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The beautiful city of Puebla is the perfect relaxing escape from busy Mexico City. For me, it was the ideal destination during my visit to Mexico and after doing some exploring, I found that this beautiful city offers a huge range of amazing things to see and do!
From looking into the ancient past to enjoying the many vibrant attractions, a visit to Puebla is one I’m sure you won’t regret.
But what are the best things to do in the city and the surrounding area?
Well, here’s my guide to the 25 best things to do in Puebla that I absolutely loved and I’m sure you will too! I’ve also included other essential info about visiting Puebla, Mexico such as long how you should spend, where to stay, and more! So without further ado, here is your ultimate guide to visiting Puebla!
About Puebla, Mexico
Puebla is a city located in the state of Puebla (yes, both the city and the state are called “Puebla”) in central Mexico. It is the capital and largest city in the state. In fact, with over 3 million people, Puebla is actually the fourth largest city in all of Mexico.
Despite being a large city, there is still something quaint about Puebla. When compared with nearby Mexico City, the center area of Puebla feels quite relaxed. For that reason, many people visit Puebla from Mexico City as a weekend getaway. Puebla is located about a 3-hour drive from Mexico City and is easy to get to via bus. This short distance means tourists often visit Puebla on a day trip from Mexico City, but with all the fun things to do in Puebla, I recommend spending at least two nights in Puebla.
Besides all of the tourist attractions, Puebla is a great city for getting to know authentic Mexican culture. Shop at the markets and eat delicious food (Puebla is known for great food!) Puebla is also home to many universities, and as such, the population consists of many university students that make the city feel young and vibrant, with excellent nightlife as well.
It really is no surprise that so many people want to visit Puebla, and after spending a lot of time there for myself, I can confidently say Puebla is definitely a city worth visiting!
Things to do in Puebla, Mexico
1. Visit the oldest library in the America’s – Biblioteca Palafoxiana
Biblioteca Palafoxiana wasn’t on my Puebla must-do list before arriving, but after learning that this library was, in fact, the first library in all of the America’s, it had to make this list!
The library was built in 1646 and boasts 45,000 books that range in ages from the 15th to the 20th century! It’s recognized by UNESCO, and walking among the old frail books and the beautifully built library is a really cool experience.
Biblioteca Palafoxiana is located close to the main square in the central historic center of Puebla. With only a 40 pesos entrance fee, this is one of the cheapest attractions in Puebla city.
You can walk to the library and visit on your own, however, I recommend visiting with a tour guide if possible. A tour guide will tell you all about the library and explain its historical significance. This particular city tour of Puebla includes visiting the library as well as many of the other top attractions in Puebla. Your guide will share so much knowledge with you and it’s super affordable too!
2. Take a day trip to Cholula
Cholula is a small city located only 10km from Puebla city center. The close proximity makes visiting Cholula on a day trip from Puebla very popular. There are a few different things you can do once in Cholula to keep you busy all day long.
On our day trip, we headed to the great pyramid of Cholula (also known as Tlachihualtepetl) and got to explore the tunnels that run through the pyramid as well as the ruins you can see on the outside. Honestly, walking through the tunnels is a super cool experience and despite visiting many ruins before, I’ve never been able to walk the tunnels inside the temples!
The entrance fee to the tunnels is 75 pesos and this also includes your entrance to the outside ruin exhibit.
Next, I recommend taking a walk to the church above the temple to enjoy the stunning views of the city! The walk up isn’t far but it is steep so be prepared to work up a sweat! But don’t stress, after that, you can head off to the main square to enjoy a drink and a nice meal!
In the square, there are many amazing places to eat, from Italian to typical Mexican, the food is amazing! Just wander around and enjoy this beautiful town before heading back to Puebla!
Important info: An Uber to Cholula costs around 100 pesos ($5 USD) each way or you can take a collectivo for 8 pesos per person. Just ask your hotel where the bus leaves from. If you would prefer to have a guide show you around then this Cholula day tour from Puebla is a great option.
Related Read: A day trip to Cholula is also one of the best things to do in Mexico City!
3. Ride the Ferris Wheel – Estrella de Puebla
Ferris wheels are fun but I’ve never been one for paying high entrances fees for them. Luckily though, the ferris wheel in Puebla, Estrella de Puebla, must be the cheapest in the world! The entrance fee is only 40 pesos or around 2 USD! Don’t worry though, it’s completely safe and the ferris wheel is brand new!
The wheel takes around 15 minutes to complete a rotation and if you go during the week in the early afternoon you’ll be able to get a complete cart to yourself (they normally charge 400 pesos for this in busy times). From the top, the views are stunning and you can spot the surrounding volcanoes!
Getting there: The easiest way to get to the ferris wheel is via and Uber. From Puebla city center, it should only cost around 70 pesos! To get an Uber back, walk to the nearby shopping mall (it’s super close) for wifi.
4. Get acquainted with the city on a FREE walking tour
When you first get to Puebla city the first thing you should do is join the local free walking tour. This tour runs every day at 11 am and starts in the main historic square! The tour is free but is tip-based.
On the tour, you’ll visit many of the attractions on this list. That being said, the visits are short and most don’t include entering the museums or attractions. It is more of a tour to get your bearings on the area and decide where you want to return to later on your own.
You’ll get a great insight into the city and know where most of the things to do in Puebla are! The tour is short though and only runs for just over an hour, if you want more in-depth info you’ll need to join a paid tour like this one. It is super affordable and you’re guaranteed to have a smaller group, as well as a more personalized experience.
5. Go on a food tour
There are literally tons of amazing restaurants in Puebla serving amazing Mexican cuisine! Puebla is known as one of the top culinary destinations in all of Mexico, after all.
The only problem is knowing exactly where to go the get the best food! As a traveler, it’s impossible to know the best local spots so a food tour is the best way to dive into the local food scene and try some amazing foods!
I won’t mention the restaurants we visited (that would ruin the surprise) so jump on a tour and let your taste buds do the exploring! The tour we did is highly customizable and came recommended on TripAdvisor. You can book the same tour we did here. Just be sure to come hungry – you’re going to be eating a lot of food!
Related Read: Going on a food tour is one of the best tours in Oaxaca, Mexico too!
6. Enjoy a drink in Barrio las Artistas
Barrio las Artistas is a small neighborhood right near the El Parian Market. It’s where the art school of Puebla is located and in the square, there are a few bars and restaurants you can enjoy a drink or food!
It’s a lively place to hang out and the local artists paint in the square every day. And in the afternoons, live music is usually playing!
You’ll visit here on the free walking tour but you won’t get enough time to stop and enjoy the square so definitely head back when you can!
7. Take a Mexican cooking class
Enjoying Mexican food is amazing, but the thing I hate most is going home with only the distant memory of those incredible flavors! Luckily, Puebla is the perfect place in Mexico to join a cooking class so you can cook this food for yourself when you get home!
In a cooking class, you’ll usually cook around four dishes over the course of around 2 hours. You’ll leave with the knowledge and recipes to make your own amazing Mexican food for your family and friends!
The tours are in-depth and very interesting. In my opinion, you must do at least one cooking class in Mexico to truly enjoy the culture! You can book a Mexican cooking class in advance online to avoid missing out and ensure you get a quality experience.
8. Wander the El Parian Market
I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a “gift shopper”. But, that is mainly because I travel full-time and if I picked something up in every place I visited then I’d have no room for the most basic essentials in my bag…like clothes! With that said, this small market in Puebla is perfect for those wanting to bring home local Mexican arts and crafts.
El Parian Market is filled with fixed-priced items that are very cheap and beautiful! Even despite the lack of room in our bags, Bailey still managed to buy a new handbag that she loves.
The market is within walking distance from the square and also quickly visited on the free walking tour. But once again, you don’t get enough time to truly explore the market on this tour so it’s best to visit on your own when you have an hour or two to spare.
9. Visit a traditional Mexican candy store on Calle de los Dulces
Coming to Mexico is a food lover’s dream, but it doesn’t stop at spicy sauce, tacos, and tequila (or mezcal). That’s because Mexico is home it some very unique and delicious candy’s that I guarantee you won’t find anywhere else.
I must warn you before you go, that not all the candies will leave you with a smile on your face (some are strange tasting) but they are super cheap so ask the lady at the counter for her recommendations and be adventurous and try a few!
The best place to see the candy stores is on Calle de los Dulces. It’s on the same road as the Museo Regional de la Revolucion so I highly recommend doing these activities together! On this road, you can find lots of candy stores but all offer very similar candies so visiting just one is fine!
Spanish tip: To ask her what to try, say – “Que recomiendas probar?“
10. Relax in Zocalo Square, Puebla
“Zocalo” translates to the main square, and in Puebla, it’s a must-visit! Not only is the main square in Puebla a vibrant place to eat, drink, and relax, but it’s also home to the stunning architecture of the Cathedral and other buildings in the area such as the palace of Puebla.
There are lots of great restaurants around the square and wandering the gardens of the plaza is a nice way to spend some time in Puebla. I recommend walking the perimeter and stopping for a churro or whatever catches your eye!
11. Visit Punta De Bubas (underground tunnels)
The Punta De Bubas tunnels in Puebla are old tunnels that were once used for people infected with an STD called Bubas. The tunnels are said to be 500 years old and were only opened to the public in 2016.
Visiting the underground tunnels in Puebla came highly recommended by our tour guide on the free walking tour. But, in all honesty, it was a little underwhelming even for the very cheap 26 pesos entrance fee!
All of the signage is in Spanish which makes it very difficult for those who speak little Spanish.
The visit to the tunnels is very short and the smell in the tunnels is horrendous. This activity is considered one of the best things to do in Puebla, but I’d recommend skipping it if you don’t have a lot of time or aren’t a huge history buff.
Tip for visiting: If you do want to see the tunnels and don’t speak Spanish, consider visiting on this guided city tour. This way, you’ll actually learn about their historical significance and likely have a better time than we did!
12. Join a city bus tour
For some, wandering a Mexican city can be a little daunting. For one, they’re busy and it can be easy to get lost if you don’t have a good sense of direction or a map. Not to mention, asking for help or directions without any Spanish skills will prove to be a challenge.
So instead, why not join a city bus tour!
I’ll be honest, I didn’t do this as I love walking the streets and being able to speak Spanish definitely makes navigating a foreign city easier for me.
However, for some, this is a really good option. I’ve done these hop-on hop-off city bus tours in cities all over the world and find they are a good way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time!
There are a few different bus tours around town and they vary a lot in price. The Turibus de Puebla is the larger more expensive bus, but the reviews aren’t the greatest.
The other option is the super cheap local double-decker bus that leaves every day at 10 am. This bus only costs around $5 USD for a 1-hour tour. It’s very cheap and the reviews are pretty good. You can book that bus in advance and just head to the main square to board at 10 am.
13. Wander the colorful area of Los Sapos
If you love beautiful colonial streets then you simply must visit the Los Sapos neighborhood in Puebla city! Here, you can find beautiful streets that are literally picture-perfect! The most famous and beautiful street is called “Callejón de los Sapos”, or”Alley of the Frogs”.
The street got this name because during a flood the street was literally filled with frogs!
From the main square, you can easily walk to this street. There are also some unique shops to explore here.
14. Go hiking on a volcano Tour
If you wanted to go hiking in Mexico then you really can’t pass up on an Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl National Park Hiking tour. This tour involves hiking between two of Mexico’s most famous volcanos and is a very unique and off-the-beaten-path activity!
The tours leave from Puebla and run for 10 hours (you’re going to need a full day for this tour!) It also includes stops at many beautiful places including Cholula and a waterfall!
15. Join a Lucha Libre tour (Mexican wrestling)
Lucha Libre is easily one of the best things to do while you’re in Mexico. For those who don’t know, Lucha Libre is Mexican wrestling that you’re sure to recognize once you see the colorful masks that the wrestlers wear.
The city of Puebla is the perfect place to enjoy Lucha Libre and the best part is you can join a tour. On a Lucha Libre tour, you’ll get a great insight into the sport and the interesting way it came about.
This Lucha Libre tour that leaves from Puebla is a really great option to cross off two Mexico bucket list activities in one go. The reason is that before the Lucha Libre you actually do a Pulque tasting. Pulque is a pre-Hispanic drink that’s fermented and as such, has some alcohol content. You’ll learn more about it on the tour, but trust me it’s delicious!
It’s recommended to do a guided tour to Lucha Libre, as opposed to visiting on your own. The reason is for this is international visitor safety. The stadiums aren’t usually in the safest areas of the cities so going in a group with a local guide is much safer.
16. Fuertes de Loreto y Guadalupe
Fuertes de Loreto y Guadalupe or Fort Of Loreto and Guadalupe is a very interesting place to visit in Puebla. The fort itself holds a lot of historical significance and was where the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army beat the French happened.
For many you may be wondering why the Mexicans battled the French, well as I learned, Mexico was under French rule for 3 years and it was this battle that gave them their independence from the French.
Of course, I could go on, but you’ll learn all about this on your trip to Fort of Loreto and Guadalupe.
Tip: This hop-on hop-off bus tour includes a stop at the Fort!
17. Museo de la Revolución Mexicana
I almost didn’t visit the Museo de la Revolucion Mexicana, in fact, I only went there to get a photo of the bullet holes in the front of the building. But when I got there I thought, ‘might as well go inside’ – and I’m sure glad I did!
This small museum is a very interesting place to visit and much of the information is in both English and Spanish, so you’ll learn a lot. Another neat thing is you’ll also step back in time as you wander this well-preserved inside of a colonial building, complete with sinks, bathtubs, beds, and other furniture.
On the second floor, I highly suggest watching the free movie in the theater. Here, they act out that battle in a well-made Spanish short film.
The entrance to the museum is only 40 pesos and you’ll need around an hour to explore the entire thing.
18. Visit the Cantona Ruins
The Cantona Ruins are another impressive ruin site located around an hour’s drive from Puebla city. In its prime, the city was completely walled and considered a very impressive ancient fortress city. At its peak, the city is estimated to have held around 80,000 inhabitants.
Although huge, only an estimated 1 to 10% of the ruins have been excavated and can be seen. Even with this, it’s still a very impressive place to visit and a very off-the-beaten-path experience that attracts far fewer tourists than other ruins in the area such as Teotihuacan.
The ruins are about an hour from Puebla so it’s best to take a private tour to the ruins. On a private tour, you’ll get an English guide and transport to the ruins. If you want an even better experience then consider booking this hot air balloon sunrise flight at the ruins, it’s by far the most spectacular way to see the ruins!
Related Read: Visiting ruins is one of the best things to do in Tulum too!
19. Say “Hi” to Wildlife at Africam Safari Park
I bet you didn’t expect to go on an African safari while visiting Puebla, did you? Well, at Africam Safari Park you can do just that. Just imagine, you are on your way, and a herd of elephants passes by your car. Or maybe, a giraffe tries to sneak inside your car through the windows.
Africam Safari Park is different than typical zoos as the animals have much more space to roam. As you drive through the park you will get the opportunity to see many different animals in their “semi-free” environment.
Although I loved the fascinating safari, it wasn’t the only entertaining thing and there are many different experiences you can choose from here. I also loved the exciting bird show that you can watch at 3:30 pm on weekdays and twice at 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm on the weekends.
The entrance fee is 350 pesos per person. If you have your own car and don’t want a tour, you can simply buy your entrance ticket. However, if you want a more in-depth traditional safari experience with transport from Puebla, you can book this experience. Or, for something even better, book this private guided tour. It won’t cost you much more and you’ll learn more about the animals thanks to your personal tour guide.
Africam Safari Park is located about a 35-minute drive from Puebla.
20. Ride the Teleférico
One of the best ways to take in the views of Puebla is from up on the Teleférico. Teleférico is the Spanish word for “Cableway” or “Cable Car.” It is among tone of the more unique Puebla attractions that surely don’t want to miss.
This 10-minute trip costs only 30 pesos for a one-way ride, or 50 pesos for a return trip (equivalent to $1.5-2.5 USD.) Although the ride itself is short, once at the top you can spend more time at the park taking in the views or going for a walk. Be sure to bring your camera as you can get some beautiful photos from up there!
Head north on Calle 2 Norte from Zocalo (main square) to find the departure point.
21. Explore Creativity in Museo Internacional del Barroco
If you are a fan of music and art culture, you should book a tour of Museo Internacional del Barroco (International Museum of the Baroque).
One of the main reasons the place is popular is its fascinating structure of the building. Its structure amazed me before I even stepped inside. A renowned Japanese architect, Toyo Itō, designed this unorthodox yet magnificent white building.
Inside, you will explore seven different halls in the museum, each with items from different categories. When we visited, we admired sculptures in one hall, beautiful paintings in the other, and musical instruments in another hall. Every time we stepped into a different room, it was a completely new experience.
The museum also has huge parks outside, where you can take a break and relax in front of the modern building.
Admission costs 80 pesos, except for on Sundays and Wednesdays when it is free to visit. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Pro tip: Don’t plan to visit on Sunday, it can be busy!
22. Get Acquainted with Templo de Santo Domingo
The Temple of Santo Domingo is one of the most iconic places to visit in Puebla, Mexico. It is a roman catholic church located north of the heart of the Historic Centre of Puebla. Head west from the San Pedro Art Museum, and you will find it. But don’t just admire the outside, the real beauty lies inside!
The magnificent art of the chapel was once counted as the eighth wonder of the world. The gold everywhere is incredible. Honestly, it has to be one of the most beautiful churches in the world.
Visitors are usually allowed in after 11 am, except for on Sundays, when visitors typically can enter after 3 pm.
23. Relive Mexican History in Museo Amparo
Museo Amparo is another exciting attraction in Puebla. You can easily spot the red building in less than a 10-minute walk from Templo de Santo Domingo to the southeast.
The museum has a touch of love as its founder, Manuel Espinoza Yglesias, built it in the memory of his wife in 1979. The building was also once a women’s college in the mid-18th century.
Once inside, you will observe different time periods, ranging from pre-hispanic to modern art. Various sculptures, paintings, artifacts, ornaments, ancient memorials, and statues represent their eras and show the development of Mexico. It’s one of the most important museums about Mexican history.
After you’re done wandering the exhibits, be sure to visit the rooftop cafe which offers a beautiful view of the city.
Museo Amparo is open from 10 am to 6 pm every day except Tuesday when it is closed.
24. Take a Magical Trip to Cuetzalan
Do you believe in magic? You sure don’t want to miss the magic town of Cuetzalan! It is a spectacular town located in the northern hills of the state of Puebla. It is known for its market and coffee, but we found plenty of other exciting things to do and see there.
First of all, we saw the tower of the Temple San Francisco de Asís. This tower is so huge that we could see it from practically everywhere in town! Also, there’s an amazing pyramid in the archeological ruins of Yohualichan. We also visited what most people consider to be the highlight of Cuetzalan, El Salto waterfall.
Moreover, we also witnessed the Danza de Los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers), which is a beautiful traditional festival.
Honestly, Cuetzalan has so much to offer visitors, and I’ve only explained half of it. If you really want to explore this town in-depth, then you can book this private tour. It departs from Puebla and takes you to all of the best places in Cuetzalan with your own knowledgeable guide.
Cuetzalan is located over a 3-hour drive from the city of Puebla, so it is best to visit on a tour with transport. Otherwise, you can drive there yourself, or catch the bus. However, if you do take the bus, I recommend spending at least one night in the town so you have enough time to explore. There are a few nice hotels in Cuetzalan that you can book online in advance.
Tip: When you visit Cuetzalan, make sure you have extra space in your bags because you most likely won’t be able to return empty-handed after visiting the markets! They are filled with lovely handcrafted products, you’ll probably want to buy some of them as souvenirs.
25. Wine and Dine at Entre Tierras
Going out to the finest restaurants is among the best things to do in Puebla. Indeed, selecting one from over 700 restaurants is hard, but one of them is worth mentioning. Entre Tierras is known as one of the top restaurants in Puebla, and after visiting for yourself, you’ll understand why.
The restaurant is situated a little on the southeast of the Temple of Santo Domingo, only an 8-10 mins walk away. Inside the restaurant, you will find the presentation at its peak. The ambiance is romantic and the food tastes as good as it looks.
The restaurant opens every day at different times, but it doesn’t close before 10:30 at night (except Sundays). Be sure to reserve a table as they can get very busy.
Where to Stay in Puebla, Mexico
There are plenty of amazing places to stay in Puebla city, Mexico. The main thing you want to take into consideration when choosing a hotel in Puebla is the location. You want to ensure you have a central location close to the historic center and main square.
Below are a couple of my personal favorite hotels (a couple that I have stayed in a couple that comes highly recommend!) These hotels all have an ideal location and there is something for all budgets, from hostels to luxury!
Santo Domingo Hostal – Budget-friendly Hostel
This is where we stayed once when we visited Puebla. The hostel is a great budget option with very friendly staff located in a safe area only a couple of blocks from the main square. Considering how cheap it is to stay here, the hostel has great facilities and is very clean. They have both dorms rooms and private rooms with ensuite bathrooms. You can book it other either Booking.com or Hostelworld.
Hotel Santiago – Budget-friendly Hotel
This hotel falls right in the budget price range but has the reviews of a 5-star hotel. The hotel only offers standard budget rooms but the location is right on the main square making the location perfect. The rooftop patio here offers views of the cathedral – it’s stunning! You can secure your room in advance on Booking.com.
Casa Rosa Gran Hotel Boutique – Moderately Priced Hotel
This is a stunning hotel that’s one of the top-rated in town. The rooms are modern and well furnished and its location is perfect! Rooms here start at only $70 USD per night. Some of the rooms have balconies with incredible views. Since it is a boutique hotel, there are only a few rooms available, so you should book it in advance to ensure you don’t miss out.
Hotel Boutique Casona de la China Poblana – Luxury Hotel
Many of the luxury hotels in Puebla are located far from the historic center, but not this one! This is one of the most beautiful hotels in Puebla and it is located right amongst all of the action just steps away from the main square. Despite this, it’s priced at only $150 USD for their luxury double room that includes breakfast. The reviews are amazing and many people can’t fault this hotel! You should book it well in advance to avoid missing out.
Getting to Puebla, Mexico
Getting to Puebla is easiest from Mexico City. From here, you can either take a bus or hire private transport.
The bus to Puebla from Mexico city costs about 200 pesos and takes just over 2 hours. Buses depart every 15 minutes or so from the TAPO bus station near the city center.
For a more comfortable and convenient option, book a private transfer. These transfers will pick you up directly from your hotel or even the international airport!
Alternatively, you can easily visit Puebla on an organized tour for the day from Mexico City.
Renting a car in Mexico
Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get around Mexico is in a rental car.
I struggled to get around by bus and taxi for the longest time. But after renting a car in Mexico in 2019, I never looked back. It allowed me to explore the country without worrying about tours or taxis. It was why I fell in love with Mexico and eventually decided to live here periodically.
I refuse to use local services whenever I rent a car in Mexico. The truth is they sometimes can’t be trusted or come with hidden fees (or costly insurance that doesn’t make sense.) There are even rental car scams! So instead, I use Discover Cars, the company most experienced travelers or ex-pats in Mexico recommend.
The rates on Discover Cars are cheap, too, with the average rental costing around $25 USD per day. Full coverage insurance can be added for an extra $10 USD a day too.
Driving in Mexico also only requires a driver’s license using the Roman alphabet. If yours uses another like Japan and China, you simply need an international driving permit.
Insurance is required, but if you book with Discover Cars and get the full coverage, that’s all you need! Oh, and being over 18 is required, and if you’re over 25, your renal will be much cheaper!
Before you go…
Thanks so much for reading our things to do in Puebla blog! We really hope it’s helped you plan your holiday. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comment section below!
If you liked this blog be sure to check out some of our other Mexico blogs from around the country! A few of them include…