Tepoztlán's weekend folkloric market is one of the best in central Mexico. More crafts are available on Saturdays and Sundays, but the market also opens on Wednesdays. Vendors sell all kinds of ceramics, from simple fired-clay works resembling those made with pre-Hispanic techniques, to the more commercial versions of majolica and pseudo-Talavera. There are also puppets, carved-wood figures, and some textiles, especially thick wool Mexican sweaters and jackets made out of jerga (a coarse cloth). Very popular currently is the "hippie"-style jewelry that earned Tepoztlán its fame in the '60s and '70s. The market is also remarkable for its variety of food stands selling fruit and vegetables, spices, fresh tortillas, and indigenous Mexican delicacies.
A hike to the Tepozteco pyramid is probably one of the most rewarding experiences you will have on your journey in Mexico. The climb is steep and fairly strenuous, especially toward the end, although it is perfectly doable in a few hours and is not dangerous. I once forgot to bring along hiking shoes and bought a pair of plastic huaraches at the market, and I managed just fine. That being said, I know it would have been even more enjoyable had I been wearing sneakers. Dense vegetation shades the trail (actually a long natural staircase), which is beautiful from bottom to top. Once you arrive at the pyramid, you are treated to remarkable views and, if you are lucky, a great show by a family of coatis (tropical raccoons), who visit the pyramid most mornings to beg for food; they especially love bananas. The pyramid is a Tlahuica construction that predates the Náhuatl (Aztec) domination of the area. It was the site of important celebrations in the 12th and 13th centuries. The main street in Tepoztlán, Avenida 5 de Mayo, takes you to the path that leads you to the top of the Tepozteco. The 2km (1.2-mile) winding rock trail begins where the name of Avenida 5 de Mayo changes to Camino del Tepozteco. The hike takes about an hour each way, but if you stop and take in the scenery and really enjoy the trail, it can take up to 2 hours each way. Water and drinks are available at the top. The trail is open daily from 9am to 5:30pm and, while the hike is free, the pyramid costs 30 pesos to enter.
Also worth visiting is the former convent, Dominico de la Navidad. The entrance to the Dominican convent lies through the religious-themed "Gate of Tepoztlán," constructed with beads and seeds, just east of the main plaza. Built between 1560 and 1588, the convent is now a museum, open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 6pm; it costs 10 pesos to enter.
Sights near Tepoztlán
Many nearby places are easily accessible by car. One good tour service is Marquez Sightseeing Tours, located in Cuernavaca (www.tourbymexico.com/marqueztours). Marquez has four- and seven-passenger vehicles, very reasonable prices, and a large variety of set tours. The dependable owner, Arturo Marquez Diaz, speaks better-than-passable English and will allow you to design your own tour, including to archaeological sites and museums. He possesses a wealth of knowledge about Mexican language and culture. (Ask him to tell you the joke about the man with two sombreros.) He also offers transportation to and from Benito Juárez airport in Mexico City for approximately 1,700 pesos for up to six people and to and from the Toluca airport for 2,000 pesos for up to six people.
Two tiny, charming villages, Santo Domingo Xocotitlán and Amatlán, are only a 20-minute drive from Tepoztlán and can be reached by minibuses, which depart regularly from the center of town. There is nothing much to do in these places except wander around absorbing the marvelous views of the Tepozteco Mountains and drinking in the magical ambience.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.