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Puebla

The city of Puebla is famous for many things, including adding chiles to chocolate and pouring it over chicken, unceremoniously ejecting the French from the city at the Battle of Puebla (and celebrating every year since with? hundreds of shots of tequila on May 5th) and being built by angels. Oddly despite these illustrious claims to fame and being the fifth largest city in Mexico, Puebla remains comparatively devoid of foreign tourists. With a population of 1,500,000 and outskirts clogged with malls and car exhaust, this is hardly a small town yet Puebla manages to avoid the harried pace of other large Mexican urban centres. Every afternoon sees the central plazas fill up with locals watching their children hit each other with balloons, listening to street performers or gossiping over excellent local coffee.

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Built in 1531, Puebla was an important colonial refueling stop for the conquistadores on their way to the coast to export all that Aztec gold back to Spain. The city鈥檚 wealth grew, a great part of it based on the production of talavera ceramics which is still a great tourist moneyspinner today. Having grown fat on colonial rule, Puebla鈥檚 moneyed upper classes initially remained loyal to Spain during the War of Independence. Locals prefer to focus on one of Mexico鈥檚 greatest victories over a foreign regime instead, the ass-kicking two thousand Mexican troops gave to a French army three times it size in Puebla on May 5th 1862.

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Declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1987, fans of Herreresque-Renaissance/early baroque style structures (or even less architecturally learned travelers who like looking at pretty buildings) can feast their eyes on the Cathedral, Santo Domingo church, Capilla del Rosario, Ex-Convento de Santa Rosa and portales in the z贸calo. Nowadays, vistors are just as likely to find boutique restaurants and swanky new hotels as listed buildings. The city is growing economically, and is a major financial and business centre as well as being the home to the Volkswagen plant that exclusively produces the New Beetle.

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The z贸calo, like in all Latin cities, is where it all happens. With a variety of restaurants and coffee shops to choose from, it鈥檚 quite easy to spend a whole afternoon here lounging under the portales, people-watching and gorging on mole poblano, and other local treats. Should the need for some cultural activities arise there are some excellent museums to while away the afternoon, such as el Museo Amparo, el Museo Jose Luis Bello y Zetina, el Museo Regional de la Revolucion Mexicana, el Museo Regional de Puebla and el Museo Nacional de los Ferrocarriles. The Casa de la Cultura usually has some good exhibitions too.

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On the eastern limits of the city, boys can play at being soldiers at the Fuerte de Loreto, within the Centro Civico 5 de Mayo museum complex. From here there are great views of the volcanoes of Popocatepetl (Smoking Mountain, 17, 887 feet) and Iztaccihuatl (Sleeping Lady, 17, 373 feet). Popo has been ominously rumbling away since 1947 and the last violent activity was in December 2005- so climbing it isn鈥檛 recommended (or, indeed, allowed). Experienced climbers can have a go on Izta. Ask in the Tourist Office in Puebla for further details or check out www.turiguide.com/htmlpages/esp/popocatepetl.html.

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Neighborhoods in Puebla: Centro Hist贸rico, Centro Civico 5 De Mayo,

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







31 Dec 2008

The Best Places to Grab a Bite in Puebla

El Mural de los Poblanos

What looks like an ordinary closed door from the outside hides one of Puebla鈥檚 best restaurants. As the name says, one wall is a large and colorful painting depicting famous people from the city. ...
Restaurant
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

Teorema

Chilean-owned Teorema serves Chilean and Mexican food in a cozy, intellectual setting. Sit at small round tables among the slightly messy shelves filled with books; read, play chess or domino, enjoy ...
Restaurant
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

Mesones Sacristia

Regional specialities are served with a smile in slightly camp pink and purple surroundings. Mesones Sacristia is a celebrated boutique hotel/restaurant, and although the rooms are a bit expensive, ...
Restaurant
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

Marisqueria Veracruz es Bello

Seafood lovers will be in heaven, tucking on foil wrapped fish, shrimp and crab quesadillas or tostadas de ceviche in this eatery painted to resemble a boat. Free shrimp consomm茅 and fresh bread ...
Restaurant
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

Vittorios

Popular with both tourists and locals, Vittorios is a Poblano/Italian restaurant with a handy knife museum upstairs for interested punters. Excellently located on the Z贸calo, there鈥檚 nowhere ...
Restaurant
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

Corazon de Leon

Weird and wonderful Mexican interpretation of a traditional English pub. Gigantic Beatles heads adorn one wall, and you can make a call or go to the toilet in a red phone box (not the same one, ...
Restaurant
Puebla, Mexico

Fondo de Santa Clara

Smiling hostesses in traditional dress usher customers into a large room decorated in historic hacienda style. This is the place to come to sample appetizing poblano dishes in elegant surroundings, ...
Restaurant
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

Restaurant Puebla

Starving shoestring travelers will find an excellent opportunity to stuff themselves silly in this family-oriented diner. For $4.50 you get soup, rice, a main course, dessert (although it鈥檚 only ...
Restaurant
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

El Leon Rojo

Very good value considering it鈥檚 right on the main square. El Leon Rojo serves tasty, cheap tacos ($0.70) as well as salads and paninis in a spot perfect for sitting back and watching the world go ...
Restaurant
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

Restaurante La Ola

On a bustling shopping street, La Ola is good for food on the go in simple surroundings. Succulent roast chicken with beans, tortillas, rice, salad and salsa is a bargain at under $3 and they also do ...
Restaurant
Puebla, Mexico

Don Pastor

For those really on a budget, come visit the Don and fill up on good, cheap tacos in a bright canteen atmosphere, accompanied by families and local workers. Service is fast and there鈥檚 a selection ...
Restaurant
Puebla, Mexico

Historical Sites in Puebla

Catedral Bas铆lica de la Puebla de los Angeles

127042 The sheer size of the Basilica de la Puebla is impressive: the cathedral is the second-largest in Mexico and its towers are the country's highest. Inside, highlights include a very bloody ...
Historical Building
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzm谩n, with Capilla del Rosario

127043Santo Domingo is a must-see for aficionados of old churches, and even those less enthusiastic about religious monuments can easily spend an hour in the stunning interior. Worshippers and ...
Historical Building
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

San Crist贸bal

127045The saint himself welcomes churchgoers and travelers to the church, in the form of a powerful statue just inside the entrance portal. Inside, talavera ceramics make a nice background for some very ...
Historical Building
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

San Jos茅

127047For tourists with time to see just one church, San Jos茅 is a good choice. It does require a bit of a walk from the other attractions in the very center, but the reward is a  鈥榖est of鈥 what ...
Historical Building
Puebla, Mexico

Templo Conventual de las Cinco Llagas de San Francisco

127048Once you have taken in the red-brick facade with its talaveras, walk in through the oldest door (located on the side of the church) or the elaborately ornamented front entrance. Inside, the ...
Historical Building
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

Bel茅n

127049Talaveras depicting the sun stand out from the red bricks and dark stones on the front of the Bel茅n church. Less overloaded than other catholic churches, Bel茅n鈥檚 cream-colored interior gives the ...
Historical Building
Puebla, Mexico

La Compa帽铆a de Jes煤s

A few steps away from the musicians of the small square in Barrio del Artista, the church of La Compa帽铆a is a pleasant refuge from the city hustle and bustle. The little church welcomes the ...
Historical Building
Centro Hist贸rico, Puebla, Mexico

Top Tours in Puebla

Tourister (Estrella Roja)

Puebla鈥檚 largest operator also offers the highest number of trips. Focusing on families, the program includes full-day trips to Africam Safari and on weekends to SixFlags, Kidzania and Granja las ...
Tour Operator
Puebla, Mexico

Transtur

Established tour operator Transtur has a variety of trips in its program. Among them are daily walking tours going to the musts of the Centro Hist贸rico and on weekends the 鈥楾our of the Legends鈥, ...
Tour Operator
Puebla, Mexico

Gozamex

Gozamex has 11 different tours, and there is something for everyone. From its three offices in the city center, tourists can book city tours, half-day excursions to archeological sites and village ...
Tour Operator
Puebla, Mexico

Servitours

Admire the volcanoes Popcatepetl and Iztaccihuatl from up close - or take a two-day trip to Mexico City. These tours, and others to everything in between, are on Servitours鈥 program. If at least ...
Tour Operator
Puebla, Mexico

Sectur

Lots of tiime and the will to do something unusual are needed to join Sectur鈥檚 two-day trip on the less-visited Ruta N谩huatl-Totonaca. It departs from Apulco, some two hours鈥 drive north of ...
Tour Operator
Puebla, Mexico
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