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Snugly fit in the midst of a luscious valley in the Mexican state of Morelos is a pueblo called Tepoztlán, meaning a “town full of copper.” As to whether or not there is still abundant copper here, it doesn’t matter too much many because the true treasure here is what lies atop Mount Tepozteco.


Like any gem worth discovering, it is not easy to get to. If you take the arduous hike up Mount Tepozteco, along a warm, damp jungle trail, you will be rewarded at the top with a storybook view: an ancient temple built to long-forgotten gods by those who lived in the valley in times long past.


The ancient Aztecs dedicated this mighty temple to Ometotchtli, who was their God of fertility, harvest…and drunkenness! Perhaps Tepoztlán was the first Cancún.


You’ll need a break after the hike, and the temple is the perfect place to do so. Visitors sit on the edge and gaze out over the entire valley. From the vantage point of the temple, it is easy to see that the mountains are different from others you may have seen. Instead of being jagged and sharp, the rocks have smooth edges that seem to curve around like the sides of lasagna noodles. Centuries of rain and wind have softened the mountains around Tepoztlán. If you are lucky, you may also spy some fascinating wildlife that inhabits the area including the pizote, an odd looking cousin of the raccoon, which has an elongated snout and has a reddish-brown color fur coat.


After taking in the fresh air, the miraculous landscape and the historical aura of the temple that you must work to see, it’s time to descend. At the foot of the mountain is the town itself. Like most small towns in Mexico, the streets are lined with tented markets where you can find fresh fruits and local handicrafts. Tepoztlán is also famous for helados, or homemade frozen juices. The flavors are usually fruity, and can range from pineapple to more exotic fruits such as the “mamey” and the “guanabana” for under 10 pesos (approximately $1).


A photographer’s dream, Tepoztlán is an ideal weekend destination that is easily accessible from the capital and surrounding areas.

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