Teleferico de Orizaba

Orizaba, Mexico | C.2013

Photo Credit: Arely García Chama

Perched 1,200 meters above sea level, Orizaba, Mexico is a city located in the state of Veracruz that is known for its colonial buildings and preservation of its culture. Another popular attraction is the Cerro del Borrego Peak which is reached by the ‘telefrico’ – or cable car system.

The city is approximately 285 kilometers southeast of Mexico City. It is generally understood that the name Orizaba comes from a Hispanicized pronunciation of the Nahuatl name Ahuilizapan, which means “valley of happy waters”. This likely comes from its proximity to many bodies of water including the Rio Blanco,  Rio Orizaba and several other tributaries. Nearby is also the mouth of a large valley heading westward into the eastern Sierra Madre Oriental.

The city’s central location, at the bottom of the ascent before the trek into the mountains, is an important transition point along what has been for centuries the main trade route between Mexico City and Veracruz on the Gulf Coast.

The cable car system was built in order to transport visitors up to the peak of Cerro del Borrego where people have unobstructed views of the city. Construction began in May 2013, making it a fairly new addition to its historical surroundings. The first maiden voyage officially disembarked on December of 2013. American, Colombian and Local trained engineers worked together to design what is now the third longest and the second highest cable run lift in Mexico reaching a maximum height of 320 meters above city level.

Six cars running along the 917 meter journey from Plaza Pichucalco to the top of Cerro del Borrego in just under six minutes. The structure has a capacity to move 150 passengers every hour, making it a popular tourist destination. The cable car runs year-round through all types of weather, however the only condition that stops the operation is strong gusts of wind exceeding 50 kilometers per hour or heavy thunderstorms.

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