Located in the center of the country, the city of Puebla (the state is also called Puebla) is only a two-hour drive from Mexico City. Its classic colonial architecture, fantastic food scene and the warmth of its people has made this city one of the most popular for national and international visitors alike.
The city is simply beautiful. It has more churches than any other city in the world and its well preserved cobblestoned streets are a constant reminder of a more traditional past. A Puebla city tour might be the best way to discover the many treasures that the city has to offer. In addition the numerous Puebla excursions on offer are a great way to explore the dramatic landscapes surrounding the city.
The true magic of Puebla however is to be found in their local customs. Take a look at our three favorite customs that not only make Puebla unique but that will make your visit a memorable one.
1. Chiles en Nogada
Puebla is home to one of the most exquisite selections of traditional Mexican dishes, with Chiles en Nogada being one of the most popular of these amongst Mexicans themselves.
Legend has it that monks at a convent created the recipe to celebrate the country’s independence from Spain and today it is only enjoyed during the month of September, to coincide with September 16, Mexico’s Independence Day.
A fist-sized, green chile is stuffed with prepared minced meat and is covered with a silky cream sauce made of walnuts. The dish is then sprinkled with brightly red-hued pomegranate seeds. The red, white and green colors of the seeds, sauce and chile represent the three primary colors of the Mexican flag.
2. The Paper Balloon Festival
Every November, Puebla celebrates the paper balloon festival, a massive party packed with dance, music, and of course, delicious local Puebla style food.
Hundreds of colorful, beautifully decorated paper balloons are on display, competing for multiple prizes. The culmination of the festival is an extraordinary scene when all the balloons are released into the air simultaneously.
The festival gets bigger and better every year; it might still be largely unknown outside the country, but that is changing every year.
3. Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated in Mexico, but it is an important date in Puebla.
The 5th of May commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, a crucial moment during the war between Mexico and France that changed the course of the confrontation significantly. Under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza the Mexican army defeated the French and drove them out of the region. The victory of the very much smaller Mexican army over a larger French force was a huge boost of morale for the Mexicans.
As with all traditional Mexican festivals there is lots of music, good food and dancing, a real carnival full of color and crowded streets. Parades and historical recreations are everywhere and the air is thick with happy patriotism. If you want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo like only the Mexicans can, do it in Puebla.