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Huautla de Jimenez, Oaxaca: Home of the “Magical” Mushrooms

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With its numerous natural beauties, Huautla de Jimenez Oaxaca is a town full of spiritual vibes, excellent for disconnecting and enjoying a relaxing vacation.

This Magical Town is considered by many to be the world capital of shamanic tourism.

Celebrities, academics, and intellectuals of international renown such as Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann, and Timothy Leary have visited Huautla de Jimenez.

Where is Huautla de Jimenez, Oaxaca?

This Magical Town is located in La Cañada del Distrito de Teotitlán, northwest of the state, about 230 km from Oaxaca City.

The town has the rugged geography of the highlands in the Sierra Mazateca. The trip to Huautla de Jimenez from Mexico City is 380 Km on the Mexico 150D highway, which takes you first to Tehuacan Puebla and then 130 Km to your destination.

Huautla de Jimenez was initially inhabited by the Mazatecos, who were subdued by the Chichimeca Nonoalcas, although later, they could coexist in harmony.

In 1927, Huautla was listed as an “Indigenous City.” In 1962, it entered negatively in Mexican history for the murder of Erasto Pineda, former municipal president of the town and a great defender of indigenous rights.

Finally, in 2015 Huautla de Jiménez was incorporated into the Magical Towns program.

Climate

huautla de jimenez oaxaca
Panoramic view of Huautla de Jiménez oaxaca, México – Source: Nailotl / shutterstock.com

Due to its location in the Sierra Mazateca, the maximum altitude in the town is 1,820 meters above sea level, and the climate is of the humid temperate type, with rainfall throughout the year, especially in the summer season.

Spring is the hottest period and the one with the least rainfall. The average temperature in Huautla is 18 °C; it can reach an extreme minimum of 9 °C in winter and a maximum of up to 27 °C in the summer.

The delicious mountain fog on cold days invites you to take shelter in it, so don’t forget to bring warm clothes and an umbrella.

Huautla de Jimenez main attractions

In this mountainous town, you can breathe spiritual air and its natural beauty and indigenous history are the strong points of attraction.

To speak of Huautla is to talk of María Sabina, the famous Indian healer and the town’s primary cultural reference. The Cerro de la Adoración is a sacred site of great importance for the inhabitants of Huautla de Jimenez.

Other important natural attractions are the San Sebastian caves and the Puente de Fierro waterfall.

Huautla also has buildings of interesting architecture, such as the Clock Tower and the Municipal Palace. As a curious fact, the town only has one Christian church, the Cathedral of San Juan Evangelista, since the difficult access and the strong implantation of indigenous spiritual traditions led to only a slight attempt at evangelization during the colonial era.

Huautla de Jimenez and the Magical Mushrooms

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Source: Zared Cruz / shutterstock.com

María Sabina Magdalena García was an indigenous Mazatec healer who became a national and international celebrity thanks to her knowledge of the curative use of the hallucinogenic mushrooms that grow in the region, which she affectionately called “healthy children.” The shaman woman of humble origin was attributed with gifts such as clairvoyance and healing and was always ready to come to the aid of anyone who needed her help.

She never charged her patients anything and only accepted whatever they could offer in gratitude for her services.

She was visited by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Walt Disney. Maria Sabina died on November 22, 1985, at the enviable age of 91, but her generous and wise legacy remained present throughout the world, especially in her beloved homeland.

Cerro de la Adoracion (worship hill)

The Cerro de la Adoración is undoubtedly the most sacred place for the town’s inhabitants. The mystical mountain is located 2 km east of Huautla de Jimenez and is the repository of secrets and legends of the Mazatec culture.

According to indigenous mythology, the Mazatec God dwells on the summit, to whom the locals ask for favors by leaving offerings ranging from candles and incense to cocoa and eggs.

To access the hill, you can go up through the small community of Loma Chapultepec. In the place, you can also practice recreational activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and even camping when it’s not rainy season. Undoubtedly an exciting adventure.

Explore the San Sebastian Caves

Also known as the Sótano de San Agustín, it is the deepest cave system in all Americas and the second deepest in the world.

Its depth reaches 1,546 meters and has a length of more than 56 km. Due to its complete darkness, professional speleologists can only visit the caves at their deepest points since their most abysmal paths are dangerous and necessary to carry specialized equipment.

Admire the Puente de Fierro Waterfall

huautla de jimenez oaxaca
Puente de Fierro Waterfall – Source: Nailotl / shutterstock.com

This natural waterfall is located 15 minutes from Huautla de Jimenez and is easily accessible by paved road.

It is of public access, and it is a delight to stand under the current and refresh yourself with its fall that emulates an immense natural watering can.

The place has a suspension bridge that must be crossed to reach the waterfall. The Puente de Fierro Waterfall is frequented by rappel and camping enthusiasts.

Clock Tower and Municipal Palace

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Source: Dop Winter / shutterstock.com

In the center of Huautla, in front of the Municipal Palace, is the Clock Tower. It is a building of three quadrangular bodies crowned by a small pyramid.

There are openings in the first two bodies, and in the third one, there is a clock with several faces. It was built in 1924, and it is an important place for the town’s inhabitants’ gatherings.

The building serves as the administrative headquarters of the local government.

Another emblematic building in Huautla de Jimenez is its Municipal Palace. An attractive building with eight strong columns of square sections in front that are both structural and decorative.

The big portal has lowered arches, the upper façade has balconies, also with flattened arches, and a triangular body crowns the building with a bell.

The construction of the building began in 1960, and it was remodeled and enlarged over 39 years; the work was finally completed in December 2000.

Visit the Cathedral of San Juan Evangelista

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Source: alelaufen / shutterstock.com

Being the only existing Christian temple in Huautla de Jimenez, the Cathedral of San Juan Evangelista is the central meeting point for Catholics in the town.

It was built in 1966 and had a simple and attractive design. The twin towers house bells were cast in 1866 and installed in the sacred precinct 100 years later.

Pyramids top the two towers, and on the main façade, one can distinguish the semicircular arches of the portal and the one in the upper triangular body.

Huautla de Jimenez gastronomy and craftsmanship

As in all indigenous Mexican groups, pre-Hispanic gastronomy prevails today.

Among the typical dishes is the pilte, which can be made with rabbit, pork, or chicken meat wrapped in hierba Santa or avocado leaves.

Huautla also prepares delicious goat broth, beans, and red sauce tamales. Local artisans excel in making colorful traditional Mazatec costumes and are also very skilled in the work of pottery and wicker baskets.

You can purchase one of these beautiful pieces as a souvenir in the center of town.

Local festivities

The most important festival in Huautla de Jimenez is that of the Señor de las Tres Caídas (Lord of the Three Falls), which has its peak on the third Friday of Lent.

The celebration includes music, fireworks, a vibrant procession through the town’s main streets, and other events and manifestations of joy.

The feast of All Saints begins on October 27 and lasts a week; during these days, the “Huehuentones” appear, characters with masks that represent the deceased.

Other important celebrations are that of the Virgin of the Nativity, celebrated between September 7 and 8, and the feast of the Virgin of Santa María Juquila, on December 7 and 8.

Huautla de Jimenez lodging

One option for a comfortable stay with an excellent quality/price ratio is the simple Posada de San Antonio, located on Avenida Juárez in downtown Huautla.

Another good spot is the Hotel Santa Julia, with clean and comfortable rooms and all the essential services, at an excellent price.

Hotel El Rinconcito, in downtown Huautla, is a cozy place with a nice view, comfortable rooms, and a coffee bar.

Where to eat?

Rosita Restaurant is the one with the best seasoning in town; Doña Rosa will prepare delicious chicken chilaquiles that you can accompany with milk chocolate, and also the place has a nice view of the town.

El Portal is a restaurant with a pleasant atmosphere and exquisite local food. Other options are Jimenez Restaurant, where you can also enjoy the exquisite art of pre-Hispanic Mazatec gastronomy.

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