Valle de Bravo — a lakeside community of 57,000 located in the pine-covered hills west of the country’s Capital — feels almost quintessentially like small-town Mexico.
However, the first to arrive to the area were the Aztecs, who single handedly conquered the region, establishing what would be the last addition to the Aztec empire. After the destruction of Tenochtitlan by the Spanish, the Franciscan friar Gregorio Jiménez de la Cuenca founded the town as a congregation called “El Pino”.
In the 20th century, the geographic configuration of the landscape drastically changed. In 1937 specifically, the Federal Commission on Electricity began plans for the “Miguel Alemán” hydroelectric system. Construction began in 1938 and finished in 1947, ending with the Villa Victoria Dam flooding more than 7,000 acres (2,833 hectares) of land, creating the current reservoir which extends all the way to the state of Michoacán.
But since 1971, when one of Latin America’s most famous countercultural events — the Festival Rock y Ruedas de Avándaro, often referred to as the Woodstock of Mexico — put it on the map, the town has stood apart from the remainder of the country.
Having morphed in recent years into a bastion of the best paragliding in Mexico, and a cosmopolitan refuge for day trips from Mexico City, the town, as it stands today, boasts many ecological, historical, cultural and religious attractions that can appeal to every kind of visitor.