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The beautiful city of Puebla is the perfect relaxing escape from the 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 the 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 18 best things to do in Puebla that I absolutely loved and I’m sure you will too!
1. Visit the oldest library in the America’s – Biblioteca Palafoxiana
The 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 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.
It’s located close to the main square in the central historic center and for only a 40 pesos entrance fee, this is one library you’re really going to want to visit.
Tour option: If you want to learn more about the library and other attractions in the area then joining this Puebla City Walking tour is a great idea. Although this one isn’t free, it comes with an expert guide.
2. Take a day trip to Cholula
Cholula is another small city located only 10km from Puebla city center and is often visited as a tourist destination on its own. However, with limited time we decided to just day trip from Puebla and well, we think it’s a great way to explore the city without moving hotels.
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!
Entrance 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) 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.
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 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.
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.
5. Go on a food tour
There are literally tons of amazing restaurants in Puebla serving amazing Mexican cuisine!
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 tour here.
6. Enjoy a drink in Barrio las Artistas
Barrio las Artistas is a small neighbourhood 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 amazing 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!
On 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 I’d have no room for the most basic essentials in my bag…like clothes! With that said, this small gift market is perfect for those wanting to bring home local Mexican arts and crafts.
It’s filled with fixed priced items that are very cheap and beautiful! Even despite my lack of room in our bags, Bailey still managed to buy a new handbag that I actually really loved!
The market is 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
Zocala 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 great 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 of 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 to skip 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!
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 without the hassle of buying a ticket.
13. Wander the colorful area of Los Sapos
If you love beautiful colonial streets then you simply must visit the Los Sapos neighbourhood! Here, you can find beautiful streets that are literally picture perfect! The most famous and beautiful street is called Callejón de los Sapos, AKA “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 you’re going to need a full day for this tour! It includes stops at many beautiful places including Cholula and a waterfall!
15. Join a Lucha Libre tour (Mexican wrestling)
Lucha Libre is a must-do while in Mexico. For those who don’t know, Lucha Libre is Mexican wrestling that you’re sure to recognize once you see the interesting 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 must-do’s in one go. The reason is that before the Lucha Libre you actually do a Pulque tasting. Pulque is a pre-Hispanic drink thats 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 tour to Lucha Libre in most places around Mexico. 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 best!
16. Fuertes de Loreto y Guadalupe
Fuertes de Loreto y Guadalupe or Fort Of Loreto and Guadalupe (English) 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 Lorerto 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 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 visit.
18. Visit the Cantona Ruins
The Cantona Ruins are another impressive ruin site located around an hour’s drive from Puebla. 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 its 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!
Where to Stay in Puebla
With location and quality in mind here are the best places to stay in Puebla. Please note we have not stayed at all of these places, however, we take good care at only picking the highest, highest reviewed places and choose them based on that and their location.
Gente de Mas Hostel – This is where we stayed in Puebla. The hostel is a great budget option with very friendly staff located in a safe area only 7 blocks from the main square. This is, of course, no the nicest place but would suit a budget backpacker.
Hotel Santiago – This hotel falls right in the medium to 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.
El Encanto – If your looking for a great hotel around the $50 USD mark then El Encanto is a top choice. It comes with modern rooms and really amazing reviews. It’s close to the square and from some rooms you can see the cathedral from your balcony.
Casa Rosa Gran Hotel Boutique – This is a stunning hotel thats one fo 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!
Hotel Boutique Casona de la China Poblana – This is one of the most beautiful hotels in Puebla. Despite this its priced at only $150 USD for their luxury double room that includes breakfast. The reviews are amazing and many people can;lt fault this hotel!
Getting to Puebla
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 transfer will pick you up directly from your hotel or even the international airport!
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…