Huasca de Ocampo is one of my most favorite visited towns in Mexico. With picture perfect landscapes full of history and beauty, it more than deserves it’s title as a “Magic Town”
My final year at university, I took 6 trips to Mexico; I had a case of senioritis with no desire for a cure! One of my most memorable trips was visiting two of the ‘Pueblos Magicos’ in the State of Hidalgo. A short weekend’s trip from Mexico City, Eddy and I headed a couple hours north to Pachuca via ADO bus. The plan was to start in Huasca de Ocampo and make our way down to Real del Monte.
Huasca de Ocampo is a small town situated at a high altitude with landscapes of plains and mountain ranges, rivers, lakes and waterfalls. The town was founded sometime around 1770, by Pedro Romero de Terreros, a Spanish count who at one point was the richest man in the world. He built haciendas in the area, benefiting from the nearby deposits of silver and other metals. Huasca de Ocampo’s discoveries are best found by traveling on foot and I promise you won’t be disappointed with the history and beauty this town holds.
First arriving, we settled into our hotel, Ex-Hacienda of Santa Maria Regla, one of the old mining haciendas. There isn’t much information in english on the internet and it is often confused with San Miguel Regla Hacienda, but don’t let this defer you from visiting. It’s a little off the beaten path and secluded from the main city center of Huasca de Ocampo. We probably wouldn’t have visited if we weren’t staying the night, so I was very happy that we chose to stay there. The run-of-house ran us $100 USD a night. The rooms were quaintly decorated, each with a different painting on the wall and a cute fake glowing fireplace, setting a cozy tone to snuggle in the more-than-lush bedding.
We spent hours wandering the large property, through the baroque façade chapel up to the top of the bell tower and roaming through the dark hall ways of the old cellars that still had that distinctive mining air (very creepy!) The old constructions and cascading water found at every turn really made this an enchanted property.
A short walk from the property is the Prismas Basálticos (Basaltic Prisms), one of Mexico’s 13 Maravillas (wonders). The Prismas Basálticos are remarkable geometric columns naturally formed from cooling lava thousands of years ago. What makes it more special is a waterfall cascades over these hexagonal shapes. It’s a few pesos to enter the park but a magnicent thing to see as it is a truly unique phenomenon. There is a suspension bridge that crosses the river on the path to the waterfalls. It’s quite intimidating, but once you cross, you wind through some local shops and restaurants until you get ground level to the waterfalls. Since we visited during the dry season, we had the opportunity to get close to the waterfalls because the basin hadn’t formed yet. Heading back along the path to the open park, there are options to ride horses and have picnics. Eddy and I frolicked on the playsets, teeter-tottered back and forth, and spun on the merry-go-round until it onto our next adventure.
Outside of the park there is a manmade lake that was built for industrial purposes, Presa de San Antonio, separating Santa Maria Regla and San Miguel Regla. To get across you can ride horseback, bike, ATV or take a boat ride which were all all reasonably priced. We took the short boatride across the lake and made way onto El Bosque de Las Truchas (The Trout Forest) or also known as San Miguel Regla Parque Ecoturístico. This 50 acre ecotouristic park was complete with ziplining, horse rentals, ATVs, camping, paddle boating and of course, trout fishing.
Eddy had never been fishing before so after a brief stroll through the park, we rented a fishing pole and bait for 10 pesos each. After 20 minutes, Eddy was getting fusturated but I was determined to let him reel in his first fish. So, I slyly hooked the fish (as you can see them in the shallow clear water) and called Eddy over who struggled but proudly caught his first fish! We didn’t want to keep it, so the big trout unhooked itself and we just kicked it back in. It was a very memorable moment.
The park exits next to the Former Hacienda of San Miguel Regla. If you aren’t staying as a guest in the now-hotel, there is a fee to enter. Although pictures looked beautiful, we decided it was too pricey to enter.
Hungry and tired, we rode to the town center of Huasca de Ocampo. It boasts white stone houses and red-tiled roofs giving the towns it’s rural flavor. It was charming but incredibly tiny. With that being said, the best things about this Magic Town are definitely the surrounding areas. We popped in to devour some fresh trout and headed back to our hotel for the night as the following morning was the next leg of our journey, Real del Monte.
I can’t wait to get back to Huasca de Ocampo, although it seems like a lot to do it a day, it actually turned out to be a perfectly paced and very fulfilling. Stay tuned for Real del Monte, a nearby Mexican charm!