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Did you know? The world's smallest volcano is in Puebla, Mexico

Tony Burton

The Cuexcomate volcano, in a suburb of the city of Puebla, is generally considered to be the world's smallest volcano.


The world's smallest volcano

World's Smallest Volcano

Weighing in at an estimated 40 metric tons, it stands just 13 meters (43 feet) tall, with a reach (diameter) of 23 meters (75 feet). The name Cuexcomate derives from the Nahuatl Cuexcomac which means bowl or place for keeping things.

Mexico has thousands of volcanoes, and many very interesting ones, but Cuexcomate must surely be the only volcano in the country with a spiral staircase inside it! The volcano formed in 1664, as an offshoot parasitic cone during an eruption of a much larger volcano, Popocatépetl.

View from inside

View from inside

Cuexcomate is officially classified as "inactive", considered highly unlikely to burst into renewed activity. However, local residents are quite concerned, since Popocatépetl has been increasingly active over the past few years, leading to several temporary evacuations of the villages around its base. If Popocatépetl were to erupt violently again, they believe that perhaps the subterranean link to Cuexcomate would be re-established and the world's smallest volcano might suddenly become somewhat larger...

Let's hope that never happens. It would bring an end to one of the more unusual tourist attractions in this part of Mexico. Climbing down a spiral staircase into claustrophobic darkness is hardly an everyday experience for a tourist, or indeed for a vulcanologist. The crater is about eight meters across. Once inside, there is not much to see, frankly, apart from the inevitable lava.

The sign for the Volcano

Cuexcomate volcano is located in the residential suburb of La Libertad, at the junction of streets 3a Norte and 4a Poniente.

Visitors to Puebla, a city that offers a complete range of tourist services, generally spend most of their time in the region's archaeological sites, colonial buildings and stores. Next time you're there, why not add some variety by taking in the world's smallest volcano?

Factual note:

The world's smallest active volcano is probably Mount Taal, located near the city of Tagaytay in the Philippines. It is a positively gargantuan 508 meters (1,660 feet) high, more than thirty-nine times the height of Cuexcomate, its Lilliputian cousin.

Accommodation note.

Puebla offers a complete range of tourist services; Cuexcomate is relatively close to several good hotels, including the luxurious Puebla Marriott Real Hotel, at Avenida Hermanos Serdán #807, where the service and cuisine are always first-rate. (Tel: 011-52 (222) 223-8300)

© Copyright 2004 by Tony Burton. All rights reserved.

Published or Updated on: March 14, 2008 by Tony Burton © 2008
Contact Tony Burton

Author of Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique (Sombrero Books, 2016),  Western Mexico, A Traveler's Treasury (4th edition, Sombrero Books, 2013) and "Lake Chapala Through the Ages; an anthology of travelers' tales" (Sombrero Books, 2008), available from all good book stores, and via his author's page at Co-author of "Geo-Mexico, the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico" (Sombrero Books, 2010). His blog is at

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