A quintessential place to spend a weekend, two hours from Mexico City, Valle de Bravo is, by itself, a space that invites rest, meditation and self-care: not for nothing in the early years de la Colonia was stripped of its original name Mazahua (Pameje), to baptize it as San Francisco del Valle de Temascaltepec, which in Nahuatl means mountain of steam baths or temazcales. Just towards the middle of the 19th century it was named in honor of General Nicolás Bravo.
The air that is breathed comes from the coniferous forest that surrounds the artificial lake – inaugurated in 1955, as part of the Miguel Alemán Dam project – which has given rise to the current beautiful lake landscape.
Now, although the goal is to forget everything, travelers know very well that, before proceeding to close your eyes and succumb to the horizontal, curiosity forces you to know the recently trodden site.
The main attractions of “Valle” are the lake, and the characteristic tile-topped buildings that allow you to walk the streets without getting wet —even if it is raining. In addition, the population has several spaces worth visiting, such as the portals, the Church of San Francisco de Asís in the Plaza de la Independencia, or Santa María Ahuacatlán, the second church in the area, with its Black Christ. From the plaza “el Pino” you can see the 700-year-old ahuehuete that drains from underground sources and gives life to the colonial fountain on this corner of the main street Joaquín Arcadio Pagaza, who was one of the characters, along with the painter Alberto Gironella, who had his home and studio in these alleys. To complete the circuit, you must visit the Archaeological Museum, which houses finds from the area.
Of course, if the idea of the weekend is to rest, Valle de Bravo offers a profusion of massages, facials, body treatments and temazcales, not to mention the twist of spiritual therapies or yoga offered in various places in the town, such as the Maranthá House of Prayer.
Among the hotels designed for this type of experience is El Santuario Resort, on the lake shore. The facilities combine wood, fiber and other natural materials, and offer all kinds of skin and body treatments, as well as temazcal. It is also a great point for boating, sailing or skiing on the smooth water surface.
Another recommended place to forget about the city is the Rodavento Hotel, also in front of the lake, or the Blue Lotus Resort and Spa , in the Otumba neighborhood. And, just beyond Valle de Bravo, with an even more private style, you can spend a wonderful stay at the Hotel Avándaro, which offers yoga classes and a mineral water waterfall that welcomes those who have just come out of the sauna.
In a more energetic mood, we recommend climbing the top of the mountain, to the viewpoint of Monte Alto or Divisadero, to contemplate the lake from above. Already there, the true proof that one has released the city ties, is to launch into a paragliding flight. Those who have not succeeded, will do well to take – indeed a great honor – that book that long ago they want to finish.