Photos: César Rincón, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
The Tepepan station on the Xochimilco Light Rail is the front door for the original settlement of Santa María Tepepan, one of 13 original settlements in Xochimilco. Tepepan, the name, comes from the Nahuatl language and means simply “on the hill.” The station logo is thus the Mexica symbol or glyph for a hill.
International visitors arrive to Tepepan for the annual fiestas and accompanying street fair. It’s among the best attended in Xochimilco and falls between the 11th and 17th of August of each year. Santa Maria Tepepan is recognized for having hosted a temple to Tonantzin during the ancient period. A mother goddess, she was widely venerated in ancient Tepeyac. Today she’s often thought to have preceded the Virgin of Guadalupe honored at the Basilica today.
The Tepepan station is roughly a 15-minute walk south from the station. The center of the town, when not inundated by the street fair, is like hundreds of pleasant small towns in Mexico. Built and paved nearly entirely from volcanic stone, the town’s twists and turns are highlighted by an increasing number of small cafes and eateries. On the other side of the station, tbe Bosque Residencial Sur neighborhood is buffered from the busy Periférico area by the pleasant Kyle Rock Park. It’s practically right outside the station.