San Andrés Totoltepec is today most famous for its position on the Ciclopista Ferrocarril, the Cuernavaca Railroad Bike Trail. One of the original settlements of Tlalpan, the town is well worth a visit no matter how you arrive.
Totol, meaning “turkey” added to Tepetl meaning “hill,” gives us an idea of the Nahuatl name: Hill of Turkeys or more more likely, Hill of Wild Birds. The town is historically a Tecpanec settlement, believed to have been first settled in 1345. The indigenous population of the town were granted title to the land they had worked in 1560, and with some interruptions, have maintained it ever since.
The town shares much culture and history with the neighboring towns of Santo Tomás Ajusco, and San Miguel Ajusco. Today’s Totoltepec is still independent and a fascinating small town, even right in the city.
The town church was was built between 1770 and 1773. The façade dates from the 18th century and was later modified to contrast with the pink quarried stone. The temple has a single nave, choir and presbytery, and hosts a an 18th-century altarpiece, still in good condition. Above the tabernacle is a niche with a statue of Saint Andrew carved in wood. An 18th-century painting depicts San Isidro Labrador.
The celebrated bike trail passes directly through San Andrés Totoltepec. It doesn’t however begin here. In fact, the same path proceeds through much of Mexico City, as did the railway that preceded it. Bicyclists arrive in Totoltepec because from here one can avoid the more urban stretches of the bike trail that only finally end here. From here, the bikeway proceeds to Parres el Guarda, the last settlement within Mexico City limits.