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Surrounded by the rolling hills of Central Mexico, Valley De Bravo is one of the most popular day trips from Mexico City along Lake Avandaro.
One of the most popular pueblos magicos in Mexico with a quaint old town dating back to the 16th century, charming cobblestone streets, and cozy cafes, where you can grab a freshly baked pastry with some hot chocolate. Whether you want to go hiking, paraglide over the spectacular valley, or enjoy a boat ride on the lake, you will love this destination.
Dubbed the Mexico City Hamptons by the Architectural Digest Magazine, Valle De Bravo is one of the most popular destinations for the wealthy residents of Mexico City who come here to escape the big city.
It’s also a perfect place to combine with the nearby Monarch Butterfly, one of the best places to visit in Mexico to watch the beautiful butterflies.
I spent a few days in the area, but felt like it was not nearly enough, as there is so much to do in this place! In this article, I will share some of my favorite things to do in the area, so you can visit this amazing destination.
✅ Read: Can I pay with US dollars in Mexico?
Best things to do in Valle De Bravo Mexico
It’s is one of my favorite places in Mexico, and you can spend a while here. I’ve visited this town several times and ended up extending my stay here because this place has so much to do.
Below are some of my favorite activities in this place that you should try during your stay.
1. Explore the Historic Center of Valle De Bravo
The historic center is a perfect place to start your trip and get familiar with the town.
The Parroquia de San Francisco de Asia is the centerpiece of the gorgeous plaza, surrounded by the beautiful park (JardinPrincipal), a gazebo (Kiosko), and many benches. The red-tile buildings with white walls line the cobblestone streets, giving the town a distinct look.
Take Calle 5 Mayo from the center, and you will find stores, restaurants, and photo spots before arriving at Lake Avandaro.
2. Enjoy Lake Avandaro
Lake Avanadaro is the man-made lake that’s the main attraction of this town. Here you can enjoy many water sports like kayaking, boating, waterskiing, and paddle boarding.
Can you swim in Lake Avandaro?
You can also swim in lake Avandaro, although the water stays chilly even during warmer summer months.
Luckily, you don’t have to endure the cold water to enjoy this magnificent lake. Take a boat tour from the Embarcadero Municipal Valle de Bravo. You can get tickets for a boat tour on the spot at the ticket office near the dock.
3. Try paragraphing
Paragliding is one of the most popular things to do in Valle de Bravo thanks to its elevation of 6,070 feet (1,850 meters).
When you walk around the Old Town, you will find numerous tour agencies advertising paragliding. If you sign up for paragliding, you will have an experienced instructor with you.
However, there are also many paragliding schools, where you can learn this popular sport.
4. Piedra Herrada Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
The sanctuary is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Property Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve famous for millions of monarch butterflies who migrate here from Canada every year in search of a warmer climate. It’s one of the most popular destinations for eco-tourism in Mexico.
How to get from Valle De Bravo to Piedra Herrada?
Since there are no buses or other public transportation between Valley De Bravo and Piedra Herrada, you can take a taxi or rent a car to get there.
Plan your trip for a bright sunny day, because that’s when the butterflies are most active. I visited the sanctuary on a cloudy day in January, and unfortunately, didn’t see a lot of butterflies flying around, as they were mostly on the trees.
GOOD TO KNOW: The butterfly season lasts from December through March, and it’s the only time when you can see them.
Entrance fee is 70 Mexican Pesos per person and has to be paid in cash.
Monarch butterfly tours from Mexico City
One of the most popular options is a Monarch butterfly tour from Mexico City. The tour picks you up early morning from your hotel and brings back in the evening. You spend a day exploring the sanctuary and learning about the butterflies before heading back.
5. Go kayaking on Lake Avandaro
Kayaking on Lake Avandaro is one of the most popular things to do in Valle De Bravo. Another option is paddle boarding, which is popular in summer. You can rent a kayak or paddleboard in many places around the lake for an hourly rate.
Another option is to join a kayaking tour of the lake which can arranged with one of the tour companies in the area.
6. Check out waterfront
The waterfront of Lake Avandaro (or Malecon in Spanish) is a perfect place to enjoy a relaxing walk and take some photos. It’s also where you can find many restaurants and tour agencies selling different activities like paragliding, boat rides, and ATVs.
I stopped at the Malecon around the sunset and enjoyed watching the sun goes down, as the entire valley was lit up in golden colors.
7. Shop in the Mercado Artesanias
The town is known for its artisans, and you can find arts and crafts made from wood, clay, ceramics, and iron at the Artisan Market in the center a few blocks away from the main square.
Calle Joaquin Arcadia Pagaza also has many artisan stalls where you can find handmade crafts made in small towns surrounding Lake Avandaro, including the indigenous Mazahua and Otomi people who create colorful fabrics.
8. Grab some baked goodies in one of the local bakeries
When you walk around the old town, you will notice many panaderias (local bakeries) that sell everything from pastries to freshly baked bread. It’s a perfect way to start the morning and you can pair it with a cup of hot chocolate, which is delicious.
9. Visit Avandaro
Avandaro is a wealthy town that’s home to a small downtown with stores, restaurants, and small cafes where you can grab some ice cream and coffee. Avandaro makes for a nice mini trip.
Things to know about Avandaro Mexico
The area is home to prized real estate, with multimillion-dollar homes overlooking the lake. It’s a quick trip where you can spend a couple of nights glamping or enjoying some of the best hotels in the area like
10. Hike to Cascada Velo de Novia
Cascada Velo de Nova (or bride’s veil) is one of the highlights of Avandaro, in Vela De Nova Park that can be reached by a quick hike from the entrance. The waterfall is about 35 meters (115 feet) and makes for a great photo background.
11. Enjoy the view of Lake Avandaro from Mirador La Pena
Mirador La Pena is one of the most popular hikes that provides one of the best overlooks of Lake Avandaro and the entire valley.
It’s a quick but steep trail with some boulders along the way that you are going to climb over. For a better experience, wear good hiking shoes. Depending on your level of physical fitness, you might want to take a taxi to the beginning of the trail or walk through the town, if you are ready for a workout.
12. The Great Stupa
Located in the Rancheria Los Alamos, the Great Stupa is the first one in Mexico. The Buddhist monument is 36 meters tall and is the largest stupa in the Western World.
13. Archaeological Museum
Visiting the Archaeological Museum is home to many artifacts dating to the Pre-Hispanic times like jewelry, pottery, and various figurines.
You can also find various artifacts from the surrounding areas in the state of Mexico that showcase the history of this place and talk about the people that used to live in this area.
Address: Av. Costera S/N, Sta. María, Ahuacatlán, 51200 Valle de Bravo, Mexico
14. Monte Alto State Park
Hiking is one of the most popular things to do in Valle De Bravo, and if you are in the mood for some more of it, you can check out the Monte Alto State Park, an area that offers trails for hiking, mountain biking, as well as paragliding.
15. Cascada Refugio del Salto Waterfall
El Salto waterfall is another highlight of the area that takes between 20-30 minutes via a marked trail that goes along the river.
Another option is to take a taxi to the Misión Grand Valle de Bravo, one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in Valle de Bravo, where you can grab lunch in a beautiful setting right next to the waterfall.
16. Enjoy the sunset from the Mirador Cruz de Mission
One of the best spots for watching the sunset, Mirador Cruz de Mission is an overlook is located a short distance from the main plaza (plaza principal).
To get to Mirador Cruz de Mission, you need to take the road Calle del Deposito and turn to Cruz de Mission. The entire walk takes about 10 minutes.
Where is Valley De Bravo Mexico?
Valle de Bravo is in the state of Mexico (Estado de Mexico) along Lake Avandaro. It’s approximately 156 km southwest of Mexico City and 76 km west of Toluca.
It’s located near Michoacan, one of the most overlooked destinations in Mexico, home to Morelia, a colonial city and UNESCO World Heritage Site; and Patzcuaro, one of the most beautiful pueblos magicos in Mexico.
If you are staying in the area for a couple of days, take a day trip to Morelia, to experience the hidden gem of Mexico.
How to get to Valle Bravo Mexico
Valle de Bravo is one of the most popular places to visit near Mexico City, and that can be reached in about 2 hours. You can get here from Mexico City by car and by bus.
One of the options is to take a bus from Mexico City to Toluca, about 30 minutes away, and from there, take another bus.
How far is Valley De Bravo from Mexico City?
Valle De Bravo is about 140 km away from Mexico City. It takes between 2 and 2,5 hours to get there.
Where do I fly into Valley de Bravo?
You should fly into Mexico City International Airport (MEX), but if you are traveling from one of the destinations within Mexico, you can book a flight to Toluca International Airport (TLC).
Mexico City to Valle De Bravo by bus
I can’t speak about what a bus ride is like to Valle De Bravo, because I rented a car in Mexico City to get to Valle De Bravo, but here’s some basic information on the topic:
To get from Mexico City to Valle de Bravo by bus, take an Uber to Terminal de Autobuses de Poniente (Terminal Observatorio).
You will need to buy a ticket for Zinabus, a company that serves the route. You can also buy their tickets online (this way, you get a 10 percent discount). Ticket prices range depending on the time of your trip.
If you plan to buy tickets at the ticket office, have cash on you, as credit cards are not always accepted.
Mexico City to Valle De Bravo by car rental
A car rental is my preferred way of traveling from Mexico City to Valle De Bravo. You can rent a car at Mexico City International Airport as soon as you land.
I recommend (and use) DiscoverCars, one of the most popular platforms for renting cars online, where you can find dozens of vehicles at competitive rates.
All you need to do is type in your travel dates, specify the type of vehicle that you are looking for, and the platform will do all the work for you showing you all the available options.
One of the best things about booking your vehicle with DiscoverCars is that you can also buy your Mexican car insurance with them which is required to drive a car in the country.
This way, everything will be taken care of and by the time you arrive at the office, all you need is your documents and a couple of signatures before you can embark on your journey.
What is the drive like from Mexico City to Valle de Bravo?
The drive from Mexico City will take you at least 2 hours (and possibly a bit more if there’s traffic), and the fastest way to travel is by taking a paid road 15D, which has a tool. Make sure to have Pesos on you to pay for the road because credit cards are not accepted.
Mexico City to Valle de Bravo Guided Tours
You can also visit Valle De Bravo from Mexico City with one of the guided tours, one of the fastest and most convenient ways to organize your trip, which allows you to skip all of the logistics.
You can join a group tour from Mexico City, but I suggest a private tour of Valle De Bravo for a better experience so you can have the undivided attention of your guide and show the highlights of this destination during a day tour.
Best hotels in Valley de Bravo
Valley De Bravo is known for its high-end hotels and glamping, but you can still find many options here for any budget.
✅ Mid-budget: Casa Chichipicas – a beautiful boutique hotel about 4.8 miles from Cascadas Velo de Novia, that offers a home-like stay with a garden, free private parking, and a terrace. The property also has an on-site restaurant, a bar, and a hot tub.
✅ Luxury: Rodavento Boutique Hotel & Spa – a perfect hotel for a relaxed getaway, Rodavento is a resort in the middle of the forest that has a gorgeous setting lake, on-site facilities including a pool, restaurant and bar and welcoming atmosphere.
Valle De Bravo Mexico: FAQs
Is Valle De Bravo safe?
Valle De Bravo is one of the safest destinations in Mexico, and while it doesn’t have much crime, you should still watch your surroundings. Keep an eye on your belongings and stay on the cautious side, especially if traveling alone.
If you plan on hiking or adventuring, always keep someone posted about your whereabouts.
I always recommend buying travel insurance, regardless of which destination in Mexico you are going to visit.
Travel insurance will come in handy if you plan to visit other destinations in Mexico. Safety Wing insurance is the most popular choice among travelers that protects you in case you get sick, lose your luggage or your flight gets canceled. It’s perfect for long-term travelers too.
Another choice is Safety Wing which is suitable for long-term travelers and has several plans.
Is Valle De Bravo worth a visit?
Valle De Bravo is one of the most charming destinations in Mexico that is often compared to the Hamptons in New York thanks to the expensive real estate and the many opportunities for relaxation and outdoor adventures like hiking, mountain biking, and boating.
It’s a popular destination for weekend trips and day trips from Mexico City, as it’s perfect t escape the hustle and bustle of the big city and spend time in nature.
What is Valle De bravo known for?
Valle De Bravo is one of the most popular places to visit near Mexico City that’s known for paragliding, hiking, and the beautiful Lake Avandaro.
How to get around Valle De Bravo Mexico?
The area is pretty compact, and you can easily explore it on foot. If you want to visit some of the destinations that are further away, like the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, you can catch a taxi. Another popular option for getting around is an ATV, which can be rented from many local businesses.
How many days do I need in Valle De Bravo?
You can spend as little as one day or as long as a few weeks – it all depends on your plans! If you want to enjoy some of the best things to do in Valle De Bravo like hiking, paragliding, and water activities on Lake Avandaro, plan no less than 3 days to get a good feel for this place.
How many people live in Valle De Bravo?
Valle De Bravo is home to about 61,600 people.
What is the best time to visit Valle De Bravo?
The area boasts a mild climate year-round, with temperatures staying around between mid- 60’s and low 70s most of the time. The best time to visit is from December through April as the weather stays dry and sunny during these months.
The area has cool winters, so it’s essential to bring some layers like jackets and sweaters, with January being the coldest month. October through late April is the dry season which has mild sunny weather that’s perfect for enjoying outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking.
Summer is the rainy season, which lasts from June through early October, so always keep that in mind when planning your trip.
Valle De Bravo is one of the most beautiful places in Central Mexico, and if it’s not already on your budget list, you should put it there. The area is renowned for its outdoor scenery and water activities and makes for a perfect escape from the busy capital if you want to enjoy nature and a slower pace of life.
Whether you plan to spend a few days enjoying some of the best things to do in the area or just visiting on a quick trip, you will love this quaint town along one of the most picturesque lakes in Mexico.