Puebla City Guide

Zocolo at Dawn
••• Puebla's Zócalo. Rob Tilley / Getty Images

 

Puebla de Zaragoza is the capital of Mexico's Puebla state. This is Mexico's fourth largest city and is also one of the oldest in the country. The city has well conserved colonial architecture and is among those chosen by UNESCO as World Heritage sites. Puebla's warm hospitality, relaxed atmosphere, colorful surroundings and distinct colonial history make it a worthwhile destination.It is located only about two hours from Mexico City, so it can be visited on a day trip from the nation's capital, but it's worth staying at least a couple of days.

History:

Founded in 1531 as Ciudad de Los Angeles, the city represented a bastion for Spaniards as a mid-way point between Mexico City and the port of Veracruz. The name was later changed to Puebla de Los Ángeles (Puebla of the Angels). The Battle of Puebla, in which Mexican troops defeated French invaders took place in 1862 at the Forts of Loreto and Guadalupe. The victory is celebrated annually throughout the country and beyond as the 5 de Mayo holiday. General Ignacio Zaragoza was in command during that battle and died soon after. The city was re-baptized Puebla de Zaragoza in his honor.

What to see and do:

A trip to Puebla offers the opportunity to appreciate traditional architecture and Mexican culture and sample local cuisine.

Dining in Puebla:

Puebla is well-known among Mexicans for its cuisine. Both mole poblano and chiles en nogada are said to originate here and even the street food is delicious - chalupas are very popular (mini corn tortillas topped with shredded pork, chopped onion and red and green chili sauce).

  • Fonda Santa Clara is a Poblano landmark with two locations in the historical center. Try the mole. 3 Poniente 920 (222) 242-2659
  • La China Poblana is also a boutique hotel, but the restaurant on the ground floor around a pretty patio has some excellent local dishes. Try their pink mole which is made with pine nuts. 4 Norte 2. (222) 242 5621
  • La Zanahoria offers vegetarian fare at reasonable prices. 5 Oriente 206. (222) 232-4813

Hotels in Puebla:

There are many comfortable hotels within Puebla's historical center:

Hotel Colonial is located just one block from the Zocalo in a former Jesuit monastery. Read reviews and get rates.

Hotel Royalty's location on the Zocalo couldn't be better. Choose a junior suite, the regular rooms are small. Read reviews and get rates.

Meson Sacristia de la Compania is an upscale boutique hotel. Read reviews and get rates.

Shopping in Puebla:

Puebla is a great destination for shopping. Here are a few places you should check out:

  • Mercado el Parian is a charming handicrafts market, 6 Norte, corner of 4 Oriente.
  • Plazuela de L os Sapos has antiques and flea market on Sundays, 4 Sur between 3 Oriente and 7 Oriente.

  • At Uriarte Internacional, you can purchase Talavera pottery as well as see how its made, 4 Poniente 911 (222)232-1598.
  • Mercado La Victoria is a late 19th-century market converted into a modern shopping center with department stores and upscale boutiques, corner of 5 Poniente and 3 Norte.

Puebla Nightlife:

There are several bars with live music around the Plazuela de Los Sapos. Check the bulletin board outside the Tourist office of the Palacio de Gobierno for current events and concerts.

Day trips from Puebla:

Cholula
Just six miles (10 km) outside of Puebla, you can see The Great Pyramid of Cholula, the world's largest pyramid topped by the Virgen de Los Remedios church. Cholula is a small town just on the outskirts of Puebla and besides the archaeological site and a climb up to the church at the top of the pyramid, you should also visit the market and take a stroll around the main plaza.

Africam Safari
A wide variety of wild animals, including lions, tigers, giraffes, buffalo, and rhinoceros wander in semi-liberty over nearly 500 acres (200 hectares) of the Africam Safari park.

Ten miles (16 km) south of Puebla. Buses leave from the Puebla Zocalo daily. Km 16.5 Blvd. Cap. Carlos Camacho E. Puebla (222) 281-7000

Festivities in Puebla:

  • Puebla's fair is held annually from the end of April to May 5th.
  • The Chile en Nogada festival takes place throughout the month of August.
  • Independence Day is celebrated on September 15 and 16.

Location:

Located in a valley flanked by volcanoes, Puebla lies 80 miles (130 km) southeast of Mexico City at an altitude of 7091 feet (2149 m). It can be visited as a day trip from Mexico City, but it's well worth staying a few days.

Getting There and Around:

You can easily travel to Puebla by bus from Mexico City. The Estrella Roja bus line has departures for Puebla every half hour from the Mexico City International Airport. The last bus of the night leaves at 12:20 am. Alternatively, take the bus from Mexico City's TAPO bus terminal. Service from here is available via Estrella Roja and ADO (Autobuses de Oriente) bus lines. Travel time between Mexico City and Puebla is about 2 hours by express bus.

Tourist Information:

  • Municipal Tourist Information Office Portal Hidalgo 14, Centro Historico
    See the bulletin board outside for information about current events.
  • the State Tourist Information Office has helpful English-speaking staff. 5 Oriente 3, Centro Historico (222) 777-1553 and (222) 122-1100 ext. 811