Puebla

Puebla is a city in Mexico. It is in the Puebla Valley, surrounded by volcanoes and snow-capped mountains, slightly over 110 kilometers (68 miles) south-east of Mexico City.

The baroque St. Michael fountain (1777) in the main plaza and the Cathedral (1649) behind it

Understand

The city of Puebla is the fourth largest city in Mexico with 2.1 million inhabitants and the Capital of the State of Puebla. It was founded on April 16, 1531 as "La Puebla de los Ángeles". It was the first city in central Mexico founded by the Spanish conquistadors that was not built upon the ruins of a conquered Amerindian settlement. Its strategic location, halfway between the port of Veracruz and Mexico City, made it the second most important city during the colonial period. During the seventeenth century, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz lived in the city until her confrontation with the Bishop of Puebla.

The city’s main claim to fame, however, is Cinco de Mayo, a festival commemorating the May 5, 1862 defeat of a French expeditionary army by Mexican general Ignacio Zaragoza. It was after this battle that the name of the city was changed to "Heróica Puebla de Zaragoza". The forts where the battle took place are a major tourist attraction of the city and the site of an annual month-long carnival marking the anniversary of the battle. The city is also famous for its cuisine, being said it is this city where "Mole" -a famous Mexican spicy thick sauce- was invented.

Get in

Traveling to Puebla from Mexico City is fairly straightforward and can be accomplished via bus. There are continual bus services between Mexico City and Puebla throughout the day and night both from the TAPO terminal (also known as Terminal Oriente, located beside the San Lázaro Metro station) and from Benito Juarez International Airport.

A one-way ticket on Estrella Roja or ADO from the TAPO usually runs about $110 pesos (~$9 USD) for regular direct service; a first class ticket ("Pullman Primera Clase" service) on Estrella Roja costs about $130 pesos (~$10.50 USD). (The extra 20 pesos or so are worth it: the first class coaches seat less people, thus less crowded, more space, more comfortable.) Buses leave for Puebla approximately every half hour from both locations. Travel time from TAPO to Puebla's CAPU is usually around 2 hours, but this time may vary by up to a full hour depending on Mexico City traffic conditions at that time of day. Taking an Estrella Roja bus from the airport costs about $200 pesos (~$18USD) for a one-way ticket or $400 pesos (~$37USD) for a roundtrip.

There are two bus terminals in Puebla: the Centro de Autobuses Puebla (CAPU), the main bus terminal, and Estrella Roja’s 4 Poniente bus terminal (only Estrella Roja buses go there) this terminal is located in downtown Puebla. Both Estrella Roja and ADO run buses to the much larger CAPU. If you’ve never visited Puebla before, the 4 poniente is your safest bet to get you to your final destination; there are secure taxis (called Top Driver Express) in which you pay the cashier and not the driver and if you choose CAPU this is a major intersection of several public transportation bus lines (known as combis or camiones) if you are going to nearby towns.

Alternatively, Hermanos Serdán International Airport (PBC) is an international airport located near Puebla with direct flights from Houston TX and several cities within Mexico.

Get around

Traveling within Puebla can sometimes be stressful as the local public transportation system is entirely privatized, leading to hundreds of bus routes, none of which are mapped out. If you know where you are going, you can ask around as to which route will take your destination, but often transfers are necessary for long-distances, which can be confusing, especially if you are not familiar with the language. The general fare rate is $6 pesos (~$0.50USD). (Safety note about buses: they are generally safe, but they tend to carry pickpockets, especially when crowded. Always have a hand over any bags/backpacks that you have.) The buses generally run from about 7AM to 10PM.

Taxis are, naturally, more expensive, but in Puebla they are almost always safe. They tend to run between 40-80 pesos for a ride. Negotiating a fare before entering a taxi is normal as the taxis do not carry meters in Puebla. If the driver does not offer you a fare that you like, you can always just wave them off and wait for the next taxi.

See

Do

Buy

Eat

Eat the street food. Travel books will almost always tell you not to, but generally speaking, it is entirely safe and can be one of the best "cultural" experiences of your trip.

Street foods to try:

All street food generally costs between 8 and 15 pesos and includes anthing with "Mole poblano", Tacos Arabes ( Made with Lamb or pork. Originated from the high Arabic population in the city), Chiles en Nogada, Pozole, Pambazos, Pipian, Adobo and Chanclas.

Drink

Local drinks include Pulque, Agua Miel (Honey Water), Tequila, Agua de Limon (Lemon Water), Agua de Tamarindo, Agua de Jamaica, Horchata, Chocolate Mexicano, Atole (Cornmeal Drink), Cafe de olla (coffee with cinnamon), Pasitas (in los sapos) and Tortas de Chalupa (mini telerra roll with mashed potatoes, beans and 2 fried tortillas covered with green or red salsa)

Sleep

Stay safe

Drink bottled water and be careful with valuables in public.

Because of the altitude tours can be quite exhausting. This can cause problems for travelers. The mild climate may also lead you to underestimate the strength of the sun. Sunburn and sunstroke are a threat, so it is vital to wear sunscreen/sunblock and drink plenty of bottled water.

At mealtimes, exercise extreme caution with salads and fruit, or avoid them altogether. If you must eat fruit, peel the skin, as washing is not enough. Salads may be tempting, but enjoyment may be short-lived! For all cases of diarrhea take appropriate drugs and seek medical advice.

You will rarely see locals wearing shorts, doing so will identify you as a tourist. Jeans are generally acceptable, except perhaps in some of the nicer restaurants.

If you are staying in a hotel and you want to take a taxi, someone working the front desk will most likely be able to call and arrange for a cab to pick you up, or you can hail one off the street if you speak enough Spanish to be able to negotiate the price with the driver. In Puebla, there are a multitude of taxis but your best bet will be a radio taxi.

The radio taxis are the best cabs in appearance and since they are registered they are also the safest, but they tend to charge more: about 10 pesos more than if you hail one on the street. If you run into a friendly cab driver, it is a good idea to get his cell phone number, so you can call whenever you need safe transport.

Study Spanish

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, December 22, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.