Your Ultimate Puebla Travel Guide 2023
Welcome to Puebla! This beautiful Mexican city is a hidden gem that often gets overlooked when compared to its larger and more well-known counterparts. But for those that are brave enough to venture off the beaten path, Puebla offers a unique and captivating experience. From its rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city. Join us as we explore Puebla in our ultimate guide and discover why this city is the perfect destination for your next Mexican getaway! Want to keep exploring southern Mexico? Check out our Oaxaca travel guide.
Top 5 Things To See And Do In Puebla
- Visit the Historic Center: The historic center of Puebla is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with beautiful colonial architecture, colorful buildings, and picturesque streets. It is home to many notable landmarks, including the Puebla Cathedral, the Rosario Chapel, and the Amparo Museum.
- Explore The Talavera Pottery: Puebla is famous for its beautiful Talavera pottery, which is a traditional type of glazed ceramic. You can visit the workshops and factories in the city and learn about the process of making the pottery.
- Climb The La Malinche Volcano: The La Malinche Volcano is a popular hiking destination near Puebla, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The climb is moderate, and you can do it in a day.
- Taste The Local Cuisine: Puebla is known for its delicious food, with dishes such as mole poblano, chiles en nogada, and cemitas. You can try these dishes in the many local restaurants and markets throughout the city.
- Experience The Day of the Dead: The Day of the Dead is a significant cultural event in Mexico, and Puebla is a great place to experience it. You can witness the traditional altars and offerings in the city’s cemeteries and attend the many celebrations and events in the days leading up to the holiday.
Where To Stay In Puebla
- Centro Historico: This is the heart of Puebla and where many of the city’s main attractions are located, including the iconic Puebla Cathedral. There are plenty of options for accommodation here, from historic colonial homes turned into hotels to modern luxury options.
- La Paz: Known for its beautiful colonial architecture, this peaceful neighborhood is just a short walk from the Centro Historico. The streets are lined with galleries, cafes, and boutique shops, making it a great place to explore.
- Angelopolis: This newer part of the city has a more modern feel and is home to many high-end hotels and shopping centers. If you’re looking for a more luxurious stay, this may be the area for you.
- Barrio Del Artista: Located just south of the Centro Historico, this bohemian neighborhood is known for its street art and galleries. There are several charming hotels and guesthouses to choose from here.
- San Francisco: This neighborhood is a little further from the main tourist attractions but offers a quieter, more residential feel. It’s a great option for those looking to stay in a local neighborhood and experience daily life in Puebla. There are also some lovely hotels and guesthouses in the area.
Top Puebla Hotels
- Rosewood Puebla: This luxurious hotel offers an upscale retreat in the heart of Puebla. The elegant rooms are beautifully decorated and equipped with modern amenities, and the on-site restaurant serves delicious Mexican cuisine.
- La Purificadora: Located in a beautifully restored 19th-century factory building, La Purificadora offers a unique blend of modern and historic charm. The rooms are spacious and stylishly furnished, and the hotel features a rooftop pool with stunning views of the city.
- Hotel Cartesiano: This boutique hotel is housed in a beautifully restored colonial building, and features a stunning central courtyard and rooftop terrace. The rooms are beautifully appointed and equipped with modern amenities, and the hotel also features an excellent on-site restaurant.
- Mesón Sacristía De La Compañía: This charming hotel is housed in a beautifully restored 18th-century mansion, and features elegant rooms decorated with antique furnishings. The on-site restaurant serves delicious Mexican cuisine, and the hotel also features a lovely courtyard garden.
- Casa Reyna: This charming hotel is located in the heart of Puebla’s historic district, and features beautifully decorated rooms with traditional Mexican textiles and artwork. The hotel also features a lovely rooftop terrace with stunning views of the city.
Where To Eat In Puebla
When it comes to food, Puebla is known for its rich culinary heritage, blending traditional Mexican cuisine with Spanish and indigenous influences. Here are the top 5 places to eat in Puebla:
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- Mercado de Sabores: This bustling market offers a vast array of delicious food options, including street tacos, quesadillas, and mole poblano. Don’t miss the traditional cemitas, a sandwich stuffed with meat, cheese, avocado, and more.
- Casa Reyna: Located in a beautifully restored colonial mansion, Casa Reyna serves up upscale Mexican fare, featuring locally sourced ingredients and modern twists on traditional dishes. Try the chiles en nogada, a regional specialty consisting of stuffed poblano peppers covered in walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds.
- La Fonda De Santa Clara: This family-run restaurant has been serving classic Pueblan cuisine for over 50 years, including favorites like chalupas, memelas, and sopa poblana. The cozy ambiance and friendly staff make it a great spot for a casual lunch or dinner.
- El Mural De Los Poblanos: Tucked away in a historic building downtown, El Mural de los Poblanos is a must-visit for foodies. Their tasting menu highlights local ingredients and traditional techniques, resulting in elevated dishes like duck confit with mole and charred vegetables.
- Nicos: If you’re in the mood for seafood, head to Nicos, a seafood and ceviche specialist with an extensive menu of fresh catches. The bright, modern decor and outdoor seating make it a great spot for a romantic dinner or night out with friends.
How To Get Around Puebla
Puebla is a relatively small city that is easy to navigate, whether by foot, public transport, or taxi. Here are some of the best ways to get around Puebla:
- Walking: Puebla is a walkable city, and exploring on foot is a great way to take in the city’s colorful architecture and historical sites. Walking is particularly recommended in the city center, where many of Puebla’s main attractions are located.
- Public Transport: Puebla has a good public transport system, including buses and trams that connect different parts of the city. The buses are affordable, with tickets costing just a few pesos. However, be prepared for a crowded and sometimes bumpy ride.
- Taxis: Taxis are a convenient way to get around Puebla, and there are plenty of them available throughout the city. Taxis are metered, but it’s always a good idea to agree on the fare beforehand to avoid any surprises.
- Uber: Uber is available in Puebla, and it’s a reliable and convenient way to get around the city. Uber is generally more expensive than taking a taxi or public transport, but it offers more comfort and convenience.
- Bike: Puebla has a bike-sharing program called Puebla en Bici, which is a great option for exploring the city on two wheels. The bikes can be rented for a small fee, and there are bike stations located throughout the city.
Overall, there are plenty of options for getting around Puebla, and the best choice depends on your budget, preferences, and the distance you need to travel. Whether you choose to walk, take public transport, or hire a taxi, getting around Puebla is easy and convenient.
When planning a trip to Puebla, it’s important to consider the weather. The city has a mild and temperate climate throughout the year, making it a great destination to visit at any time.
- Spring (March – May): In the springtime, Puebla experiences pleasant temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit. This season also brings occasional rain showers, so it’s important to pack an umbrella and rain jacket.
- Summer (June – August): Summers in Puebla are warm and humid, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the low-80s Fahrenheit. The city can also experience heavy rainfall during the summer months, particularly in July and August. It’s important to pack lightweight, breathable clothing and a rain jacket.
- Fall (September – November): The fall season in Puebla is mild, with temperatures ranging from the low-60s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit. This is a great time to visit the city, as the weather is comfortable and the crowds are fewer. It’s recommended to pack layers for cooler mornings and evenings.
- Winter (December – February): Winters in Puebla are chilly but mild, with temperatures ranging from the low-40s to the low-60s Fahrenheit. December is the coldest month, so it’s important to pack warm clothing. However, the city rarely experiences snow or ice.
Overall, Puebla’s weather is enjoyable and comfortable year-round, so there’s never a bad time to visit this beautiful city.
Best Time To Visit Puebla
Puebla can be visited year-round, but the best time to go is during the dry season from November to May. The rainy season, which runs from June to October, can be unpredictable, and you may experience heavy rains that could disrupt your travel plans.
During the dry season, the weather in Puebla is usually sunny and warm, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to mid-80s Fahrenheit. This makes it perfect for exploring the city’s outdoor attractions, such as the various parks and gardens.
If you’re planning to attend any festivals or events, such as the Day of the Dead celebrations in November or the Cinco de Mayo festivities in May, it’s recommended to book your accommodations well in advance, as the city can get quite crowded during these periods. If you’re looking for the best deals on accommodations and flights, it’s best to avoid traveling during the peak tourist season, which runs from December to March. Instead, opt to travel during the shoulder season, from September to November or from April to May, when prices tend to be lower.
Overall, the best time to visit Puebla depends on your travel preferences and budget. However, regardless of when you choose to go, you’ll be sure to enjoy all that this charming Mexican city has to offer.
How To Stay Safe In Puebla
As with any destination, safety is always a concern. However, Puebla is generally a safe city for tourists, and with a few precautions, you can have a worry-free trip. Check out our safety guide for additional tips!
- Avoid Walking Alone At Night: Although the city is generally safe, it’s always best to exercise caution, especially after dark. If you do need to go out at night, make sure you are in a group and stick to well-lit areas.
- Keep Your Valuables Safe: Pickpocketing is a common occurrence in crowded areas, so it’s always best to keep your valuables safe. Keep your purse or backpack in front of you and don’t carry large amounts of cash.
- Use Reputable Taxis: While Puebla has a well-regulated taxi system, it’s always best to use a reputable taxi company. You can also ask your hotel to call a taxi for you.
- Watch Out For Traffic: Like most Mexican cities, Puebla has busy roads, and drivers may not always obey traffic laws. Always be alert when crossing the road and use designated pedestrian crossings.
- Learn Some Basic Spanish: Knowing some basic Spanish can go a long way in ensuring your safety. If you do run into trouble, being able to communicate with locals can make all the difference.
By taking these precautions, you can enjoy your time in Puebla with peace of mind and experience all that this charming city has to offer.
Puebla Customs And Etiquette
Puebla, like most places in Mexico, has a rich cultural heritage. Therefore, visitors to Puebla must be mindful of the customs and etiquette prevalent in the region.
- Greetings: Mexicans are a friendly and sociable people. When you meet someone, greet them with a handshake and say “buenos dias” (good morning), “buenas tardes” (good afternoon), or “buenas noches” (good evening), depending on the time of day. When greeting a woman, you may kiss her on the cheek.
- Dining: When eating at a restaurant or in someone’s home, it is customary to wait for the host or hostess to invite you to sit down. Mexicans often eat family-style, passing dishes around the table. Remember to say “buen provecho” (enjoy your meal) before eating.
- Dress Code: Puebla is a conservative city, and visitors are expected to dress appropriately. Avoid wearing revealing or provocative clothing in public places. You will also need to remove your shoes before entering some houses and temples.
- Tipping: Tipping is common in Puebla, and it is customary to leave a 10% tip for restaurant servers, taxi drivers, and hotel staff. If someone provides excellent service, you may want to leave a larger tip.
- Religion: Puebla is a deeply religious city, and Catholicism is the dominant religion. Visitors should be respectful of religious sites and traditions. For example, if you visit a church, you should dress conservatively and refrain from talking or taking photos during Mass.
By being mindful of Puebla’s customs and etiquette, you will show respect for the local culture and make your visit to this beautiful city more enjoyable.
Other Things To Know About Puebla
Before traveling to Puebla, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the country, currency, language, and time zone. Mexico is a vibrant country located in North America, bordered by the United States to the north and Belize and Guatemala to the south. The currency in Mexico is the Mexican peso (MXN), and it’s advisable to exchange some money before arriving in Puebla. It’s worth noting that some shops and restaurants may also accept US dollars, but it’s best to have pesos on hand for smaller purchases.
The official language of Mexico is Spanish, but many people in Puebla speak both Spanish and English, making it easier for English-speaking tourists to navigate their way around the city. However, it’s always helpful to have some basic Spanish phrases in your arsenal, as it shows respect for the local culture and makes interactions smoother.
Puebla operates on Central Standard Time (CST), which is six hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-6). This time zone is the same as Chicago, Dallas, and Mexico City, so keep this in mind when planning flights and adjusting to the time difference. Knowing these basics about Puebla and Mexico can help travelers have a more seamless experience and avoid any culture shock upon arrival.
Puebla Travel Costs
When planning a trip to Puebla, it’s important to factor in your travel costs to ensure you have a budget-friendly trip. Here are some expenses to consider:
- Accommodation: Puebla offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels. Prices can vary depending on the time of year, with high season (December to February) typically being more expensive. On average, expect to pay around $20-$100 USD per night for budget-friendly options, while luxury hotels can range from $100-$400 USD per night.
- Food: Puebla is known for its delicious food, and there are plenty of affordable options to choose from. Street food is a great way to try local dishes without breaking the bank, with tacos and tamales starting at around $1-$2 USD each. Sit-down restaurants are slightly more expensive, with an average meal costing around $5-$15 USD.
- Transportation: Getting around Puebla is easy and affordable, with taxis and buses readily available. Taxis typically cost around $3-$5 USD for a short ride, while bus fares start at around $0.50 USD per ride.
- Activities: Puebla has plenty of activities to keep you entertained, including museums, historical sites, and cultural events. Many museums offer free admission on certain days, while entrance fees to historical sites and cultural events can range from $1-$10 USD.
- Travel Insurance: While not a mandatory expense, it’s always a good idea to purchase travel insurance to protect yourself in case of any unexpected emergencies or incidents. Prices can vary depending on your coverage needs, but expect to pay around $20-$50 USD for basic coverage.
Overall, a budget-friendly trip to Puebla can cost around $30-$50 USD per day, while a mid-range trip can cost around $50-$100 USD per day. Luxury trips can cost upwards of $100 USD per day. By planning ahead and taking advantage of affordable options, you can have a great trip to Puebla without breaking the bank.
Finding Affordable Flights To Puebla
Getting to Puebla is easier than ever before, with numerous airlines now offering flights to the city’s airport. However, finding an affordable flight to Puebla can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re traveling during peak season or don’t have much flexibility in your travel dates.
One of the best ways to find cheap flights to Puebla is to use online travel agencies or flight search engines. Sites like Expedia, Kayak and Skyscanner allow you to compare prices from multiple airlines, which can help you find the best deal. Be sure to sign up for alerts or newsletters from these sites, as they often offer exclusive deals and discounts to subscribers.
Another option is to be flexible with your travel dates. Flights tend to be cheaper mid-week and during off-peak times, so consider travelling on a Tuesday or Wednesday, or avoiding major holidays and events in the city. If you’re looking to save even more on your flight to Puebla, consider booking well in advance. Many airlines offer discounted rates for tickets purchased several months in advance, so be sure to plan ahead if possible.
Finally, don’t be afraid to book with smaller or lesser-known airlines. These airlines may not offer as many amenities or have as large of a fleet, but they often offer much cheaper rates than larger carriers. With a bit of research and flexibility, you can find affordable flights to Puebla and experience all the beauty and culture this hidden gem of Mexico has to offer.
Backpacking Puebla Suggested Budgets
For those who are on a tight budget but still want to experience all the wonders of Puebla, we have suggested three different budget options.
Low Budget: $20-25 per day
For this budget, you will need to stay in a hostel dormitory or a budget hotel. You can expect to pay around $8-10 per night for a dorm bed or $15-20 for a budget hotel room. Street food and small local eateries are the best option for meals, costing around $3-5 per meal. Visiting museums, churches, and markets can be done for free or for a minimal entrance fee. Public transportation, such as buses or shared taxis, is also a cost-effective way to get around the city.
Mid-Range Budget: $35-45 per day
This budget allows for a bit more comfort, such as a private room in a budget hotel or hostel. You can expect to pay around $20-25 per night for a private room. For food, you can still stick to street food and local eateries, but you can splurge on a nicer meal once or twice a week. This budget also allows for some paid activities, such as taking a guided tour or visiting some of the more expensive museums. Public transportation or taxis can still be used for getting around the city.
Luxury Budget: $60-70 per day
This budget is for those who want to experience more luxury while still keeping to a reasonable budget. This budget allows for a private room in a mid-range hotel or Airbnb, as well as more upscale dining options. You can expect to spend around $35-45 per night for accommodations. This budget also allows for more paid activities and attractions, such as visiting nearby hot springs or taking a cooking class. For transportation, you can use taxis or ride-sharing services like Uber or Didi.
No matter your budget, Puebla has plenty to offer for backpackers and budget travelers. By following these suggested budgets and sticking to local food options, you can enjoy all the wonders of this hidden gem without breaking the bank.
Puebla Money Saving Tips
Traveling to Puebla, like any other destination, can get expensive quickly. However, there are ways to save money while still enjoying everything the city has to offer. Here are some Puebla money saving tips to keep in mind:
- Travel During The Low Season: Puebla is a popular tourist destination, and during peak season, prices for everything from flights to hotels to activities can increase significantly. Traveling during the low season (May to October) can save you a considerable amount of money.
- Stay In A Hostel: If you’re on a budget, consider staying in a hostel. Hostels are a great way to save money on accommodations, and many offer private rooms as well as dormitories.
- Eat Where The Locals Eat: Eating at popular tourist spots can be expensive, so try eating where the locals eat instead. Look for street food vendors and small restaurants that are off the beaten path.
- Use Public Transportation: Taxis and private transportation can be expensive in Puebla. Instead, use public transportation like buses and trains, which are much more affordable.
- Take Advantage Of Free Activities: Puebla has many free activities, including walking tours, museums, and markets. Look for these options to save money while still experiencing the city.
- ShopAt Local Markets: Puebla is known for its artisanal goods, but they can be pricey in tourist shops. Instead, head to local markets where you can find the same products for a fraction of the price.
By keeping these Puebla money saving tips in mind, you can enjoy everything the city has to offer without breaking the bank.
What To Pack For Puebla
Packing for any trip can be overwhelming, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some essential items you should pack for your trip to Puebla:
- Comfortable Shoes: You’ll be walking a lot, so pack a comfortable pair of shoes. We recommend a pair of sneakers or hiking shoes.
- Light Clothing: Puebla has a warm and mild climate, so pack light clothes that are comfortable to wear in the heat. It can get chilly at night, so also bring a light jacket or sweater.
- Sun Protection: The sun can be strong in Puebla, so bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the rays.
- Camera: Puebla is a beautiful city with many Instagram-worthy spots, so don’t forget to bring a camera or your smartphone with a good camera.
- Plug Adapters: In Puebla, the plugs are type A and B, so if you’re coming from a country with a different type of plug, bring a universal adapter.
- Medications: If you take any medications, make sure to pack enough for your trip. It’s also a good idea to bring over-the-counter medications for minor illnesses like headaches and allergies.
- Cash And Credit Cards: While there are many ATMs in Puebla, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand. Most places in Puebla accept credit cards, but it’s always good to have some cash for small purchases.
- Water Bottle: To avoid dehydration, bring a refillable water bottle with you. You can refill it at your hotel or in public fountains.
- Language Guide: While many people in Puebla speak English, it’s always helpful to have a language guide with you to help with basic communication.
- Copies Of Important Documents: Make sure to make copies of your passport, travel insurance, and any other important documents, and keep them in a separate place from the originals. It’s also a good idea to email copies to yourself, so you have access to them if needed.
By packing these essential items, you’ll be ready to explore the beautiful city of Puebla and enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Can You Drink Tap Water In Puebla?
As with many places in Mexico, it is not recommended to drink tap water in Puebla. The water supply in the city may not be properly treated, and drinking contaminated water could lead to illness. It’s always best to stick to bottled or purified water while in Puebla. Many restaurants and hotels will offer bottled water, and it’s readily available at most stores. When brushing your teeth, use bottled or purified water as well. Taking precautions like these can help you avoid getting sick during your visit to Puebla. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Other Things To See And Do In Puebla
If you have more time in Puebla or are looking for additional activities to add to your itinerary, there are plenty of other things to see and do in the area. Here are some options:
- Take A Day Trip To Cholula: Just a short drive or bus ride away from Puebla is the charming town of Cholula. It’s known for its impressive pyramid, the largest in the world by volume. You can climb to the top for incredible views of the surrounding countryside. Cholula also has a beautiful church and a bustling town center with shops and restaurants.
- Visit The Amparo Museum: Located in a former convent, the Amparo Museum is one of the best in Mexico and has an impressive collection of pre-Columbian, colonial, and contemporary art. The building itself is also worth seeing, with beautiful courtyards and gardens.
- Explore The Mercado De Sabores: This bustling market is a great place to try local foods and shop for souvenirs. You’ll find everything from handmade pottery to traditional candies and snacks.
- Walk The Calle De Los Dulces: Puebla is known for its sweets, and the Calle de los Dulces (Street of Sweets) is the perfect place to sample them. The street is lined with candy shops and bakeries selling treats like churros, cajeta (goat milk caramel), and camotes (sweet potato candy).
- Take A Cooking Class: Puebla is famous for its cuisine, and taking a cooking class is a great way to learn about it firsthand. You can choose from classes focused on mole, tamales, or other regional dishes.
- Visit The Africam Safari: If you’re traveling with kids (or just love animals), the Africam Safari is a fun day trip from Puebla. You’ll drive through the park and see animals like lions, tigers, and giraffes up close.
No matter what your interests are, there’s something to see and do in Puebla. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious food, it’s a destination worth exploring.
The Bottom Line
In summary, Puebla is a true hidden gem of Mexico, offering a unique blend of colonial architecture, delicious cuisine, and rich cultural experiences. With a variety of sights, activities, and accommodations, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful city. Remember to plan accordingly for the weather and travel costs, and always practice safety and respect for local customs. With a little preparation and an open mind, Puebla is sure to be an unforgettable destination for your next trip to Mexico.