As of 2016 there are 111 small towns in Mexico that have been declared Pueblos Mágicos, the Mexican equivalent of a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Mascota is one of them, located on the slow bus route that runs through the Sierra Madre Occidental between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta.
Maybe it’s the slightly intoxicating high altitude that makes this place magical. Even the walls seem a little bit brighter and more interesting than down in the coast.
There are ‘sights’ in Mascota such as this monastery, left a ruin with a collapsed roof.
Another sight is the church. The tower collapsed in an earthquake but has since been restored.
Inside the church the ceilings are vaulted.
Children practising the ‘Posadas’, a Christmas pageant where the journey of Joseph and Mary into Jerusalem is reenacted every day from December 13 until Christmas Eve. A small statue of the virgin in the garden of the church.
The owner and builder of the ‘Stone House’ where everything is made of stone, even the pillows. (El Pedregal Rock Museum)
Perhaps it was the mountain air but I haven’t had tortillas so tasty in many years – all they needed was a sprinkle of salt.
An avocado tree literally dripping with avocados – they would have been fabulous on the tortillas.
There are three Pueblos Mágicos up in the Sierra Madre Occidental above Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific Coast: San Sebastián, Mascota and Talpa. They can be reached either by taking a somewhat pricey tour from Puerto Vallarta, by renting a car, or, with more difficulty, by local bus, in which case I would recommend staying overnight in one of these charming towns, all having a range of accommodation.