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Population- 82,964

2,146 meters (7,040 feet) above sea level


Located just eight kilometers west of Puebla, Cholula has more or less been swallowed up by its neighbour´s gradually expanding industrial outskirts and is now considered little more than a suburb. Still, the relaxing pace of life, lively nightlife scene and ruins make this small city a pleasant stop for a couple of days.

The name “Cholula” means “water that falls in the place of flight” in Náhuatl, a reference to the arrival in the valley of groups of Toltecs, who were expelled from their native Tula around 1000 AC. The city flourished and became one of pre-Hispanic America´s greatest ceremonial centers, honoring the feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl and rain god Tlaloc. A plan to ambush the approaching Spanish in 1519 severely backfired; the plan was uncovered by the invaders who razed the city to the ground. Cortés subsequently declared he would build a church for every day of the year atop the ruined shrines.

Modern Cholula seems to be home to more bars than churches, thanks to some 8000 local students, among them a large foreign contingent. Formally Cholula consists of two municipalities: San Pedro Cholula, which includes the 16th century Portales on the zócalo, Convento de San Gabriel, and Capilla Real; and San Andres Cholula, which is located further east and has its own smaller zócalo as well as being home to the Universidad de las Americas and most of the nightlife. The Great Pyramid, the world´s biggest (by volume anyway) and Archeological Site bisect the two municipalities. The nearby Site Museum is definitely worth a visit too, particularly if you don´t fancy hiring one of the several guides who hang around touting their services.

Several restaurants surround the zócalos en San Pedro and San Andres Cholula. The trendy cafés and bars along 14 Oriente in San Andres are always packed with students on 12-hour study breaks and are a great place to hang out, whether you head there in the afternoon or in the wee hours.


Neighborhoods in Cholula: Acatepec And Tonatzintla,

Other places nearby Cholula: Cuernavaca, Pre-Colombian Ruins of Xochicalco, Guanajuato, Tepotzlan, Morelia, Puebla and Tlaxcala De Xicohtencatl.

30 Dec 2008

Things to See and Do in Cholula

The Great Pyramid

127735Covered in grass and crowned by the Catholic shrine to La Virgen de los Remedios, the Great Pyramid, built in 200 BC, initially resembles a big hill. Upon closer inspection you´ll be able to see ...
Cholula, Mexico

Ruins of Cholula

127728The ruins of Cholula, constructed between 200 BC and 800 AD, are the bread and butter of the town´s tourist industry. Once a majestic city of 400 temples and rival to the mighty Teotihuacan, the ...
Cholula, Mexico

Convento de San Gabriel

127727Convento San Gabriel, a massive, mustard-colored convent dedicated to the archangel Gabriel, is one of the oldest in Mexico. Construction started in 1529 on a site previously dedicated to quite a ...
Historical Building
Cholula, Mexico

Patio de los Altares

127736When you first arrive at the Patio de los Altares, you might look at it and think it was once a form of Toltec era football pitch. It´s a wide grassy expanse surrounded by ancient stone slabs, in ...
Cholula, Mexico

Archaeological Site

127737The ruined city below the tunnel exit of the Great Pyramid is known as the Zona Archeologica. From this angle the pyramid becomes distinctly more impressive. The ancient city´s central plaza, the ...
Cholula, Mexico

Cholula Nightlife


Fans of dance music will love this place, one of a collection of trendy bars, cafés and shops in Container City. The city, as the name suggests, is a type of mini town dedicated to frivolity and ...
Cholula, Mexico

Bar Reforma

An oldie but goodie, Reforma is conveniently located just down the hill from the pyramid. Most visitors don´t need much convincing to recuperate after the climb with a pitcher of $4.50 sangria. The ...
Cholula, Mexico

La Roka

La Roka is the biggest club in Cholula, indeed in all of Puebla, and it seems to be loved and hated in equal measure. With regular shows involving scantily clad women, fire and interesting ways of ...
Cholula, Mexico

Nightlife Summary

Cholula is, without a doubt, the nightlife capital of the state, thanks to its hoards of well-off students who pickle themselves in alcohol with admirable dedication. Although Recta de Cholula was ...
Cholula, Mexico
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