Cuetzalan is a town located in the foothills of the Northern Sierra of Puebla State, Mexico. It is municipal seat of "Cuetzalan del Progreso", one of the 217 municipalities in the state of Puebla. One of the main features of the town is that the streets are prominent and marked pending. It was incorporated into "Pueblos Magicos" Mexican federal tourism system (magic towns) in 2002. Its value lies in the development of Native life with large populations that preserve their way of life, including the development of indigenous radio to the area, or anthropological value extensive Sunday market.
Cuetzalan is a town located in the foothills of the Northern Sierra of Puebla State. It is municipal seat of "Cuetzalan del Progreso", one of the 217 municipalities in the state of Puebla. One of the main features of the town is that the streets are prominent and marked pending. It was incorporated into tourism system of Magical Towns in 2002. Its value lies in the development of Native life with large populations that preserve their way of life, including the development of indigenous radio to the area, or anthropological value extensive Sunday market.
One of the main attractions of the town is "Las Brisas", a waterfall, located within the jungle surrounding the town. There are countless other waterfalls in the jungle and coffee plantations surrounding the town. Upon crossing the river which marks the state boundary of Veracruz and Puebla, the culture and language changes to Totonac.
Cuetzalan belonged to "Totonacapan" cultural area founded in 200 BC by the Totonac as demonstrated in the archaeological zone that exists in the town of Yohualichan corresponding to the municipality of Cuetzalan. When the Spanish arrived in 1519, the Totonac ethnicity dominated this large region, although they themselves were dominated by the Aztec Empire. For this reason, they allied with Hernan Cortes against "Mexico-Tenochtitlan". In 1552, it was submitted by the Spanish and evangelized by Franciscan friars. In 1555, Cuetzalan was regarded as a center of very important social, economic and commercial activities, so it is given the name of "San Francisco Cuetzalan". However, over the colonial period, the Totonac population and territory shrank, especially after 1750 when Mestizos began infiltrating Totonacapan, taking political and economic power. This continued into the 19th and 20th centuries, prompting the division of most of historical Totonacapan between the States of Puebla and Veracruz. Today, the term refers only to a region in the north of Puebla and Veracruz were Totonac culture is still important. This region is home to the El Yohualichan, Tajin and Cempoala archeological sites as well as Cuetzalan and Papantla towns, which are noted for their performance of the "Danza de los Voladores".
Cuetzalan, a community of about 10,000 people located near the Gulf of Mexico, at 1,000 meters above sea level, live every Sunday, the day of "Plaza" or "Tianguis" or "Sunday Market", which invites many Nahua, Totonac and Mestizo, plus domestic and foreign tourists. It is a place where we can understand more of cultural identity, the people who come to the market makes it in a way that their ancestors did, retaining its "Nahuat" (Aztec or Nahuatl dialect) language, mixing with the Totonac and Spanish, this generates linguistic attitudes, we can see so simply that for them the trade language is now the Spanish between Nahua and Totonac, making the bartering between them.
Nestled in the "Sierra Norte de Puebla", Cuetzalan is a magical village ideal for relaxing, enjoying the mist, listening indigenous languages and try dishes with pre-Hispanic heritage. They use fresh local ingredients to prepare a myriad of delights: beans, corn, mushrooms and fungi abound due to wet weather, cheese and fruits such as passion fruit, pear, macadamia and others. During Lent, there are many options to enjoy meat-free dishes. Just walk down the cobbled streets of the village to run into stalls where snacks and sweets (made of tejocote, banana, pear, apple) and small local craft liquors such as Yolixpa (herb liquor), Xoco Atol (fermented corn) and vines made of passion fruit and coffee. Coffee beans are grown with high quality drink. If you want to try the most typical flea market go to the center and start your meal with a hot soup of mushrooms or wild mushrooms, Cecina (smoked meat), Acamaya (local crustacean), Pipian (pumpkin seed mole), Chilpozole, Chayotestle, Tasajo (pork or beef jerky). For dining, locals eat hand-made corn tortillas. Other local delicacies are the bean and mole tamales. Also Tlayoyos which are a type of "Gordita" (thick tortila filled with grass pea) prepared with avocado leaves and stews with quelites (pigweed).
Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers) is an ancient Mesoamerican ritual still performed today, albeit in modified form, in isolated spots in Mexico. It is believed to have originated with the Nahua, Huastec and Otomi peoples in central Mexico, and then spread throughout most of Mesoamerica. The ritual consists of dance and the climbing of a 30-meter pole from which four of the five participants then launch themselves tied with ropes to descend to the ground. The fifth remains on top of the pole, dancing and playing a flute and drum. According to one myth, the ritual was created to ask the gods to end a severe drought. Although the ritual did not originate with the Totonac people, today it is strongly associated with them, especially those in and around Cuetzalan and Papantla towns. The "Voladores" ceremony was named an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in order to help the ritual survive and thrive in the modern world.
Garments made mainly waist-loom as: Huipil blouses, shawls, belts, backpacks and other items like silk shawls, tablecloths, napkins, "Tortillero" (corn tortilla holder) and a huge variety of garments with hand-woven designs.
Visit to a famous local painter's studio who is known for his paintings and artistic vision of Cuetzalan people and culture. This artist represents an identity and culture which wants to thrive in contemporary world.
Cuetzalan is also known for its Carnival dances and masks made in different designs and sizes, as well flutes, cages, dolls, emphasizing the miniature figures that have won national and international recognition. Beeswax candles are produced for domestic consumption, in addition to waxes luxury splendidly worked by craftsmen for the holidays. These candles and paraffin wax can be large with flowers, leaves and different figures are always given away by the steward of the feast of the saints who are celebrated. With coffee beans women make necklaces earrings and bracelets.
This archaeological site is an ancient ceremonial center of the Totonac culture. It is located northwest of Cuetzalan. It was founded in the early Classic period (0-900 AD) and abandoned in the middle of the Post-Classic (900-1519 AD) due to the early expansion of Nahua groups from the center, starting with the Toltec conquest, then the Chichimeca and finally the terrible economic dominance of the Aztecs, who threw ashore Totonac the last vestiges of this area. All structures were covered with a thick layer of stucco roughly finished, however evidence that remain on the boards remains of paint and fret shaped elements made of mortar on slopes. The back of the temple called "La Greca", which is at a higher level of the square is the ball game, this being one of the largest known in Mesoamerica, as the court is almost 90 meters long.
Hotel is located in Cuetzalan, 10-minute walk from the city center. Hotel is administered by local Native women who offer clean and private rooms. Rooms are basic decor featured with tiled floors, a small desk and a private bathroom with ecological home made toiletries. Hotel offers traditional steam bath (Temazcal) for an extra fee, free Wi-Fi, garden and restaurant serving regional cuisine.