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Chilling in Chignahuapan

If you ever find yourself passing through central Mexico, the small village of Chignahuapan makes for a surprisingly pleasant side trip, especially if you’re visiting ahead of Christmas.

This Pueblo Magico is located right on the edge of Puebla state’s Sierra Norte, and doesn’t exactly put its best side forward from the get-go. Getting off the bus, you’ll think you’ve arrived in yet another dusty backwater, presumably with little more to its name than a cantina and run down church. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Head into town, and you’ll find Chignahuapan has one of the area’s nicest zocalos, including a beautiful church with some rather unique designs on the exterior.

The nearby municipal administration building is unmissable, thanks to its impressive murals celebrating local culture, and the history of the region.

Locally, Chignahuapan is best known for its Christmas baubles. All year round, the town is awash in baubles. They’re pretty much everywhere, and you’ll see day trippers from Mexico City and Puebla stocking up. You can see the baubles being made by hand in factory tours. Outside town, the nearby Cascadas Tuliman make for a good camping site, and offers some easy hiking trails. Avoid the place like the plague during holiday season, when it can get pretty packed. During most weeks though, you should have plenty of space. When I visited, I had an entire camping area to myself, though a large tour group had taken over another camp ground about a 20 minute walk away.

Chignahuapan certainly isn’t a large town, and can be comfortably covered in a day. However, it’s a great side trip, and could easily be combined with a trip to the nearby Pueblo Magico of Zacatlan. Like Zacatlan, there’s regular buses from Puebla’s CAPU bus terminal. The trip should take a little under two hours.

So, is Chignahuapan shit, or shit hot?

As a Pueblo Magico, Chignahuapan deserves to be part of my special series, Shithole or Shit Hot? It fares fairly well actually, and I’d have to say it’s pretty shit hot. There isn’t much to see, but Chignahuapan has to be a notch above many of the other Pueblos Magicos I’ve seen so far. I’m giving it a cool 6/10.

Score: 6/10

Pros:

Great atmosphere

Unique church

Bauble madness

Cons:

Not heaps to do

First published at dissentsansfrontieres.com.

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