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Tapalpa: Hiking In A Mountain Colonial Town

Tapalpa, Jalisco, Mexico.

Hang around the monumental Main Square while eating some “borrego al pastor”, the local traditional meal. Tapalpa is one of the finest colonial architecture villages in Mexico. But don’t relax too much, since the surrounding waterfalls, rock formations and forests are the perfect call for any outdoor person.

The name Tapalpa means “the place with the colored soil”. It comes from the Otomi culture, the 5th largest indigenous group in Mexico, with nearly 650.000 people.

Tapalpa, Jalisco, Mexico
Trying Out “Pajarete”

How To Arrive

  • By car. Take the road 54D either from Guadalajara or Ciudad Guzman, exiting in Sayula. From there, the 436 road will take you there.
  • Public transportation. From the Antigua Central Camionera (Old bus station) in Guadalajara, Sur de Jalisco has a regular bus service. From 6:30 to 19:30, every hour. It takes about 3:20 minutes and it costs is 135 MXN (6.6 USD).

LEARN MORE! Some Mexican towns are labeled as “Magical Villages” either because of its indigenous past, Spanish colonial architecture, culture preservation or important historical events. Tapalpa is one of them.

Tapalpa, Jalisco, Mexico
Tapalpa’s Main Square

What To See & Do

  • Historical centre: the Neoclassical San Antonio Church, the Main Square, and the old fountains scattered around town.
  • Las Piedrotas. Huge stones surrounded by forests, 1 hour walk from town. Further west, Los Frailes Natural Park is worth a visit too.
  • Salto del Nogal. A 105m impressive waterfall, the tallest in Jalisco, a must. Located 18km from Tapalpa, there are several ways to get there:
    • Own transportation. You’ll need to walk the last 45 minutes. Steep climb.
    • Tour. Several agencies provide tours, visiting the waterfall, the ruins in Atacco and the Nogal dam. It costs 400 MXN (~20 USD).
    • Taxi.
    • Hitch-hiking. At your own risk, but possible.
  • El Nogal dam.
  • Atacco. The ruins of a Franciscan temple, 3km south.
Tapalpa, Jalisco, Mexico
Salto Del Nogal

Where To Stay In Tapalpa

Hotel Viva Tapalpa is your home away from home. Located 5 minutes from the town centre, it’s a cozy and calm place. It’s built with adobe walls and a wooden structure, following the traditional construction style. The rooms are spacious and decorated in a simple yet welcoming style. The staff is really friendly, ready to help you at any moment.

Tapalpa, Jalisco, Mexico
Viva Tapalpa Hotel

More Information

  • Make sure to try borrego al pastor, or grilled lamb. Some excellent cheese is produced in the region too.
  • Temperate climate, 15.2 °C daily average temperature. However, it can reach 30°C in summer and as low as -4 °C in winter. Rainy season is from June to October.

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