San Sebastian del Oeste, Mexico
Even if the windows are rolled up, the smell of San Sebastian works its way into the car as you turn off the two lane highway that runs through the mountains, over a canyon, and past–in the distance–agave fields.
Rafael Sanchez’s coffee.
No matter the time of day, that smell of warm roasted beans would make me stop. I’d be rewarded not only with a large thimble-size shot of just-made coffee, but also the story of the Sanchez family, which has been involved in coffee production for five generations.
It’s unlikely you’d have gone out of your way to visit San Sebastian before it was named one of Mexico’s Pueblos Magicos, “Magic Towns,” in December 2011.
And even now, after securing inclusion on the Pueblo Magico roster, you might, upon arrival, wonder how it got listed at all.
The town’s zocalo is lethargic and the sites of interest seem limited to the Church of San Sebastian, which, while pretty, is not among the country’s most impressive.
But that’s the thing: if you’re in a rush, you’re going to miss everything that’s important and interesting about this tiny mining town: the Hacienda Jalisco and Dona Conchita museums; the one room jail; the simple beauty of cobbled streets and colorful homes and slow, small-town life.