This town’s name translates to sponge ground; this is due to all its minery town activity the town used to have until it stop after miraculously surviving a catastrophic flood. Now, the town makes the most unique Christmas Ornaments, and this is the best place to buy them!
This charming town has a few activities that will keep you busy for a full day. You can visit its main plaza, the Lopez Rayon brothers museum, important characters of the Mexican independence, the two stars mine, an old silver mine that was transformed into a museum, about 1 mile from the town. But the main reason to visit this town, its all the glass-blown Christmas ornaments manufactured here. After the minery activity ended in the city, the entire town started making Christmas ornaments. If you wander around the town, you can find all the different small shops trough all the city, just be aware that most of these shops don’t have any signs outside, so don’t forget to look around.
Most people visit “Santa's Village” the most touristy and expensive shop in the town. If you visit the city with a tour, they will most likely drop you close to this shop, and point you in its direction. I found that I was able to get a better price in almost any other shop in town, but this place is nicely themed as a Santa village and takes credit cards.
If you visit Tlalpujahua during their annual Christmas Ornament Festival (la Feria de la esfera), (29 Sep to 16 Sep during 2018), you can find several places where all the shops in town have an “esfera” stand. The main place to go in the city auditorium and the main plaza, you are going to find endless shops in both places, wander around first and take note of the ones you liked, as each shop usually has a few unique creations that you will not find anywhere else.
To get rock bottom prices, and an interesting demonstration of how they make, paint and decorate glass-blown Christmas ornaments, take a cab (you can also walk the very steep streets to get there if you wish) to the local ornament factory los Mora and join the free factory tour (don’t forget to tip the person doing the demonstration).
WHERE TO STAY
Stay in Morelia and do a day trip, (we recommend taking a tour that combines Tlalpujahua and the Monarch Butterfly sanctuary).
And i you are in the city, don’t forget to take our audio tour.
With 4 hours or more of free time:
The best approach to buying ornaments, is to spend 1.5 hours visiting as many shops as you can, then visit the sanctuary to take a visual break. After you are rested, swing by the local factory, take the tour/demo and see what ornaments are available, then make your way back to the main plaza and buy those unique ornaments you saw at the beginning. If you have spare time, visit the museum and the two stars (dos estrellas) mine.
With 60 minutes or less:
If you are on a tour, or with limited in time, take 5-10 minutes to visit the sanctuary (if they dropped off you close-by). Skip the factory, mine and museums and visit the auditorium, or at least visit three different shops if you are not visiting during the Ornament festival, and buy as many ornaments as you can carry, worst case scenario, you’ll end with an over 50 souvenirs for all your friends as I did!