(Maybe this is the Mexico you were expecting?)
A 45 minute ride from the center of Jalapa, Xico is yin to the modern yang of the capital. More burros than busses trundle through the streets, and a thoroughly rural feel permeates the area. The photos describe it better than I could. Look at the small things, such as the bougainvillea in the background, or the way the cobblestone roads are designed.
(A particularly raucous example
of the bougainvillea to be found everywhere in central Mexico.)
Cascadas de Texolo
A forty or so minute walk from
the center of Xico, through coffee and banana plantations (the two grow symbiotically;
banana trees provide just the right amount of shade for the coffee bushes).
The directions are rather convoluted, but the walk alone is worth it.
The waterfalls are simply amazing. Three falls drop down to the canyon
floor, two of the wispy bridal veil sort, the third is more to the raging
torrent end of the scale. When I visited no one else was there, and
it was a great place to have to yourself. From above the views are
marvelous, the roar of the falls constantly fills the air, along with calls
from the numerous large brightly colored birds crashing festively from treetop
to treetop. I could never tell what they were, but judging from their
navigational skills they appeared to be drunk. At the base of the falls
butterflies and enormous dragonflies flit through the mist hung air, and
succulent flowers drink in the moisture. I bashed around happily for
most of the morning, never seeing another person.