This is Cuetzalan
Welcome to Cuetzalan! A hill-top town which has a reputation that proceeds itself amongst most poblanos, but for us foreigners is [most likely] completely unknown. Cuetzalan is a small town set high in the hills of the sierra norte of the state of Puebla, which makes for a great weekend trip. It is only 183 km from the capital, Puebla, but takes around 3 to 4 hours to get there, due to the mountainous roads. Cuetzalan is not just any town but a ‘magical town’ or ‘Pueblo Mágico’. ‘Pueblo Mágico’ is an initiative run by Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism to promote towns that have been specifically hand picked as they offer a magical experience due to to their natural beauty, rich culture or historical importance.
What makes Cuetzalan so magical? It is a stunning town characterised by its cobbled streets and rustic buildings. It offers a breathtaking setting amongst the hills of the Sierra Madre. Cuetzalan’s main town square (zócalo) is beautiful and offers a few market stalls most days. However the best time to visit is the weekend as Sunday offers the biggest market of the week with the local indigenous community selling all types of goods from fruit to meat to textiles. The food sold in Cuetzalan is delicious, just like in the city of Puebla, but somehow eating street food from a town makes it always that much tastier. The prices are very appealing too. For example the ‘gorditas’, pictured would cost you approx. 2 pesos each (bargain!).
It is not only the town center that makes Cuetzalan so worth visiting, but also its surrounding area. Pretty much located amongst a jungle type environment, there are many hikes and trails which will lead you to beautiful waterfalls like the one pictured. I suggest you go to the tourism office, located in the zócalo, and ask for a local guide, who you can pay for the day to take you around to all the waterfalls. If it is a warm day, you can even go for a swim!
Where to stay? I stayed at a hotel called ‘Hotel La Casa de Piedra‘, which I highly recommend, it is about 2 minutes walk from the zócalo and offers a very rustic, intimate and hacienda-like setting. Prices start from approx. 800 pesos.
How do I get there? You can go from Puebla’s biggest bus station CAPU with the bus line, VIA, the trip takes 3.5 hours and costs 161 pesos. You can find the full bus schedule and costs here as well as how to get to Cuetzalan by car.
Any info missing? The town has a website which is a fantastic resource full of information about hotels, places to visit, restaurants and adventure trips. Check it out here. Be warned it is all in spanish, so if you need any help contact me here or on Soy Poblana’s facebook page.