What to Do in Puebla: Top 10 Puebla Attractions

> January 25, 2023
What to Do in Puebla: Top 10 Puebla Attractions


Vibrant, enormous, and full of colors and history. The city of Puebla attracts tourists from all over the world, offering them unforgettable experiences. Find out what are the best Puebla attractions in our guide to Puebla, including top activities and must-see places.

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What you need to know about Puebla city

A very common problem people come across is that they mix up Puebla city and Puebla state. It can create lovely misunderstandings. For example, if someone keeps persuading you that Puebla city is 34,306 square kilometers (13,246 square miles) large, don’t trust them. They are talking about the state.

So, the Puebla city:

  • is 534 square kilometers (206 square miles) large
  • is home to 1,700,000 inhabitants
  • is located at the altitude of 2,135 meters (7,004 feet) above sea level (which means you’ll need sun protection if you don’t want to end up burnt)

And, as I suppose you’ve already guessed, Puebla city is the capital of Puebla state in Mexico.

This is why you should visit Puebla city

Puebla in Mexico is one of the most beautiful non-European cities I’ve ever seen. And that’s something—I’ve been in North as well as South America, Africa, and Asia. To see all Puebla attractions worth visiting, you should spend at least two days there.

What’s great about Puebla is that it’s within convenient driving distance from Mexico City. The journey takes only about two hours which means you can squeeze it into your Mexico itinerary pretty easily.

You should take into account that Puebla is really far-reaching and you will need a car to move from one place to another. If you’re not experienced in driving in Mexico, read my article where I explain everything important.

Top 10 things to do in Puebla

When it comes to Puebla activities, these 10 are the best:

1. Laugh at the smallest volcano in the world

Geyser Cuexcomate in Puebla city, Mexico

Geyser Cuexcomate in Puebla city, Mexico

Cuexcomate in Puebla is considered to be the smallest volcano on the planet and is therefore visited by tourists laughing at it and saying it’s not worth a visit. But if you read somewhere that it’s the smallest volcano… It's a mistake, and the writer didn’t fact-check the text. Cuexcomate is not a volcano, it’s an inactive geyser.

It’s 13 meters (42 feet) tall and a staircase leads down in its channel. If you follow it, instead of hot lava and flowing magma you can stumble upon hot artists and flowing wine—cultural events are held in the geyser. How cool is that?

  • Address: Libertad, 72130 Puebla, Mexico

2. Take a walk among architectural gems

Colorful colonial houses in Puebla, Mexico

Address: Av. Don Juan de Palafox y. Mendoza, Centro, 72000 Puebla, Pue., Mexico

Take a walk in Zócalo, the city center. You’ll explore narrow streets, colorful colonial houses, diverse people, cozy cafés, and lovely shops. You can do all sightseeing on foot; all architectural landmarks are within walking distance. Don’t forget to visit:

  • Catedral de Puebla
  • City Hall
  • Palacio de Gobierno (town hall)
  • H. Ayuntamiento de Puebla (city government office)

Do you prefer a proper hike instead of a peaceful walk? Try my top 10 best hikes in Mexico.

Banyan Tree Hotel, Puebla

Cozy rooms, great swimming pool, and fabulous breakfast! @ Banyan Tree Hotel

Hotel tip: I recommend staying at the Banyan Tree Hotel in Puebla. It’s in a great location close to all the architectural gems mentioned above. The prices start at USD 265 per night for 2 people.

Just so you know, we really spend time choosing the best places to stay in, it’s not just a random selection. If you decide to use our link to book any of the hotels in the article (or even if you click away and book a different hotel), we get a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you!  

3. Visit Puebla’s traditional marketplace

Stands made of bricks in El Parián in Puebla, Mexico

Stands made of bricks in El Parián in Puebla

Breathe in the true atmosphere of Mexico by visiting the local traditional market: El Parián. 112 stands made of brick offer handcrafted items, high-quality and cheap at the same time. You’ll get to buy not only souvenirs, but pretty much anything you could need

  • Address: Mercado de artesanias El Parian local 111, 72000 Puebla, Pue., Mexico

4. Do (NOT) touch a book in Biblioteca Palafoxiana

Me in Biblioteca Palafoxiana, one of Puebla attractions

Me in Biblioteca Palafoxiana, one of Puebla attractions

Numbers describe Biblioteca Palafoxiana, the oldest public library in the Americas, better than words:

  • 45,000 books and manuscripts
  • founded in 1646
  • 43 meters (141 feet) long
  • 3 levels of bookshelves

The library is open for a visit between 10 AM and 5 PM daily, except on Mondays. The visit takes around 15 minutes.

  • Address: Av 5 Ote 5, Centro, 72000 Puebla, Pue., Mexico

5. Catedral de Puebla

Catedral de Puebla, one of tourist attractions in Puebla

Catedral de Puebla

Look at the picture above and make a guess: How long do you think it takes to build such a cathedral?

The answer is: It took 74 years (with some breaks). The construction began in 1575 and was finally finished in 1649, and consecrated to the Virgin Mary. Today, it serves as the see of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese.

The building is truly fascinating. It consists of 14 lateral chapels and the main altar. The interior is ostentatiously decorated with ornaments, statues, and paintings.

Warning: It’s not allowed to take pictures inside.

  • Address: C. 16 de Septiembre s/n, Centro, 72000 Puebla, Pue., Mexico

The Hilton MM Grand Hotel, Puebla

@ The Hilton MM Grand Hotel

Hotel tip: We’ve stayed at Hilton MM Grand Hotel. It cost us around USD 65 per night and the quality matches the price – overall the hotel was very nice, and we enjoyed our stay there, even though the breakfast could’ve been better. 

6. Cholula (30 minutes from Puebla)

The Great Pyramid of Cholula with a Christian cathedral on top (near Puebla, Mexico)

The Great Pyramid of Cholula with a Christian cathedral on top

Cholula is the paradise for all history lovers and enthusiastic explorers of Mexico’s ancient cultures. It’s the oldest still-inhabited village in Mexico and hides true gems. For example the largest pyramid in the world. Read the 12 facts about Mexico article to find out even more about Mexican history.

Before you start yippeeing and hooraying, let me disappoint you a bit: The pyramid is covered by soil and plants, and resembles a hill rather than a pyramid. But still. The Great Pyramid of Cholula (Tlachihualtepetl) is 450 meters (1,480 feet) wide in its base. For comparison, the Giza pyramid is 230 meters (750 feet) wide.

When you look at the picture, a question might creep into your mind: Why is there a Catholic cathedral on top of the world’s largest ancient pyramid? Well, when Spaniards came to Mexico, they apparently thought: Look, a pagan building! Let’s destroy it! What a great idea! And they covered the pyramid with soil and built a cathedral on top. (Actually, most of the ancient Mexican buildings were christianized by the Spanish after they arrived in the 16th century. But that’s another story.)

The archeological site in Cholula offers plenty of interesting activities: not only the pyramid and the cathedral, but also ruins, tunnels, a museum, several churches, festivals… Deciding what to do depends on how much time you have. For your own sake, I hope you have a lot. If you’re interested in these kinds of monuments, you might also want to read about the 7 Best Aztec Ruins in Mexico.

My wife exploring the ruins in Cholula near Puebla city, Mexico

My wife exploring the ruins in Cholula

  • Address: Calle 14 Pte. S/N, San Miguel, Zona Arqueológica San Andrés Cholula, 72760 San Andrés Cholula, Pue., Mexico

7. San Francisco Acatepec (in Cholula)

San Francisco Acatepec with a very colorful facade, one of the best Puebla attractions

San Francisco Acatepec with a very colorful facade

San Francisco Acatepec is a typically Mexican baroque church. Vivid colors shine far and wide from the facade, making the building one of the most interesting things to see in Puebla (in San Andrés Cholula, to be specific).

  • Address: Puebla 6, La Purísima, San Francisco Acatepec, 72875 San Andrés Cholula, Pue., Mexico

8. Orizaba (2 hours from Puebla)

If you feel an irresistible urge to get away from tourist-packed Puebla, Orizaba is the place to go to. It’s a city in the state of Veracruz, approximately 2 hours from Puebla by car. I’ve summarized the top 8 places to visit in Veracruz state for you in a separate article. Here’s a bunch of tips on what to do there:


Orizaba, a city near Puebla (Mexico)


Teleférico is a cableway which will take you up the hill above Orizaba. The visit is simple: go up, enjoy approximately 30 minutes of beautiful views, and get down again. It’s open from 10 AM to 6 PM every day.

  • Address: Centro, 94300 Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico

Orizaba River

Take a walk along the river in Orizaba (Río Orizaba). Locals run a free zoo there, so your walk will be spiced up by animals all around you. It’s surrounded by cafés and restaurants so you won’t starve either.

  • Address: Sur 4, Centro, 94300 Orizaba, Ver., Mexico

500 Escalones

500 Escalones as a day-trip from Puebla city

500 Escalones as a day-trip

Fancy a stroll in the wild? 500 Escalones are 500 stair steps, creating a gorgeous hike with a dam at the end. In my opinion, the hike is more about the journey than about the dam so there’s no use in going entirely down, if you’re out of time or tired.

  • Address: Autopista Orizaba Cordoba KM. 273+620 S/N, Barrio Nuevo, 94340 Orizaba, Ver., Mexico

Palacio de Hierro

Iron Palace in Orizaba, Mexico

Image source: official website of Orizaba

Palacio de Hierro, Iron Palace in translation, was designed by Gustave Eiffel in the 19th century. It was made of 600 tons of steel, and its price was 100,000 pesos—equivalent to 21.3 million Mexican pesos (1.1 million US dollars) today.

There is a café in the palace. Don’t go there. The service is unpleasant, and the coffee undrinkable.

  • Address: Fco. I. Madero Norte, Centro, 94300 Orizaba, Ver., Mexico

Final tip for Orizaba: How to get there

Whereas Puebla’s elevation is 2,135 meters (7,004 feet) above sea level, Orizaba lies much lower: at the altitude of 1,200 meters (4,000 feet). Which means you will go down the hill. A lot. And the highway is literally highway to hell.

That fact the road goes down, together with the fact it leads also to Veracruz, Mexico’s second largest port, causes very heavy traffic. Get ready to honk at a truck or to. Or get up early and set off in the morning, when the road is empty. Read about other helpful Mexico travel tips. 

9. Africam Safari

Visiting Africam Safari, one of the best Puebla activities

Africam Safari

Africam Safari is a private zoo with more than 2,500 animals and over 300 species from Africa. When I first stumbled upon it on the internet, I was a bit skeptical: African safari in Mexico? But I gave it a chance and I didn’t regret it.

The tickets are quite expensive, but definitely worth it. You’ll go to the zoo in your car, and slowly drive among the animals. I must pay a compliment to the safety—the lioness in the picture below jumped in front of our car and wanted to scratch it, but the moment she raised her paw, the zoo staff came and drove her away.

Lioness in Africam Safari in Puebla, Mexico

Lioness in Africam Safari

The safari is open from 10 AM to 6 PM.

  • Address: Blvd. Capitan Carlos Camacho Espiritu Km. 16.5, Tecali de Herrera, Heróica Puebla de Zaragoza, Pue. Mexico, 75240

10. Chapel of the Rosario

Chapel of Rosario, full of golden ornaments (Puebla city, Mexico)

Chapel of Rosario, full of golden ornaments

Finally, we are getting to the most beautiful tourist attraction in Puebla. And that’s the Chapel of the Rosario. I’m not pious and chapels don’t usually impress me… but this one is on a completely different level than any other chapel I’ve seen.

The chapel is hidden in the Church of Santo Domingo in Puebla, and is described as the eighth world wonder by some. Every inch of it is covered in gold. Built in the architectural style called New Spanish Baroque, it shows the wealth of the Church and is full of symbolism. The opening hours are from 11 AM to 1:30 PM and then again from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM every day, except for Mondays.

  • Address: Av. 4 Pte., Centro, 72000 Puebla, Pue., Mexico

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About me

About me

Hi! I’m Jan. I live in Prague, Czech Republic. I try to experience the best the world has to offer, and I don’t cease to be impressed. But if I’m not, I’m sure going to tell you! You can count on my full honesty and real opinions here. No bullcrap. I own and run several companies, which gives me great (but not unlimited) freedom to roam the world.  

I was first inspired to start this blog by my own experience of researching for upcoming trips—I often struggle with a lack of good information, accuracy, and authenticity of resources. You wouldn’t believe how many “travel bloggers” don’t even visit the destinations they write about! 

My goal with this blog is to provide you with complex and practical information so that you can plan your own vacation, complete with insights you’d only get if you visited the place. I also put together itineraries that are fully planned out trip guides.

Another aspect that drives this platform is my curiosity about the history, geography, politics, and economy of each country I visit, so I try to include this information in my articles, too. It’s always great to get the bigger picture, right? 

And just to be clear, I am not trying to compete with backpacking blogs or provide hacks for an economical and affordable experience. My vacations follow the standard pattern of traveling by plane, staying in good hotels, and renting a car on the spot to get around. I’m also always up for a fantastic meal, though I don’t shy away from local delicacies and street food, either.  

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