TEPOZTLÁN, MEXICO (AFP) – With its restorative rituals and yoga retreats, Mexico has become a magnet for spiritual tourists seeking an alternative vacation away from the troubles of the modern world.
While many visitors head straight for the beach, a different type of tourist chooses the village of Tepoztlan, a paradise for artists and intellectuals an hour’s drive from the capital.
Some of its inhabitants once came for a short stay and found it difficult to leave.
“I love the vibe here,” said Ania Bitiutskaia, a 31-year-old Russian living at the foot of Tepozteco Mountain, the legendary birthplace of the Aztec feathered serpent deity Quetzalcoatl.
“People are more relaxed, more spiritual,” she added, browsing an organic market where the sound of folk guitar and drumbeats filled the air. “I don’t see a lot of news. I almost live in the mountains,” Bitiutskaia said, adding that she preferred to know as little as possible about the war in Ukraine.
Special vibes come at a price: Costing more than $50-$60 a night, hotels in Tepoztlan are more expensive than those in many parts of Mexico, which welcomed nearly 32 million foreign tourists last year.
Visitors can also stay at holistic centers offering yoga and meditation. “Since the pandemic, many people have come to live in Tepoztlan…foreigners as well as people from Mexico City who realized their energy would be blocked,” said Alizbeth Camacho, of Luz Azul (Blue Light) Holistic Center.
Camacho offers clients “aura images” to visualize their energy, karma and chakras.
The temazcal, a kind of Mesoamerican sweat lodge that guide Nicolas Lopez says can “awaken our spirit, our soul,” is another major attraction on Mexico’s New Age tourist route.
Near the Mayan pyramids of Palenque in Chiapas, visitors enter Lopez’s heated chamber filled with the aroma of incense and dance to the sound of a tambourine.
“It’s something sacred, pure,” Valeria, a 30-year-old Mexican tourist.
Landero said after experiencing the smudge ceremony with her husband and teenage daughter.
“It’s about letting it all out, the illnesses, all the bad stuff, and bringing me pure positivity,” she said.