Beyond the Ordinary: Huasca de Ocampo’s Unique Attractions and Adventures
The Magical Town of Huasca de Ocampo combines beautiful natural landscapes, mining culture, attractive streets, buildings, and exciting handicraft and gastronomic traditions.
With this complete guide to this beautiful “Pueblo Magico,” you will be able to know it and enjoy it to the fullest.
Huasca de Ocampo is located on the northeastern edge of the Sierra de Pachuca, near Pachuca and Real del Monte.
It was the first town in the state of Hidalgo to be incorporated into the national system of Magical Towns to promote the use of its natural and architectural attractions, its former haciendas where precious metals were processed, and its handicrafts and culinary art.
Huasca de Ocampo History
The indigenous name of the place is “Huascazaloya,” abbreviated to “Huasca,” which means “Place of rejoicing or joy” in the Nahuatl language.
During the 17th century, the lands of the vast encomienda to which Huascazaloya belonged were divided into haciendas, and 100 years later, the most important man of Huasca’s colonial period, Don Pedro Romero de Terreros, the first Count of Regla, bought several haciendas where he processed silver and other metals and developed agricultural production.
Thanks to mining, Romero de Terreros was the richest man in Mexico and left his mark everywhere in Huasca.
The name Ocampo was added in honor of the scientist and liberal leader Melchor Ocampo, who lived in the town for a brief period.
What is the town’s climate like?
The climate of Huasca de Ocampo is semi-cold temperate, with an average temperature of 15° C, favored by the altitude of the mountain corridor of the state of Hidalgo, consistently above 1,800 meters above sea level.
The average minimum temperature, around 10° C, is reached between December and March, while in the warmer summer, the thermometer rises to 20° C.
Getting to Huasca de Ocampo
Pachuca de Soto, the capital of Hidalgo, is less than 40 km from the Magical Town, heading northeast towards Real del Monte.
The city of Real del Monte is only 15 km from Huasca de Ocampo, traveling on Federal Highway 105.
To go from Mexico City, you must travel 150 km in a northeasterly direction, a stretch that can be covered comfortably in less than 3 hours.
Huasca de Ocampo main attractions
The Magical Town of Hidalgo is distinguished by its natural spaces, such as basaltic prisms, biosphere reserves, ravines, and forests.
The former haciendas of Santa María Regla, San Miguel Regla, San Juan Hueyapan, and San Antonio Regla are testimonies of the town’s past mining splendor.
The religious buildings and the Museo de Los Duendes (Goblins’ Museum) stand out in the central part of the town.
You will also admire the cozy cobblestone streets flanked by rows of houses with red gabled roofs and colorfully painted walls.
On one of the streets, a fountain with a carved stone commemorates the bicentennial of the Independence and the first celebration of September 15th in Huasca de Ocampo.
Other town attractions are its beautiful kiosk and the Casa Vargas, one of the few “tiendas de raya” that remain in Mexico.
Admire the basaltic prisms in Huasca de Ocampo
The basaltic prisms of Santa María Regla are the main tourist attraction of Huasca de Ocampo and one of the most fascinating natural formations in Mexico.
They are rocky structures sculpted by nature, so perfect in appearance that they look like a colossal sculptor’s work.
Water and wind erosion chiseled these prisms with unparalleled precision, and they are now among the most photographed places in the nation.
Explore the religious buildings
The town’s main temple is the church of Juan el Bautista, an XVI-century building.
It was built by the Augustinian friars of the convent of Atotonilco el Grande, who traveled the territory evangelizing the indigenous people.
It was consecrated in honor of San Juan Bautista. However, visitors are greeted at the portal by a relief of the Archangel Michael, a gift in the 18th century from Don Pedro Romero de Terreros, a very devout and wealthy man.
Visit the Museum of the Goblins
Goblins, those mischievous creatures of popular religious culture in Latin America, are part of the traditions of many Mexican towns.
In Huasca de Ocampo, they made a museum for these curious characters, capable, according to the belief, of bewitching children and committing all kinds of mischief.
The museum was installed in a striking wooden house, and one of its most outstanding exhibits is a collection of horse manes.
What is in the ex-hacienda of Santa María Regla?
About 5 km from town is Santa María Regla, the first silver mill in Huasca de Ocampo.
It was owned by Don Pedro Romero de Terreros, where the Count of Regla began to make his immense fortune with precious metals.
It was converted into a rustic hotel, surrounded by beautiful gardens and green areas, and has a beautiful 18th-century chapel where Our Lady of Loreto is venerated.
Former hacienda of San Miguel Regla
The Count of Regla, a wealthy lord of mines and estates, was very Catholic and erected a chapel in all his haciendas.
The hacienda of San Miguel Regla, located very close to Huasca de Ocampo, has an 18th-century chapel.
Its large house was also converted into a rural hotel with gardens, small lakes, and other beautiful spots.
There is an ecotourism center for outdoor activities like sports fishing, horseback riding, and hiking.
Ex-hacienda of San Juan Hueyapan
It is another cozy place close to Huasca de Ocampo, which dates back to the viceroyalty and was converted into rustic lodging.
Around San Juan Hueyapan, you’ll hear several stories of elves and regional myths that give interest and traditional color to a visit to Huasca de Ocampo and its surroundings.
Admire the former hacienda of San Antonio Regla
This former hacienda of the Count of Regla is a tourist attraction because it was flooded, and a dam was built.
Only part of the large chimney and the end of a tower protrude above the water of the old facilities.
Tourists visit the area in boats to observe the submerged hacienda while observing the biodiversity and breathing fresh air. Ecotourism activities take place around the lake.
Where is Huasca de Ocampo’s Biosphere Reserve?
The Metztitlán Ravine Biosphere Reserve covers the territories of Huasca de Ocampo and other municipalities in Hidalgo.
It is known for its cacti and other xerophytic species, with jungle areas and coniferous forests.
In the town of Metztitlán is the former convent of the Santos Reyes, a 16th-century building with an admirable Plateresque style façade.
What can I do in the Aguacatitla Ravine?
This ravine is located within the Metztitlán Biosphere Reserve in Huasca de Ocampo. It has a pleasant temperate climate, ideal for camping and outdoor sports.
One of the most charming tours is the one that goes along one of the banks of the Regla Coacoyunga River, where you can ride a zip line and pedal boats.
There are also interesting basalt formations.
Visit the forest and Peña del Aire near Huasca de Ocampo
El Zembo Forest is a natural space near Huasca de Ocampo, frequented by those who wish to be in intimate communion with nature, with a tent or a rustic cabin as lodging.
It has a beautiful lake with abundant rainbow trout, which the locals prepare in various delicious ways.
A camping area is ideal for a nightly campfire, which will give a firing frame to the starry night and warm up when the weather gets a little cold.
Peña del Aire is an immense basaltic formation located in a canyon with a road along the gorge and several viewpoints to admire the landscape.
In this place, you can relax and observe the vast space with a more than 1,000 meters deep gorge, take spectacular photographs, and fill your lungs with fresh, clean air.
You can also ride horseback and get some adrenaline on the zip line.
Other towns near Huasca de Ocampo
Pachuca de Soto, the state capital, is only 36 km from Huasca de Ocampo.
In the head city of Hidalgo, there are different tourist attractions, among which the historical center in general, the Municipal Palace, and the Government Palace stand out.
Other city symbols are its Monumental Clock and the enormous monument to Christ the King, built on the summit of Santa Apolonia Hill.
Also, a must-see in Pachuca is the temple and former convent of San Francisco and the Edificio de las Cajas Reales.
How far is Real del Monte?
The legendary mining town of Real del Monte is only 15 km from Huasca de Ocampo.
The main attractions of Mineral del Monte are its mine sites, Mina de Acosta and Mina La Dificultad, with their deep tunnels and museums that offer a tour through the culture of gold and silver exploitation.
Other attractions in Real del Monte are its religious buildings and the Monument to the First Strike in America.
Explore the “Tianguis”
Like many other Mexican towns, Huasca de Ocampo maintains the ancestral tradition of its weekly flea market, where it is possible to find a nice piece to take home as a souvenir.
They also make beautiful wooden and wrought iron furniture.
The town’s artisans are accomplished potters, and if you are not in a hurry, you can take home beautifully decorated and personalized dinnerware with your name engraved on it.
Enjoy the local gastronomy
The state of Hidalgo, which includes Real del Monte, Huasca de Ocampo, and other towns, is known for its “pastes,” a culinary tradition brought in the 19th century by the English who worked in the mining industry.
It is a meat, potato, and onion stuffed pastry with raw stew and fried. The local drink is “naranjate,” made with freshly squeezed orange juice, vanilla, and cane rum, sweetened with honey.
Huasca de Ocampo Hotels
Apart from the rustic-style hotels in the former haciendas of the 18th century, such as the Santa María Regla, Huasca de Ocampo has other options for a comfortable stay.
La Casa Azul Huasca, on Doria street, is a small hotel close to the town’s main square. Guests praise its pleasant décor and exquisite breakfast.
Huasca Sierra Verde, on the outskirts of town, is a cabin hotel that stands out for its comfort, green areas, and personalized attention.
Hotel Campestre Imperial, Posada Dos Hermanos, and Hotel Vista Hermosa are other lodging options.
I hope you enjoy visiting this Magical Town; you’ll be amazed at everything you can do and see in this part of central Mexico.
Don’t forget to share your experiences with us. Any comments are greatly appreciated. Vamonos!