The Xochipila of Xicotepec de Juárez is a small Aztec pyramid built atop a large natural boulder. It was originally dedicated to the god Xochipilli, hence its name, and then to Saint John the Baptist as a Catholic evangelization move. For centuries both figures mixed and the pyramid is now the center of worship to the saint-like Juan (also known as Juanito) Tecachalco.
Due to this religious significance, its history and dramatic natural location, La Xochipila is one of Xicotepec’s main touristic attractions. The path leading to it was rather neglected, however, until a 2015 project saw it transformed into the Ciudad Mural (Mural City). Local funds and those provided by OneMBA allowed the artists of Colectivo Tomate (also responsible for other Ciudad Mural projects in Mexico) to decorate the walls of houses facing the Xochipila path with a number of colorful images.
A Spanish conquistador reimagined as a centaur meets an Aztec warrior fused with the feathered snake Mesoamerican deity to symbolize the cultural mix that lead to Juan Tecachalco and a majority of Mexico’s population. Xochipilli himself makes an appearance, both as a well-known sculpture and as a human reinterpretation with his mythological attributes. Xicotepec’s legacy as a historical coffee-growing region is represented as well.
Since the Xochipila is located near the bottom of a small canyon, with the city center uphill, the path follows the dramatic shape of the walls. The murals themselves can be seen at both eye level and up high, on the houses above.
Know Before You Go
The path to La Xochipila is well-lit even at night, but it is recommended to visit during the day as the path involves lots of steps up and down the ravine. These steps also make the trail not recommended for people with mobility issues.