Everyone who asked about our next destination kept saying that there was absolutely nothing to do here, they giggled and asked: “Why would you go to Toluca?”. And even though there is definitely little to do here, there is SOMETHING to do! It’s growing in it’s tourist culture, is what I am saying.
Part of our decision to start with Mexico City was because it’s in the middle of practically everywhere (Tijuana is the corner of Mexico, it’s far away from practically anywhere), we also wanted to get the big city with it’s big expenses out of the way quickly. So from Mexico City to Toluca there is a large difference of it’s rhythm and culture. I’m not saying it’s empty of ANY culture, the options are fewer.
For starters, we went to the ‘Pueblo Mágico’ close to Toluca: Metepec. Pueblos like these have been designated as “magical” because of their colorfulness, the colonial aspect it’s preserved throughout the years, and the quaint feeling in general. Metepec has one major thing to boast: it’s abundance of clay ‘arbol de la vida’. An ‘arbol de la vida’ is a tree-shaped piece known for it’s religious themed decorations, most concerning Creation, Noah’s Arc, the Virgen de Guadalupe, Nativity, and Resurrection. Some are a little more humorous with themes non-related to religion, and some are very fond of the dead (colorful Mexican style). To browse around the markets admiring them all is a delight all on it’s own.
Back in Toluca, most of what we did was walk around the streets, have some ice-cream, and visit their beautiful botanic garden (Jardin Botánico Cosmovitral). It’s one thing to have a botanic garden with small fountains and a small river, it’s another to have it surrounded by cosmic themed “vitrales”. It’s like wandering in Wonderland.
It was a short and relaxing day, although after rushing in Mexico City enormousness it’s much appreciated, and it was nice to discover the city with our Couchsurfing host acting as guide, providing the cliff-notes of it’s cultural history. And although we can’t guarantee we’ll be back soon, we know that if we ever do get back Toluca will surely have something new to offer.
P.S. Don’t leave the state before having a “pambazo”!