Updated: Jul 25, 2020
Puebla is a lovely city to visit, it feels very quaint and personal. I love the Mexican people. Unlike many countries, one of the best things about visiting is that the locals love to engage with you. Tourism is valued in their country, so oftentimes locals chatted with me and endured my less than perfect Spanish, to give me recommendations and advice.
So far, I’ve learned some interesting things! Puebla is considered one of the nine “pueblos magicos” or magic cities, which means the government paints the city. Puebla is full of loud primary colors that change from building to building. If you owned a business in one of these towns, it would actually be illegal to paint your own building without the consent of the government.
Next, my mother started coughing yesterday after inhaling too much chili, and my sister taught me a new verb. The verb “enchilarse” means to “chili one self.” Next time you are dying from too much chili you can say, “me enchilé” or if someone else can’t breathe because they had too much chili you can say, “te enchilaste!” This is my word of the week! What a great verb, and so fitting for México.
The third thing I learned was a bad word, in sort of a round-a-bout way. I posted a picture on Instagram with some Mexican flags and a Mexico City page picked it up and reposted it with a hastagged “chingon,” which I was informed is a bad word, but can also mean “really fucking cool.” So, thanks for the compliment @centrohistorico!
In most cities, the “zócalo” is a great place to start, it serves as the center of the city. The zócola in Puebla is filled with local cuisines, beautiful buildings and vendors. Oftentimes, you will be approached by people trying to sell you things like little knit purses, candy, flowers, balloons and everything else! My sister has taught us that saying “gracias, no” as opposed to “no gracias” is less rude, and you must simply learn to accept that the people won’t leave you alone. The vendors also pursue Mexicans, and it's very common for wealthy Mexicans to carry around loose change to give the beggars. We saw most of Puebla in two days, and these were my top things to see.
My Top 5 Things:
La Catedral de Puebla
This cathedral is right in the middle of town surrounding the zócalo. The intricacies of the art on the inside are incredible, and the photos don’t do it justice. Personally, all of the catholic churches in México feel overly gaudy, and I cannot imagine worshipping there under all of the gold. But I understand with all of the poverty in the country, the churches are the focal point, and offer all kinds of people a nice place to worship and pray.
Calle de las Dulces
The candy street! If you’re in Puebla, don’t miss this little street. It is filled with candy that is typical to the region. I got a yummy cookie from Tortitas de Santa Clara. Some of the authentic candies are candied fruit (oranges, kiwis, coconut, sweet potato), camotes (sweet potato, kind of like a taffy), galletas de coco horrneados (crispy baked coconut cookies).
Barrio de Los Artistas
This street is filled with local artists all day long. They paint under these beautiful tiled archways. Most of the large pieces were priced under $25! I would have bought them all if I had a house. I love Mexican art, it is striking, colorful and loud.
Callejon de Los Sapos
Sappo Street, or the street of the frogs. This street is famous for all of the colorful photos. Although the entire city is splashed with lovely colors, this street in particular features store fronts that are especially vibrant! Over each doorway there is are iron balconies that stand over the street, and remind me of the ones in New Orleans.
Last but not least, and certainly the most notable. This site is located 20 minutes outside of the city in Cholula (yes, cholula hot sauce comes from here!) Puebla arguably has the largest pyramids in the world. Egypt is typically associated with pyramids, but the ones in Cholula are actually larger. This one seems smaller because it has eroded some and the Spanish has built an incredible church over the top! The Spanish destroyed many parts of México, as it was taking over the Aztec empire. We got to walk through the pyramid tunnels which were shockingly tight, built like an ant hill, they led all over the premises. It was claustrophobic, but incredible to see the vastness that was created by the Atzecs dating back to 200 A.D
We stayed at the China Poblana, two blocks from the zócalo and I'd stay there again. We stayed there for $150 a night. It was quiet and the food was incredible. The staff were live-in, and available 24/7.