For the last couple of weeks, I got a little bit obsessed with visiting the Big Island of Hawaii. My mind was focused on one thing: that volcano which has been erupting since 1983. Arghhh, but after summing up costs, I wasn’t so sure my volcano viewing fascination was so affordable (at least at this time).
I quickly moved to explore other options, Puerto Rico to visit my family or Nicaragua to tackle my last Central American country. Nicaragua was about to become a homerun when a sudden twist of fate (why that always happen?) got me thinking, what about a food centered trip to Mexico? Well, it is not hard to guess what we ended up choosing (we because my husband voted for Mexico).
So, my friends, we are going to be visiting Tlaxcala, Puebla and Oaxaca for the first time in less than a month.
Even thought Puebla and Oaxaca are two of Mexico’s gastronomic capitals, there are also a lot of colonial architecture, pre-Hispanic ruins and artisan towns to fill our time between meals. Believe me; I am really exciting about this.
We only have 9 days to do this. I know it sounds suicidal but this is how things will have to work. Plans are very loose at this moment.
First Stop: Tlaxcala
Our first (and very) brief stop is going to be Tlaxcala, the capital of the smallest state in Mexico. The city is a virtually unknown outside the country. However, it is a popular weekend gateway for residents of Mexico City.
The real reason to stop here is to pay a visit to the archeological zones located about 11 miles from Tlaxcala. One of the sites, Cacaxtla, contains some of the best preserved murals in Mesoamerica. I can’t pass the opportunity to take a look at warriors and mythical creatures painted in bright tones of blue and red. The ruins are close enough to visit from Puebla but I prefer to take the opportunity to pay a visit to Tlaxcala. Additionally, this is the place for some extreme eating since various insects are eaten throughout the state of the same name.
Second Stop: Puebla
I have heard so many good things about this city. A lot of people who have visited can stop talking about all the reasons why they love Puebla and why they want to go back.
A visit to its markets will give me the opportunity to try all the chalupas, tacos árabes, mole poblano, chiles en nogada, camotes and pepian that I want. I am also planning to walk around the zocalo, visit the 5 de Mayo Forts and do a quick visit to Cholula to admire the world’s largest pyramid (depending on who you ask).
Third Stop: Oaxaca
This is where I am planning to spend most of my time. A visit to the historic center and the markets will take one day. A visit to Monte Alban, the greatest Zapotec site, will take at least half a day. I want to devote an entire day to the artisan towns surrounding the city. The problem is that there are at least three routes. I am most interested in taking the route to Mitla (another Zapotec site). I am still debating if I should take a tour or rent a car for this day.
Oaxaca is a paradise for food lovers. This town offers more than 10 varieties of moles, tlayudas, cemitas, tamales and other dishes that I can’t even pronounce. The variety of drinks offered in market stalls is also impressive. From pumpkin water to rich chocolate, from rice horchata with chia to cactus fruit shakes, you can find it all in Oaxaca.
Well, these are my vague plans. Nothing is set in stone yet.
How can you help me? If you have visited any of these cities, I will like to know your suggestions in terms of accommodations, places to eat and things to do. I will also appreciate any tips and tricks on how to move around and how to make out most of a day.
Common you experts! I am eager to read all your suggestions.