By Rosemary McClure
10:15 AM EDT, July 17, 2013
The small Baja Mexico village of Tecate joined a select group of towns recently when it was named a "Pueblo Magico," or "Magical Village," by Mexico’s secretary of tourism.
The designation recognizes Mexican municipalities and towns that have “significant history, cultural traditions and natural beauty.” The Magical Village program, established in 2001, was developed to encourage tourism to small towns and villages by highlighting their uniquely Mexican attributes.
"We’re delighted that Tecate’s cultural richness will continually be preserved for generations to come," said Juan Tintos Funcke, Baja's tourism secretary. He added that the award represented more than "three years of collaboration with various representatives of the tourism sector as well as municipal, federal authorities and the community of Tecate.”
Tecate, known widely for the brewery of the same name, is a two-hour drive southeast of Los Angeles. It owes its “magical” designation, in part, to its Kumiai or Kumeyaay Native American traditions.
El Vallecito, a nearby archaeological site, features native cave paintings dating back 1,500 years.
"Our community retains its charm with a traditional town square and park,” Javier Urbalejo Cinco, Tecate's mayor, said in a statement. “Our magical city is renowned as a wellness destination for visitors to reconnect with nature and reinvigorate the mind, body and soul.”
Tecate has a variety of accommodations, including Rancho la Puerta, a well-known resort and spa, and Rancho los Chabacanos, a rustic ranch that offers temazcal, a traditional sweat lodge treatment and ceremony.
Among the town’s restaurants is Asao, connected to the new Cosmopolitan Hotel; Santuario Diegueño, known for upscale tasting menus, and the newly opened restaurant El Lugar de Nos, where regional ingredients such as hibiscus and lemon verbena are used.
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