MAGIC TOWNS IN AGUASCALIENTES
Magic Towns in AGUASCALIENTES
In addition to the tourist attractions that exist throughout the state, Aguascalientes has three magical towns that are an excellent option to discover them at any time of the year, mainly on vacation.
Calvillo, San José de Gracia and Real de Asientos are considered magic towns because they are places with symbolic attributes and transcendental events that marked their history, becoming alternatives for national and foreign tourists, and even for the people of Aguascalientes eager to know and live their history.
In these three municipalities you can enjoy a vast gastronomy, festivals and traditions, as well as a great wealth of heritage, giving visitors the opportunity to live unique experiences.
Map of Magic Towns in AGUASCALIENTES
Calvillo is a Magical Town in Aguascalientes sheltered by the Sierra Fría, which offers a large number of attractions to visitors who venture to know it. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by a delicious aroma of guava that floats among majestic religious architecture, such as the Parroquia del Señor del Salitre, the temple shelters the second largest dome in Latin America.
Calvillo is considered the cradle of fraying, an art that distinguishes the state, and has been inherited through the generations. Get close to the artisans and you can find unique garments, made with an extraordinary technique.
Indulge yourself in the “houses of hot stones”, where you can take the ancient steam bath with both physical and spiritual benefits. One of the best known is Yolihuani Temazcales Spa, at Km. 14 of the La Panadera – Palo Alto highway, which combines indigenous tradition with the most recent services of a spa.
Let yourself be enchanted by its natural treasures, the waterfalls, the dams, and the imposing Sierra Fría.
Tourist Attractions in CALVILLO
Calvillo Main Square
Calvillo Main Square is a quiet and pleasant place, it has a kiosk, benches, planters with palm trees and a couple of fountains. It is surrounded by nineteenth-century buildings such as the one that houses the House of Culture (in pink stone), as well as the Parián arches (which house several shops) and the Chamber for the Heroes of Independence.
House of Culture
It is one of the most beautiful houses of the 19th century, located next to the Main Square, this house belonged to Mr. Facundo Martínez, one of the wealthiest gentlemen of that time; he subsequently donated it as a house of culture and library. It is in charge of promoting public artistic, cultural and sports shows; within it is the Benito Juárez Public Library.
Upon arrival, get on the “El Guayequito” tram, and begin a journey through time through its five available routes, which run through the most emblematic places in the area. You will be able to know the Malpaso Dam, the Codorniz Dam, the Guayaba Route, the former Hacienda de Vaquería, and the Route of the Four Temples. All routes include a tour of the Historic Center.
In the Historic Center, visit the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Guadalupe which, with its neo-Gothic style, its towers and arches built in quarry, dazzles visitors as they light up at night highlighting its beauty.
If you want to know the history of Calvillo, be sure to go to the Municipal Palace that is located in a building from the last century that simulates colonial architecture, where you will find two significant murals that narrate the founding of the town and the production activity of the site.
Parish of the Lord of Salitre Calvillo
It began to be built in 1772 and was completed until 1884, it has in its interior a huge octagonal dome that is reputed to be the second largest in Latin America in its style, in it you can see paintings frescoes that represent different scenes from the life of Saint Joseph and still have wooden floors. A curious fact is that one of its towers is truncated, since it suffered some cracks when it was built and it could not be finished.
When you visit it you will know the enormous cult that is kept for the Lord of Saltpeter because it is believed that it is extremely miraculous. There is also a fantastic legend where it is said that the figure of Christ that is inside is the same one that appeared on the table of an elderly couple who had kindly offered lodging to some young people.
Ecotourism in Calvillo
Calvillo’s diversity is privileged, so it is an excellent place for environmentally friendly tourism. The Cueva Park, for example, is located at the foothills of the Sierra Fría, and is surrounded by a unique arid landscape. Among its attractions is a staircase that will take you to a cable car located almost thirty meters high. From the heights, you can enjoy the view of the hills, the cave and garambullo.
If you like adventure, try the zip line and feel the adrenaline rush as you slide 300 meters above the slides and wading pools. You can also go hiking, mountain biking, rappelling, and other extreme sports in places surrounded by beautiful waterfalls.
In the afternoon you can visit the lake and enjoy a quiet and peaceful moment while fishing for bass or trout that you can cook for dinner.
Cave paintings of El Tepozán
About an hour and a half from Calvillo hides an incalculable treasure that has survived time. Cross the incredible dirt path until you reach the rocks and descend to the source of a mighty river; cross the river, enter the vegetation, and learn a little about the history of the inhabitants of the area while discovering the mysterious cave paintings that some human beings drew there thousands of years ago.
The Guava Fair
Calvillo is considered “the world capital of guava”, since it is a town dedicated mainly to the production of this fruit in fertile orchards where it is cultivated to later produce delicious sweets and liqueurs. The Guava Fair is held in December, in which you can enjoy several days of incredible shows, cultural exhibitions of Calvillense gastronomy, as well as cultural and musical events around the cultivation, harvest and transformation process of the guava.
Enjoy a sunny afternoon in the Central Garden of Calvillo, and ask about the snows of “Don Toño”; they come in various flavors and are served with a delicious guava jam topping. Do not forget to visit the market, where you will find a wide variety of options to eat delicious and very cheap.
Tour the Parián and try the typical mutton birria dish with a delicious broth accompanied with handmade tortillas and the traditional molcajete sauce. For dessert, let yourself be enveloped by the flavor of the traditional guava rolls dipped in sugar, a guava paste, or some guavas in syrup.
Be sure to try the chamucos, one of Calvillo’s typical breads. It can be bought at any local bakery.
In the middle of Aguascalientes, surrounded by vast vegetation and extensive natural spaces, is the Magical Town of San José de Gracia, a meeting point for pilgrims of the international Marian Route who travel to see the emblematic image of the “Cristo Roto” (Broken Christ), considered one of the largest sculptures in the entire country. It is a place that exudes history and promises adventure in each of its corners.
Its main square adorned with beautiful gardens and a charming kiosk in the center, houses the Municipal Palace and the famous “Head of the Eagle” made in honor of the Father of the Nation, Miguel Hidalgo, in commemoration of his passage through the town while fleeing from the Spanish people.
Among the routes that this magical town has are “Boca de Túnel”, standing out for being a circuit of zip lines and hanging bridges, in addition to family workshops dedicated to the manufacture of accessories for charrería.
Tourist Attractions in SAN JOSÉ DE GRACIA
Boca de Túnel
Just under 15 kilometers north of San José de Gracia, a wonderful adventure awaits you. Boca del Túnel Adventure Park is home to a beautiful lagoon and numerous rock formations around it, making it the ideal place for horseback riding, cycling and hiking. For those seeking adventure, there are two zip lines available that cross the park’s 13 suspension bridges, including one 105 meters long and 15 meters high that crosses the lagoon.
What to do in San José de Gracia
Do not miss a visit to the typical handicraft market of San José, where you can find statuettes of the Broken Christ, or ceramic items that are the specialty of local artisans. You can also buy a wide variety of sweets and other Mexican snacks.
As in all the Sierra Madre Occidental, in San José de Gracia the climate is temperate subhumid, with an annual average temperature of 16ºC. June and July are the hottest months, while December and January are the coldest.
It is recommended to enjoy the visit with light warm clothing and something to protect you from the rain if you go in season.
Cristo Roto (Broken Christ)
Without a doubt, this work by the sculptor Miguel Romo is the attraction of the town that attracts the largest number of tourists and parishioners from around the world. It is an imposing engineering work of its time, 25 meters high and with a 3 meter concrete and steel base, manufactured in commemoration of the destruction suffered by San José de Gracia when the Plutarco Elías Calles dam curtain was built.
The sanctuary is located on the Island of the Plutarco Elías Calles Dam, and is an important center of pilgrimage and Christian devotion, apart from being one of the 5 largest monuments in Mexico.
The Calles Dam was built in 1927 as part of the modernization movement of the irrigation system in the agro-industrial field. However, its construction was responsible for the destruction of the old San José de Gracia, since the water flooded the old town.
To get to the emblematic Isla del Cristo Roto it is necessary to take one of the many boats that are located at the dock, which offer constant departures.
The tour is less than 10 minutes if you only visit the Island, however there are also those who offer to visit the gate of the dam and the natural canyons.
During the tour you can relax while you contemplate the landscape and fauna of the place.
At the town dock, it is possible to take one of the many boats that offer tours of the island. It is necessary to take one if your intention is to reach the Isla del Cristo Roto. The tour has a short duration of 10 minutes, but visits to the dam gates and nearby natural canyons are also offered.
One of the typical dishes of the region that you can try in San José de Gracia are pacholas, a preparation of ground beef in metate and mixed with chili and other spices. For sweet palates, San José offers the famous quince, a sweet originally from Spain that is made from the quince fruit.
Real de Asientos is a simple town of mining origin nestled in the mountain ranges of the northeast of Aguascalientes, and in its streets there are hidden buildings that date from the year 1548 and that keep historical and cultural treasures ready to be discovered by its visitors.
Its pink quarry facades and natural wealth make this Magical Town a charming place, which preserves buildings of viceregal architecture and art as well as first-rate gardens.
In this small town it is possible to visit the historic center and its dazzling monuments, visit underground tunnels, appreciate high quality sacred art, and even listen to the legends of the oldest cemetery in the state.
There are a variety of ecotourism activities available in the area for those looking for a bit of adventure, such as mountain biking, rappelling, and hiking.
Tourist attractions in Real de Asientos
Train “El Piojito”
“El Piojito” is the Real de Asientos tourist train, which is characterized by pulling its wagons with a tractor. It began as a mineral cargo train from the Santa Francisca Mine to the San Gil Station, although it currently transports visitors to the place along the old mining route. Its stops include the Tiro del Coyote, one of the first mines in the area, and the Galerón de los Enslaves, a construction from the viceroyalty era.
Hidden Aqueduct of Asientos
The hidden aqueduct is an underground passage of the Parish, its walls are very humid and it is said that it was built at the end of the 18th century to filter the water and take it to the river in order to avoid flooding.
Its existence was not known until 2001, when it was discovered when maintenance works were carried out on the church. In its corridors you can find niches with religious images and a water hole.
Living Museum of Cactaceae
Covering an area of more than 25 hectares, this impressive museum preserves a collection of more than 1,500 plants of 45 species, especially agavaceae, cacti and crassulaceae, some from South Africa and other distant lands. Inside you can find an agavary, a greenhouse, cactus, herbarium and a breeding area. Its facilities are located next to a beautiful elevated aqueduct in which ancient treasures have been found.
Parish of Our Lady of Belén
It is located opposite the main garden of Real de Asientos and it is a neoclassical building built in the 18th century. Inside you can admire the oldest bell in the state, brought from Europe in the seventeenth century, and its main attraction is an articulated Christ that dates back more than 400 years whose peculiarity is that it is made with human remains.
Pantheon of Guadalupe
In Asientos is the oldest cemetery in Aguascalientes, where Spaniards used to be buried according to their social level: priests and members of the clergy, rich or poor. On its walls you can see images of the final judgment, and when walking through its corridors you can find skeletons and even mummies on display, which have become the subject of numerous legends.
You cannot miss the traditional dishes such as the asado de novia, the chicken with nine wines and the gorditas de huitlacoche and pumpkin flower. The red tuna water and the guava atole are perfect accompaniments to these delicious dishes.
Lovers of good wine cannot miss the Ex Hacienda de Letras, where for more than 40 years the most famous wines of the state have been made.
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