You will find Puebla in central Mexico only a 2 hour bus drive south of Mexico City. Puebla its well-deserved fame among international travellers for its history, its traditions, and its amazing food. There is so much to see and enjoy in Puebla that an entire week doesn’t seem enough. In this article we aim to help you find your way around, and, even if you have little time we will make sure you will cover all the unmissable spots and things to do in Puebla.
Walk Around The Historical Centre
The first thing you should do when you arrive at a new destination is find your way around and get a feeling for it. In Puebla, we recommend you start at the historical centre, walk around and make sure to look up. Enjoy the historical baroque buildings and have a coffee and a tart in a little fancy cafe in one of the old internal courtyards. They say that there are 356 churches in Puebla – one for each day of the year. We are not sure about that, but you will certainly bump into a church at every corner and they are all worth a visit, for their magnificent baroque architecture.
We fell in love with the food in Puebla during our travels and especially one of their most iconic dishes Chicken Tinga. Tinga, if you aren’t already familiar, originated in Puebla and is a dish made with shredded chicken, tomatoes, chipotle, garlic and sliced onions. It inspired us to develop our Tinga Taco Cooking Sauce which makes it easy to make a Tinga at home.
Sample The Chile En Nogada – It’s A Must!
Another must try is the Chile en Nogada. This iconic dish is made with a certain kind of sweet pepper, meat, dried fruits, nuts and pomegranate. It’s only made in late summer, from August through October, when the fruits used are available. The plate has the colours of the Mexican flag and it’s a tradition that the Pueblan citizens are very proud of. If you are a vegan you will now even be able to find the vegan version of it.
Visit The Biblioteca Palafoxiana
Located right behind the cathedral, in a spectacular building, this is an obligatory stop for everyone not just bibliophiles. Bishop Palafox established the library in 1646 by donating over 5000 books. He opened the library to all those who could read, not just clergy, which was the norm at the time. A century later, the Bishop of Puebla, Francisco Fabián y Fuero, extended it further and included more books. Today, there are something like 45,059 volumes dating from the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th centuries with a few from the 20th century.
Check Out The International Museum Of The Baroque
The newest museum was designed by the award-winning Japanese architect Toyoo Itō. His idea was to recreate in the building itself the elements that characterised the baroque era, especially the strong relationship between artifice and nature. You will see this in the pools that surround the building, the curved walls and the plan itself, consisting of a grid of rectangular “cells” rotated and deformed. Moving through the different halls of the museum where you can learn about the different aspects of the baroque times, you will also experience a baroque space. Or this is what the famous architect was aiming at.
Walk Along Candy Street
In such a foodie city, the sweet lovers will also find their heaven in “Calle de los dulces” (Candy street). Actually Avenida 6 Oriente, it is right in the city centre a few blocks from the main plaza. From 10am more than 40 shops display an array of colourful and tasty candies all locally made. Too sugary for some, a blessing for others, they range from oblea wafers, crystallized peaches, camotes and the most famous Tortitas de Santa Clara and many other local delicacies.
Splurge In The Hotel Cartesiano
Hotel Cartesiano is one of the newest hotels and considered a symbol of the city’s architecture. Risen from the walls of an old tiles factory and now a spectacular luxury hotel. You will find both modern comfort and a romantic historical ambiance right in the heart of the city.
One of the traditions of Puebla is the colourful tiles that you will notice throughout the city including building walls. You will also find Talavera on dishes and decorative objects displayed in every shop window around Puebla. The tradition comes from Spain but the city of Puebla made the Talavera its own unique art. Nowadays you will find quite a few shops that still make their own Talavera artworks in a very traditional way. One of those is Uriarte where for a few dollars, you can get an interesting tour and see how the Talavera is made.
Visit The Grand Pyramid Of Cholula
The Great Pyramid of Cholula, dedicated to Tláloc, is the one with the largest in Mesoamerica. Built with overlapping layers in different stages over time, the Gran Pyramid of Cholula takes advantage of the natural elevation. On the highest part, the Spaniards built a church in honor of Our Lady of Remedies. It’s located at about 40 minutes bus from Puebla. You can visit the church and the archeological site on your own and enjoy the spectacular views from the terrace. On a clear day, you can see both the smoking Popocatepetl and sleepy Itzacihuatl, the volcanoes towering over the valley.
We hope you enjoyed learning a bit about the top things to do in Puebla. We would love to see if you make it there, don’t forget to tag us at #granluchito. It’s definitely a place to include in your Mexican travel itinerary!