Central Discovery Guide

Overview

Added to the pleasure of a trip to exciting and historic Mexico City is the opportunity to visit the beautiful states adjacent to the Federal District: Mexico, Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala. Reaching these outlying hills and valleys, with their distinctive cities, picturesque towns, archeological treasures and delightful spas, is accomplished quickly and easily. While one or two day excursions can be planned, travelers soon find that the wealth of enjoyment awaiting them warrants a slower paced, more comprehensive itinerary. Each state has a character of its own, yet all have in common the warm welcome they extend to visitors.

It is this great variety of attractive destinations - the well-preserved Colonial landmarks of Puebla, Toluca, Cuernavaca and Tlaxcala, magnificent settings for sports and relaxation in Tehuacan, Valle de Bravo, Ixtapan de la Sal and Oaxtepec, an introduction to ancient civilizations at Teotihuacan, Xochicalco, Cacaxtla and Cholula - that has made the area so popular with visitors to Mexico City. Here, as throughout Mexico, travelers are welcomed with the warm hospitality offered by The Amigo Country.

Main Attractions and point of interest in:
Tehuacan
Famous for its health-giving waters and one of Mexico's classic spas, also archeologically important, inasmuch as it is the oldest known farming area in the Western Hemisphere. Some attractions: Museum of the Valley of Tehuacan, Church of El Carmen and many mineral springs (from which water is bottled for distribution throughout Mexico).

Tlaxcala
Capital of the Tlaxcala State. Once an independent Indian nation which , surrounded by the Aztec empire, joined the Spaniards in their war against the overlords, becoming Cortes' strongest allies, without whom he would not have been able to conquer Mexico. Today, this area is famous for wool-weaving. Attractions include: Constitution Plaza, City Hall (Palacio Municipal), State Capitol (Palacio de Gobierno), Parish Church and Monastery of San Francisco.

Toluca
Main Plaza, State Capitol (Palacio de Gobierno), Cathedral, the famous Friday Market, State Museum (archeological exhibits), the Charro Museum (Colonial and equestrian art), Popular Arts Museum (folk art) and State of Mexico Handicrafts House (major outlet for regional handicrafts). Nearby: Picturesque villages noted for handicrafts including Tenancico (sarapes), Almoloya (embroidered tablecloths) and Chiconcuac (wool sweaters and rugs). Nervado de Toluca, extinct volcano accessible up to and into the crater's lip at 14,900 feet above sea level (27 miles southwest of Toluca).

Valle de Bravo
Bravo Sailing Club (unusual design), Avandaro Golf Club and Salto Refugio (waterfall), all surrounding a large lake, good handicrafts market.

Cuernavaca
Main Plaza (composed of Juarez Plaza and Heroes Plaza), Palace of Cortes (housing the Cuauhnahuac Museum, excellent panoramic views), Borda Gardens, St. Francis Cathedral, Pyramid of Teopanzolco, Church of Palmira, San Anton Waterfall, Chapultepec Park (with forests, lake, zoo, shops, children's rides and picnic areas). Nearby: Emaus Monastery, famous for handrought silver (4 1/2 miles north-west of downtown Cuernavaca), Lake Tequesquitengo, popular swimming , water skiing and fishing resort (22 miles south-east of Cuernavaca), Zempoala Lakes, a series of six lakes in a national park at 9,000 feet above sea level (22 miles north of Cuernavaca), Caves of Cacahuamilpa, Mexico's largest and most beutiful caverns (46 miles south of Cuernavaca).

Tepoztlan
Dominican Monastery (of majestic proportions, now a museum). Nearby: Ancient Indian Shrine of Tepozteco (on a pinnacle 2,000 feet above Tepoztlan)

Puebla
Main Plaza (Zocalo), Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Parian Market, Church of Santo Domingo and Rosary Chapel, Puebla Regional Museum (Casa del Alfenique), Victoria Market, Municipal Palace, Bellas Artes Museum, Convent of Santa Monica (housing Religious Art Museum), Principal Theatre, Palafox Library, Forts of Loreto and Guadalupe (now a military museum). Nearby: African, 15,000-acre wildlife park-zoo (9 miles south of Puebla).

Cholula
Tepanapa Pyramid (over which a church is built, hence unexcavated, but explorable through five miles of lighted tunnels), Church of San Gabriel and University of the Americas.

Archaeological sites and zones

Tenayuca
(State of Mexico, 65 miles northwest of Toluca on northern edge of Mexico City) Small scale version of the great Aztec pyramid which stood in the center of Mexico City.

Teotihuacan
(State of Mexico, 94 miles northeast of Toluca) The most important city of the North American continent in 500 A.D., adopted by the Aztecs as a ceremonial center in the 15th century, most famous for its Temple of Quetzalcoatl and Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon.

Xochicalco
(State of Morelos, 25 miles south of Cuernavaca) One of Mexico's most interesting ceremonials centers and a meeting point of several different civilizations; especially noted for its Building of the Plumed Serpents.

Cacaxtla
(State of Tlaxcala, 12 miles north of the city of Tlaxcala) A site inhabited as early as 2,000 B.C. , most noteworthy for the polychrome murals painted between 600 and 750 A. D. in the palatial houses.

Sports

Boating, freshwater fishing, swimming and water sports on Lake Tequesquitengo, Zempoala Lakes (near Cuernavaca), Lake Avandaro (Valle de Bravo) and Lake Valsequillo (near Puebla); excellent golf courses in Cuernavaca, Tehuacan and Valle de Bravo; tennis in Cuernavaca as well as other principal cities; horseback riding in Tehuacan. Spas throughout the area also offer outstanding sports facilities.

Accomodation and business convention facilities
Comfortable lodgings are available throughout the states surrounding Mexico City, with fine hotels in the principal cities and spas. Most large hotels also offer meeting and banquet facilities for medium to large size groups. The Oaxtepec Vacation Center (near Cuernavaca) features complete convention services for up to 5,000 people.

Dining
Hotels in the principal cities and the popular spas maintain excellent dining facilities, offering traditional Mexican dishes as well as international cuisisne. Puebla is renowned for its distinctive cooking and originated the unique "mole" sauce served on turkey or chicken; Cuernavaca has one of Mexico's ten top restaurants.

Shopping
Toluca's Friday Market and House of Handicrafts both feature a wide selection of regional handicrafts, including stoneware and clay pottery, furniture, copper, metalwork, jewelery, silver, woolen, baskets, lathe-turned ustensils and straw hats. Leather goods, textiles and ceramics are popular purchases in Cuernavaca. Puebla's famous Talavera tiles and onyx jewelery attract shoppers from all regions of the country.

Special Activities
Annual sailing regatta on Lake Avandaro (February); Pre-Lenten Carnival in Cuernavaca and Tepoztlan; Regional Dance Festival in Cholula (early September); colorful festivities commemorating the battle against the French army in Puebla (May 5th).

Side Trips
To Taxco (45 miles south of Cuernavaca in the State of Guerrero), known as the "Silver Capital of the World" and site of extraordinary Colonial Landmarks.

How to Get in the Regions Around Mexico City

By air
On direct flights from all major cities to Mexico City International Airport, with train and bus connections to principal cities and towns in the surrounding states.

By Car
To Mexico City via any of the four major entry points at the U.S. - Mexico border: Nogales (1417 miles), Ciudad Juarez (1830 miles), Nuevo Laredo (735 miles) and Matamoros (630 miles); then continuing on to Puebla (79 miles via Highway 150) and Tlaxcala (22 miles further on highway 119); Toluca (40 miles via highway 15); or Cuernavaca (50 miles via highway 95D).

By Train or Bus
With first-class service from major entry points to Mexico City and surrounding states.

Read more

Central Cities and Areas

Latest Central Trip Insights

Placeholder thumbnail
Aztec Ruins around Mexico City

The Aztecs were a tribe of people who lived in Mexico between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. While the Aztec Empire read more arrow

Central Pictures

There are no Central pictures at this time.