First Time Traveling in Mexico? Start with PUEBLA!

I fell in love with Puebla! I will not write a single downside to this city! If you have been following my blog in the last year, you know I had a rough start living in Mexico. But I love the way this country keeps surprising me with better experiences, better cities, better views, and better food! I am so smitten with Puebla I cannot type fast enough to tell you about it.

Puebla, Mexico

Bradley wanted to take me for a weekend getaway to celebrate my upcoming 30th birthday. Luckily, we can be flexible with out time despite having a packed work schedule, taking off pretty much any day of the week if we need/want to.

On the ferris wheel (I was freaking out by the way).

We took the bus from Taxqueña bus station South of Mexico City on Sunday morning. Bus tickets to Puebla are well under $30 USD, and the ride was a two hour bliss as we encountered zero traffic! When we arrived, we took a “taxi de sitio” which is a taxi you pay for at the bus station (I love “taxis de sitio” because there are no price surprises as you pay beforehand. It also tends to be safer than hailing any cab out in the street).

Our driver dropped us off at what was a surprise accomodation for me! We stayed right across from Puebla’s cathedral, in the heart of the city center. Casa Rosa Gran Hotel Boutique on 16 de septiembre 303 was a dainty choice. Decorated in soft hues of pink, gray, and purple, I felt girly and pampered. I loved our comfortable room, and the gorgeous terrace restaurant was worth checking out, too! Even if you do not stay here, I recommend having a drink on the terrace so you get a beautiful view of the cathedral and the zocalo (main square).

Zocalo – balloons everywhere

We immediately went for lunch to a well reviewed restaurant a few steps from our hotel: El Mural de los Poblanos on 16 de septiembre 506 was an ideal stop for our first meal in Puebla. Fancy and refined, the waiters dressed in white pulled out our chairs for us, and the chef sent a complimentary soup infused with lemon tea. I had a blast here. We decided to try a few appetizers and the mole tasting. Mole is quite typical in Puebla, and there are so many varieties that I had never even heard of. Mole is a thick sauce made with SO MANY ingredients such as: nuts, seeds, chiles, chocolate, and spices. As the waiter said, ” that and many other secret ingredients.” We had fun trying out all the flavors. While mole has never been my favorite in Mexican cuisine, I definitely loved the experience at this restaurant.

Mole tasting

Then we visited La Capilla del Rosario on Victoria del 5 de Mayo. Located inside the Templo de Santo Domingo, this chapel exceeded all expectations. Dating back to the XVII century, this chapel has the most gold in all the land! Not even kidding, the amount of gold is blinding, giving the effect of being in the sea. That is because the Virgin of the Rosary is also considered queen of the sea. This is because during a defining war between Islam and Christianity for Spanish territory, the Pope prayed to the Virgin of the Rosary, and the war favored the Christians. Since then, she has been considered queen of the sea, where the war took place. If you look closely, the chapel has mermaids on the ceiling, and an angel holding an anchor. I know all this thanks to the free explanation given by a volunteer that did an awesome job keeping history entertaining!

Do you feel under the sea in this chapel? There were mermaids on the ceiling, too.

From there we took a stroll down La Calle de los Dulces (The Street of Candies), where we checked out some pretty stores selling all kinds of typical Mexican hand-made, unbranded sweets! I bought polvorones to bring home to Mexico City and enjoy with my morning coffee. I also happened to taste the most amazing key lime pie ice cream, that made Bradley regret choosing his ferrero rocher chocolate ice cream (not too bad either!). You can find this fantastic street on Ave 6 Ote. About 3 or 4 blocks will be lined up with candy shops for your sweet cravings or even Instagram content cravings. Let’s face it, we all enjoy good travel pictures on our feeds.

Anyone with a sweet tooth?

From there we checked out the pretty Templo de Francisco, which has a very charming yellow façade with beautiful ceramic work. Ceramic tiles are huge in Puebla, and you can even check out a famous factory there! Unfortunately, the factory was just one of the many things we did not get to do because we thought only 2 days would be enough time to see all that Puebla has to offer! I would love to go back for 5 days.

Suddenly felt like I was back in Portugal

From the Templo de Francisco, we took an uber to La Estrella de Puebla. It was a 20 minute car ride to the new ferris wheel, which is the tallest in Latin America so far. We followed a blogger’s suggestion and went during sunset which made the vertigo worth it! We rode it just in time to see the sun setting behind the Popocatepetl, an active volcano seen from both Puebla and Mexico City.

La Estrella de Puebla
We made it just in time to watch the sun setting behind the volcano.

As the temperature dropped quickly in the evening, we headed back to our hotel, making a quick stop for tacos arabes, which is another typical dish in Puebla. It’s the arabic meat used in kebab put in a pita tortilla to resemble a Mexican taco.

The following morning we were more than thrilled to get out and explore as much as possible! We took a stroll down La Calle del Artista, lined up with artist’s workshops displaying paintings and dirty brushes everywhere. But an even more beautiful stroll was the Callejón del Sapo. All I have to do is show you pictures and you will understand everything. Puebla is so beautiful.

Callejón del Sapo – a favorite

We did not have much time left as we wanted to head back to the city before the evening rush hour. We spent an hour enjoying the terrace at the Amparo Museum on Av 2 Sur 708. We ordered a key lime pie and a cappuccino to get us through that noon heat. It was nice to take refuge in the shade, and enjoy a pick-me-up before walking some more.

best view in Puebla

After the terrace, we made a quick walk-through the Cathedral and the Zocalo, right before getting our backpack at the hotel. Getting an uber back to the bus station was easy, and we had safely returned to Mexico City before sunset.

I really love fountains in Mexico.

There are so many activities, restaurants, and places we did not get to see in Puebla! But I am so glad it is so close and accessible to us. It is definitely a place I would gladly spend a week in, exploring and discovering new places to eat or have a coffee. During our entire stay, we never encountered rudeness or bad service. The city is welcoming of tourists without being overwhelming. If it is your first time in Mexico, and the capital seems like an intimidating place to start with (it is the biggest city in Latin America after all), then Puebla will ease you into it and hopefully exceed every single expectation!

Mexico has the best walls, too.

Puebla, I will be back for more of you.

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