There is more to Mexico than Cancun and Cabo San Lucas. Although desirable and the picture perfect destination, beaches are not the only reason you should visit Mexico. The rich history that this country possess is too marvelous for words. I’ve been to Cancun and it is stunning. However, for my return to Mexico, I wanted a historical place to learn from. I chose Puebla.
Puebla is a gem of a place. Only a 2 hour bus drive from the largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere (Mexico City, pop. 21 million), it is well worth a visit.
Puebla is famously known for the batalla de 5 de Mayo where the Mexican military defeated French invaders. The defeat of the French army has now become a widely celebrated holiday by cultural appropriating folks in the USA. Despite what this holiday has become, Puebla is an enthralling place. The people are beautiful, the sites are electrifying, and the food is gastronomical heaven.
Puebla is emerging as one of Mexico’s top destinations. The historic center in Puebla is home to most of the tourist attractions, hotels, and restaurants. I had the pleasure of visiting and I have put into words and into 5 reasons why Puebla needs to be your next travel destination.
- Gastronomy galore
Puebla is a culinary center-it is the heart of Mexican food. If I could describe my culinary experience in one word it would be heavenly. From street-side food stalls to 5-star restaurants, you can find it all. Chiles en nogada, chalupas (not the ones from Taco Bell), and mole poblano all have their origin in this stunning place.
El nacimiento del mole poblado es unos de los momentos mas importantes de Mexico. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure (gasp!) of indulging in such an experience, let me break it down—Mole is a nut, chili, chocolate and spice-based sauce that can be served over beef, chicken, or honestly anything you want. If something takes months to harvest and hours to cook, you know it will be great on a plate.
I would have to say that my favorite culinary experience in Puebla took place on the street-side of the Zocalo where I met Chalupas Poblanas for 15 pesos (less than $1 USD). Although tiny, these fried tortillas are filled with incredible sauce and meat that leave you wanting for more. It is here that I learned that sometimes the little things in life give us the most pleasure.
Make sure to visit Mercado de Sabores Poblanos for tasty cemitas and pipian (all based in Puebla)
- Architectural heaven
Puebla was founded by Spanish settlers in 1531 and the architectural wealth is rooted in colonialism. The colors throughout the city are remarkable and the architecture is spectacular. Every corner is filled with color, making this destination aesthetically pleasing to the eye. With more than 5000 colonial buildings, Puebla is emerging from colonial history as a place of its own.
- Land of 365 churches
When Cortes first got his bloody hands on Cholula, Puebla, he vowed to make 365 churches in this neighboring suburb, one for every day of the year. Although he failed to make it happen, there still remain 39 baroque influenced churches in Cholula. Mexico is 85% catholic and it is quite evident by the amount of love that goes into the development of their churches.
Don’t miss: The amount of details that goes into the churches! Take a look for yourself.
- Cultural sights
The following is a list of sights that are not to be missed on your visit to Puebla:
Zocalo– el centro de la ciudad! Make sure to take a picture with the bright and large Puebla sign
Catedral– it occupies a whole block!
Casa de la Cultura- You will find art galleries, a bookstore and cinema, and Bibloteca Palafoxiana.
Biblioteca Palafoxiana-For only 25 pesos, you will have the pleasure of entering the first public library in Mexico. Built in 1646, this gorgeous library hosts rare books and a reading wheel!
Museo de la Revolucion- Check out this 19th century house that hosted the first battle of the Mexican Revolution, 1910
Candy Alley (camotes)- Do I even need to tell you what you will find here? If you have a sweet tooth, this is the place that will make you smile!
Consider hopping on the Turibus- Double decker bus that gives you a four hour tour of the historic center and Cholula!
- El calor de la gente
There is no doubt in my mind that I encountered some of the world’s greatest human beings in Puebla. In my very un-biased opinion (because I am Mexican) I genuinely believe that Puebla gives birth to warm-hearted people. Puebla is a safe city and I felt the love, the patria that people had for their city and their country.
Puebla was not on my places to visit this year but I am glad that I went! You’ll love it.
This post was originally published on http://www.monisandiego.com