Cuetzalan, the village where it always rains (travel blog) | Steven van Beek

Cuetzalan, the village where it always rains (travel blog)

You could just call this a travel blog. I'm taking you to Mexico. To Cuetzalan in Puebla state. The village is high in the mountains, about five hours' drive from Mexico City. Here people walk in traditional clothes and there is hardly any tourism. At most some from Puebla. Because, yeah, who's gonna drive five hours now? But that this village has everything it takes to become a hotspot I tell you here.

Cuetzalan in al haar glorie als de zon schijnt


Cuetzalan is een zogenoemde Pueblo Mágico. A magical village. It's raining here almost always. That might scare away a bit, but it's her charm. Sometimes the village is completely in the clouds and you can look out for less than five meters. Then gallons of water thunder down the stairs. Ten minutes later, the cloud disappears again and you see the green mountains in the background again in all their splendor. The houses are painted red and white to emphasize the magical character, the streets are fabulously beautiful. Narrow, style up or down, nicely paved and full of typical Mexican activity. The views are to feast. Outside the village, nature is miraculous. The literal rainforest, with countless fantastic waterfalls and plenty of greenery. From now on, there will be a personal travel report. As it goes in Mexico: Tania knew through a lady who works at an ecological campsite and was able to reserve a spot via WhatsApp. A prize was made: two nights in a tent surrounded by nature, a visit to five waterfalls and three zipline. As I said, it's a tour of more than five hours and the last one and a half hours you go across miserable roads and u-curves. Disgusting: the roads are full of burrows, holes that cause a lot of damage to an average car. We have an average car and so it is slalommen. No easy journey when it rains.


Prices here are Mexican low. I ate a steak for three euros. Beers are not yet euro, well, that kind of price. After eating in the village, the adventure really starts: to that campsite. Was I just talking about bad roads? Those were particularly luxurious compared to this. Narrow, with almost extreme elevations, undoable u-bends and straight through nature. Both Google Maps and Waze are vague. We spoke to passers-by, who are very friendly to speak to us. Another thing: what kind people live here. But exactly they didn't know. Well, that 'that and that road' with our Mazda was not to do. Time was ticking, we wanted to be there before dark. But the locations that the two navigation apps gave (different!) : nothing to find. And it got scary and scarier. Tania started to panic. ,, Here sits plenty of Narcos. I don't want to drive around here in the dark,” she said. We decided to take the certainty of the uncertain and go back to the village. Not a rainforest night, but a hotel.

In the evening it rained in Cuetzalan, which gave this waterfall

The owner Rosio turned out to be a real mother. Terrified of Covid-19, but at the same time extremely caring and loving. She asked me what the situation was like in the Netherlands. Probably not necessarily out of interest, but more to know what she brought in. The hotel was clean, fine, but: a hotel. With an amazing view of the church, but, it's guessing, sometimes not even when there was a cloud again.


The next day we had ordered those five waterfalls and three ziplines. Ismael, our 23-year-old guide, picked us up. Rosio questioned him extensively about his intentions, wanted to have his number and personal details, as protection. 'Cause yeah, she left her guests to this guy anyway.. He laughed sheep and said yes to everything. He had never experienced it so hard.


We started walking with the three of us. Again those beautiful vistas and roads with firm climb and descent. Until we arrived at the entrance of the campsite. Totally unclear; we had passed that entrance twice a day before anyway, but this is it? , “Yes, we have a sign, we have to hang it up”, said Ismael. No, we could never have found this. Because after that entrance, it's about six hundred meters down. The campsite itself is really a forest, where up to four tents can stand. It is therefore more the starting point for this nature reserve. Our rented tent was still there, because it was reserved. In an open shelter, so that the tent is dry. That was the idea, because the rain would be big in the next few days. We were immediately in love and wanted to stay there that night. Staying in a jungle like this is nicer than a hotel, right?

One of the four places was for us

The first waterfall is close to the campsite, at about a hundred meters. Here you can swim a little and that's what the Mexican tourist does here. Not now, because pandemic and so very quiet.


We walk after we swim briefly in the rain. No worries, the rain is warm, the temperature is pleasant. First a zipline of four hundred meters long and then really nature in. Striking is that there are no landscaped paths, but that at times it is really difficult to walk. Sometimes we wade through the water to the other side, sometimes you have to climb. Yes, there is a path, but it was created by walking it. Further, it is completely untouched. At times it is also sincerely dangerous, especially because of the rain that make it pretty slippery. Ismael sometimes recommends walking on socks, so you have more grip. The waterfalls are much more powerful than usual, he explains. It's the rainy season, there's a lot. We can't go near the highest waterfall, because it's irresponsible. Ismael proposes to jump into the water from about eight meters in height. Excellent, because scary. Excellent, because fairytale. But also crazy, because how responsible is that? The kind I like most: own responsibility.


On a more smoothed path, two ladies pass. It turns out the mother and wife of Ismael, with their newborn daughter. They invite us to come and have coffee at Grandpa's. This area is protected by multiple families. They share the profits, but also the losses, as now with the pandemic. They maintain the area, they live here and are almost completely self-sufficient. The coffee comes from their own coffee plant. Ismael's father picks two bananas for us and gives us a fresh corn cob. No, this is not part of the tour. When Ismael gave some explanation to a coffee plant, I asked him if that coffee in the village could be found somewhere.. He obviously liked that question, to which he invited us.

Bird skirt

We say goodbye to the family and continue. Nature becomes more violent and violent. Two ziplines, while a very thick cloud appears. Not even five meters of sight, this is Vogel Rok from the Efteling, but in real life. Again four hundred meters and you see nothing. Sin? No, adrenaline. At the mercy of nothingness. Nothing at all. No tree, no air, only grey. It's insane. And then the five-hour journey ends. Afterwards we go back to Cuetzalan, with a van. First with some lead in the shoes: we have already booked a second night for the hotel and we want to cancel. And that with this treasure of a woman. Ah, though, lead: it's five hundred pesos. To cancel and pay the full price is a shame, but also surmountable. Rosio, however, is fantastic. She asks a hundred pesos because “sleeping in the forest is something unique and must experience”. In addition, she is delighted that we trust her in these times. Well, that's how you can see it. She's so sweet, we'll make it two hundred pesos.


In the evening, before it is dark, we really drive by car to the campsite. We know where it is, but the roads are really terrible. With a lot of horts and bumps we arrive. On the terrace of our shelter we drink tequila and go to bed. We're both sleeping pussy, the tent measures about 1.75 and I'm 10 inches taller. But the sounds of insects and the sound of the rain is beautiful. And the light the next morning is unforgettable. - Light? Yes. The day we go back to Mexico City is characterized by sun and lots of blue. Ha! We laugh. It is precisely the added value of this area that the clouds. Is the rain. That the sun is shining is good, but then we might have missed the real magic.


We drive to Cuetzalan for breakfast. The sellers are particularly aggressive today. We observe. I estimate that 95% of people want to sell their goods to the remaining 5%. This unparalleled village sails on domestic tourism, but there is no. For us, the conditions are great, but poverty is also abundant. At times that is also poignant.


We're gonna sit outside, on a wall.. A girl about 12 years old wants to sell us something. Stones of a meteorite, she claims. She has a separate face and starts to wobble. Then she looks me right in the eye. It sounds strange, but blue eyes are special. She flirts. , Who is this hermoso? This güerito? ” , she asks. Hop, I got that back in, too.. Tania laughs. ,, You have not by how many people amazed look at you”, she says. Just to show: my species is separate here. Is that why I feel special? No, but funny, of course, it is.

With this pandamie not very crowded, but the narrow streets and Mexican bustle seem clear to me

Rickled gate

We're going to have coffee somewhere. A roof terrace. What strikes me is the rickety fence that is supposed to prevent us from flickering down. I think back to Ismael, to our journey. When I send my best friend Jaap an app with a picture of that zipline, he answers:,, Vogel Rok feels a bit safer. In your cart with braces and stuff. ” I have to smile. The nailed Netherlands, where any form of insecurity is prevented for fear of lawsuits and insurance. This fence that I'm not leaning against feels like a kind of symbol for this. Any form of own responsibility is prevented in the Netherlands. And just that stuffy me sometimes. I applaud this, back to the core. I take a seat at our table again, that shakes and that staggers. Tania looks at me lovingly. ,, Jíj sought imperfection. Here you have it. ” An absolute sense of bliss overpowers me and I give her a kiss.

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