Welcome to a journey full of laughter, emotions and surprises! Get ready to discover the magical city of Cholula, Puebla, Mexico. Forget the typical boring guidebooks, because here we will explore the history of Cholula in a unique way. Fasten your seat belts and get ready to laugh, because this is one story you can’t miss.
History of Cholula:
Our story begins in time immemorial, when the gods of heaven and earth decided to play hide and seek in the vast lands of Mexico. Legends say that the god Quetzalcoatl, tired of hiding in the sky, decided to transform himself into a feathered serpent and come down to earth to have fun among mortals. After a fun party, Quetzalcoatl decided to leave a mark of his time on earth and founded a sacred city, known today as Cholula.
Over the centuries, Cholula became an important ceremonial center, a place of worship and a meeting point for different cultures and peoples. Known as “the city of volcanoes” because of its impressive volcanic environment, Cholula became a cultural and spiritual treasure of Mexico.
But do you know what Cholula’s best kept secret is? Under that modest hill that many considered just a hill, lies the Great Pyramid of Cholula. Yes, a giant pyramid! The most surprising thing is that it is buried under tons of earth and vegetation, as if nature itself had decided to play hide-and-seek with mankind!
Top 10 things to do in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico
This magical city has something for everyone, from archaeological adventures to finger-licking gastronomic experiences. So get ready to laugh, enjoy and immerse yourself in the wonder that is Cholula.
1. Explore the Great Hidden Pyramid:
You can’t visit Cholula without going inside the Great Pyramid, or rather, under it. Yes, under a seemingly ordinary hill, hides this archaeological wonder. Explore the subway tunnels and discover Mexico’s pre-Hispanic past. Just make sure you don’t get lost, it’s easy to get confused in this giant hideout!
2. Visit the Iglesia de los Remedios:
Up the hill, you’ll find the impressive Iglesia de los Remedios. The view from here is simply spectacular. Enjoy the cool breeze as you take in the panorama of volcanoes and breathtaking scenery.
3. Stroll through the Historic Center:
Walk through the charming cobblestone streets of Cholula’s Historic Center. Discover handicraft stores, charming cafes and restaurants offering local delicacies. Don’t forget to try the famous cemitas poblanas, a snack full of flavor and tradition.
4. Local Markets and Authentic Flavors:
Immerse yourself in the colorful local markets, such as the Mercado de Cholula and the Mercado de Artesanías. Here you will find everything from textiles to pottery and all kinds of unique souvenirs. And, of course, don’t leave without sampling the delicious local cuisine. From the traditional chiles en nogada to the Arabic tacos, your palate will be in for a treat.
5. The Palafoxiana Library:
For lovers of reading and history, the Palafoxiana Library is a must-see. It is one of the oldest libraries in America, with impressive shelves of books that will transport you to past times.
6. Museo Regional de Cholula:
If you want to delve into the history of the region, visit this interesting museum. With fascinating exhibits on pre-Hispanic culture and Spanish colonization, you will feel like an explorer of the past.
7. Hot Air Balloon:
Want a unique perspective of Cholula, take a hot air balloon ride! Seeing the city and the volcanoes from above is an unforgettable and quite thrilling experience. Just be aware that you might feel like you’re playing hide and seek in the sky.
8. Festivals and Celebrations:
Cholula is famous for its cultural and religious festivals. If you are lucky enough to visit during one of these festivities, such as the Cholula Fair in October, you will witness colorful processions, music and traditional dances – join the locals and join the fun!
9. Cacaxtla Ruins:
If you want to extend your archaeological experience, head to the nearby Cacaxtla Ruins. This important archaeological site is lesser known but equally fascinating. Admire the mural paintings and let your imagination travel back in time.
10. Sunset in Cholula:
To end your visit on a high note, enjoy a sunset in Cholula. Find a good viewpoint and marvel at the colors of the sky while you say goodbye to this city full of charm.
So, dear travelers, get ready for an adventure full of laughter, discoveries and delicious flavors. Cholula awaits you with open arms and hidden surprises.
Food and Beverages:
Let’s venture into a feast of flavors in Cholula! The gastronomy of this city will make you salivate and leave you wanting to come back for more. Here are some of the dishes and drinks you can’t miss during your visit:
- Chiles en Nogada: This is the king of dishes in Cholula. Try this typical delicacy that combines the colors of the Mexican flag: poblano peppers stuffed with picadillo (beef and pork), covered with a creamy walnut sauce and garnished with pomegranate and parsley. A delight for all the senses!
- Tacos Árabes: Don’t get confused, these are not tacos as you know them. Cholula’s Arab tacos are a fusion of flavors, influenced by the Lebanese community that settled in the city. Delicious strips of pork seasoned with spices are served on Arabic bread and complemented with a yogurt sauce and fresh herbs, an explosion of flavor in every bite!
- Cemitas Poblanas: If you are looking for a unique sandwich, you can’t miss the cemitas poblanas. Cemita bread filled with meat, quesillo (typical cheese of the region), avocado, papalo (a cilantro-flavored herb) and pickled chiles, it’s a trip straight to the heaven of flavors!
- Mole Poblano: This dish is a culinary tradition that cannot be missed in Cholula. An exquisite and complex dish made with a mixture of chiles, spices, chocolate and other secret ingredients, it’s the taste of Mexico in one dish!
- Nieves: Refresh yourself with nieves, a traditional dessert similar to ice cream, but with unique flavors. Try local flavors such as flor de cempasúchil, avocado or mole. Yes, mole in the form of snow, it will surprise you!
- Mezcal: To pair with your meal, try mezcal, an ancestral alcoholic beverage distilled from agave. Each sip is an intense and smooth experience at the same time. Cheers!
Best Time to Visit Cholula, Puebla, Mexico:
What is the best time to venture into Cholula’s hideaways, good question! The truth is that Cholula is enchanting year-round, but here are some tips to help you choose the perfect time for your visit:
Dry Season (November – April): If you prefer cooler temperatures and less rain, this is the best time to visit Cholula. Daytime temperatures are pleasant and nights are cool. Plus, you won’t have to worry about carrying an umbrella in your search for hiding places.
Rainy Season (May – October): Although it is the rainy season, nature in Cholula comes alive with vibrant colors and green landscapes. In addition, some important festivities take place during this time, such as the Cholula Fair in October. Just be sure to bring an umbrella (just in case!) and be ready to enjoy the magic of Cholula in the rain.
Special Festivities: If you want to experience the local festivities in all their splendor, be sure to research the events happening during your visit. Religious, cultural and gastronomic festivities can add a special touch to your Cholula experience.
Safety in Cholula:
Fearless travelers, fear not! Cholula is a welcoming and safe city for visitors. As in any tourist destination, it is important to take some precautions to enjoy your stay without worries. Here are some tips to ensure a safe experience in Cholula:
Explore during the day: As in any city, it is safest to explore Cholula during the day. Enjoy the tourist sites, delicious food and festivities in the sunlight. At night, it is preferable to stay in well-lit and frequented areas.
- Take care of your belongings: Keep your belongings safe at all times. Use cross-body bags and keep your valuables close to you. Avoid carrying unnecessary items with you and make sure your bags are securely closed.
- Safe transportation: Always use official and recognized transportation services. Cabs and ride-sharing services are safe and reliable in Cholula. If you are going to use public transportation, keep your belongings safe and avoid carrying a lot of cash with you.
- Consult reliable sources: Before traveling, consult reliable sources about the security situation in the area. Official government and embassy websites can provide up-to-date information on safety in tourist destinations.
- Respect local culture: Be sure to respect local customs and traditions. Be aware of cultural differences and avoid behavior that may offend the local community.
Remember that, in general, Cholula is a safe city for tourists, and most visitors enjoy their stay without incident. With a little common sense and caution, your experience in Cholula will be unforgettable and hassle-free.
Museums and Art:
For art and history lovers, Cholula offers a range of options to satisfy your cultural thirst. From museums with impressive collections to street art that will surprise you at every corner, here are some recommendations to immerse yourself in the world of art in Cholula:
- Museo Regional de Cholula: If you want to learn about the history and culture of the region, this is the ideal place. The museum has archaeological, ethnographic and artistic exhibits that will transport you through time and the diversity of Mexico.
- Art Galleries: Browse the local art galleries to discover the talent of contemporary and emerging artists. Cholula has a vibrant and diverse art scene that is sure to surprise you.
- Art in the Streets: You don’t have to enter a museum to enjoy art in Cholula. Urban art is present in many corners of the city, from colorful murals to sculptures and street art, take a stroll and admire the local talent on every corner!
- Art Fair: If you are lucky enough to visit Cholula during the Cholula Fair, don’t miss the Art Fair. Here you will find a wide variety of works by local and regional artists, from paintings to ceramics and textiles.
- Cultural Experiences: In addition to museums and galleries, take the opportunity to attend cultural events and festivals that celebrate art in all its forms. From concerts to dance and theater performances, there are options for all tastes.
In Cholula, art is everywhere, from the historical richness of its museums to the overflowing creativity of its streets.
Local Events Calendar:
Cholula is a city full of life and celebrations throughout the year. If you want to experience the true essence of this charming city, I recommend planning your visit to coincide with some of its exciting local events. Here’s a look at some of the most outstanding festivities on Cholula’s calendar:
Cholula Fair (October):
Without a doubt, one of the most important events of the year in Cholula. The city fills with color, music and traditions during this fair. Enjoy parades, concerts, sporting events, gastronomic displays and cultural exhibits.
International Jazz Festival (May-June):
If you are a jazz lover, this festival is for you. National and international musicians come together in Cholula to delight us with their talent in different stages of the city.
Day of the Dead (November):
As in all of Mexico, the Day of the Dead is celebrated with great devotion in Cholula. The streets are filled with colorful altars, offerings and activities to remember loved ones who are no longer with us.
During Carnival, the city is transformed into a scene of celebration and fun. Parades, dances and live music fill the streets of Cholula.
Holy Week (March-April):
A time full of religious traditions and festivities in Cholula. Holy Week celebrations attract numerous visitors seeking to experience the local faith and culture.
Anniversary of the Foundation of Cholula (December):
In the month of December, the city celebrates its founding anniversary with cultural activities and special events.
Remember that the exact dates may vary from year to year, so I recommend checking specific dates and events before planning your trip, so whatever time of year you visit Cholula, you are sure to find something exciting and unique to enjoy!
What to Buy in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico:
In addition to living unforgettable experiences, taking home authentic souvenirs is an essential part of any trip. Cholula offers a wide variety of unique products and local handicrafts that are perfect to take with you or to give as gifts to your loved ones. Here are some options for your shopping in Cholula:
- Handicrafts: Explore local markets and craft stores to find handmade items that reflect the rich culture of the region. From hand-painted pottery to traditional textiles and weavings, there is a wide selection of handicrafts to choose from.
- Silver Jewelry: Puebla and the surrounding area are known for their talent in silver jewelry. Purchase unique and beautiful pieces that will allow you to carry a little piece of Cholula with you.
- Sarapes and Rebozos: These colorful weavings are part of the Mexican textile heritage and make beautiful gifts. They are ideal to protect you from the cold and also to give a touch of style to your home.
- Mole and Spices: Have you fallen in love with the taste of mole poblano? No worries! You can take home mole powder and other authentic spices to recreate these flavors in your own kitchen.
- Fruit Liqueur: Try the delicious fruit liqueurs handcrafted in the region. From the classic coffee liqueur to more exotic flavors, you will find tempting options to take with you.
- Wooden Masks: Carved wooden masks are a Mexican tradition that you can find in Cholula. They are perfect for decorating your home with a folkloric and colorful touch.
Remember to bargain in the markets to get the best price and always support local vendors and artisans.
The local climate in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico, is pleasant and varies throughout the year, providing different experiences for visitors depending on the season in which they choose to explore this charming city.
Dry Season Weather (November – April): During the dry season, Cholula enjoys pleasant temperatures and sunny days. Temperatures average between 15°C and 25°C, making it an ideal time to explore the city comfortably without the sweltering heat. Evenings can be cool, so warm clothing is recommended.
Rainy Season Weather (May – October): During the rainy season, Cholula is transformed into an orchard full of vibrant colors and green landscapes. The rains are usually heavy but short, generally in the afternoon or evening. During the day, temperatures vary between 20°C and 30°C (68°F and 86°F). It is important to carry an umbrella or raincoat to be prepared for showers. Cholula is located in an area prone to hurricanes and tropical storms, although it is not very common for them to be directly affected. However, it is recommended to be attentive to weather reports and take precautions if you travel during this period.
It is important to keep in mind that the weather may vary according to altitude and geographic location within the city. For example, the area around the Great Pyramid of Cholula tends to be cooler due to its elevation.
In summary, Cholula has a pleasant climate for much of the year, allowing visitors to enjoy its tourist attractions and festivities in almost any season. However, if you prefer to avoid the rains, the dry season may be the best option. If you are prepared for the occasional downpour, the rainy season also offers a beautiful and colorful experience in this charming city.