Visitors to the State of Mexico might only see its colonial cities or its sleepy pueblos, but don’t be fooled. This little state is also the home for some serious high-octane adventure.
From paragliding to hang gliding to following the journey of the monarch butterflies, there are plenty soft adventures and thrill-seeking experiences you won’t soon forget.
In the State of Mexico’s “Pueblo Magico,” otherwise known as Tepotzotlán, you’ll find candy markets, fortune-telling canaries, and bubble-blowing grandmothers dancing to live music in the town square.
Just a few miles away, you’ll find Arcos de Sitio, which is also referred to as The Aqueduct of Xalpa. Built by the Jesuits in between the 18th and 19th centuries, it once carried water from the Oro River of Tepoxotlan.
The aqueduct is 200 feet high and has four levels of arches, making it the highest aqueduct in Latin America. While the structure no longer carries water, it does carry people. That is, you can walk along the aqueduct to get a better look at it and the canyon below.
Or you can zip line across the canyon. It’s the fastest and most interesting way to view this monumental structure. But it’s not for the faint of heart—the area the zip line covers is longer than two football fields.
When you think about Mexico, a lot folks think cactus or tequila, maybe even palm trees, but pine forests? Well, that’s exactly what you’ll find in La Marquesa, a wildlife park in the State of Mexico.
La Marquesa is the nickname for Parque Nacional Insurgente Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, which is a massive park in the State of Mexico. It’s between Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, and Toluca, the capital of the State of Mexico.
The park is full of pine trees, and is a great weekend getaway for locals who want a break from the city. There are paths optimal for hiking and horseback riding, which Peter tried while he was there.
It also is a destination for adventure travelers and adrenaline junkies. La Marquesa also has miles of ATV tracks to spin around in. There’s also zorbing, which involves launching yourself into a giant ball. It’s also a great spot for games of soccer.
If the outdoor activities at La Marquesa have you craving more adventure, then continue on the same road for about an hour, and you’ll come to Valle de Bravo, the capital of action-adventure in the State of Mexico.
See the park for yourself and watch Peter on horseback.
More than 50 years ago, Valle de Bravo was just a farming village on the banks of a river. But in 1947, a dam was built. This created a massive lake now known as Lake Miguel Aleman, and is the center of life and activity in Valle de Bravo.
Sailing is now a way of life in this part of the State of Mexico. There are forty two nautical clubs and more than a dozen international sailing events take place year round. Local restaurants float near the shore, so it’s easy to pull up for a dockside meal.
It’s also a great place to rent a boat and take in views of the mountains and woodlands around the shoreline.
Click here to watch Peter cruising around the lake and taking in the sights.
Valle del Bravo means valley of the brave, and believe me this place lives up to its name. It may look peaceful enough, but it’s one of the best places in the world where you can come up and go paragliding.
With perfect landscape and atmospheric conditions for paragliding, Valle de Bravo is becoming the place for enthusiasts and beginners, alike.
If you’ve never been paragliding before, this is where you want to start. There are professionals everywhere. And if you’re like me and would rather watch the experts in action, the valley hosts national and international championships every year.
Looking for the go-to guy to learn about paragliding? Then you need to talk to Miguel Gutierrez Fernandez with the local company Alas del Hombre.
Miguel was the one of the first people to recognize Valle de Bravo’s potential for paragliding and has been doing jumps for 30 years. He’ll take you on a very bumpy ride with a 6×6 vehicle through the Monte Alto natural reserve. At the top, you’ll find yourself at El Peñon, also known as your jump-off point.
One of Mexico’s greatest natural wonders is actually in the form of visitors, the millions of monarch butterflies that migrate every year from Canada.
Now, most tourists see them in the state of Michoacán, and that’s a great reserve, but what they don’t know is that there is an equally incredible place right here in the State of Mexico where you can see all those butterflies, and it’s only twenty minutes from Valle de Bravo.
The Piedra Herrada Butterfly Sanctuary is a brief home to millions of monarch butterflies every autumn. Monarch butterfly migration takes around eight months, and during that time four consecutive generations of butterflies are born and die.
The final generation makes it back to the Sanctuary every autumn and begins the migration again in the spring.
At the Sanctuary, it’s easy to see the butterflies blanketing trees and swarming overhead. From a distance, the clusters look like beehives. But if you get up close, you can observe their natural beauty.
Every day around midday, the butterflies descend from the mountain to drink from a nearby natural spring that serves as their watering hole.
To get to the butterflies, you can hike to the reserve’s main observation point, which takes about 45 minutes along dirt paths. But you can also view the butterflies from the comfort of your vehicle. Piedra Herrada has one of the most scenic drives in the world, and you can watch the journey up and down the mountain while taking in the view.
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