Things to Do in Puebla
San Pedro Cholula is a municipality located in the town of Cholula, which is part of the Mexican state of Puebla. Its many historic sites plus its under the radar atmosphere makes it an excellent area of Mexico to visit.
A top site in San Pedro Cholula is the Place de la Concorde, which is the main plaza in Cholula and is where much of the action occurs. An aesthetically defining aspect of the plaza is Los Portales, a blue wall consisting of 46 arches that stretches down one side of Place de la Concorde. The San Gabriel Monastery is another prominent site in Cholula; it was built on the site of the Quetzalcoatl Temple in the mid-1500s and is one of the largest Franciscan monasteries in Mexico. The site that draws the most attention for visitors to San Pedro Cholula, though, is the Great Pyramid of Cholula, an ancient pre-Columbian temple that has the largest pyramidal base of any structure in the world. It also happens to be buried underground.
The United States isn’t the only country with a “city of angels” (i.e. Los Angeles). Mexico is also home to a city that has that moniker: Puebla, officially called Puebla de los Angeles. Puebla is one of Mexico’s oldest cities and legend has it that its angelic name was first earned thanks to the bell tower on Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral since an 18,000-pound bell that no one could figure out how to get up to the tower mysteriously appeared there one morning; angels were subsequently credited for the bell being moved. It is also said that angels designed the layout of the city. In addition to the cathedral and its famous bell tower, Puebla is also home to a variety of Baroque and Spanish Colonial style buildings and architecture that has caused it to be designated as a World Heritage City. Food is also a huge draw of Puebla. It’s called the capital of mole for a reason, and a visit to Puebla must include a bite (or several) of this beloved Mexican cuisine.
With more than 2,500 animals and over 300 species, the Africam Safari makes for a thrilling day out and it’s earned a reputation as one of Mexico’s leading zoos. The majority of animals are free roaming within the park, and visitors can either drive through the safari trail or take a bus tour, enabling close interaction with many of the animals. Lions, Bengal tigers, rhinos, elephants and giraffes are among the most popular residents, while the herds of zebra, deer and antelopes often venture right up to the cars.
Additional highlights include an Adventure Zone, where it’s possible to spot Mexican wolves, kangaroos, meerkats and red pandas, alongside a bat cave, butterfly pavilion and botanical garden; a thrilling treetop zip-line course; a bird and falconry display; and a boating lake, as well as a restaurant, café and souvenir shop.
Dating back to the 16th century when it was first built, the impressive Church of Santo Domingo towers over the historic center of Puebla, Mexico. Painted in deep reds and built with faded gray stone, the Roman Catholic cathedral and square is a major landmark for the town. It was constructed by the order of the Dominicans and was once part of a larger Dominican convent that stretched more than two blocks. The main altarpiece of the church is its most impressive sight, opulently decorated in gold life-size statues of religious figures. The interior stretches four stories from floor to ceiling, with domed ceilings and windows letting in soft, natural light.
Behind the facade lies the Capilla del Rosario, or chapel of the rosary, one of the most ornately decorated interiors in all of Mexico. Its detailed use of gold leaf, tile, and gilded stucco is widely regarded as a masterpiece of Mexican Baroque art and architecture.