La Malinche is in the state of Tlaxcala east of Mexico City and north of Puebla, 44km from its capital Tlaxcala. It is frequently used as a training/acclimatization climb by mountaineers whose main goal is to climb one or more of the "high" volcanoes. It's elevation is 4462 meters or 14,640 feet and the walk up there is pretty easy. On sunny weekends Mexican families try to get up there with their children and grandparents, mountain bikers drive around in the parks dirt roads and even sport-fanatics make it all the way to the top running! No special equipment is required, there are no dangerous parts and the trail is very easy to follow so no guide is needed.
La Malinche is within Malinche National Park. There is a paved road that goes all the way up to 3100m where you can park and also sleep in the "Centro Vacacional IMSS La Malintzi. They have about 40 cabins, camping area, a shop, restaurant, basketball and soccer fields etc. So if the reason for you going to the mountains is seeking silence and solitude, dont go there on a weekend!
Getting ThereAccess is very easy. From Puebla, drive north on Highway 119, past the city of Tlaxcala to Apizaco. From Apizaco, take Highway 136 east 13 kilometers to a signed junction, pointing the way to the "Centro Vacacional IMSS La Malintzi". Stay on this main road for 9 kilometers to the "Centro Vacacional", where the pavement ends. If you don't have a car, busses (micros) go all the way up to the "Centro Vacacional" using this road.
Alternatively you can take a beautiful dirt road starting from Puebla and driving towards La Malinche to the town of Canoe. From there a paved and later dirt road goes all away around La Malinche joining the main road to the "Centro Vacacional" about 1 km before its end. A third (paved) road starts from Huamantla joining the main road at the same intersection about 1 km below the "Centro Vacacional".
On all of these roads you will pass a military post at the entrance of the National Park, asking you some question and writing down your licence plates. Usually no entrance fee is required.
After the "Centro Vacacional" the pavement ends and the dirt road continues about another 5 km up. But due to the heavy traffic on weekends the government closed this road with a gate and you cannot pass it anymore. So you will have to start your trip to the Malinche at the "Centro Vacacional" and leave your car here (either somewhere outside the "Centro Vacacional" or - safer - inside the "Centro Vacacional" paying a small fee of about 20 Pesos). If you choose to sleep in the "Centro Vacacional" you can leave your car there the whole day without any additional fees, just be sure to check out the room before 13:00.
Red TapeNo permits are required to climb. There is no entry fee or parking fee if you park outside the "Centro Vacacional". This is also true for camping.
When To Climb
As with most Mexican volcanoes, the dry season from November to March is the best season to climb. But the "Centro Vacacional" is open all year round, so you can go there anytime if the weather is good.
Transportation & GuideTransportation
If dealing with public transportation and taxi cabs is more than you want consider hiring your own driver for your trip. The larger your group the better it is to have a driver. A large passenger van can carry up to 8 climbers with gear.
A reliable option:
Jesus Antonio Juarez Guzman
We met a guide while on Orizaba that also guides Izta and La Malinche. He came recommended from the Limon's in Tlachichuca.
Roberto Flores Rodriguez aka Oso
RJ Secor's guidebook for Mexico's Volcanoes: A Climbing Guide is one source of information on climbing all the major mountains in Mexico.
For complete information on getting to Mexico and traveling around I highly recommend the Lonely Planet guidebook on Mexico now in its 11th edition.
Camping/CabanasThe "Centro Vacacional" is a huge resort with cabañas (huts), camping area, a little shop, a restaurant and bar, basketball and soccer fields etc. All the huts have hot showers, TV, fridge, kitchen, fireplace (take your wood with you or buy it at the entrance) and come with either 4 or 6 beds. Be sure to check if the hut is fully equipped before you pay. On weekends this place can get crowded by Mexican families or teenage groups taking lots of beer and music with them and partying so don't expect this to be a "cozy and quiet resort lost in the mountains". The cost varies during the week (weekends are more expensive) and also during the year. High rates are about 490 Pesos for a 4-bed hut and 690 Pesos for a 6-bed hut. Low rates are about 80 to 100 Pesos lower.
There is also a campground within the "Centro Vacacional". The price is around 40 Pesos per person. For both the campground and the huts the checkout time is 13:00, but you can leave your car within the "Centro Vacacional" until your return from La Malinche. To ask for available huts and/or prices call the "Centro Vacacional" at (246) 462-4098.
If you don't like using the resort you can camp at no fee just outside the "Centro Vacacional" in the forest. There are lots of flat places around, even some accessible by car.
Alternatively take your gear and walk about two hours up the trail towards the La Malinche. Where the forest ends there are tons of flat places with great views. For your next day climb to the Malinche you can hide your backpack somewhere in the woods. Be sure to take warm stuff with you as you will sleep just below 4000 m.
- Parques Nacionales de Mexico: La Malinche
A governmental page in spanish about the National Park La Malinche with tons of information.
- Information page about La Malinche in Spanish
- Additional Information about La Malinche in Spanish
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