On your next trip to Tlaxcala you can’t miss a nourishing breakfast in the fantastic town of Atlangatepec, prepared by Tenexac’s charismatic steward, Paz Yano Bretón, join her for a tour of the residential quarters, which are crowded with eclectic furnishings and keepsakes accumulated over the past 200 years.
Spend the rest of the morning relaxing on the grass or strolling the hacienda’s sprawling, wildflower-dusted grounds before heading west to the industrial city of Apizaco for lunch at Evoka (entrées $10–$22).
Chef Francisco Molina serves impeccable renditions of regional specialties—think heirloom-corn tostadas with whipped pulque butter or a delicate bean tamale nestled in a rich, oat-based mole—in an elegant, minimalist room endearingly out of sync with the spare concrete streetscape outside.
A short drive north takes you into open fields abutting the highlands of the Sierra Madre Oriental that separates the Altiplano from the Gulf of Mexico.
A winding dirt road leads to the two-year-old JapoNeza Retreat (doubles from $280), whose Japanese-influenced guest rooms open onto spectacular views of the Atlangatepec lagoon and the cone of La Malinche, a dormant volcano named for the guide and consort of Hernán Cortés, the Spanish military commander.
Atlangatepec to Mexico City
Wake at dawn for a mild, 40-minute hike to the top of a hill behind the retreat. As the sun rises, marvel at the grandeur of Popocatépetl and its snowcapped twin, the dormant Iztaccíhuatl. After checking out, your next stop should be the town of Tlaxco for a breakfast of enpipianadas (tortillas stuffed with cheese and bathed in a pale-green pumpkin-seed sauce) at La Casona de Don Agustín (entrées $6–$18), which overlooks the tree-lined plaza.
From Tlaxco, head west through the Llanos de Apan, an agricultural region split between Tlaxcala and the neighboring state of Hidalgo that was once the heart of a lucrative pulque industry. If you’re curious to get a more in-depth understanding of the beverage, visit Hacienda Xochuca (by appointment), one of the few in the region that still produce it.
Stop for lunch at Xoletongo (entrées $4–$20), a spartan, 60-seat dining room run by the family of chef Marcos Morales Muñoz. Its location on the edge of a dusty highway in the town of Calpulupan belies Morales’s exquisite vegetable-forward tasting menu. On any given day, a feast might include crisp, ivory petals of delicate agave hearts or seared trumpet mushrooms with a subtly warming mole made from Chicatanas (flying ants).
Mexico City is only 90 minutes away by car—whether you head there or back toward the mountains for a few more days of quiet is up to you.