Your final day is a full one, beginning with a drive to the village of Zapotitlán de Méndez
, surrounded by coffee plantations in the foothills of the Sierra Nororiente, which runs along the eastern edge of the state of Puebla. The town’s most famous attraction is Grutas Kármidas
, five underground caverns with evocative names like the Hall of Diamonds and the Hall of Memories. The principal cavern is nearly 100 feet tall, while the Enchanted Lake gets its name from the fact that the reflections of stalactites make it appear like an underwater city lies beneath the surface.
Back in town, leave time for some souvenir shopping. Zapotitlán is known for its handicrafts, especially pottery and pieces made of onyx, while you can also find local food products like coffee and the chocolate that is an essential ingredient in mole poblano, if you want to try to recreate the recipe at home.
Continue on to the city of Cuetzalán
, an hour east where local indigenous cultures thrive. Voladores, or “flyers,” who jump off of a 150-foot-tall pole with a rope tied around one ankle and then sail through the air continue a tradition of the Totonaca Indians. The city’s many markets showcase Nahua crafts, and you’ll have a chance to get to know some Nahua women over lunch at the Hotel Taselotzin
, an eco-tourism project they run. On your drive back to Puebla, stop at Zacapoaxtla to take a look at its zocalo and the stately 19th-century Municipal Building, which embodies the marriage of European and indigenous cultures with its neoclassical exterior and murals celebrating the Nahua people.
Continue on to Puebla, where you’ll arrive in time for a final dinner at La Noria
, a special-occasion-type restaurant in a former hacienda on the southern edge of town. The setting is traditional, but the kitchen is known for giving contemporary twists to Puebla dishes.