East of Mexico City, and among the destinations reached from its TAPO bus terminal, is the region’s second-largest city, the thriving and ultra-colonial Puebla. This city not only warrants a couple of days of your time in its own right, but makes an excellent base for forays north to more tranquil Tlaxcala, and west to Cholula with its enormous ruined pyramid. Both were important tributary states of the Aztecs when Cortés marched this way from the coast to pillage and conquer in the name of European civilization. Puebla and Cholula also offer excellent views of central Mexico’s twin volcanoes, Popocatépetl and Ixtaccíhuatl, although the former is currently off-limits due to the continuing threat of eruption.

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