Puebla is the the fourth largest city of Mexico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are many reason why it’s worth visiting, especially since it’s so close and accessible from Mexico City. I had no initial plans to visit Puebla, but due to the high levels of pollution in Mexico city, we started searching for a way to flee the city we started to feel several side effects. Puebla was the best choice for a quick getaway until the pollution level left it’s ”extremely dangerous” status.
How to get to Puebla
Puebla is so close from Mexico city that it is worth taking a good two days there. You can grab a bus for less than 15$ and the ride is a bit less than 3 hours. The view while leaving Mexico city is interesting and you get to see the suburbs on the side of the highway and just how massive Mexico city really is. Once in Puebla, you will need to find a taxi to reach the old city. Keep in mind that it will be easier for you to negotiate a reasonable price if you don’t go for the taxi line and simply get by the side of the street. Puebla is also very safe compared to most cities in the country, the rampant crime still hasn’t taken root in the city and it’s notorious that rich drug cartel members send their family in Puebla so they can be safe.
What is so great about Puebla ?
Puebla is a colonial city with a beautiful old center, some of the best universities of Mexico – hence, the student vibe. There are tons of bars, cafe, gastronomical restaurants and a very artsy feeling to the city. In an afternoon you can walk around most of the colorful streets of the old city but that’s only scratching the surface of the city. You need to take the time enter public buildings, universities, libraries and even some restaurants with beautiful interior design. Be curious!
San Andrés Cholula
San Andres Cholula has a lot of things to do, it’s almost a part of Puebla and can be reached by taxi in less than 20 minutes. There is an old city center, churches and monasteries, plazas but it is better known for the Zona Arqueológica de Cholula. A small Church (Shrine of Our Lady of Remedies) sits at the top of a hill where there is a view on volcanoes. However, there was far too much pollution when we were there to see the volcano, the hike was still fun. You can spend a good day in San Andrés Cholula and everything can be done by foot and it’s very safe.
I enjoyed how compact the old city was and the amount of things to do in such a small perimeter.
Cerveza, Pasita and tequilla
Puebla is a good place for having fun. There are high end night clubs on rooftops all around the main square, bars everywhere and bars to refresh yourself when it gets warm.
There are tons of Mescal and tequila bar near the city center of Puebla and it’s a great place to do a pub crawl and even at night the center is safe.
The most popular and unique bar in Puebla is La Pasita. The bar is older than a 100 year and they became famous for the drink they invented : La Pasita! It’s a sweet raisin liqueur, served in a small tequila glass, and it’s balanced with fresh goat cheese and a raisin stuck on a toothpick. There are dozens of options of shots to try, all of them very original and they are classified in order of alcoholic intensity. We ended tasting several of them, while making friend in a very unique decor.
Culture and Architecture
Walking around Puebla was my favorite activity, however it’s the kind of city where you need a context as you know the city is rich in history but you can’t find that information by yourself. A free walking tour is offered everyday to share the story of the city to curious travelers. There was only four of us and our guide allowed us to dive in the history of Puebla and also of Mexico itself as Puebla was once a very important hub during the colonization times.
The colors are incredible and most buildings contrast each other, and it’s not just a street, it’s all the streets in the old city.
There are also several other monuments and parks to see but some of them are hardly accessible if you don’t have a local driving you around. I especially like this giant monument with the flag flying above the city.
If you go a week in Mexico, make sure you take the time to visit Puebla!