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Puebla City Guide

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Puebla's Zocalo

Puebla's Zocalo

© 2006 Suzanne Barbezat, licensed to About

The City of Puebla:

Puebla de los Angeles, also known as Puebla de Zaragoza, is Mexico's 4th largest city and among the oldest cities in the country. It is one of Mexico's cities that has best preserved its colonial architecture, and was chosen by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Puebla's warm hospitality, relaxed atmosphere, colorful surroundings and distinct colonial history make it a worthwhile destination.

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.

History:

Founded in 1531 as Ciudad de los Angeles, the city represented a bastion for Spaniards mid-way between Mexico City and the port of Veracruz. Later the name was changed to Puebla de los Angeles. 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 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:

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.

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

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).

  • Mi Ciudad, located at Juárez 2507 in Colonia La Paz, serves up excellent Poblano cuisine. Call for reservations (222) 231-0277.

  • Fonda Santa Clara has become a Pueblan landmark. Try the mole. 3 Poniente 920 (222) 242-2659

  • La Zanahoria offers vegetarian fare at reasonable prices. 5 oriente 206. (222)232-4813

Hotels in Puebla:

Here are a few hotels within Puebla's historical center:

Hotel Colonial is located just one block from the Zocalo in a former Jesuit monastery(compare rates).

Hotel Royalty's location on the Zocalo couldn't be better. Choose a junior suite, the regular rooms are small (compare rates).

Meson Sacristia de Capuchinas is pricey but luxurious (compare 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 los 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:

Check the bulletin board outside the Tourist office of the Palacio de Gobierno for current events and concerts.

There are several bars with live music around the Plazuela de los Sapos.

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 (view photos).

Getting There and Around:

You can easily travel by bus from Mexico City. The Estrella Roja has buses that depart for Puebla every half hour from the Mexico City International Airport. The last bus of the night leaves at 12:20 a.m. 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.

  • State Tourist Information Office 5 Oriente 3, Centro Historico (222) 777-1553 and (222) 122-1100 ext. 811
    Has helpful English-speaking staff.
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