Mexico’s Tourism Secretariat (Sectur) recently announced that Santiago, Nuevo Leon, has been added to its Pueblos Magicos (Magical Towns) program. The Pueblos Magicos program helps increase tourism to towns with historic or religious value, located near large cities or other tourist sites, and reasonably accessible via roads and highways.

Founded in 2001, Pueblos Magicos coordinates local, state and federal efforts, channeling funds so the towns may diversity and improve their tourism infrastructure. The government’s investment in infrastructure results in visitor-friendly destinations that retain the authentic charm of Mexico’s small towns. While the primary focus of Pueblos Magicos is to develop cultural tourism, other segments, such as ecotourism, adventure tourism and rural tourism also fall under the program’s umbrella.

Located in northeast Mexico, Santiago, Nuevo Leon is a colonial town in the center of the state. Just 30 minutes from Monterrey, the state’s capital, Santiago is attractive for nature-lovers with its many accessible opportunities for hiking, horseback riding and camping. Eco-tourists will have plenty to do with attractions like the Cola de Caballo (horse tail) falls, the most famous of northern Mexico with 80-feet-high falls and a picture perfect backdrop.