Juquila Oaxaca: Enchanting Wonders of a Magical Town

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Juquila Oaxaca: Enchanting Wonders of a Magical Town

Nestled deep within the heart of Mexico’s vibrant state of Oaxaca lies a hidden gem that seems to have been plucked straight from the pages of a fairy tale – Juquila.

This enchanting town, often referred to as a “Pueblo Mágico” or magical town, is a place where time stands still, and every cobblestone street whispers secrets of centuries past.

From ancient traditions to awe-inspiring landscapes, Juquila promises a magical experience like no other.

As you wander through Juquila’s picturesque landscapes, you’ll find yourself captivated by its unique blend of culture, spirituality, and natural beauty.

Join me on a journey as I uncover the mesmerizing wonders of Juquila Oaxaca, inviting you to immerse yourself in the mystical allure of this extraordinary destination.

History of Juquila, Oaxaca

Santa Catarina Juquila (official name) is a municipality in Oaxaca and is an important religious tourist destination in Mexico.

Juquila is one of the 6 magical towns in Oaxaca. Known for the Sanctuary of the Immaculate Virgin of Juquila, every year it receives more than a million pilgrims.

The name Juquila derives from the Nahuatl word “Xiuquilla” which means: place where the blue quelite abounds or place of the beautiful legume.

Its foundation dates back to 1272, when a Mixtec community found the right conditions to settle, thanks to a mighty river that made the vegetation feasible.

Getting to Juquila

Juquila sits in the southern part of Oaxaca, in what is known as the Coastal Region, which includes Jamiltepec, Juquila, and Pochutla.

It is about 5 to 6 hours on the road to Puerto Escondido and taking the detour to El Vidrio Oaxaca.

I recommend starting the trip from Puerto Escondido because it’s only 2 hours away.

There are buses leaving from Oaxaca City with direct routes to Juquila but the trip can take up to 6 hours.

Visit the Virgin of Juquila

juquila oaxaca
The Virgin’s Sanctuary

In 1552, Friar Jordan de Santa Catalina, a member of the Dominican order, arrived in Oaxaca from Spain, accompanied by a small sculpture of the Virgin.

At the friar’s service was a young man from Amialtepec who gained the appreciation of Friar Jordan.

So he gave him the image of the Virgin, which measured only 30 cm, who then placed it in a discreet altar of his humble house.

Over the years, the figure of the Virgin became an object of devotion for the inhabitants of Amialtepec and its surroundings, since she was attributed with the ability to grant “favors.”

Her popularity grew so much that in 1633, the priest Don Jacinto Escudero de Juquila decided to move her from a simple dwelling to a modest church.

However, a tragic fire devastated the town, caused by the burning of forests for the preparation of agricultural fields, reducing the humble church to ashes.

The Miracle of the Virgin of Juquila

juquila oaxaca
The small Virgin of Juquila (only 12 inches). Every year more than a million pilgrims come to see her.

Surprisingly, the image of the Virgin survived the fire with her clothing and hair intact, although her face was darkened and with some marks.

For devotees, this was a sign that the Virgin wished to adopt the dark complexion of her people, as a symbol of deeper connection.

Thus, the fame of the miraculous Virgin made the village priest decide to take her to the head of the municipality, Juquila.

But mysteriously, after a few days, she disappeared from the church and was found in Amialtepec again.

This miraculous return to Amialtepec happened three times!

While the natives of Juquila are sure it was a vile robbery, Amialtepec’s inhabitants attributed it to a miracle and a clear sign of where the Virgin wanted to stay.

It was not until 1719 when the bishop signed an edict and was moved to Juquila, from where she never left again.

Experience the Patronal Feast of the Virgin of Juquila

juquila oaxaca

The patronal feast of the Virgin of Juquila is on December 8th.

It is a very important day in Juquila since it celebrates Our Lady Immaculate of Juquila.

On this day, thousands of pilgrims arrive at the Sanctuary of the Immaculate Virgin of Juquila to participate in the religious celebrations.

Masses, processions, and meetings are held in honor of the Virgin Mary under the invocation of the Clean and Pure Conception.

The atmosphere is filled with music, calendars, and religious fervor, creating a great celebration in Juquila.

So reserve the first days of December if you feel like visiting Juquila. Festivities often start before the 8th.

Mayordomías and religious rituals

juquila oaxaca

The mayordomos (hosts) are in charge of organizing the festivities for the Virgin of Juquila.

The mayordomías are a fundamental part of religious life in Juquila.

Each year, different people and communities are designated as “mayordomos.”

They are responsible for organizing and financing the festivities in honor of the Virgin of Juquila.

These mayordomos perform religious rituals, prepare altars, and offer donations and food to pilgrims visiting the Sanctuary.

The rituals include prayers, songs, and processions, creating a special bond between the community and its patron saint:

  • Ritual prayers and songs at the Sanctuary of the Immaculate Virgin of Juquila
  • Solemn processions through the streets of Juquila, carrying the image of the Virgin Mary on their shoulders
  • Offering flowers and candles in the Sanctuary as a sign of devotion and gratitude
  • Distribution of food and drinks to the pilgrims who arrive during the festivities

Explore the natural beauties of Juquila Oaxaca

The patron saint festivities are not the only attraction, the natural beauty of Juquila is another reason to visit this magical town.

One of the main attractions is the majestic Chorro Conejo Waterfall at 30 meters high.

Here you can enjoy an incomparable visual spectacle while refreshing in its crystalline waters.

Juquila also gives you the opportunity to walk along natural trails, entering landscapes full of life and greenery.

About the native flora and fauna, I will only say that it surprises at every step, ideal to connect with nature.

Culture and gastronomy in Santa Catarina Juquila

mexican food

The famous “mole amarillo” is made with a variety of chiles such as the costeño, chile de agua and flavored with hierba santa.

Santa Catarina Juquila is a place that stands out for its deep-rooted culture and exquisite typical food.

Juquila will delight you with its sweet bread baked in firewood, as well as with the delicious typical sweets such as jamoncillo and coconut-based products.

And of course, don’t miss the regional dishes such as the tasty mole amarillo, chipilín tamales, and the irresistible chicatanas (ants) tamales.

Tradition and beauty in the Chatino embroidery of Yaitepec

juquila embroideries

Chatino embroideries are considered authentic works of art. They are handmade by talented artisans.

These embroideries stand out for their elegance and for faithfully representing the culture and tradition of the region.

Chatino embroidery recreates flowers and animals, which are depicted with great precision and detail.

The vibrant colors used in these embroideries give life and joy to each piece, turning them into true handcrafted jewels.

The chatino embroidery of Yaitepec reflects the cultural richness and creativity of the local community.

Each piece is unique and shows the effort and dedication of the artisans, who transmit their ancestral knowledge from generation to generation.

Other outstanding handicraft products in Juquila

ceramics

In addition to Chatino embroidery, Juquila has a variety of handcrafted products that reflect the identity and talent of its people.

Among the outstanding products are ceramics, where beautiful designs and unique patterns can be observed.

These ceramic pieces are made with traditional techniques and represent the creativity and skill of the local artisans.

Another important handicraft product in Juquila is wood carving.

Artisans create true masterpieces by carving religious figures, animals, and other elements of nature.

These carvings stand out for their detail and the quality of their finish.

Juquila Oaxaca: Conclusion

As you can see, Juquila Oaxaca is truly a place where enchantment meets reality.

From its stunning natural beauty to its rich cultural traditions and deep spiritual significance, this Magical Town offers a unique and unforgettable experience for travelers.

Whether you’re seeking a spiritual pilgrimage, an adventure in the great outdoors, or simply a chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Mexico, Juquila has something to offer everyone.

The sacred image of the Virgin of Juquila draws pilgrims from all corners of the world, showcasing the deep faith and devotion of the local people.

The lush landscapes, waterfalls, and ancient ruins provide endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

The warmth and hospitality of the locals make visitors feel like family, ensuring that your time in Juquila will be filled with heartwarming encounters and lasting memories.

As you wander through the streets of this charming town, don’t forget to savor the delicious cuisine, explore the local handicrafts, and immerse yourself in the traditions that have been passed down through generations.

Juquila is a place that not only captivates the senses but also leaves a lasting impression on the heart.

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