Álamos

Álamos has a lovely plaza. In most large cities and even smaller ones, the church is along one side of the plaza, and the municipal building, the palacio municipal, is across from the church on the other side.

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Plaza and the church

Not so in Álamos. The church sits proudly on the south side of the plaza, sprawling an entire square block, but the palacio municipal sits a block down the street from the church. A gracious hotel sits to the west, offices to the east, and on the north there is a long low building with a portico across the entire front, graceful arches and all. In fact, Álamos is knows as La Ciudad de los Portales, the City of the Arched Walkways.

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Shops are behind those arches, but take a look at the alternative transportation!

The plaza has the requisite bandshell along with palm trees, bougainvillea of many colors, and numerous green benches. On cool sunny mornings, old men sit in the sun, talking and smoking. On warm afternoons, mothers, small children, and grandmothers fill the benches. Evenings find people of all ages throughout the plaza.

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This is a true Mexican town. A number of gringos have moved in, but they represent only about five percent of the 13,000 people who live here. Therefore, when in Álamos, you are in real México. It is nothing like visiting a typical Mexican tourist area – except there are tourists because Álamos is close to the US and is so very beautiful.

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The alleyway is for walking, but some streets aren’t much wider than this.

There are fine hotels and restaurants, a great café or two, wonderful street food, and even an old mercado downtown.

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Mercado entrance

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Carneceria, or meat market, in the mercado

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Fresh veggies in the mercado

A true mercado is getting harder and harder to find in México with the rush to building Walmarts, mega grocery stores, and mini malls, but Álamos has lovingly held onto its old market. It helps the town hold her history, her character. I love heading there for groceries or other supplies, to get some fresh tortillas – they will even sell me just one – or to grab a meal at one of the little restaurantes.

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I’m waiting for my ceviche, a seafood cocktail.

Álamos is a designated pueblo mágico, a magic town. The Mexican government began designating towns as magic in 2001. To receive the designation, the town or city must be historically or culturally significant and offer natural beauty. Álamos wins on all three counts. It was established in 1685, it has a rich culture, and its setting is beautiful.

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View from the hills to the east

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Today there are one hundred eleven pueblos mágicos throughout México.

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