in charge of the place visited their guests.
Coffee was important to continue the day, accompanied by a slice of banana bread, courtesy of the house, along with homemade jams and butter. And as a main course, I went for the Xochimilco eggs, poached on some thick small tortillas called sopes, garnished of potatoes, chorizo and an exquisite sauce. Widely recommended breakfast in this colonial style patio, surrounded by tiles and cozy pots.
It was time to see the cathedral, get to know the market, and walk along the zocalo to realize, that without a doubt, Valle de Bravo is another magical town in Mexico. And the list of things to do was pending for another future visit. The return to Mexico City was scheduled at noon, but we divert a little bit to know the archaeological site called Calixtlahuaca “the place of houses in the plain.”
A very interesting archaeological site, I would say. Not only because of its pyramid to Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, the god of the wind. But also, because of how without fence, it is easily accessible to inhabitants and travelers. It seems that the town has grown rapidly, and now the pyramidal structures are part of the neighborhood and the locals` daily life. First, we visited the site museum with some figurines and information screens. They were very helpful, otherwise we wouldn`t have walked through all over the place, surrounded by farming fields, capulin trees and lush agaves called magueyes, surely people produce and drink pulque in here! (fermented beverage from the agave`s juice). The barking of the dogs prevented us from approaching a lot to them and we just continue walking.
If you visit this place, do not stop walking up the hill, because the pyramidal structures are scattered among the place. There are very few visitors, and although the site is not promoted, believe me, it is worth visiting Calixtlahuaca.