This is Malinche
La Malinche, a dormant volcano, looms over Puebla, just as Popocatépetl does, but from the neighbouring state of Tlaxcala. La Malinche isn’t exactly Poblana, but does have historical context for Poblanos and also makes for a great trip from Puebla. [This blog isn’t just about Puebla but also about destinations that you can get to easily from Puebla]. The volcano is part of a National Park, with the same name, established in 1938. It is a great weekend destination, where you can enjoy being the outdoors. There is a ‘vacation center’ called ‘Centro Vacacional Malintzi‘ where you can rent cabins (at very affordable prices especially if you are a big group), or camp. The website provides all the necessary information on how to get there by public transport/car, as well as the cost of the cabins.
The best thing to do is drive there the afternoon before you want to hike up La Malinche (I recommend taking your own food/drinks), and then the following morning, get up early and start the hike up the volcano at around 6.30/7am. The cabins provide you with plenty of blankets for the cold weather, and you can buy wood to make a fire (there is a fireplace in every cabin) in the center’s store. The ‘Centro Vacacional Malintzi’ is the last point at which you can drive your car to before starting the hike. To get to the top of the Malinche, not the highest peak, but where you are beyond the tree line is about a 3 hour hike up (it will take between 1 and 2 hours to get back down). The hike isn’t particular difficult in terms of steepness/distance but it can be challenging because of the altitude. The Malinche has an elevation of 4,461m, which is 2,299m above Puebla. Those of you who are in shape won’t struggle but I definitely did. Overall going up and coming down will take about 4/5 hours. It’s best to start early so that you can enjoy the view before the fog settles in – once it does you won’t have any kind of a view. Also I’d take some snacks and a warm coat for when you get higher up.
I would recommend this hike to everyone, but especially if you are the outdoorsy type. Completing the hike will give you a real sense of accomplishment as well as experiencing stunning views (if you make it high enough you can see Puebla). If you are a bit sceptical about it then I will leave you with this quote from one of my favourite films (Into the Wild): ‘the core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences’.