On the skirts of the Pico de Orizaba and Cofre de Perote, this small town stands out, distinguished by its wide houses built in the Andaluz tradition with beautiful interior gardens. Around the street you can smell hints of toasted coffee, distinctive seal of its magic, which can also be seen in its landscapes, parks and haciendas.
Coatepec is merely eight kilometers south of Xalapa, at 1,250 meters above sea level; it has a temperate climate with very scarce variation in temperature throughout the year. With its combination of mountain forest, low jungles, cultivated lands, flower fields and greenhouses, this town boast of wonderful vegetation. The primary agricultural product is coffee, with national prestige followed by bananas, mangos and other tropical fruits.
The name Coatepec derives from náhuatl cóatl (snake) y tepetl (hill), which is to say ‘Hill of snakes.’ This town’s fame can be dated back to the XIXth century when the Arabica coffee seed was first brought over to be planted in its fertile lands. It is now considered to be the coffee zone with the most tradition and prestige it the entire country.
One more defining factor of Coatepec is its houses. To this day, they still reflect the way of life, the origin and the aesthetic tastes of the locals. Many keep their original floor plans and use the spaces the way they were intended to be used. The traditional Coatepec house has an average with of 20 meters and the access in through a large wooden door, flanked on either side by two or three iron rod covered windows. A long the entire façade it is decorated by a frieze and the windows hold beveled glass in order to keep the home warm and private.
The local cuisine is another shining jewel of Coatepec. Here you can eat exquisite regional dishes such as: mole, chileatole, Mexican antojitos, exotic meats, shrimp, trout and seafood. To follow a homemade local meal, in Coatepec, there is no better dessert than lemon sherbet served with orange leaves as your spoon. And finally a nice up of local coffee with masafina, bread made out of ricotta cheese and baked in a wood burning oven.
There are many things to enjoy in this sleepy mountainside town, you just have to take the time and wander a bit off the beaten path; you might me surprised what can be found.