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5 Best Ways to Explore Valle de Bravo, Mexico

This colonial mountain town, 90 miles from Mexico City, is the ideal weekend getaway for idlers and adventurers alike.

By Jeff Spurrier

Wellness: Rodavento Boutique Hotel Clubhouse.

The area's top hotel, the Rodavento Boutique Hotel (Km 3.5, Carr. Los Saucos–Valle de Bravo; 52-726/251-4182; doubles from $120), has 28 stylish—and affordable—tented suites and a Japanese onsen–inspired spa, complete with bamboo furniture, burning incense, and serene fountains. Don't miss the 90-minute Shaman Healing session, which includes an energy-balancing massage.

Cultural: The 17th-cenutry Temple of Santa Maria Ahuacatian.

The cobblestoned town is chockablock with colonial-era sites, including the 17th-century Temple of Santa María Ahuacatlán (Colonia Santa María). The church's fire-blackened Black Christ (Cristo Negro) sculpture is said to perform miracles and attracts thousands of Mexican pilgrims each year. 

On the Water: The town of Valle de Bravo

Valle de Bravo sits just above the shoreline of the man-made Lake Avándaro. Take a tour on a J-24 racing sailboat with expert guide Tito "El Chino" Benítez from Valle la Revista (Embarcadero Municipal; 52-726/262-2400; $50 for up to six passengers). Race other crafts around the lake or lazily explore the area, stopping for a dip under one of three waterfalls. At night, take the three-hour sail on the triple-decker Yate Fiesta Valle (Embarcadero Municipal; 52-726/262-0558; from $12), where locals dance to salsa music and sip cocktails. 

Food: A taquito dorado from a local food stand.

Nowhere are the town's Mediterranean influences more apparent than in its love of Italian food. At Dipao Pizza y Vino(100 J.A. Pagaza; 52-726/262-2965; lunch for two $28), a wood-burning oven delivers crispy, thin-crust pizza. For a Mexican snack, head to one of the stalls on Plaza Principal and try a taquito dorado—filled with meat, grilled onions, sautéed squash blossoms, and rajas (poblano peppers). 

Adventure: Valle de Bravo's Lake Avandaro.

Get a bird's-eye view of Valle's pine forests and mountains with a paragliding lesson from FlyMexico (800/861-7198;flymexico.com; from $120). You'll leap off the 7,300-foot-high Peñón de Temascaltepec, then touch down at restaurant Boga Boga (311 Cinco de Mayo; 52-726/262-7361; lunch for two $15) for grilled trout and a margarita.