Located in the Central Mexican states of Puebla and Tlaxcala, La Malintzi National Park stretches out for just over 177 square miles, making it the fifth largest park in Mexico. Most famous for being the home of La Malinche, a volcano that is a part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, the park also boasts a range of other attractions and activities, making it a popular weekend getaway destination amongst locals.
An inactive volcano that has a number of different dramatic side peaks, La Malinche is believed to have been formed around 35 million years ago, during the Paleogene period. Since then, it has grown substantially due to a series of eruptions, with its last occurring around 3000 years ago. Of course, one of the most popular activities in the park is reaching the summit of La Malinche, with mountaineers often using this volcano as practice before attempting the country’s higher peaks. From the park’s resort area, it can take anywhere between three to six hours to reach the summit, with the trek being challenging but doable for fit hikers, although if there is freshly fallen snow, hikers will need to carry an ice axe with them.
Centro Vacacional Malintzin
The Centro Vacacional Malintzin is usually the first point of call for visitors to the park, and provides the perfect opportunity to spend some time acclimatizing to the altitude. For those that plan on spending the night, this is where you will find the park’s camping grounds, as well as 40 comfortable log cabins, a restaurant and a couple of stores. The cabins are all equipped with hot showers, kitchens a TV and a fireplace, making them a great alternative for those who do not want to camp. The Centro Vacacional Malintzin is also home to a few sporting facilities, from a basketball court to a soccer field, providing overnight guests with something to do in their spare time. This part of the park also becomes especially busy in the weekends, when horses and llamas are brought over for visitors to ride.
The most popular hiking route in the park starts at the Centro Vacacional Malintzin, and travels all the way up to the summit, passing through a dense conifer tree line and a steep grassland section. While this is the most accessible hiking route, there are other, more challenging, routes available, but these usually start in surrounding towns, such as Ixtenco, San Migel Canoa and Huamantla, before running into the park.
In addition to La Malinche, the park boasts several different areas of incredible natural beauty, and visitors will also have the opportunity to witness native wildlife in its local habitat. From the birds and rabbits that live in the pine and oak woodlands to the hot thermal springs that emerge from the mountain, there is so much here that nature lovers will appreciate.
Accessing the National Park La Malinche is extremely easy from Puebla City, with a couple of different routes that you can take. This is a great national park to visit for those who want to see some of the region’s natural beauty, although you need to plan your visit carefully. If you were hoping for some peace and solitude, then be sure not to visit the park during the weekends, as it becomes much busier at these times.