The History, Culture and Attractions of Tecate, a “Pueblo Magico” or Magic Town


The city of Tecate was named a Pueblo Magico, or Magic Town by Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism. Although the declaration was originally made in November 2012, the town has recently completed upgrades.

Tecate is number 75 of 83 Magic Towns to receive this honor in Mexico, which recognizes municipalities and towns with significant history, cultural traditions and natural beauty through a collaboration of the state and federal governments. Developed in 2001, the Magical Village Program was formed to encourage tourism to these villages and small towns by highlighting their uniquely Mexican attributes.

Photos courtesy of Baja Tourism

Photos courtesy of Baja Tourism

Tecate’s magic is rooted in its Kumiai traditions, which are honored and preserved at the Tecate Community Museum that features exhibits with authentic regional artifacts, murals, sculptures and photographs about the area’s history. Mount Kuchumaa and Serpent Mountain, sacred to the Kumiai people, line the town, and the nearby El Vallecito archeological site features native cave paintings as old as 1,500 years. At El Vallecito, visitors can find the famous cave painting of “El Diablito,” whose eyes light up every December for the winter solstice.

“Since our soil is among the healthiest in the world and our community retains its charm with a traditional town square and park, Tecate attracts visitors from many countries who seek a restful and healing escape,” said Javier Urbalejo Cinco, Mayor of Tecate. “Our magical city is renowned as a wellness destination for visitors to reconnect with nature, and reinvigorate the mind, body and soul.”

Tecate4Traditionally an agricultural hub, Tecate is home to a diverse array of ranches with guest accommodations, some more than a century old, including Rancho Ojai, Rancho Cienega Redonda and Rancho Tecate. Rancho La Puerta, consistently awarded one of the World’s Best Destination Spas, dedicates itself to preserving the town’s natural beauty, sustainability, sense of community, and much more through its Fundación La Puerta. Rancho Los Chabacanos keeps pre-Hispanic traditions alive through Temazcal, a traditional sweat lodge treatment and ceremony, and will open a new “Pachamama Fair Trade” farmer’s market offering artisanal, local and organic food products later this year.

Tecate3“We’re honored for Tecate to be a Pueblo Magico, which is a testament to how dedicated the community is to preserving its heritage,” said Baja California State Tourism Secretary Juan Tintos Funcke. “We welcome more visitors to experience all of the magic and attractions this enticing destination has to offer.”

In addition to its place in brewing culture with the famous brewery of the same name, Tecate is defining its own flavor as an emerging culinary destination with creative chefs using indigenous ingredients and a mix of traditional and progressive techniques and styles. Asao, the gourmet restaurant connected to the new Cosmopolitan hotel, Santuario Diegueño, is known for upscale tasting menus that take visitors on a gastronomic journey. At newly opened restaurant El Lugar de Nos, Chef Mariela Manzano “cooks with love” as well as tantalizing regional ingredients like hibiscus and lemon verbena.

Tecate1For more information about Tecate and Baja California, visit and

About Baja California

Located just south of San Diego, Baja California, Mexico offers stunning Pacific Ocean beaches, warm waters of the Sea of Cortez, forests, mountains, deserts and bays. The state’s five municipalities, Ensenada, Mexicali, Playas de Rosarito, Tecate and Tijuana, have unparalleled landscapes of tremendous beauty. Visitors can enjoy a variety of attractions including sport fishing, bike riding, off-road racing as well as exploring the missions, cave paintings and wine country, among others.  Visit, follow us on Twitter at @discoverbaja, and like us on Facebook.

About Tecate

The “heart between two oceans,” Tecate is protected by the sacred Mt. Kuchumaa where pure winds blow amidst crystal-clear water springs and the suns shines nearly 350 days a year. Resting on fertile valleys of olive trees and vines, the city is an important agriculture hub with several nearby ranches for horse trail riding. A quaint, classic Mexican village, visitors will be charmed by the open air craft markets, legendary sweet bread at El Mejor Pan and Colonial style architecture. Tecate is also home to several world-class destination spas, ancient cave paintings, cosmopolitan hotels and restaurants, and the famous brewery named for the city. For more information about Tecate, visit

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Susie Albin-Najera
Susie Albin-Najera is the creator and editor of The Mexico Report, an award winning travel blog showcasing news, deals and resources for the modern traveler. Najera is a writer, author, travel blogger, marketing and public relations specialist and producer. Najera serves on the host committee for Maestro Cares, founded by singer Marc Anthony and producer Henry Cardenas; and on the advisory board for Corazon de Vida, providing aid to children in Mexico. She is also the creator of 'The Real Heroes of Mexico' showcasing community heroes in Mexico and producer of Latino Thought Makers. Najera has been recognized by the Mexican Consulate and Mexico Tourism Board for fostering positive relations between countries and her dedication to showcasing Mexico as a premiere destination. She can be reached at

1 comment for “The History, Culture and Attractions of Tecate, a “Pueblo Magico” or Magic Town

  1. sharon Pankey
    2013-06-15 at 6:00 am

    Interesting and well done.

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