Chignahuapan Puebla is one of Mexico’s most welcoming tourist destinations, with colorful kiosks, churches, the tradition of Christmas spheres, hot springs, and other attractions.
This Magical Town is nestled in the Sierra Norte’s foothills, offering a set of attractions for you to spend a day, a weekend, or a relaxing and enjoyable vacation.
The beautiful basilica and the precious kiosk, the tradition of the bolitas (spheres), the special Day of the Dead celebration, the thermal waters and waterfalls, and the delicious moles poblanos were the main reasons for the incorporation of Chignahuapan Puebla into the system of Mexican Magical Towns.
Because the town sits at an average altitude of 2,250 meters above sea level, it enjoys an average annual temperature of 14° C.
Between October and February, the environment gets much colder, so it is necessary to wrap up warm with a jacket or other similar piece.
During the winter months, fog is also frequent.
Chignahuapan Puebla historical features
Translated from the Nahua language, Chignahuapan means “road in the navel of the hill.”
When the Spaniards arrived in the area, it was inhabited by the Chichimecas.
In 1527, Juan Alonso Leon established the first mestizo population, which received the name of Santiago Chiquinahuitle.
Then came the Aztecs and the Jesuits, and the town was renamed Santiago Chignahuapan. In 1874 it received the nominal category of Villa De Chignahuapan.
The Magical Town is located 190 Km from Mexico City, a journey that takes 2 hours and 20 minutes by car on Federal Highway 132 en route to the city of Tulancingo de Bravo, a town in Hidalgo that is located 69 Km from Chignahuapan.
The city of Puebla is 112 km from Chignahuapan, heading north on Mexico Highway 121 and Puebla Highway 119D.
Best things to do in Chignahuapan Puebla
One of the great architectural symbols of Chignahuapan is its curious kiosk located in the center of the Plaza de Armas (main square).
It was installed in 1871 and was built entirely of wood. It is of Mudejar style and is painted in striking colors, predominately blue, red, and ochre.
In the center of the kiosk, there is a fountain symbolizing purity. Access is restricted to preserve its structure, but every visitor to Chignahuapan goes to admire and photograph it.
Visit the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
A few steps from the Plaza de Armas of Chignahuapan is the town’s basilica (church), dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.
The temple’s main attraction is the venerated image itself, of colossal size, being the largest sacred sculpture under a roof in Latin America.
It was carved in cedar wood by the poblano artist José Luis Silva, a work that took him six years between 1966 and 1972.
It measures 14 meters, and only the neck and head are the size of an average person.
The Main Square
Chignahuapan’s Plaza de Armas, or Plaza de la Constitución, has a cozy provincial style and is the local favorite meeting point, especially for young people and older men who like to get together to chat.
The square is surrounded by beautiful houses with walls painted in different colors, contrasting with the red roof tiles.
Other attractions of the Plaza de Armas are the Church of Santiago Apostle and the statue of Gaspar Henaine Perez (1926 – 2011), better known as “Capulina,” a famous Mexican comedian native of Chignahuapan.
What is the attraction of the Temple of Santiago Apostle?
This indigenous baroque-style building was built by the Franciscans who evangelized the Sierra Norte de Puebla.
In its right tower is an elegant clock made by the skilled clockmakers of Zacatlán de las Manzanas.
In the baroque facade of the XVI century, the artist who ornamented it put angels with apparent indigenous features surrounded by fruits of the tropic, creative freedom that perhaps did not please the Spanish religious.
Other religious buildings of interest
In the Church of the Lord of Health, better known as the Sanctuary of the Mushroom, there is the curious fact that the object of veneration is a mushroom with the silhouette of Jesus.
According to legend, the mushroom was found in 1880 by a farmer from Chignahuapan Puebla looking for wild mushrooms to eat.
The church was erected on the find site, and the petrified mushroom was placed in the center of a cross.
Skeptics and non-believers are convinced when they see the figure placed next to the shrine with a magnifying glass.
What is the tradition of the Christmas spheres?
Throughout the year, in Chignahuapan, spheres of different colors are made, the kind that are placed on Christmas trees.
The production intensifies between October and December, and displays of spheres are everywhere.
The National Tree and Sphere Fair is held during the Christmas season. You can visit some of the more than 200 factories that make them.
Visit the natural sites in Chignahuapan Puebla
A few minutes from downtown Chignahuapan is the Almoloya Lagoon or Laguna de Chignahuapan, nourished by nine springs.
Locals and visitors frequent this beautiful body of water for sports fishing, boat rides, exercise, and watching the sunset.
During the Festival of Light and Life, celebrated on November 1, Day of the Dead, a colorful ceremony in the body of water and fishing tournaments are held.
There are also hot springs and beautiful waterfalls in the vicinity of Chignahuapan.
How is the Day of the Dead celebration?
According to pre-Hispanic mythology, to reach Mictlan, home of the dead, the souls of the deceased had to overcome several obstacles, including crossing the mighty Chignahuapan River.
To commemorate the Day of the Dead, the locals and tourists congregate in the square in front of the Church of Santiago Apostle and, after sunset, depart with torches to the Almoloya Lagoon.
In the middle of the lagoon awaits a beautiful pre-Columbian pyramid floating in the waters.
A torchlight ceremony takes place with fluorescent lights, rafts, and actors in traditional costumes.
Enjoy the Waterfalls
Less than 10 km from Chignahuapan is the Quetzalapan waterfall, which approaches 200 meters high, where outdoor extreme sports enthusiasts go rappelling, climbing, and zip-lining.
El Cajón Waterfall has a suspension bridge and springs that form delightful bathing spots. Another site’s attraction is a hollow tree whose trunk can hold more than 12 people.
Where are the hot springs?
Near the town, there are several places to take thermal baths.
Aguas Termales de Chignahuapan, located 5 Km from the town, is a place where the sulfurous waters reach a temperature of 50° C. Excellent to enjoy them without burning your skin.
There are impressive views of the nearby ravines from the hotel’s baths and pools.
You can stay and spend a weekend or several days relaxing in the warm, healing waters.
Hotels in Chignahuapan Puebla
- Hotel Cristal, located in the center of town, is decorated in traditional Mexican style and its restaurant Emilianos offers regional food
- Cabaña Las Nubes is 5 minutes from Chignahuapan, on the way to the hot springs. This lodging consists of fully equipped chalets, including a kitchen
- Hotel Alan Prince, also on the road to the hot springs, is located 2.5 km from town and has beautiful gardens and terraces
- Hotel 9 Manantiales is on the shores of the Almoloya Lagoon, has a spa, and from its bar-restaurant, there is a magnificent view of the water mirror
Where can I eat?
- El Veneno may not be the best name for a restaurant, but this Chignahuapan establishment is a popular place to eat. It is small, simple, affordable, and serves tasty moles
- Rincón Mexicano, three blocks from downtown, offers a weekend Mexican buffet. It has fireplaces that are lit when it’s cold, and its desserts are known to be the best in town
- Antojitos Doña Chuy is a simple place located on the lagoon walkway, with a nice view and generous portions
I hope this complete guide to Chignahuapan Puebla will be helpful for your visit to the Magical Town.
Please share your comments below and let me know what you think. Vamonos!