Tulum recently submitted its application to join part of Mexico’s famous “Pueblos Mágicos” program (known as “Magic Towns” in English), which recognizes towns that have gone to great lengths to protect and save their cultural heritage. Tulum seems like a shoe-in for the recognition, especially thanks to its beautifully preserved Mayan ruins.
The request for Pueblo Mágico status was sent to Sectur, Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, after fulfilling all the requirements to be accepted into the program. Pueblos Mágicos must include the following criteria:
- Conservation of symbolic attributes
- Architectural beauty
- Site of historic moments and legends
- Towns with extensive history and culture
- Present-day community
- Locals maintain customs and traditions
- No further than 200 km (or 2 hours) by land from a popular tourism destination
- Population of at least 20,000 people
The Pueblos Mágicos program was originally created by Sectur back in 2001 and includes 83 towns throughout Mexico. Today’s Pueblos Mágicos include pre-hispanic towns, colonial towns from the reign of the Spanish empire, areas that still practice ancestral traditions and sites of historic events. The towns give adventurous tourists a look at another side of Mexican culture beyond its pristine beaches, margaritas and mariachi bands. Travelers can now have a better idea of places to go that might be off the beaten path, but still hold as much charm (or maybe even more so) than Mexico’s beautiful beach destinations.
If Tulum is accepted as one of Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos, it would be only the second town in the state of Quintana Roo to hold the distinction, after the lagoon town of Balacar in the southern part of the state.
Martin Cobos Villalobos, the municipal president of Tulum, stated, “It’s a decision that the federal government has in its hands. We have fulfilled the requirements established in the program’s rules of operation.”