Time for a Little Magic

The 83 Pueblo Magico towns of Mexico may very well be enough of a reason for a visit to the country. We have previously visited several, including Alamos, El Fuerte, and Creel just last year. Recently we relished our time in Loreto and Todos Santos, finding ourselves completely intrigued and enchanted by stepping back into time to experience hand formed cobblestone streets and woodbeamed ceilings. Wanting to escape the city, it was time for a little magic.

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I have been interested in a day trip to San Sebastian del Oeste for several years and yesterday it finally came to fruition. With a necessary trek from the apartment to the camper on the days agenda, we decided to turn that trip into a field trip to the country.

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San Sebastian, a mere 90minutes from Puerto Vallarta, sits at an elevation of 1480m (4856 ft), the drive from the coast was stunning, passing through several small villages and winding up the mountain, crisscrossing rivers. Local cowboys on horseback appeared en-route, their dogs yapping at their heels.

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The town, itself, was founded in 1605 and was known as Real de San Sebastian for several hundred years, changing to it’s current name only in 1983. With a population originally near 20,000, San Sebastian was a vibrant silver mining town for over two hundred years.

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1785 found a city with ten haciendas specializing in silver and gold reduction and over 30 mines in the surrounding Sierra Madre hillsides. After reaching peak production in 1830, the Revolution of 1910 closed operations and caused foreign investors to move elsewhere.

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By the 20th century, the mines were depleted or shut down and the town became virtually a ghost town, creating a sort of time warp that accounts, in part, for the towns present day charm. The majority of buildings in town were simply left “as-is” and so retain their original wood beams and framing and rock-hewn walls.

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Several haciendas, in various conditions, still exist in the surrounding countryside and immediately upon entry into town La Quinta, a 14th century hacienda and now coffee grower, offers up excellent freshly roasted coffee beans for a fantastic bargain.

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We walked the rough, cobblestone streets to the main square, passing homes and businesses, admiring the rough rock walls and open beam ceilings. We had hoped for cooler temperatures, but didn’t find them, the cobblestones, and us, baking in the sun.

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The central plaza was awash with a tour group so we headed down the side streets, admiring the reasonably priced silver jewelry in a store which has been in the same family for generations. Eating excellent tortas at Loncheria el Mezon in their centuries old family home. Peeking into the cathedral, painted a delightful robins egg blue.

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Wilting in the  heat, and concerned abut Aspen, after a mere couple of hours we headed back to the truck to return to the coast. Admiring the craftsmanship of the past that created a town that could remain so intact after so long.

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One final stop at the Hacienda San Sebastian for a tequila tasting and we headed home to Puerto Vallarta, thrilled to have checked another Pueblo Magico town off the list. Magical indeed!

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9 thoughts on “Time for a Little Magic

  1. Hi, looks like you had a wonderful time, I visited about 2 years ago. The Hacienda right before you head into the town is very nice and also liked the locally grown coffee.

  2. Hey Rhonda!
    The first picture on your blog has my house in it! I think that street is beautiful. My house is called Casa Balcon, the tall one on the right between the other two. I bought it ten years ago before the bridge was put in. A scary one lane dirt road winding up the mountain. Took four hours from San Pancho (aka San Francisco–next town North of Sayulita). But now it only takes two 1/2 hours. We live in San Pancho. Looks like we just missed each other by a hair! Small world. Oh and we moved from San Francisco, CA to San Francisco, Nayarit, Mexico.
    Mary

    • Thats fantastic!! We loved the San Pancho/ Sayulita are as well. Such a wonderful piece of Mexico. Too bad our paths didn’t cross.. perhaps they will 🙂

  3. What a beautiful blog! Specially knowing you like so much my country. I am reading every single page each day. Thank you for sharing your beautiful life exploring the world.
    Maria Admire
    Portland, Oregon

    • Thank you so much Maria! I hope you, too, are enjoying our beautiful city of Portland. Thanks for following along on our journey.

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