Living and working in big cities may have its benefits, yet, from time to time it is more than necessary to reconnect the essentials. Visiting rather remote areas even for a weekend can provide enough relaxation, inspiration, and even fulfillment for those who are seeking an escape. 

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Located outside Mexico City, at a distance of no more than two hours -to be precise- Valle de Bravo is one of those picturesque regions to go and re-engage with both nature and yourself. The old town sets forth a wide range of possibilities for recreation, by valuing all water, land, and air, as well as build form.

Below is the list of 15 such places in Valle de Bravo for architects to visit:

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1. Mirador la Peña 

Mirador la Peña is one of those emblematic places in Valle de Bravo. Being able to climb a mountain such as la Peña, while still being inside the borders of the town has its charm, for sure, especially as it offers one of the best views over the entire region.

Mirador la Peña - Sheet1
Mirador de la pena ©Alfredo Cáliz
Mirador la Peña - Sheet2
Mirador de la Pena ©Alfredo Cáliz
Mirador la Peña - Sheet3
Mirador de la Pena ©Alfredo Cáliz

2. Velo de Novia & El Molino Waterfalls 

Velo de Novia and El Molino are two of the best-known places to visit when in Valle de Bravo. Located around 15 kilometers away from the town center, those two waterfalls provoke visitors, by their beauty, to forget about everyday problems, and engage in a completely different environment.

Velo de Novia & El Molino Waterfalls - Sheet1
Velo de Novia & El Molino Waterfalls ©Shaun Hunter
Velo de Novia & El Molino Waterfalls - Sheet2
Velo de Novia & El Molino Waterfalls ©VíctorMEN
Velo de Novia & El Molino Waterfalls - Sheet3
Velo de Novia & El Molino Waterfalls ©DrCarlosAMG

3. Parque Estatal Monte Alto 

Parque Estatal Monte Alto offers 476,000 hectares to reconnect with nature, while still next to the town. For those who like mountain biking or paragliding, this is the perfect spot to go to when visiting Valle de Bravo. 

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Parque Estatal Monte Alto - Sheet1
Parque Estatal Monte Alto ©ADN 40
Parque Estatal Monte Alto - Sheet2
Parque Estatal Monte Alto ©www.rutanea.org
Parque Estatal Monte Alto - Sheet3
Parque Estatal Monte Alto ©www.rutanea.org

4. Piedra Herrada Sanctuary  

For an experience depicted from fairy tales, one should definitely visit Piedra Herrada Sanctuary. After an approximate 42 minutes car ride from Valle de Bravo, visitors will find themselves surrounded by Monarch butterflies in a setting like no other, where beauty, delicacy, and wonder are the keywords.

Piedra Herrada Sanctuary - Sheet1
Piedra Herrada Sanctuary’s Monarch Butterflies ©www.eagle-eye.com
Piedra Herrada Sanctuary - Sheet2
Piedra Herrada Sanctuary’s Monarch Butterflies ©www.monarchcrusader.com
Piedra Herrada Sanctuary - Sheet3
Piedra Herrada Sanctuary © Katie Orlinsky

5. Entre Pinos

Although nowadays practices promote a different type of architecture that is more often than not quite insensitive to nature, such sites as the four mentioned before may plant the desire for a different architecture, one that is built around nature, not against it. Entre Pinos, designed by Taller Hector Barroso, offers an example of architecture valuing its surroundings.

Entre Pinos - Sheet1
Entre Pinos ©Rory Gardiner
Entre Pinos - Sheet2
Entre Pinos ©Rory Gardiner
Entre Pinos - Sheet3
Entre Pinos ©Rory Gardiner

6. Lake Avandaro 

Being an important element for the identity of Valle de Bravo, the Avandaro lake puts forward, to both visitors and locals, an opportunity to relax and detach from the built environment while still being able to reflect on the charming environment around. 

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Lake Avandaro - Sheet1
Lake Avandaro ©alternateroutetours.com
Lake Avandaro - Sheet2
Lake Avandaro ©www.expedia.com
Lake Avandaro - Sheet3
Lake Avandaro ©www.familycantravel.com

7. Valle de Bravo Lakefront 

To get a glimpse of the nicest views over the lake together with the hills surrounding it and the town, one has to go to this lakefront plaza, down Calle de la Cruz. Walking along the waterfront, one may notice the intimate relationship between the town and the lake.

Valle de Bravo Lakefront - Sheet1
Valle de Bravo Lakefront ©www.familycantravel.com
Valle de Bravo Lakefront - Sheet2
Valle de Bravo Lakefront ©ilovemexico2013.blogspot.com
Valle de Bravo Lakefront - Sheet3
Valle de Bravo Lakefront ©ilovemexico2013.blogspot.com

8. La Gran Stupa Bön para la Paz Mundial

La Gran Stupa Bon is one of those attractions no one has to miss when in Valle de Bravo. Placed in a serene landscape, surrounded by forest and greenery, this stupa (which was the first one erected in Mexico) encapsulates a part of the essence of Buddhism. 

La Gran Stupa Bön para la Paz Mundial - Sheet1
La Gran Stupa Bön ©pueblosmagicos.com.mx
La Gran Stupa Bön para la Paz Mundial - Sheet2
La Gran Stupa Bön ©mxcity.mx
La Gran Stupa Bön para la Paz Mundial - Sheet3
La Gran Stupa Bön ©espanol.buddhistdoor.net

9. Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís

If Valle de Bravo were to be depicted in one building alone, no doubt the parish of San Francisco de Asís would have been chosen for the task. Located in the very heart of the town, the monument sums up the rich history of the area by its rich architectural vocabulary.

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Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís - Sheet1
Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís ©www.tripadvisor.com
Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís - Sheet2
Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís ©www.posta.com.mx
Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís - Sheet3
Parroquia de San Francisco de Asís ©commons.wikimedia.org

10. Templo de Santa María Ahuacatlán 

Another essential religious building in Valle de Bravo is the 17th-century temple of Santa María Ahuacatlán. Besides being the oldest such building in the region, the architectural piece hosts one of the most mystical objects in town: the Black Christ.

Templo de Santa María Ahuacatlán - Sheet1
Templo de Santa María Ahuacatlán ©mapio.net
Templo de Santa María Ahuacatlán - Sheet2
Templo de Santa María Ahuacatlán ©www.pricetravel.com
Templo de Santa María Ahuacatlán - Sheet3
The Black Christ in the Temple of Santa María Ahuacatlán ©www.posta.com.mx

11. Carmel Maranatha 

For those who would also like to find a place radiating peace and harmony, Carmel Maranatha is the spot to visit. Envisioned as a house of prayers for the Carmelite monks in the ‘70s, the sacred space invites, even today, both meditation and self-examination. 

Carmel Maranatha - Sheet1
Carmel Maranatha entrance ©www.rutanea.org
Carmel Maranatha - Sheet2
Carmel Maranatha ©Patricia Aluzarte
Carmel Maranatha - Sheet3
Carmel Maranatha interior ©commons.wikimedia.org

12. Artisan Market

In order to get the very essence of a place, one has to look at those rather small things that are sometimes even crafted by the locals. Like any other market out there, Mercado de Artesanías not only offers a glimpse of local products (manufactured by locals) but connects to an authentic experience of the place.

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Artisan Market - Sheet1
Artisan Market ©www.familycantravel.com
Artisan Market - Sheet2
Artisan Market ©www.travelwithkevinandruth.com
Artisan Market - Sheet3
Artisan Market ceramics ©mesondeleyendas.com

13. Joaquin Arcadio Pagaza Museum

A cultural center, a library, and a museum; all are gathered under the same roof, the one of Joaquin Arcadio Pagaza Museum. This place does not display permanent and temporary collections, but it works as a catalyst for local artists, both emerging ones and those already well-known.

Joaquin Arcadio Pagaza Museum - Sheet1
Joaquin Arcadio Pagaza Museum ©www.elsoldetoluca.com.mx
Joaquin Arcadio Pagaza Museum - Sheet2
Joaquin Arcadio Pagaza Museum ©www.mexicoescultura.com
Joaquin Arcadio Pagaza Museum - Sheet3
Joaquin Arcadio Pagaza Museum interior ©asisucede.com.mx

14. Jardin Principal, Zocalo 

Roughly located in the center of Valle de Bravo, Jardin Principal -or, locally known as Plaza de Los Tres Arboles- represents the ideal place for a green-break where one could take a few moments and admire the beauty of the area.

Jardin Principal, Zocalo  - Sheet1
Jardin Principal ©tipsparatuviaje.com
Jardin Principal, Zocalo  - Sheet2
– Jardin Principal ©www.cancunalltours.com

15. Valle de Bravo Streets 

One of the beautiful things about being an architect is that you do not necessarily have to go to certain areas advertised on all sorts of web pages to acknowledge a place. You do not have to read infinite blogs about a region so that you get the true essence of it. Sometimes simply walking down the streets in a city or a town may reveal more about it than anything else. 

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Valle de Bravo Streets - Sheet1
Valle de Bravo street ©www.familycantravel.com
Valle de Bravo Streets - Sheet2
Valle de Bravo street ©chieforganizer.org
Valle de Bravo Streets - Sheet3
Valle de Bravo street ©dewildesalhab.com

References

  1. https://tolucalabellacd.com/2019/09/06/donde-ir/parque-estatal-monte-alto-en-valle-de-bravo-edomex/
  2. https://archeyes.com/entre-pinos-houses-taller-hector-barroso/#:~:text=Entre%20Pinos%20(Among%20Pines)%20is,for%20escaping%20from%20the%20metropolis
  3. https://admin.cityexpress.com/blog/el-molino-y-velo-de-novia-cascadas-valle-de-bravo
  4. https://www.familycantravel.com/valle-de-bravo-with-kids/
  5. http://en.travelbymexico.com/valledebravo/places-to-visit/?nom=evdbmusjoaq
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valle_de_Bravo
  7. https://www.pueblosmagicos.travel/directorios/atractivos/gran-stupa-bon-valle-de-bravo
  8. https://www.apoyandolastupa.com/
  9. http://en.travelbymexico.com/valledebravo/places-to-visit/?nom=evdbjardinppal
  10. https://www.wishbird.com.mx/recorrido-en-la-pe-a-de-valle-de-bravo.html
  11. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/travel/20overnighter-valle-de-bravo.html
  12. https://www.visitmexico.com/en/estado-de-mexico/valle-de-bravo
Author

Ștefan is a resourceful and professional young architect. Thirsty for innovation and knowledge, he is always willing to share his passions with the ones around. He finds himself intrigued by the tinniest of wonders and considers words just another material to build up with endless, brand-new possibilities.

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