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Tepoztlan, Mexico

That’s more than a smudge on the mountaintop just north of the Mexican city of Tepoztlán. It’s Tepozteco, a pyramid built 700 years ago by Aztecs. Tepoztlán’s fascinating history also is peopled with conquistadors and missionaries, and more recently the city has attracted New Age seekers, tourists and Mexico City sophisticates seeking a weekend retreat. Besides being thick with myth and history, Tepoztlán is walkable, and the weather is mild. (Chris Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Should you care to honor Tepoztecatl, the pyramid honoring the god of fertility and pulque -- call it Aztec moonshine -- a path that rises 1,300 feet in 1.2 miles will bring you to Tepozteco. The hike offers a splendid view of town and mountains, a vista made dreamy by shifting mists. By the way, you can still buy pulque, made from fermented agave juice, all over Tepoztlán. (Chris Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Horses occasionally join the cars and pedestrians on Tepoztlán’s Avenida Tepozteco. The town’s actual main drag, it leads past ancient walls, bold-colored eateries and modest lodgings before giving way to the path to the pyramid. (Chris Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Tepoztlán counts about 35,000 souls, and clearly many of them favor the weekend crafts market on Avenida Revolución. Just off that artery, in the city center, are a 16th century church and former convent. Every year in early September, the city stages festivities to celebrate the arrival of Christianity in the early 1500s. (Chris Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
The Hotel Amatlán de Quetzalcóatl is deemed to be kid-friendly, and an inviting pool suggests it’s swimmer-friendly as well. The hotel, about 5 miles outside Tepoztlán, also has a tennis court, stables and spa services, and offers rooms from $82. (Chris Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Another hotel, another pool -- the one that is kept at about 80 degrees at Posada del Tepozteco, a 22-room inn in Tepoztlán. It began life as a mansion in the 1940s and boasts commanding views of the area’s valley and mountains as well as crisp, bilingual service and the fanciest restaurant in town. Doubles from $180. (Chris Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
La Santísima, one of the city’s eight neighborhood churches, is a stately presence on Avenida Tepozteco. But not all belief is traditional in Tepoztlán. The New Age/holistic/herbal persuasion also has its followers, given the scores of American and European expats who have arrived in recent years. So you can get your chakras harmonized and ions cleansed just down the street from where you get your fresh guacamole and pollo en mole(Chris Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Asian influences, such as a statue at the upscale Hostel de la Luz hostel and spa, turn up often at spas and holistically inclined businesses. As for rejuvenating processes, a Times reporter experienced an Aztec steam bath in a little stone igloo-like structure, with ventilation holes in the roofs and a fireplace for heating rocks nearby. The purification ceremony is called a temazca(Chris Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
A wood carving casts a steely gaze at the boutique Taj Mahal. A Times reporter wandering the zócalo stopped in to find the shop selling crystals, fossils, masks and Asian imports as well. (Chris Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
A painted mask is among the wares at the Tepozquilas boutique in downtown Tepoztlán. (Chris Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Coatimundis make a nice living near the pyramid begging snacks from hikers, who can negotiate the route to Tepozteco in less than an hour. (Chris Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)