How to get there
From Puebla, take an Atah bus from the Capu bus station. These cost 148-170 pesos. The buses leave about every half an hour for most of the day, so you can pretty much just turn up at the station and buy a ticket. The bus took about three hours. *If you plan on leaving or arriving late at night, check at the bus station for an exact schedule just to be sure of the last scheduled bus.
This same Atah bus company has services to and from Mexico City, although I didn’t see prices or a schedule, so if you’re planning on leaving from Mexico, check the bus station there for information.
1. Side Trip: Chignahuapan
The Atah buses from Puebla make a stop in Chignahuapan before heading to Zacatlan, so if you’d like to see two Pueblos Magicos, then book your first journey just to Chignahuapan and hop out.
What to do in Zacatlan
2. Wander the Old Town
Zacatlan’s old town is incredibly picturesque, has loads of cute cafes, and tons of churches and museums if you’re a history nut. You can easily spend several hours wandering around, taking photos, and enjoying the sights.
3. Walk to the edge of town and look out over the mountains and waterfalls
At the edge of town there is a huge lookout with breathtaking views of the local mountain sides and even a waterfall can be seen from this vantage point. For me, this impressive lookout was the highlight of Zacatlan.
4. Try the Cider
Zacatlan is famous for its ciders. Go into a cider shop and try some free samples. The cider is really cheap as well. A large bottle of traditional cider will run you 55 pesos. That’s about $2.75 USD. And if you’re not a fan of alcohol, then the fizzy apple soda is equally as delicious.
5. Check out the traditional arts markets
There are traditional arts markets all over the city. The crafts are the typical handiwork you’ll find across Mexico, but I found that the prices in Zacatlan were incredibly cheap. For example, I found a wool poncho for 300 pesos. A poncho like that would typically cost about 2000 pesos in Puebla. One particularly fun market is right underneath the mountain lookout and runs along the cliff side, so you can browse the handicrafts and take in the view at the same time.
6. Or the food market
When I visited Zacatlan on a Sunday there was a massive all day food market quite close to the historic center. You can buy all manner of fresh produce and cheap snacks inside. Even if you aren’t brave enough to eat at a tiny stall in the middle of the busy market, it’s still worth poking your nose in for a few photos and a gander at the very wide range of food products on offer.
7. Try the local food
Speaking of local food, Zacatlan offers a lot of the same dishes as the rest of Puebla county, but I found the food here to be on the whole particularly fresh and delicious. I’m especially fond of their very thick homemade tortillas.
8. Bonus: If you’ve got more time…
…Book a hiking tour to the Cascadas Tuliman or Valle de Piedras Encimadas. I plan on returning to Zacatlan at a later date, spending the night in one of the hotels or cabins, and doing some hiking tours in the amazing mountain surroundings.
Is there anything I missed? Let me know in the comments below!