Order your copy of Viva Oaxaca//Return to Oaxaca News//Return to Contents//Return to Viva Oaxaca home page

CAPULALPAM DE MENDEZ--OAXACA'S FIRST PUEBLO MAGICO

Detail from a retablo from the church of San Mateo

February 22, 2008

Capulalpam de Mendez becomes Oaxaca's first Pueblo Magico

Capulalpam nestles high in the Sierra Norte some 40 miles northeast of the city of Oaxaca. It's one of Oaxaca's many small, traditional, indigenous villages. Capulalpam stands out because of its location in a high mountain valley, its beautiful 16th century church, and its adherence to traditional methods of healing.

The church, dedicated to San Mateo, St. Matthew, is particularly notable because the interior is lined by 15 large, ornate, hand-carved retablos, religious scenarios, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Church interior showing some of the retablos

Today, Capulalpam officially became Oaxaca's first, and Mexico's 33rd, pueblo magico, or magical town. The event was marked by speeches from important visitors, including Governor Ulises Ruiz, plus the federal and state tourism ministers.

Even better, bands of musicians from 12 neighboring pueblos massed together to play traditional songs. Hearing 400 musicians, ranging in age from 5 to 95, belting out their music was a great experience.

Perhaps the best news from the point of view of the residents of Capulpam is that the State is pitching in $6.5 million pesos, about $600,000 U.S., to create a new clinic devoted to traditional, holistic methods of healing, including massage, the traditional temazcal, herbs, etc.

The tourism ministers predicted that the new clinic, plus Capulalpam's status as a pueblo magico, will boost tourism from 4,000 to 40,000 visitors per year.

Capulalpam is off the beaten track, but it may well become a destination for eco-tourists and visitors interested in traditional healing.

View from the church's belfry

Order your copy of Viva Oaxaca//Return to Oaxaca News//Return to Contents//Return to Viva Oaxaca home page