Popocatepetl is an active volcano and, at 5,426 m (17,802 ft), the second highest peak in Mexico after the Pico de Orizaba (5,636 m/18,491 ft). Popocatepetl is linked to the Iztaccihuatl volcano to the north by the high saddle known as the Paso de Cortés, and lies in the eastern half of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt.
The name Popocatepetl comes from the Nahuatl words popōca 'it smokes' and tepētl 'mountain', thus Smoking Mountain; the name Don Goyo comes from the mountain's association in the lore of the region with San Gregorio (St. Gregory), "Goyo" being a nickname-like short form of Gregorio.
Popocatepetl is 70 km (43 mi) southeast of Mexico City, from where it can be seen regularly, depending on atmospheric conditions. The residents of Puebla, a mere 40 km (25 mi) east of the volcano, enjoy the views of the snowy and glacier-clad mountain almost all year long. The volcano is also one of the three tall peaks in Mexico to contain glaciers, the others being Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba.
Popocatepetl is one of the most violent volcanoes in Mexico, having had more than 20 major eruptions since the arrival of the Spanish in 1519. A major eruption occurred in 1947 to begin this cycle of activity. Then, on December 21, 1994, the volcano spewed gas and ash which was carried as far as 25 km (16 mi) away by prevailing winds. The activity prompted the evacuation of nearby towns and scientists to begin monitoring for an eruption. In December 2000, tens of thousands of people were evacuated by the government based on the warnings of scientists. The volcano then made its largest display in 1200 years. [Wiki]