On our recent trip to Mexico, we spent a day taking in the beauty of millions of monarch butterflies at the Monarch Butterfly Reserve in Michoacán.
About an hour west of the butterfly reserve, on the way back to the colonial city of Morelia, we’d been told was a small archaeological site called San Felipe los Alzati. The San Felipe pyramids are so off the beaten track that many people can’t even find them. Since they could hardly compete with the bigger and more famous Teotihuacan ruins, we weren’t sure whether to explore them or not.
Were we ever glad we did.
The hub alone stretches over 44 acres. The main pyramid was a ceremonial center of the Purepecha, enemies of the Aztecs and one of the few indigenous people who weren’t conquered by them. Because it bordered the land between the Mexica Aztecs and Purepecha, archaeologists think it was a center of defense. Or, it could have served as a place from which merchants could monitor the groups traveling between the West and Mexico to trade goods.
Whether or not you’re an archaeology site fan, there’s no denying the stunning view from the top of the San Felipe pyramids. The pyramids lie on the south side of the Cerro Zirahuato, which peaks at about 7,800 feet, and overlooks the Zirahuato Valley and the forests beyond. Breathtaking!
There’s something to be said for off the beaten path.