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152km (94 miles) SW of Mexico City

Valle de Bravo has been called the "Switzerland of Mexico." Ringed by pine-forested mountains and set beside a beautiful lake, Valle de Bravo is a 16th-century village with cobblestone streets and colonial structures built around a town plaza. Like San Miguel de Allende, Taxco, and Puerto Vallarta, Valle de Bravo is a National Heritage village; new construction must conform to the colonial style of the original village.

The village's cobbled streets, small restaurants, hotels, spas, and shops are full on weekends -- this is a very popular retreat from Mexico City. Some shops and restaurants may be closed weekdays. The crafts market, 3 blocks from the main square, is open daily from 10am to 5pm, and colorfully dressed Mazahua Indians sell their handmade tapestries daily around the town plaza.

Sailing, windsurfing, bass fishing, and water-skiing are popular on the lake. Boats of varying speeds can be rented (along with a driver and water-ski equipment) at the dock for between 200 and 400 pesos per hour; look for the sign that says YATE CRISTAL Y LANCHAS. Excursions from Valle de Bravo include a trip to the nesting grounds of the monarch butterfly between November and February. It can be very rainy and chilly September through December, in addition to the summer rainy season.

The neighboring town of Avándaro, 6km (3 3/4 miles) away, is a popular place for weekend homes for well-to-do residents of Mexico City.