Since the Spanish conquistadors founded Puebla in the 16th Century, the city has been the heart of colonial Mexico. Only an hour from the madness of Mexico City, Puebla marches to a different, more gentle rhythm, and its proud people (the poblanos) place a big emphasis on traditional Catholic values and practices. The city’s Spanish origins have left it a trove of architectural treasures, and in the centre of Puebla you’ll find striking examples of Baroque and 18th-century edifices, an imposing cathedral and numerous colonial mansions. It’s gone by many names over the years – ‘City of Angels’, ‘City of Tiles’, (on account of the city’s signature talavera pottery) ‘Heroic City of Zaragoza’ (after the French-beating general) – but to most Mexicans and visitors it’s known simply as Puebla, meaning, with misleading humility, ‘Town’.
Areas in Puebla
When to go
Puebla is warm throughout the year and although the heat can make the June rainy season unpleasantly humid, the winter months herald a more forgiving, occasionally chilly, climate.
PlanesPuebla’s airport – Hermanus Serdán – is a tiny affair 40 minutes outside the city that receives daily visits from United Airlines’ express from Houston and three a week from Aeromexico's New York flight. Most visitors, however, will likely come via Mexico City’s much larger airport, two hours away, served by American Airlines and United and travel by car or bus (www.uno.com.mx) from there.
AutomobilesIt's not an easy drive out of or into Mexico City but – with a good map and a little Spanish to ask for directions – not beyond a confident traveller. Be sure to ask about busy traffic times and avoid them at all costs. The drive takes just under two hours and once outside the city a fast motorway takes you past some stunning scenery along the way. Hire a car with Avis (www.avis.co.uk) at the airport. There are also car hire desks at Hermanus Serdán Airport in Puebla.
TaxisTaxis are easily recognisable in Puebla and safe to flag down in the street. It’s a small city so cabs are plentiful – there’s a rank beside the bus station if they prove elusive. You can arrange a pre-booked car with your hotel, or call Taxi Xonaca (+52 222 514 9293).