Pilgrimage in Mexico

I only spent a week in it’s capital, yet Mexico caught my heart with its warm people, delicious food, and colourful culture. And yes, it is safe to travel there, if you don’t go where you are not advised to. For example, a renowned Mexico City pilgrimage site – the Santa Muerte (or Saint Death) chapel is in Tepito – one of the most dangerous areas in the city. Well, I’ve heard it is okay to go there in the daytime, perhaps with a local guide as they have some nice food markets there and the Death cult is growing rapidly with its followers. However, there are more choices of pilgrimage routes in Mexico – both catholic and indigenous – to choose from.

Ruta del Peregrino

Ruta del Peregrino or the Pilgrim’s Route, is a famous catholic pilgrimage destination in Mexico. It starts in the town of Ameca, then goes 117 km through Jalisco mountain range until it reaches the town of Talpa de Allende – home of the Virgin of Talpa. This pilgrimage route reaches a height of 2000 meters and can be very challenging to complete. It is also famous for the monuments that where created by various Mexican and international architects (such as Ai Wei Wei (China), Tatiana Bilbao (Mexico), Luis Aldrete (Mexico), and Christ & Gantenbein (Switzerland), among others) as a part of the landscape and also to accommodate the pilgrims walking or bicycling to Talpa de Allende. The maps I found on the Internet are not very detailed, however, this one looks like a it could be helpful in finding the way. I would also try to find a local tourist information centre or just follow some pilgrim-looking people at the location. Some useful info can be found Mexconnect blog, Guiatalpa website, and Living and working in mexico blog.

Cerro del Cubilete, Guanajuato

At the heart of Mexico on the mountain top of the Cerro del Cubilete there is a shrine with a 23 m high statue of Christo del Rey. The height of the mountain is ~2,7 km and it can be reached by foot or in a vehicle, including tour buses or public transport from the towns nearby. Almost all travellers mention the breath-taking view, however, one should be careful with local criminals on the way and long queues to get to the shrine. More information can be found on the official website (in Spanish).

The Huichol pilgrimage

A very intriguing pilgrimage could be made with the Huichol (or Wixáritari) people – the indigenous Mexican tribe which has long Shamanic traditions. One of those is an annual ~800 km pilgrimage in spring between Isla del Rey near San Blas and Wirikuta sacred site near Real de Catorce (see a map explaining some basics of the Huichol cosmological system). The Wirikuta pilgrimage site is protected by UNESCO as a historical heritage. I believe it is best to walk the pilgrimage with the Huichol tribe to experience it in a traditional way. I would start by making contact with  Huichol Foundation or Mother Earth Project for more information. Additionally, here is a map of the Wirikuta trail.