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Exploring Mexico City: A Perfect Day Trip to Puebla, Cholula, and Tonantzintla

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Exploring Mexico City: A Perfect Day Trip to Puebla, Cholula, and Tonantzintla

Exploring Mexico City can be a truly incredible experience, especially when the weather is pleasant, the colors are vibrant, and the history is alive. With that in mind, there’s no comprehensive exploration of Mexico City without delving deep into its vast past and culture, with part of it being a fascinating trip out of the capital to the surrounding towns and cities. One particular day-trip out of the city to nearby towns – Puebla, Cholula and Tonantzintla, can be an amazing experience that all tourists should really consider. Puebla is the fourth-largest city in Mexico and is well known for its colorful colonial architecture, which many believe to be the best preserved in Latin America. Cholula is home to Mesoamerica’s largest pyramid – the Great Pyramid of Cholula – and its church of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios stands atop it. Tonantzintla has captivating baroque churches with artful wall paintings and a beautiful 19th-century plaza where an open-air market is held every Sunday.Given its rich culture and stunning architecture, it’s easy to understand why these towns are so popular with tourists. Keep reading and we’ll take a look at an example day trip of these areas, and what’s there to do while visiting the towns.

The Best Way to Get to Puebla, Cholula and Tonantzintla from Mexico City

The best way to get to these villages from Mexico City is by bus. All three locations have daily services departing several times a day from Mexico City’s two main bus terminals – Terminal Norte located in the north of the city, and Terminal Sur located in the south – and there is a wide range of bus companies, so you can easily choose which one fits you the most. From Terminal Norte, you can travel with Estrella Roja and Estrella de Oro. If your point of departure is Terminal Sur, you can try Estrella Roja or Estrella de Oro as well. The bus tickets usually cost between 15-25 Mexican pesos and the travel time from one place to another takes about an hour.

Things to See in Puebla

The Zocalo

The Zocalo is a large plaza located in central Puebla, surrounded by colonial buildings painted in eye-catching ochre tones. This plaza is extremely popular with locals, who gather here during different events such as markets, musical performances, and celebrations of religious festivals. It’s also here where you’ll find a beautiful fountain at the center of the plaza that was built in 1828.

The Amparo Museum

The Amparo Museum is one of Puebla’s key attractions, boasting an impressive permanent collection that spans from pre-Columbian artifacts to modern Mexican artworks. Its highlights include a fascinating collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts that were excavated throughout Puebla State itself. There are also some stunning baroque pieces from Tepotzotlán in the State of Mexico, as well as Mayan sculptures.

The Catedral de Bucareli

Built in 1775, the Catedral de Bucareli is another must-visit while in Puebla. One of its most interesting features is the tall bronze statue of Nuestra Señora del Rosario that stands at its entrance. Inside, there are two works depicting local heroes Fernando Primo de Rivera and Ignacio Zaragoza that were created by Italian sculptor Armando Ravaglioli. The interior of the cathedral is also home to a number of religious artworks and sculptures that date back to the XVII and XVIII centuries.

Things to See in Cholula

The Great Pyramid of Cholula

The Great Pyramid of Cholula is one of the world’s largest pyramids by volume and is also believed to be the oldest surviving structures in Mesoamerica that dates back at least 2,500 years. This pyramid stands right next to the newly built Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios that was built between 1554 and 1594. The pyramid itself is made up of many layers that were added by later civilizations such as the Aztecs and Toltecs. Unfortunately though, visitors cannot enter any part of it due to safety reasons.

The Tlachihualtepetl Garden

Tlachihualtepetl Garden is situated directly beneath the pyramid and many believe this place used to be an Aztec ceremonial site. Today though, it’s home to a tranquil park filled with beautiful gardens and trees as well as a network of walkways and platforms from where visitors can enjoy stunning views over Cholula. There are also some interesting sculptures on display around the garden, so don’t forget to take your camera with you.

San Pedro Pochutla Church

San Pedro Pochutla Church is another must-visit destination while in Cholula. Built between 1724 and 1795, this church has been built on an Aztec sacrificial site and inside there are some truly incredible sculptures created by local artists and some impressive religious artworks. This church also boasts some wonderfully coloured frescoes on its facade as well as a unique collection of baroque furnishings inside.

Things to See in Tonantzintla

San Miguel Arcángel Parish Church

With its unmistakable white dome, San Miguel Arcángel Parish Church is an impressive place worthy of any visit to Tonantzintla. Its most attractive features are its baroque walls that contain beautiful religious paintings that were done by local artists back in 1709 and its two altarpieces filled with fascinating baroque wood carvings. Inside there’s also a lovely sculpted altarpiece dedicated to Virgen de la Purísima Concepción – an 18th-century Madonna made from non other than French ivory.

Our Lady of Dolores Church

Nestled in a small plaza near Tonantzintla’s main square stands Our Lady of Dolores Church – one of the oldest churches in the village dating back to 1712 when it was founded on top of an Aztec temple concerned with fertility fertility goddess Tonantzín Galiuca has been built on top of an 14th century Aztec temple complex devoted to fertility goddess Tonantzín Galihua. The church was carefully restored back in 1980s which led to discovering frescoes hidden beneath its facade as well as those who still decorate its interior walls offering visitors a glimpse into an incredible past. The iconographic set inside features a large Virgin Mary seated that can be seen from both sides of the presbytery which gives this singular church a truly unique aura.

The Open-Air Market at Plaza 2 de Mayo

The open-air market located at plaza 2 de Mayo takes place every Sunday from 8:00am until 4:00pm where visitors can find a wide variety of local specialties such as ornate candies, wood carvings, pottery, woven fabrics, moles sauces, and tejate – a traditional Oaxacan beverage made with cornflour and cocoa beans. This is definitely an unique way to sample local products while enjoying the festive atmosphere at Plaza 2 de Mayo!


Exploring Mexico City’s surrounding villages can be an incredible experience full of history, culture, art and craftsmanship! Whether you want to explore colonial architecture in Puebla or explore one of Mesoamerica’s oldest pyramids – Cholula’s Great Pyramid – or just find out something new about local customs or crafts at Tonantzintla’s open-air market – there’s something for everyone here. Plus with year-round warm weather and lively festivals around every corner, why not book an adventure to this day trip now? Your journey awaits!

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Exploring Mexico City: A Perfect Day Trip to Puebla, Cholula, and Tonantzintla

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!