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Before we went to Puebla, I knew absolutely nothing about it, other than the fact that it’s listed as one of the top 10 safest cities in Mexico (along with Merida), it’s a food mecca, much like Oaxaca, and that it’s only a 2 hour bus ride from Mexico city.
So with 4 of my 5 criteria (WAVES = Warm, Asian Food, Value, Entrepreneurial, Safe) met, we decided it was a good idea to spend four days there on our way to Mexico, before flying out to Panama.
What I wasn’t expecting was how liveable the city was! And by liveable, I mean big enough to have lots of food options and attractions but not so big that I’m soaked with the sweat of a thousand strangers on the subway. In fact, even though it’s the 4th largest city in Mexico with 2.5 million inhabitants, it never felt crowded or overwhelming.
And as it turns out, the best thing about Puebla, was the deliciously, savoury, spicy and multi-layered sauce that beat out even Oaxaca’s Mole Negro.
It was in Puebla that we found the king of all moles: Mole Poblano.
Now, for those of you who don’t know what mole is, let me give you some background.
Mole, essentially mixes two main ingredients you wouldn’t think to combine. It’s actually made up of symphony of more than 20 ingredients, but at the center of it all, stars two very unlikely leads:
Chilli and chocolate.
So picture being enveloped by a nice, soft, warm hug—before being severely punched in the mouth.
Clearly, you can you see why I love this dish.
Nah, I’m just kidding. The REAL reason why I love it this dish is the sheer amount of effort that was put into it and the almost laughably low price tag that doesn’t even due it justice.
So guess you could say, it tastes like a steal.
We ended up spending an exorbitant amount of time at one restaurant called “Viejo Rosario” in Puebla, which had at least 50 different dishes on the menu, making it our personal challenge to try as many as we could. It also helped that because of Trump sending the Mexican peso into the crapper, each dish only cost 18 – 65 pesos ($0.80 – $3 USD) or less.
When we finally managed to drag ourselves away from the glorious food, we discovered…
Even more food.
Because just like the food vendors in the 20 November market in Oaxaca, the food scene in Puebla was out of this world:
From cheesy, savoury Cemitas:
To melt-in-your-mouth pork tacos:
To juicy roasted chicken:
To perfectly brewed, frothy cappuccinos,
The food options were cheap and endless.
And on top of all the good food, we also got to go to a free concert to celebrate all this gluttony in the Zocalo!
This was one of the few times I didn’t mind huge crowds. I also found out that Puebla is named after “Puebla de Zaragoza”, the general who won the battle of Cinco de Mayo against Napoleon, which is why it’s pretty much the only city in Mexico that celebrates Cinco de Mayo.
The next day, we decided to take a bus out to Cholula, only 30 mins away.
If you like seeing a big ass churches on top of a pyramid, and being inside a claustrophobic dark tunnel that winds through the mountain underneath it, you’ll love it here.
And just like Chichen Itza, it also has unhealthy level of child sacrifices:
Dark practices aside, the view from the top was actually quite breath taking:
Also, if you love having your heart jump out of your chest every couple of minutes, you’ll be happy to know that there are people setting off firecrackers all over the city, celebrating God-knows-what. That’s another thing we learned about Mexico. They have festivals almost every single day of the year. And that means firecrackers. Lots and lots of firecrackers.
So I guess you could say, it’s my kind of city.
Except when you get woken up in at 6 in the morning thinking there’s a gun battle going on outside your window, then it’s not as fun.
But never-the-less, while we were there, we loved how much the Mexican people loved to celebrate—with an abundance of food, booze, and firecrackers. Always with the firecrackers. YAY?
Here’s how much we spent in Puebla:
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|Category||Cost in USD/couple||Cost in CAD/couple||Notes|
|Accommodations:||$25 USD/night||$32 CAD/night||We stayed in an AirBnb with a shared bathroom that's right in the middle of the city within walking distance to all attractions. The host told us about Viejo Rosario (right around the corner) which ended up being our favourite restaurant and where we eat most of our meals."|
|Food:||$13 USD/day||$17 /day ($14/day for eating out, $3 for groceries (mostly booze)||Food was super cheap and plentiful everywhere. I could totally see us living here long term and just eating every day.|
|Transportation:||$7 USD/day||$9.45 CAD/day||The ADO bus ticket from Oaxaca to Puebla (4 hour drive) was only 255 pesos per person, or $14 CAD each. The only other cost for transportation was getting from Puebla to Cholula at $1.50 CAD/person|
|Entertainment:||$1.7 USD/day||$2.25 CAD/day||Entry to the Cholula ruins and pyramid tunnels was only 70 pesos per person or $4.65 CAD. Averaged over 4 days, that's only $2.25 CAD for entertainment per day.|
|Total:||$47 USD/couple/day||$61 CAD/couple/night|