How to Spend 24 Hours in Malinalco

Malinalco | © Eneas De Troya / Flickr
Malinalco | © Eneas De Troya / Flickr
Photo of Stephen Woodman
18 January 2018

Less than two hours from southern Mexico City, the mysterious town of Malinalco is a great destination for tourists looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the heaving capital. The perfect place for a short getaway, Malinalco is still a relatively low-profile spot, offering a much-needed respite from crowds and traffic. With its reputation as a center for mysticism and spirituality, the town is also great for travelers searching for an “authentic” Mexican experience.

Day One

11 p.m.

Casa Limón is an elegant boutique hotel hidden a few blocks from the town plaza. The stylish yet rustic location is a perfect destination for honeymooning couples.

Once you’ve dropped off your bags, head out in the direction of Malinalco’s two central plazas, which are the beating heart of the town. The handsome parish church, La Parroquia del Divino Salvador, dominates proceedings. Behind the church is the impressive Ex Convento Divino Salvador, built by Augustinian friars in the 16th century. Spiraling out from Malinalco’s core are numerous cobbled streets lined with bright yellow houses and red-tile roofs. The picturesque town is surrounded by splendid mountains and forests, which make a perfect backdrop for a leisurely afternoon stroll.

Ex-Convento Divino Salvador | © Eneas De Troya / Flickr

2 p.m.

Undoubtedly the main attraction in town is the Cuauhtinchan Archeological Ruins, which is very well preserved and offers excellent views of the valley. The site and the surrounding area is believed to have been a center for training Aztec imperial recruits, and bloody rituals would have taken place here. Some locals now attribute a healing energy to the ruins, and it is not uncommon to see people meditating or doing yoga in the area.

Malinalco | © Angel M. Felicísimo/Flickr

4 p.m.

The Museo de Malinalco offers fascinating insights into the town’s history and culture. The museum, which opened in 2001, has seven beautifully arranged rooms with themed exhibits related to fiesta culture, geology, the dry and rainy seasons, the underworld, and the archaeological ruins.

5 p.m.

If you’re visiting on the weekend, make sure to stop by Zorros Galería, an elegant showroom of paintings and sculptures produced by local artists. Souvenir hunters may also find works that take their interest because much of the innovative artwork is available for sale.

8 p.m.

After taking a short rest back at the hotel, it’s time to head out for food. The good news is that you won’t have far to go because Casa Limón offers one of the best restaurants in Malinalco. Supervised by expert chef Leonel García, the menu offers an enticing blend of French and Mexican ingredients.

If you’re keen on something more low-key, there are plenty of pleasant eateries closer to the central plaza. The town’s traditional specialty is trout. The fish is served in a great variety of ways, whether fried, steamed, flavored with garlic or spiced.

10 p.m.

In recent years, mezcal has been grabbing the international spotlight, and if you’re looking to sample the locally made spirit, you should head to La Talacha Bar. This vibrant venue offers an extensive range of mezcal shots and cocktails. Inside, you’ll find fun décor and a loyal base of regulars.

Mezcal | © Eneas De Troya / Flickr

Day Two

9 a.m.

Restaurant Mari Mali, just off the central plaza, is a great spot for breakfast. The charming little eatery offers efficient and friendly service. We recommend the huevos rancheros or chilaquiles, which are both first-rate.

10 a.m.

After breakfast, head over to the Casa de Cultura Malinalxochitl. The center is named after Malinalxochitl, a sorceress and the goddess of snakes and scorpions. According to legend, the town is the birthplace of the sinister goddess, and it is because of her that Malinalco has acquired its reputation for magic.

You’re unlikely to encounter any snakes or scorpions in the cultural center itself. Instead, you’ll find an elegant courtyard with exhibitions of wooden carvings, watercolor paintings, and photography,

Cuauhtinchan Archeological Ruins | © SRamos / WikiCommons