I had been to Teocelo only once before my visit to the Ranchito Coyolopan, and then only to the edge of town where I had turned off to the pueblito of Santa Rosa from where I walked to visit the Cascada Texolo.
When passing through on the way to visit the ranchito a couple of weeks ago I noticed what a tidy little town it is, and when we stopped in Centro during the return trip for a bite to eat I noticed how very attractive is the central park. During my visit last Sunday to the home of Lorena and her father Franco, before returning to the Ranchito Coyolopan, I had even a better look of the town and decided that I wanted to return for a longer visit.
So Wednesday I walked to the tourist information booth across from the Parque Juarez, here in Xalapa, and asked from where I would board a bus to Teocelo. The very pleasant woman staffing the booth was able to tell me that I must go to the Mercado Los Sauces, about ten blocks from Parque Juarez. So off I went.
I located a bus parked adjacent to the mercado which indicated Teocelo on its front window and asked the driver, who informed me from where I should catch it. So off I went down Calle Bolivia to the bus stop. The bus may also be boarded at the route’s origin at La Rotonda on Calle Revolucion , about 12 blocks North of my apartment.
The bus was a very comfortable Mercedes and the young driver sported a gelled hair do that put to shame the greaser “duck tails” popular in my adolescence. Unlike the local buses one does not pay the fare upon boarding. Rather, there is a fellow riding shotgun who approaches each passenger that boards, determines their destination, and collects the fare. The fare to Teocelo is $13. pesos.
The route passes through Coatepec and continues toward Xico. Just before reaching Xico the road diverges, winds its way up and over a mountain pass, drops down into the valley of the river into which the Cascada Texolo falls, and snakes its way up and over another pass before dropping down into Teocelo. The scenery along the route is spectacular, including sheer rock faces, of well over one hundred feet in height, on each side of the narrow river valley the route traverses.
I debarked in Teocelo just around the corner from the central park and spent the next couple hours walking the streets looking for signs announcing houses for rent or sale, though I encountered none. I stopped into the cable TV office and inquired if they offered internet service and as to the prices for TV services. The very nice woman staffing the office indicated that the company does not provide internet service and insisted that she write down for me the TV connection and monthly services charges.
A bit further along in my tour I stopped into a bar that was about only 8 feet wide, ordered a Bohemia, and began grilling the proprietor with questions about the town. When I asked if he knew of any houses for rent or property for sale he indicated that he was selling a home around the corner. He informed me that the house, constructed only about five years ago, has fourteen bedrooms and five bathrooms. I finished the beer and continued on my way.
I am impressed with how clean the town is and how friendly the folks are. Almost without exception those I passed greeted me with a “buenas tardes” or “adios”, as is a common greeting here. The buildings are colorful, most of the streets and sidewalks are of stone common to the area, and the central park is amongst the most beautiful I have encountered.
Returning toward the central park I inquired of a gentleman I encountered if he could recommend a restaurant he likes. He directed me to the Dona Ofe restaurant across the street from the North end of the park. The tidy restaurant has about eight tables in the front room of a colonial home, with the food preparation in the rear. The tables are surrounded by beautiful caned chairs with frames constructed of rough hewn tree trucks or limbs.
As is typical of coninas economicas here, Dona Ofe offered a choice of two meals, carne asado, a thinly sliced beef flank steak, or chuleta de cerdo, a pork chop. Each meal was of three courses, a delicious pasta soup, followed by a plate of rice with peas and corn, and finally the meat plate with a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber. The meal included sweeten lemon water, corn tortillas, and tortilla chips with a fairly picante salsa. The meal was $30. pesos, which at today’s exchange rate is about $2.75 USA.
Following lunch I walked through the park to Don Franco’s bakery and home, located across the street from the end of the park opposite the restaurant, as I wanted to thank him and his daughter Lorena for their hospitality the previous Sunday and for their help with communicating with the owners of Ranchito Coyolopan.
Franco greeted me warmly, we talked for a few minutes, he encouraged me to visit any time and assured me that his home was also mine, and he directed me as to where to catch a bus home and which bus to take.
The bus in which I returned to Xalapa was a Blue Bird school type bus with high backed seats. It was an exciting trip home, as the driver maneuvered the bus along the winding mountain roads as if he were driving a sports car.
Teocelo is an enchantingly beautiful, very clean, quiet pueblo of friendly folks. I recommend to those visiting Xalapa a day trip by bus to Teocelo. I intend to return next week for further explorations to include a bus trip to the nearby pueblo of Cosautlan.