Climbing the World’s Smallest Volcano

As regular readers may know, I tend to like climbing volcanoes. However, I can safely say I’ve never climbed a “volcano” quite like Mexico’s Cuexcomate. Often referred to as “the world’s smallest volcano”, Cuexcomate is probably the only peak I’ve ever climbed that’s accessible to almost anyone. No equipment is needed for the ascent – no crampons, no ropes, no camping gear, nothing. All up, the climb from the trail head takes … around 15 to 20 seconds. If you’re wondering how that’s possible, here’s a shot of Cuexcomate in all its glory:

Yeah … it’s … unique. If Cuexcomate was a volcano, it certainly would be the smallest in the world. However, that popular moniker is actually pretty inaccurate. Technically, Cuexcomate is an inactive geyser. You know, those things that vomit water, as opposed to lava? I also have to admit not everyone can climb Cuexcomate. Like pretty much everything in Latin America, it isn’t wheelchair friendly.

Cuexcomate probably picked up its inaccurate title due to its unusual shape, which does indeed look rather volcano-like. Visitors can even descend into the crater. It’s pretty cool, though you’ll find more pot plants than magma down there.

The place also has a fascinating history. According to local legend, indigenous people discarded the bodies of suicide victims in the crater. This practice supposedly cursed the entire region surrounding the geyser.

Nowadays, Cuexcomate is surrounded by a small plaza in the suburb of La Libertad, Puebla. It’s easy to reach from the city centre via buses that run between Avenida 11 and La Libertad’s main square. Tell the bus driver you want to see Cuexcomate, and they should let you know when to get off. It may not technically be the world’s smallest volcano, though the trip is certainly a great way to kill a few hours in Puebla.

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