The southwest of the State of Mexico is dominated by the state capital, Toluca, which is served by extremely frequent buses from Mexico City’s Terminal Poniente. The main artery through the region is Hwy-55, superseded in places by a modern autopista but still used by most of the buses to the small towns. Coming up from Acapulco or Taxco, Hwy-55 passes through the spa town of Ixtapan de la Sal on its way to Toluca, but you’ll need to take a detour to see the charming – and increasingly upmarket – village of Malinalco, with its hilltop temple, and the nearby market town of Tenancingo. West of Toluca, on the way out to Michoacán, the main attraction is the beautiful lakeside town of Valle de Bravo, which is also a good base for visiting parts of the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary.

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