5 Reasons to Visit Cuetzalan in Mexico

The “San Francisco de Asis,” church in Cuetzalan. This town is enclaved in the sierra norte, in the state of Pueble, Mexico.
Photo: Lupitanews.

Lupita Peimbert
Travel & Culture

Cuetzalan del Progreso was founded in the 1800s in the Northern Sierra. It is located approximately 183 kilometers from the City of Puebla in Mexico. This “Pueblo Mágico,” is an enchanting tourist destination for those wishing to disconnect from their busy lifestyle. This town is a cultural jewel for those who get inspired by local culture in all its facets. 

I visited Cuetzalan about 10 years ago and recently, in the midst of the pandemic, I visited again. My admiration for Cuetzalan and its people has grown. Cuetzalan is older, wiser, and better. 

Observing the town’s architecture, it can be deduced Cuetzalan was a very important city and one with abundant economy. The buildings are gorgeous and so are the “callejones empedrados.” As it probably happened in other centuries, commerce is one of the main activities and one that gives Cuetzalan a level of vibrancy.  

When one looks at the surrounding “cerros” (hills) full of luscious greens, agricultural fields and diverse fauna, one must agree that Cuetzalan truly is a magical town. 

There is culture, tradition and a certain energy that moves and flows while people walk, buy, sell, talk, engage and return home. 

Here are 5 reasons why I recommend Cuetzalan as a magical destination:

  • The Waterfalls
Cascadas Las Brisas is one of several waterfalls in the jungle surrounding Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. Photo: Lupitanews.
  • Local drinks made with fruits, herbs, aguardiente, and coffee.
A glass of Yolixpan, a local wine made with herbs and aguardiente. Other drinks and wine are made with fruits and coffee.
Photo: Lupitanews.
  • Plenty of streets and callejones to walk and wander around
Cuetzalan was founded in 1475 in the land of the Totonaca Empire. Its strategic location made it a key point for commerce and tributary activities. The Spanish conquered the area and converted its habitants to christianity in 1552. The town grew economically and socially, maintaining its importance for a few centuries. In 1895 Cuetzalan and is surrounding areas became a municipality, and finally in 1986, Cuetzalan was officially named a city by the Government of Mexico.
  • Coffee and Cafetales
This coffee plantation (cafetal) is owned by the Vazquez family. Coffee was brought to Cuetzalan from the Estado of Veracruz in the 1800s. Photo by Lupitanews.
Cafe Cuezali is locally grown and produced by the Vazquez family since the 1940’s.
  • Open Spaces: Restaurante La Buena Vida

One special fact to know about Cuetzalan: The majority of its population and those living in the surrounding areas are from indigenous descent, many of them speak Nahuatl, and most of them prefer dressing traditionally. You’ll see men going throughout their daily routine wearing manta pants and shirts, and women wearing embroiled skirts and blouses, adorned with rebozos and colorful neckless. 

Angelina lives in a community near Cuetzalan and comes to town to sell crafts made by her and other women. She speaks Nahuatl and Spanish.

There is plenty more to see and experience in this Pueblo Mágico. I hope you have enjoyed learning about the places and activities mentioned above. One last thing: If or when you go, make sure to buy crafts/artesanías from street vendors, that would be one way to honor their communities and land, and support their efforts to make a living.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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