1 hour from Zacapoaxtla. This is my favorite town in the Sierra Norte. You can only get there via a small bus or a group taxi from Zacapoaxtla, and there aren’t many tourists. The town is breathtaking, as it’s perched on the slope of a mountain, has brightly colored buildings with tiled roofs, and is paved entirely with cobblestones. From nearly every corner of the town you can see the mountains extending into the distance, and you can get a great view from the church on the upper edge of the town. It’s a great spot for watching the sunset/sunrise. Aside from its own beauty, the town also offers other attractions, such as an overlook which supposedly grants a view of the whole valley below, as well as an old coffee plantation. The plantation is overgrown with moss and plants, and just beyond it a stream runs into an enormous black hole, a gaping cave. You can’t go far into the cave, though, even if you’re an expert: apparently there is a huge whirlpool in the center.
There are several hotels in Xochitlan. The one I stayed at is D’Jessi in Calli, which is quite decent as it offers various numbers of beds and room sizes. A double costs about $200 pesos.