Bulls and Murals and Planets, Oh My! A 3-Day Tour of Tlaxcala and Puebla

Explore the cultural and natural wonders of Tlaxcala and Puebla on a 3-day tour from Mexico City. Visit archaeological sites, colonial haciendas, museums, churches, and a planetarium. Witness a bullfight and taste local cuisine.

Bulls and Murals and Planets, Oh My! A 3-Day Tour of Tlaxcala and Puebla
Admire the colorful talavera tiles and baroque architecture of Huamantla, Tlaxcala. Image by Miguel Angel Ramírez from Pixabay

If you're planning a trip to Mexico City and looking for a quick but fulfilling excursion, consider a 3-day tour to the neighboring states of Tlaxcala and Puebla. Here's what you can expect from this itinerary:

Day 1: Tlaxcala

Begin early in the morning with a visit to the archaeological sites of Cacaxtla and Xochitecatl. Cacaxtla was a major center of the Olmec-Xicalanca culture that flourished in the region from the 7th to the 11th century AD. You can admire the well-preserved murals that depict scenes of battles, rituals, and daily life.

Xochitecatl, on the other hand, was a sacred site of the pre-Columbian peoples that inhabited the area before the arrival of the Spanish. You can climb to the top of the pyramid to enjoy a panoramic view of the valley and see the unique circular altar.

After exploring the ancient past, resume arriving at the hacienda La Laguna of colonial architecture founded in 1904. The hacienda is currently dedicated to the breeding of fighting cattle, a tradition that dates back to the Spanish conquest.

You'll witness a fight in the farmhouse, performed by professional bullfighters or bullfighters, and learn about the history and technique of this dangerous sport. To finish off the experience, taste a delicious snack and have a meal in the gardens or the halls of the hacienda. Finally, rest in the Vacation Center La Trinidad.

Day 2: Tlaxcala - Puebla

Good morning breakfast awaits as you prepare to tour Huamantla and Tlaxcala. In Huamantla, you can admire the colorful facades of the houses and shops adorned with Talavera tiles, a local craft that blends indigenous and European styles. You can also visit the baroque church of San Luis Obispo and the municipal palace with its impressive mural by Desiderio Hernández Xochitiotzin.

In Tlaxcala, the capital city of the state, you'll find a rich cultural heritage that spans from the pre-Columbian era to the colonial period and beyond. You can visit the Museum of the Tlaxcala Culture, which displays artifacts, documents, and artworks related to the local history and identity.

You can also see the murals of the Government Palace, created by the renowned artist Desiderio Hernández Xochitiotzin, that depict scenes of the conquest, the revolution, and the modern era. Finally, you can enter the Basilica of Ocotlán, a pilgrimage site that houses a statue of the Virgin Mary with indigenous features. After this cultural immersion, head to Puebla where and rest.

Day 3: Puebla

Start the day with a look at the universe at the planetarium, a modern facility that offers educational and entertaining programs about astronomy and space exploration. You can learn about the planets, stars, galaxies, and other celestial phenomena and even watch a simulated rocket launch.

Then, visit the Africam Safari jungle, a natural reserve that houses over 5,000 animals from around the world, including lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and zebras. You can take a guided tour on a vehicle or foot and observe the animals in their habitats, learning about their behavior, diet, and conservation status. You can also visit the petting zoo, the aviary, and the butterfly house. After this wildlife adventure, return to Mexico City, enriched with memories and experiences.

Experience the thrill of a bullfight at the Hacienda La Laguna, Tlaxcala.
Experience the thrill of a bullfight at the Hacienda La Laguna, Tlaxcala. Image by Car Loss Voniya from Pixabay

Why Visit Tlaxcala and Puebla?

Tlaxcala and Puebla are two of the most fascinating states in Mexico, each with its distinct character and attractions. Tlaxcala is known for its rich archaeological heritage, colonial architecture, and bullfighting tradition. Puebla, on the other hand, is famous for its baroque churches, Talavera pottery, and delicious cuisine. Together, they offer a diverse and rewarding travel experience that combines history, culture, and nature.

Moreover, Tlaxcala and Puebla are conveniently located close to Mexico City, making them ideal for a short trip or a weekend getaway. You can easily reach them by car, bus, or train, and enjoy a comfortable stay in a hotel, hacienda, or vacation center. You can also join a guided tour that covers the main attractions and provides valuable insights into the local culture and customs.

Tips for Traveling to Tlaxcala and Puebla

Here are some tips to help you plan and enjoy your trip to Tlaxcala and Puebla:

  1. Check the weather forecast before packing. Tlaxcala and Puebla have a temperate climate, but temperatures and rainfall can vary depending on the season and the altitude. Bring appropriate clothing and gear for outdoor activities and sightseeing.
  2. Learn some Spanish phrases. Although many people in Tlaxcala and Puebla speak English or other languages, it's always useful and respectful to know some basic phrases in Spanish. You can practice with online resources or language apps.
  3. Respect local customs and traditions. Tlaxcala and Puebla have a strong cultural identity that is reflected in their festivals, food, and arts. Be open-minded and curious, but also mindful of the norms and values of the community. For example, bullfighting is controversial in some circles, so be prepared for a debate if you express an opinion about it.
  4. Try the local food and drinks. Tlaxcala and Puebla are renowned for their gastronomy, which includes dishes such as mole poblano, cemitas, tacos de escamoles, and pulque. You can also taste local wines, tequilas, and mezcals. Don't be afraid to experiment and ask for recommendations from locals or guides.
  5. Stay safe and healthy. Tlaxcala and Puebla are generally safe and welcoming, but like any destination, they have some risks and challenges. Be aware of your surroundings, avoid isolated or unfamiliar areas, and follow basic precautions such as not leaving valuables in plain sight, not accepting drinks from strangers, and not walking alone at night. Also, drink plenty of water, use sunscreen, and take any necessary medications or vaccinations before traveling.

In conclusion, a 3-day tour to Tlaxcala and Puebla is a fantastic way to explore some of the highlights of central Mexico and immerse yourself in its history, culture, and nature. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, you'll find something to inspire and delight you in these states. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey!