Hello! I’m Daniel Chazari – a passionate photographer and traveler from Mexico. I grew up in Puebla, a city two hours from Mexico City. My love of travel started when I was a child. I used to travel with my family to the beautiful beaches of Veracruz and Acapulco and absolutely loved it.
My older brother taught me how to use his analog camera and 10 years later my parents bought me my first camera. The rest, as they say, was history. I have been backpacking, traveling and photographing ever since.
Why Visit Puebla in Mexico
Puebla is an amazing place. Mexico (in general) has landscapes full of color, a lot of history and its people are very kind and generous. Puebla is a region with so much history. We have the most beautiful cathedral in Mexico.
The historic center of Puebla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Talavara is a big tradition in the city. The Talvara decorative style is from Spain but evolved in Puebla over the years due to the city’s love of ceramics and clay work. This makes Puebla a fantastic place for shopping.
Near Puebla you can find the city of Cholula which is home to The Great Pyramid of Cholula (Tlachihualtepetl) in the Zona Arqueologica de Cholula. This complex is the largest archaeological site of a pyramid in the world!
Looking over the region is “the guardian” – Popocatepetl Volcano. To photograph and explore Puebla is to find yourself immersed in a diversity of landscapes and sites that include the most stunning cathedral and Popocatepetl. These are just a few of the reasons to visit my hometown.
Top 10 Things To Do in Puebla
I love the entire historic center of Puebla but my favorite place would have to be the Artist Quarter. It’s a place where (before the pandemic) all Puebla artists gathered to exhibit and sell their art. There are cafes everywhere and it has a bohemian atmosphere. I call it a kind of “Mexican Montmartre”.
As well as visiting the historic center and the Artist Quarter, visitors should discover the range of stunning cathedrals, get lost down the charming streets, find the best local snacks and foods, and watch a beautiful sunset over the city. Trust me, you will never get bored here! So without further ado, below are my top 10 recommendations for things to do in Puebla.
1. Photograph the Incredible Catedral de Puebla
This stunning cathedral is the centrepiece of the city and is often lit up in lights at night making it a photographer’s dream. While the exteriors are impressive, the interiors are even more dazzling as visitors can take in elaborately decorated fresco paintings. A must-visit in Puebla for sure!
2. Watch the Sunset at Mirador de Los Fuertes
A wonderful place to go with friends or your romantic partner to watch the sun drop majestically over the city. Expect colors of orange, red and pink to encapsulate the sky as the city lights up in preparation for night time. There are a couple of seats you can utilise to be more comfortable.
3. Tour the Historic Palafoxiana Library
Palafoxiana Library is recognized by UNESCO as being the first and oldest library in the Americas. It was founded way back in 1646 and is home to endless books, manuscripts, historical records and some pretty impressive architecture too. Visiting the library is a real treat for history-lovers.
4. Walk through the Callejon de los Sapos
Walking down Callejon de los Sapos is always a fun and relaxing way to spend an afternoon. Visit on Friday and Saturday nights for live music and a festive atmosphere at the cafes and bars. On Sunday starting from 10am you will find a vibrant street market with antiques and handicrafts.
5. Enjoy a Coffee at the Artist Quarter
The Artist Quarter is my favorite place in Puebla with its narrow alleys, artist zone, market stalls and trendy cafes. Just wandering the streets is a good time but make sure you pop into a cafe as well to enjoy a coffee and take in the atmosphere. Trust me – you will fall in love with this area!
6. Eat Mexican Snacks at Parian Market
For the best Mexican snacks in Puebla head to Parian Market where you will find food with the true Mexican essence. The snacks in restaurants won’t compare in terms of authenticity. Parian Market is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city with great food and fantastic Talavera.
7. Visit Rosary Chapel – “Eighth Wonder of the World”
Entering this 17th-century golden chapel will leave you awestruck and not surprised at all how it gained the reputation of being the “eighth wonder of the world”. The chapel is located inside the Church of Santo Domingo. Many claim it to be the best example of New Spanish Baroque style.
8. Try a Traditional Cemita from Puebla
Cemitas originate from Puebla and while you can find versions of the sandwich in other parts of the world this is where you will find the real Cemita! These sandwiches are sold by street vendors who dedicate themselves to the preparation of the sandwich. A great option for lunch!
9. Sing with the Mariachis of the El Alto Market
Mercado el Alto is one of the oldest markets in Puebla and is a wonderful place to explore in the evenings. One of the highlights here is listening to the local mariachis play music which adds so much vibrancy to the market. Even better, pay the mariachi bands to serenade you or your loved one!
10. Take in the Views on the Estrella de Puebla
For something completely different, hop on the Estrella de Puebla and take in panoramic views of the city. You will be able to see a number of the city’s landmarks from the observation wheel including the volcano, cathedral and city sprawl. This is a fun activity which the whole family can enjoy.
Bonus Experience: Have a Few Drinks at La Pasita
The people of Puebla are conservative and religious but they are friendly. The best way to get to know the locals is to chat with them. Many of the artisans and tourist workers speak English and can tell you stories about this city. If you want a real Puebla experience then visit La Pasita – a Mexican cantina where you will find the essence of a cantina from the 40s.
Phenomenal Gastronomy of Puebla
Puebla has one of the best gastronomies in Mexico. Some of the best local dishes have been mentioned in this article already (for example Cemitas) but there is plenty more authentic cuisine to try including:
Tacos Arabes and Tacos al Pastor (originally from Puebla, you can try them in other places throughout Mexico but they don’t have the same taste), and Chiles en Nogada which is chiles stuffed with picadillo topped with a walnut-based cream sauce called nogada. The latter isn’t spicy but tastes sweet and is only eaten seasonally, in August/September to be precise.
Mole Poblano is another quintessential Mexican food found in Puebla. You can even visit the convent where the nuns invented it. I recommend eating these foods in markets or stalls like Parian Market. In restaurants, these dishes become gentrified and lose that authentic flavor. However, if your stomach is sensitive then you can always eat at restaurants.
Best Places to Stay in Puebla
I highly recommend staying at Azul Talavera Hotel and Cartesiano Hotel, although they are both expensive. Another option may be the Leones Hotel which has a direct view of the cathedral. If you want something historical then the Colonial Hotel is a great option too. Many historical Mexican figures have stayed at this hotel throughout the years.
Need to Know Before you Go
Before you visit Puebla there are a couple of key things to remember in order to enhance your experience. First of all, only eat at local restaurants. As mentioned before, the touristy restaurants serve food that is not authentic. For the most authentic food head to the markets and stalls.
I also suggest heading to the attractions early so you don’t encounter large crowds. But when you do go exploring be careful! Although I wish it wasn’t so, Puebla can be a dangerous city. Don’t venture out of the historic center or wander into places with no one else around unless you are accompanied by a local. Write to me before you come. I will gladly show you around 🙂
In conclusion, I love Puebla and believe you will too. I have had many amazing experiences here including photography missions for sunrise and sunset, and partying in Cholula where I was walking around with friends in a place that was buzzing at 3am. I cherish these memories and hope the city recovers from the pandemic and things return to normal soon.