The views get seriously dramatic as you head east from the capital, with the landscape peppered with the snowcapped, volcanic peaks of Popocatépetl, Iztaccíhuatl, La Malinche and Pico Orizaba – the country’s highest summit. The rugged Cordillera Neovolcánica offers anything from invigorating alpine strolls to demanding technical climbs. Unpredictable Popocatépetl, however, remains off-limits due to volcanic activity.
The gorgeous colonial city of Puebla – Mexico’s fifth-largest city – is the dominant regional center, a local transportation hub and a big tourist draw with its churches dripping in tilework, plus rich culinary traditions, intriguing history and excellent museums. The surrounding state of Puebla is predominantly rural and home to approximately 500,000 indigenous people. Their rich handicraft culture ranges from pottery and carved onyx to embroidered textiles.
Attractive Cholula is now connected to Puebla by a convenient tourist train, making it easier than ever to drop by its youthful bars and chic restaurants.