Walking up, in and around the crater of an extinct volcano?
INSIDE Mexico City? At 3107 meters / 10194 feet ?
Welcome to the Xitle volcano! Located in the Southern part of Mexico City, Near the highest point of Mexico City: the Ajusco volcano at 3930 meters / 12894 feet. At around 50 to 60 minutes driving from for example Metro Chilpanchingo, in Colonia Condesa.
Mexico City has 5 national parks, and only 49% of Mexico City is urbanized, so there are some amazing green areas to be explored. A perfect escape, especially since at this moment archeological sites and museums are closed due to Covid-19. A walk up, around and inside the Xitle volcano is a perfect way to reactivate ourselves, while maintaining social distancing.
From the Xitle volcano we have an amazing view on the Ajusco volcano behind us, farmlands and some small villages. Yes, it´s hard to imagine that technically we are still in Mexico City. We start the walk at 2800 meters / 9186 feet. In front lies our challinge of the day: the Xitle volcano. So the altitude difference is around 300 meters. We take it slow to adjust ourselves to the hight. Mexico City itselve is at 2200 meters / 7217 feet.
Xitle in Nahuatl means navel. The volcano has a conical shape and a round base, and a height of 3100 meters above sea level.
After a walk through an urbanized part and some farmlands, we slowly start warking uphill. The very few locals are friendly, especially if you greet them first. After around a 30 minute walk uphill, we arrive at the feet of the Xitle volcano. The first part is quite steep, but again, we take it slow to adjust, while we can enjoy beautiful views around. Plus we can admire the different wild flowers on our way.
After about another hour walking uphill, we can cash in one of the best views in Mexico City: we arrive at the top of the volcano, were we can look into the crater, that is 3 times the size of the Arena stadium. In the back ground we can admire the urbanized part of Mexico City and on a clear day we can even see the corporate office buildings in Santa Fe and even the Popocatepetl and Iztachihuatl volcanoes.
From there on we can walk around the edge of the crater, for more amazing views. Untill we find a possibility to ascend down into the crater of the extinct volcano (if the weather and conditions allow). A perfect place for a picknick and to watch the crater walls all around us. Afterwards, we find our same way back, the total walk is around 3 hours.
Xitle erupted during the period AD 245-315. Among the consequences of this eruption were the formation of the Pedregal de San Ángel lava fields, to the south of the Mexican Federal District. Cuicuilco, one of the most refined cities of Mesoamerica was destroyed and covered by lava. The subsequent departure of the Cuicuilcans, and the attendant diffusion of their culture across most of central Mexico, influenced important cultural changes in the nearby power center of Teotihuacan. The archeological site of Cuicuilco is 1 of the 5 archeological sites inside Mexico City.
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