Mascota, located in the western region of Mexico, is a charming town known for its picturesque landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality. Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, Mascota offers visitors breathtaking views and unique cultural experiences. This guide will take you on a journey through the enchanting town of Mascota, providing you with all the information you need to make the most of your visit.
History of Mascota
The history of Mascota dates back to its foundation in 1790 by Spanish settlers. Over the years, it has grown into a vibrant and picturesque town with a rich cultural heritage. The town center features several colonial-era structures, including churches and government buildings, that are now open to tourists. These architectural gems serve as a reminder of Mascota’s past and offer a glimpse into its historical significance.
Getting to Mascota
Mascota is conveniently located within a 2.5-3 hour drive from Puerto Vallarta and a half-day drive from Guadalajara. To reach Mascota, you can either rent a car or take a bus from either city. The ATM Transportes bus provides regular services to Mascota from Puerto Vallarta. The bus terminal is located on the corner of Calle Havre and Lucerna in the Diaz Ordaz neighborhood of the city. Whether you choose to drive or take a bus, the journey to Mascota is an opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty of the region.
Things to Do in Mascota
Explore the Town Center
The town center of Mascota is a treasure trove of colonial-era architecture and quaint streets. Take a leisurely stroll along the cobblestone streets and admire the colorful buildings that line the way. Visit the central plaza, where you’ll find a beautiful church built from local stone. The church stands as a testament to Mascota’s rich history and offers a peaceful retreat for visitors.
Attend Festivals and Experience Local Culture
Mascota is well-known for its vibrant festivals that celebrate the town’s unique customs, music, and folklore. Immerse yourself in the local culture by attending one of these festivals, where you can enjoy traditional music, dance, and delicious food. The warm and welcoming locals are always happy to share their customs and traditions with visitors, making your experience in Mascota truly unforgettable.
Enjoy Outdoor Activities
Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of activities to enjoy in and around Mascota. The town is surrounded by lush countryside fields, offering opportunities for hiking and exploring the stunning landscapes. You can also venture to the nearby beaches, just an hour away, where you can relax or engage in water activities such as fishing or swimming. For those who enjoy history and archaeology, exploring the ruins at El Mirador de la Laja de los Muertos (The Viewpoint of Dead Friends) is a must-see experience.
Hiking in Mascota
Mirador de la Cruz
One of the most popular hikes in Mascota is the Mirador de la Cruz trail. Located near the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, this trail offers breathtaking views of valleys and rocky hillsides. The hike typically takes around three to four hours, depending on your fitness level and how often you stop to capture the awe-inspiring scenery. As you ascend, you’ll pass through rolling hills until you reach La Cruz lookout point, where panoramic views of Mascota’s surrounding countryside await you. Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area, including birds, lizards, and if you’re lucky, even wild boar.
Hiking Volcanoes of Mascota
If you’re up for a more challenging adventure, consider hiking the volcanoes in the nearby Sierra de Tapalpa mountain range. El Ceboruco, El Peñón, and La Malinche are popular volcanoes to explore, offering stunning landscapes and remarkable wildlife. Guided tours are available for those seeking a more informative experience, providing insights into the local geography, geology, flora, and fauna as you make your way through these incredible mountains.
Historical and Cultural Attractions
The Unfinished Temple of the Precious Blood
The Temple of the Precious Blood is a beautiful and historical Catholic church located in Mascota. Built in 1894, the temple showcases an eclectic architectural style, combining elements from Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance eras. Its most striking feature is the 73-meter bell tower, which rises above all other buildings in town and offers panoramic views of the surroundings. Step inside to admire the intricately painted walls adorned with religious symbols and the dazzling stained glass windows depicting biblical scenes. The temple’s incredible acoustics are noteworthy, with locals claiming that a whisper can be heard from one end to the other.
Downtown Mascota is a vibrant area filled with art, culture, history, and entertainment. Explore the unique shops and galleries that line the streets, offering a variety of local crafts and artwork. Enjoy live music performances at one of the many venues throughout town, immersing yourself in the lively atmosphere of Mascota. Indulge in the local cuisine at popular restaurants, such as El Chalio, where you can savor delicious tacos and burritos, or La Reyna del Mar, known for its flavorful seafood dishes.
Stone House Museum
The Stone House Museum in Mascota is a fascinating and unique museum that showcases artifacts from Mexico’s pre-Hispanic era. From ancient stone carvings to vibrant Mexican art, the museum offers a glimpse into the history, culture, and people of Mexico. Take your time exploring the collection, which spans centuries and tells stories of different times throughout history. Gain insight into how life was lived during these eras and appreciate the craftsmanship of the artifacts on display.
Mascota Archeological Museum
The Mascota Archeological Museum is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those interested in Mexican culture. The museum features a vast collection of artifacts from pre-Hispanic times, including stone carvings, pottery fragments, jewelry, and murals. Delve into the exhibits to gain a deeper understanding of the different eras in Mexican history. The museum also offers beautiful gardens to explore and occasional lectures on local archaeology and anthropology topics.
Culinary Delights in Mascota
One of the highlights of visiting Mascota is indulging in the local cuisine. The town offers a variety of dining options, from traditional Mexican dishes to international cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to try tacos al pastor or chiles en nogada, both regional favorites. El Chalio, La Reyna del Mar, Paolo’s Pizzeria, and La Maison du Gourmet are just a few of the popular restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious meal.
Where to Stay in Mascota
Mascota offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. For those seeking luxury, the Mayan Palace Resort provides elegant rooms and suites with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The resort also offers an on-site spa and pool for ultimate relaxation. Budget travelers can find cozy guesthouses that offer comfortable stays at affordable rates. Hotel La Paz Mascotense, Hotel Casa Colonial, and El Portal del Valle Boutique Hotel are among the popular choices for a unique and memorable stay in Mascota.
Mascota, Jalisco, is a hidden gem in Mexico’s western region, offering visitors a perfect blend of natural beauty, rich history, and warm hospitality. Whether you explore the town’s colonial-era architecture, attend vibrant festivals, hike through the picturesque landscapes, or immerse yourself in the local culture, Mascota promises an unforgettable experience. Discover the charm of this enchanting town and create lasting memories in the heart of Jalisco.