Journey to Malinalco: Revealing the Town’s 11 Best-Kept Secrets
Nestled amidst the lush, rolling hills of central Mexico, lies a charming and historically rich town, waiting to share its treasures with the world.
Malinalco, a hidden gem in the heart of the state of Mexico, holds within its cobblestone streets and ancient ruins, a collection of secrets that have remained hidden from the mainstream tourist trail.
As we embark on our Journey to Malinalco, I invite you to uncover the town’s 12 best-kept secrets, revealing the untold stories, hidden gems, and the enchanting allure that this captivating destination has to offer.
Whether you’re an intrepid traveler seeking adventure or a culture enthusiast yearning for a deeper understanding of Mexico’s heritage, this journey promises to be an exploration of the extraordinary.
Where is Malinalco?
The best way to get there if you’re coming from abroad, is to fly into Toluca or Mexico City and then continue by road to Malinalco.
11 things to do and see in Malinalco, Mexico
1. Glamping in MaliKualli
MaliKualli is an ecotourism complex in Malinalco that offers lodging, adventure, recreation, cultural tours, ecotourism, and lots of fun.
When you think of camping near Mexico City, this is the destination you should consider, as it is one of the best places to do it.
Besides how beautiful it can be, this is a project that contributes to the development of the municipality and involves the community for the protection of the environment.
The MaliKualli Ecotourism Complex seeks to extend the experience of its visitors to their lifestyle.
The glamping geodesic dome is exclusive for two people, making it especially ideal for couples to have a romantic getaway in the middle of nature just two hours from Mexico City.
2. Take a Paragliding flight
Ready to get rid of your fear of heights? Undoubtedly, paragliding is one of the most exciting things to do in Malinalco.
The flight lasts approximately 25 to 40 minutes and it also depends on the weather conditions. They are usually done in the mornings.
So you start from the side of a mountain as high as you can and the pilot will be with you at all times. You must weigh more than 35 and less than 90kg.
It costs approximately 2,300 pesos per person if two or more people do it and 2,500 pesos if only one flight is made.
3. Visit the Malinalco Culture House
One of the places not to be missed in Malinalco is the Casa de la Cultura. This house is one of the most historic buildings in Malinalco.
It has been a residence, revolutionary headquarters, educational institution, and cultural center.
In fact, the house has a beautiful courtyard with arcades, and its spaces are used for different cultural events in the town.
All handicrafts exhibited in the Casa de la Cultura are made by local artisans who are very skilled in wood carving.
It is located on Hidalgo Avenue, Santa Monica. Open from 10:00 to 17:00 – Everyday.
The coolest thing about visiting this property is that you can make your own crafts by carving the wood and experience how the locals do it.
4. Explore “Los Bichos” de Malinalco Museum
Are you curious about bichos (insects)? Or do you just want to see them?
Of all the places to visit in Malinalco, this museum should be on your list. You will see spiders, scorpions, snakes, praying mantises, and many more.
You can also touch and hold certain species in this museum that celebrates biodiversity.
There’s also an aquarium, which exhibits fish typical of the waters of Mexico, sustainable courses, galleries, and cave paintings.
Calle del Pensamiento S/N, Barrio de San Guillermo. Hours are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 10 am to 4:45 pm.
5. Malinalco University Museum
If you are a fan of historical events and museums, the beautiful and distinguished Museo Universitario is for you.
It is a fairly new museum since it was founded on May 18, 2001, by Dr. Luis Mario Schneider, Argentinean by birth and naturalized Mexican.
Among its seven rooms, there are: the rainy season, stratigraphic cut, underworld, dry season, and the Cuauhcalli, a stone vessel of eagle or jaguar used by the Aztecs to place the hearts of humans sacrificed in their ceremonies.
It is located on the corner of Amajac Street and Agustin Melgar, on the way to the Archaeological Zone in the neighborhood of Santa Monica. Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00.
6. Visit Valentina’s House Restaurant
In the center of Malinalco is one of the favorite restaurants of locals, tourists, and me. It has the best views of the University Museum.
There is no doubt that you will love their spectacular hamburgers, tacos de chicharra, salmon tapas, arrachera wrap, and much more.
They also have some great gourmet platters, when you see them you will think they are super expensive but no, none of them are more than 200 pesos.
This place is famous for its great house wine, amazing craft beer, and excellent Irish coffee. Your palate will thank me, believe me.
At Valentina’s, there’s a special phrase that makes you spend a more than pleasant moment. “We are a space dedicated to feeding the body and mind.”
Offering high-quality products; Filling the spaces with art, music, literature, and objects with soul.
Located on Hidalgo Avenue, Santa Maria. Open from Wednesday to Sunday.
7. Admire the Cuauhtinchán Ceremonial Center
Among the things to see in Malinalco is “The House of the Eagles,” a beautiful ceremonial center of our ancestors in the archaeological zone.
Cuauhtinchán means “house of the sun,” it is a magnificent work of art built at the beginning of the XVI century during the rule of the Mexica Tlatoani Ahuizotl.
Also, the building has the architectural and sculptural characteristics of a Mexica construction and the remains of two ocelots can be appreciated.
The door of the building represents the open jaws of an enormous serpent that shows its fangs, this symbolizes the “monster of the earth” Tlaltecuhtli.
In addition to the sides, there is a snake with scales in the form of arrowheads, so it has been identified as Izcoatl “serpent of war.”
This is where they offered blood to their gods to satisfy them.
8. Hill of the Idols (Cerro de los Idolos Malinalco)
This is another archaeological site that represents the “place where Malinalxóchitl is worshiped” the Mexica goddess responsible for sorcery and other dark arts, sister of Huitzilopochtli.
It is known that the initiation ceremonies of “eagle” and “jaguar” warriors were held here.
These two titles were the most important in the Mexica militia. They were awarded for how they excelled in battle.
According to data from the Institute of Anthropology and History, being a sacred place, only the supreme ruler and the Mexica military elite had access to it.
The best thing about this place is being at the top and you will see a 360º view of the town.
One of the most frequently asked questions is how many steps are there in the Cerro de los Idolos Malinalco? And the answer is 423.
9. Savor Malinalco’s Gastronomy
Malinalco has a wide variety of foods and beverages, you can find seasonal fruit harvested in the surrounding mountains.
You can also enjoy delicious homemade ice cream to beat the heat, don’t you crave it?
You can’t miss the opportunity to eat delicious freshly baked artisan bread.
You have to visit “Casa Diablitos.” They have delicious artisanal mezcals which you will be able to taste and see how they are prepared.
For lunch, I recommend eating a delicious trout which is very famous for the preparation that the locals give it. A pre-Hispanic seasoning.
Last but not least, you can’t leave without trying some delicious traditional sweets.
10. Take the “Legends Tour”
Do you like legends? You will learn some of the real stories that happened in this town and that today have become legends of Malinalco.
Every step you take in the town you will be passing through some legendary scenario, you will hear the stories and you will be involved in this magical adventure.
Malinalco has also been the site of many unique events in our history, so I assure you that many stories will be waiting for you.
There will be legends about our ancestors and also about the independence of our country. It is something to do in Malinalco that is super incredible and not to be missed.
Since in this town, several documents of our independence were formed I assure you that there are plenty of good stories to tell here.
11. Admire the Augustinian Convent
The Convent was founded in 1540 by Cristobal Rodriguez de Avalos who was in charge of the construction. It was completed in 1580.
Also in the convent, we can observe three things, orchards and gardens, a Renaissance style, and images about the passion of Christ.
The paintings in the convent make it possible to identify the fauna and flora of our ancestors.
The native plants painted were not chosen randomly, they are those plants that had had cultural importance within the Mexica society.
In the painting, there is the Huacalxochitl, which was used medicinally to fight infections and to reward military heroes.
In addition, it was also related to sexual symbolism, its power associated with fertility continued to be recognized in the colonial period by hunters.
In pre-Hispanic times, it was believed that the souls turned into birds and sucked the different flowers to continue nourishing themselves with them.
Journey to Malinalco: Conclusion
As you can see, Malinalco has been nothing short of enchanting, unveiling a tapestry of hidden gems that weave together the town’s rich history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty.
From the ancient marvels of the archeological site to the charming cobblestone streets lined with secret gardens, Malinalco beckons travelers to explore its best-kept secrets.
As we’ve delved into the heart of this Mexican gem, we’ve discovered not only the physical treasures but also the warmth of its people and the authenticity that permeates every corner.
The town’s secrets are not just landmarks; they are stories etched in time, inviting us to become a part of Malinalco’s narrative.
Whether you seek adventure, cultural immersion, or a retreat into nature, Malinalco offers a tapestry of experiences that transcend the ordinary.
As we bid farewell to this hidden haven, we carry with us the memories of its secrets, each one adding a layer to the intricate mosaic that is Malinalco.