Photo: Carlos Adampol
Puebla, one of 32 Mexican federal entities is located in the east-central part of the country. It’s home to five major indigenous groups: Nahuas, Totonacas, Mixtecas, Popolocas and Otomi whom mainly live in the mountainous north and south. The capital was of Puebla was founded to secure the conquistadors’ trade route between Mexico City and Veracruz. It’s a lively center for culture and business and is rapidly expanding towards Mexico City.
Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.
Puebla Heroica de Zaragoza
The capital of the state was named a UNESCO World Heritage for its remarkable colonial architecture. With more than 5,000 buildings it holds the second place among Latin American cities with the highest number of historical buildings and monuments after Cuzco in Peru. Visit Barrio de Artista, where you can drink coffee and admire artist’s work directly in their workshops. Also check out Biblioteca Palafoxiana, the first public library in colonial Mexico and the Museum of the Revolution, the building where the Mexican revolution of 1910 began.
This small village is a super representation of the indigenous culture of Puebla and is especially worth visiting on the weekend. On Sunday inhabitants from surrounding communities gather in the local market on the main square of Cuetzalan to sell home-produced coffee, vanilla, beans, tobacco and hand-made textiles.
Botanical Garden Zapotitlan Salinas
The botanical garden homes only endemic species. There is a huge number of cactus, agaves, and local birds due to the semiarid climate. Due to high temperatures and the lack of shade, it’s advisable to visit it early in the morning or late in the afternoon. If visiting the garden make sure to stop in the nearby village Zapotitlan Salinas to eat. Some of the restaurants offer exquisite dishes made from the variety of insects and cactus flowers.
National Park Iztaccihuatl – Popocatepetl
Popocatepetl an active volcano situated in the eastern half of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. It’s advisable to check the level of its activity before heading to the park. Iztaccihuatl is also work visiting and is popular among experienced climbers, hikers and mountain bikers.
San Pedro Cholula
One of the oldest populated Mexican cities was constructed on the largest pyramid in the world. Although the structure isn’t as impressive as some of the most famous pyramids, the labyrinth of tunnels and the museum do offer a glimpse into the life of its indigenous inhabitants. The view from the top is worth climbing the stairs. It’s recommendable to avoid San Pedro Cholula on weekends and holidays because it gets crammed with locals who want to escape Puebla and enjoy the coffee in the main square with a view of the volcano.
Santa Maria Tonantzintla
There’s one thing that attracts visitors to this tiny village and that’s the principal church which is considered the most important representative of Mexican indigenous Baroque. The church’s interior is decorated with indigenous motives such as dark-skinned angels, figures resembling Aztec warriors and typical Mexican food, such as corn, chilli, and cocoa. It’s an impressive combination of the Pre-Hispanic and Christian world.
Situated in the northern highlands, Pahuatlan remains one of the last places where papel amate (paper) is still being manufactured the pre-Hispanic way. Production can be seen in one of the village workshops. Apart from the paper, Pahuatlan is known for its colorful traditional textiles and huapango music which is widely played, danced and singed during holy week and other holidays.