Puebla, a well-preserved colonial town that is the capital of the state of the same name, is a dazzling city and a destination in its own right. You can cover the city in a day trip, but you really should try to stay overnight. You could be drawn onward by nearby Cholula, with its dozens of churches, or Tlaxcala, with a pair of shady plazas perfect for whiling away a lazy afternoon. Farther north in Puebla State you'll find the mountain town of Cuetzalan, with its wonderful Sunday market. If you've opted to head this way instead of hitting Teotihuacán, you can get a ruins fix at Cacaxtla.
- Day-tripping to ancient cities Spend the day scrambling over ruins and pyramids and be back in Mexico City for dinner.
- Experiencing the great outdoors Some of the country's highest mountains, such as Iztaccíhuatl, offer challenging climbs for the intrepid or easier trails at their bases.
- The chance to eat Puebla's regional cuisine The city has made some important contributions to Mexico's culinary heritage, such as mole poblano, a sauce that can use upward of 30 different ingredients, including chocolate.
- Getting a European vacation without having to cross the pond Due to its lakeside location amid pine forests, and popularity with wealthy jet-setters, Valle de Bravo has been likened to the "Switzerland of Mexico."
- Putting the guidebook away In Tlaxcala and Cuetzalan, you'll run out of sights to see in the first hour. The real joy is strolling around without an agenda.