Xicochimalco is a place at the entrance of the High Mountains, where the Totonacos of the Triple Alliance had their fortress. Its name means “a bumblebee in the coat of arms”.
The chronicles tell that there were important towns in this place. The inhabitants showed themselves curious and kind to the Spanish invasors, and informed Cortes about the best options to continue on his trip to Mexico – Tenochtitlan.
Xicochimalco was the resting place of the heavy day trip. El Lienzo de Tlaxcalla does not tell about this, but Bernal Diaz del Castillo and Hernan Cortes himself write to the king Carlos V about the fighting, conquering and founding, describing Xicochimalco, corruptly calling it “Sienchimalen”.
The town of Xico is located 19 km. from Xalapa and 11 km. from Coatepec. The narrow road that takes us there is surrounded by coffee farms and canyons of exuberant beauty, till a natural terrace with an extraordinary view: the Acamalin hill, with its volcano-like top, and the Barranca Grande to the distance and the High Mountain. Its average height is 1300 mt. OSL. and a warm-humid weather around 19°C (66.2°F) but dropping considerably during winter.
There are two parallel ways up to the foot of the guardian mountain of Cofre de Perote; the first one in direction to Pocitos, crossing by the town of Ticuahutipan, 7 km. from Xico, through a pass with many waterfalls: La Campana (15 mt.), La Brisa (20 mt.), La Mariposa (80 mt.) and La Paililla, an impressive stone formation in the middle of the river.
On the dirt road that goes up from Xico Viejo to takes us to the highest town in the area: Matlalapa. If you are looking for lodging near this place we suggest you Las Cabañas de La Chicharra.
The second route is the panoramic road that takes us from Xico to the town of Tonalaco, which goes in only 25 km. from 1300 to 2500 mt.OSL., where the National Park starts and many routes emerge to the foot of the main rock of the Cofre de Perote, or you can take the dirt road until the town of Ayahualulcho and Ixhuacan de los Reyes.
Teocelo is a Nahuatl voice which means “tiger god”, but could be best translated as “place of the stone tiger” which refers to the past of the place, and its people who had the image of a tiger as their god.
Teocelo is located 23 km. south from Xalapa, on the same road to Xico, taking the split that leads to a deep canyon of great natural beauty known as Matlacobatl, which means “10 snakes”. This canyon emerges from the Texolo fall and it’s a clear division between Teocelo and Xico towns. The preamble to this great province is a dense vegetation of sweetgum trees, oaks, ocote, willows and exotic plants that are native of the place.
The modern Ixhuacan de los Reyes is an interesting place with vernacular architecture precedent from the XIX century. All the place is surrounded by the flancs of the Eastern Mother Mountain Range, in the ridges of the Cofre de Perote, 43 km. from Xalapa and 19 km. from Teocelo.
With a 1800 mt. OSL., Ixhuacan stands out as one of the best conserved towns of the region. It is located at the foot of a canyon known as “Barranca Grande”, which divide the High Mountains of the Eastern Mother Mountain Range in two regions: the Pico de Orizaba and the Cofre de Perote.
Ixhuacan is characterized for being a typical province of the mountain range of Veracruz. It still keeps the original trace: charming pavement streets, bridges and catholic churches, houses with gates and ancient buttresses that take us back in time to bring images of the past.
Its gates and house fronts, together with the landscape are ideal for any kind of filming where colonial mountain range cities of the XVII century are to be shown. Ixhuacan does not have any advertising or specialized services, but the people manages to give the tourist what they need: lodging, food and orientation on the walking routes.
We recommend you trying the liquors of the zone, and take a ride to the surroundings to the Milagrosa Virgen chapel, La Cueva del Rey and La Virgen de los Remedios sanctuary.
An interesting tour takes us to Barranca Grande, by the dirt road what emerges from Cosautlan and Ixhuacan. Barranca Grande is one of the highest parts reached by the Los Pescados river, where some adventure men practice Kayak.