Brightly colored landscapes and warm people, as well as narrow, cobbled streets that hide years of history. Many cities within the same place are called Puebla de Zaragoza.
Imagine for a moment a relatively small place with 488 years of history, but with modern facades, something like an adult with a very young appearance. To that image add colors, many bright, lively colors; also narrow, cobbled streets where about 1'434.000 people with wide smiles and warm hugs live. Imagine the smell of corn tortillas, chile en nogada, mole poblano, and a refreshing taste of handmade beer and horchata water. That place you have imagined exists, it is called Puebla de Zaragoza and it is two hours away from Mexico City.
Puebla is charming. It is the perfect mix of history, tradition, culture, natural beauty, and modernity. It is sheltered by the volcanoes of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, which makes its climate offer warm days and cold nights, as well as photogenic landscapes that often leave you breathless. The historical and cultural value of its architecture earned it the title of World Heritage Site by UNESCO, where different styles and techniques such as baroque, renaissance, and classical have their place here in more than 5,000 buildings.
Puebla gives the sensation of being in many cities within the same site. Plans range from a tour of the traditional Barrio de los Sapos, located in the heart of the historic center, where the balconies are adorned with flowers and the streets offer multiple craft and antique shops, supermarkets, and restaurants, to a stroll through the Barrio del Artista, a space located in the Plazuela del Torno, where the artists work and exhibit their work in full view of the tourists and citizens who visit this corridor (a recommended plan to take distance from the daily life or simply a break in the middle of the city) or to visit the El Parián Crafts Market, also located in the historical center and considered the most famous crafts market in the city.
If your taste is not too inclined to walk, another good option to discover this destination is in the Tramway Barrios Antiguos, a service that includes a tasting of mezcal, beer, and antojitos poblanos, as well as a guide who tells the history of the old neighborhoods of Puebla and the reason for each one. Another more passive activity, but equally recommended, is to visit a pottery workshop, taking into account that Puebla is known for the work they do with Talavera. A recommended place is Talavera de la Reyna, a company that was born in 1990 to rescue one of the most important artisan processes in Mexico. The beauty of the place and the warmth in the service will make you not want to leave without a few souvenirs.
Just 30 minutes from the city of Puebla is another charming Mexican destination. This is Cholula, considered the oldest city in the Americas that has been populated uninterruptedly from the 5th century BC to the present. It is remarkable that despite its small size, it has 37 churches, because Hernán Cortés, upon learning of the number of Teocalis, imagined that one could pray in a different temple every day of the year. On these indigenous sanctuaries were built the temples that today are proud of their inhabitants. In this Magical Town, the two great symbols of both cultures live together just a few meters away: the Great Pyramid and the Franciscan ex-convent of San Gabriel, one of the oldest convents in America.
A suggested activity to do in this destination is to go through the eight kilometers ( five miles) of tunnels inside the great pyramid of Cholula, considered the largest in the world, with a size of 430 to 460 meters per side and with a height of more than 60 meters. To give us an idea of its dimension, at the base of this pyramid would enter twice the Pyramid of the Sun of Teotihuacan.
Another highly recommended plan to do in these two destinations is the Artisan Beer Route. The locals say that Puebla is an important point for students who come from other cities to study here, and during their career, they generate enterprises that later become their businesses and contribute to the economy of the region.
These are two outstanding enterprises that are worth visiting and tasting:
100 meters from the archaeological zone of San Pedro Cholula is the Maltese Empire. The farmhouse has a beer plant, a well-stocked bar, and a bar. Lager, German Lager, Golden Ale, IPA, and Stout are its line beers, although they also make experimental ones. At the back of the beer garden is its production area, which consists of a pilot plant with a 1.5 BBL brewhouse and 2 fermenters.
"It's very funny to think that when you make your beer you're not going to spend it again, you spend a lot more, it's very complicated, there are a lot of mistakes, the customers don't understand the process of making beer. But not everyone is a brewer and that fills you with satisfaction," says Oscar Santamaria, head brewer.
Bilderberg Brewery: established in the secret city of Puebla, in the heart of Mexico. Since 2016 some young entrepreneurs have sought to break the status quo of beer with high quality and affordable artisanal products.
Inspired by one of the most historic secret societies in the world, every drop of these beers is handcrafted by master brewers who seek to establish a new order, in which a fusion of European and American styles achieve the perfect balance to prevail over others. The American Pale Ale, Belgian Tripel Ale, and Russian Imperial Stout are their flagships.