“Popo” and “Ixta”, as the snow-clad volcanic peaks of Popocatépetl (5452m) and Ixtaccíhuatl (5285m) are affectionately known, are the nation’s second- and third-highest peaks (after the 5700m Pico de Orizaba). You get excellent views of them from almost anywhere west of the capital, and viewing from afar is all most people do these days. “Popo” has been rumbling and fuming away since September 1994, and for much of the time since then the region has been on Yellow Alert, with evacuation procedures posted throughout surrounding towns. Activity was renewed in December 2000, culminating in the largest eruption on record. Though there were no devastating lava flows, the crater spat out hot rocks, dust fell on the capital and, on several occasions, Mexico City’s airport (over 60km away) was closed for a few hours. Local villagers, evacuated for weeks during the eruption, were forced to stand idly by while their livestock trampled their fields. In April 2012, renewed activity, including the expulsion of volcanic ash, led the authorities to step up the level of alert to “Yellow Phase 3”, which means among other things that no access is allowed within 12km of the volcano until further notice.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Mexico features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right