Follow my tips to find out where you can get the best views of the volcanoes, how best to cook the nopal cactus that grows in Milpa Alta, and where to buy mole in San Pedro Atocpan.
- As I mentioned in my video, I was lucky to have Alicia as we were able to get to Milpa Alta by car which is quicker than public transport as long as you leave early enough to beat the morning traffic. We were on the road by 6am and I recommend you do the same if you hire a car or take a taxi. Milpa Alta is about 35km from the Historic Centre.
- To get to Milpa Alta in public transport, take the blue metro line to Taxqueña. Exit on the pradero sur side and look for the letter “M” at the microbús stop. Take the minibus that says “Milpa Alta” or route number 81 in the window. The bus will stop at Canal de Miramontes, Villa Coapa, Vaqueritos, Xochimilco, San Gregorio Atlapulco, San Pedro Atocpan and finally, Villa Milpa Alta.
- Don’t let the slime put you off eating nopales (prickly pear cactus). They are super good for you and assist in treating all kinds of ailments. Boiling them for about 10 minutes should get rid of the slime.
- If like me, you rather enjoy the slimy baba, slice your nopal lengthways without cutting all the way to one end (like fingers on a hand) and sear them on a hot skillet with some coarse sea salt. Yum!
- Get the benefits of raw nopales by adding them to your smoothies. A squeeze of any citrus fruit will help reduce the slimy texture.
- At the 19.5km point along the Xochimilco-Oaxtepec highway, you’ll find the San Lorenzo Tlacoyucan lookout point, offering some of the city’s most spectacular views of the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl volcanoes.
- I recommend you take in the view with a taco de barbacoa at any of the outdoor food areas that line the lookout point. This borough of Mexico City is famous for its tender pit-roast lamb and it was so good, I ordered 2 for breakfast!
- The town of San Pedro Atocpan has everything you need to make mole from scratch, as well as infinite variations on ready-prepared mole paste. Ismael at Moles Don Juan is well informed and can advise on gluten-free moles etc.
- The staff at Casa Cazares on the town square are a friendly bunch and attend really well to tourists, showing a genuine interest in where they are from, what they think of Mexico City etc.
Milpa Alta is one of the boroughs in the city that conserves many of its traditional religious festivals, with about 700 per year, about two per day somewhere in the borough.
- Founded in 1986, the Feria del Nopal is held in Villa Milpa Alta in June with the aim of promoting the consumption of the paddle cactus.
- The Feria de la Nieve (Ice Cream Fair) is held in San Antonio Tecomitl in March.
- The Feria Nacional del Mole (National Mole Fair) occurs each year in San Pedro Atocpan in October
- The Festival of Corn and Pulque takes place in San Antonio Tecomitl in September
- For details of more festivals and events, see the “Demographics and Culture” section of this Wikipedia page.