Mexico is full of well-kept secrets and magical mysteries, and Tecali is probably the best kept secret in the whole state of Puebla, at least when it comes to keeping tourists in the dark regarding the existence of a small town in the middle of nowhere in the outskirts of Puebla, that pretty much no one knows about. Or at least that's what everyone wants you - the tourist from another part of Mexico or the world - to think.
It's not only the locals who keep Tecali a whispering secret among only the real locals, but also all the businesses pressure so Tecali remains unknown for everyone outside of those who do business with the merchandise sold here.
It comes all the way from Mexico, it's a real piece of art, made by the hands of short craftsmen and women!
Tecali is not a beautiful town per se, the town looks like a normal Mexican town in the middle of nowhere, and even though the locals know how valuable marble is outside of this marbled bubble, they stick to crafting and fabricating sculptures and selling them within the town. It's only thanks to shark businessmen and commerce entrepreneurs who stumbled upon this gold mine that we have tons of stores in the city of Puebla, and over the past decade they have expanded to other regions of Mexico, always keeping the original location a secret, because they don't want any competition and they obviously don't want their customers to realize they are paying five times the real price of a sculpture.
Oh yes, Tecali is part of Mexico's Magic Towns, an initiative that began around 15 years ago to encourage national tourism to spread their wealth within Mexico and to visit places within their country instead of spending their hard earned pesos in the US or Europe. This initiative worked in the beginning, but after a while, every small town with just a single touristic location was deemed a Magic Town and even some towns with no relevant architecture, cultural contribution, social relevance got the Magic Town title only because they have a kickass flea market in the town's square every other Sunday.
At one point I was planning on leaving to the Caribbean for good and start a business there. The marble from Tecali is so cheap that I even considered buying it on the bulk and hiring a couple of craftsmen to come with me and my gf and set a shop in our new destination. I ran the numbers and it was profitable as hell to just bring tons (literal tons) of marble at hilarious prices, pay the craftsmen twice what they made in their hometown, rent a shop in the upscale side of the city, sell only 40% of the new pieces I made every month while having a better price than the local competition... and I would be making enough to buy a full BTC every four months - after my expenses - at this freaking price.
That didn't happen because my plans changed a couple of months ago, but I'm just giving you an example so you picture how cheap this place is compared to the posh stores in the main avenues of your city.
Anyway, I've bored you enough with personal matters, here's the real deal:
Getting to Tecali is easy as hell if you are coming from the city of Puebla - in the state of Puebla. You'll get there in around one hour if you are coming from the downtown area, I'll use the city square as a reference:
And yet, so close to the civilization and so far from being popular...
Every store you find in Tecalli is owned by the same family that crafts the sculptures, no one else could compete with the prices at what they offer their products, so you have at least that, you know you're helping the local family by buying in these stores.
There's an email up there, you can even call them to check if I'm not bullshiting you, those two knights' price are around 300 bucks and the horse, peacock and dinosaur below are around 200 dollars. How much would you pay for those back home?
On every corner of this small as hell town you will find gardens full of sculptures like this one, with old pieces and new ones, expensive and cheap ones. This people are not looking to bargain or negotiate, they know their prices are cheap and if they sell one of them, their monthly expenses are covered - perhaps even more - so they are not in a rush, besides, having a garden full of sculptures attracts tourists like myself - pity I don't have money.
Anyone mentioned ancient Greece? They have that covered in Tecali.
Walking inside every store means a whole new world and endless possibilities, where you have no idea what concepts these craftsmen came up with, and what kind of pieces you will find inside.
Are you recently married and you want your new home to be styled like this? Bring 1k bucks and every corner of your house will look like an 1900's European aristocrat.
Redecorating your bathroom? Why would you pay hundreds of dollars for this when you can spend a couple hundred so your bathroom looks like the one the dutchess of Westfalia has at home?
There are even stores targeted for the really upscale who want to decorate their living room to look like the seventh hell.
It's just incredible to look at these pieces and then take a glimpse at the background, the actual town and realize how crappy this town is apart from their main craft, and how little money it actually flows towards these families that offer an amazing product for such little money.
Wolves, chess, and bathroom pieces, you can find anything in these stores, all you have to do is perform a deep dive, have comfy shoes and endure the sun.
Of course there's an ancient church there like in every town with more than 100 people, it's abandoned now and the new one was built next to this one, but damn, if you have the time to visit, don't do it just for the marble because there's a lot to sightsee in Tecali.