Beginning the Low Season With a Trip to Puebla, Mexico

Linda and I do most of our traveling within Mexico during the low season when the prices for lodging, tours and transportation often drop and there are far fewer tourists around.

The low season started a little more than a week ago when the kids went back to school and It extends until Thanksgiving. The best travel deals can usually be found in September or October.

Off to Puebla We Go

We decided to kick off the low season by visiting the city of Puebla located a little more than two hours southeast of Mexico City.

I know that some of our readers are as geographically-challenged as I am, so I included an interactive map (you can zoom out):

Puebla is a the fourth largest city in Mexico and has a population of approximately 3,250,000 residents. It was founded by the Spanish in 1531 and is well-known for it’s rich history and colonial architecture.

Puebla is also a great place to go if you’re looking to take a break from the summer heat. Due to the high elevation, the temperatures range from the 50’s at night to the low 70’s during the day. We wore jeans everyday and carried light jackets with us.

Transportation and Hotel

We didn’t feel like making the 18-hour drive to Puebla, so we opted instead to fly from Cancun directly to the airport in Puebla. The flight took just under two hours.

If you’re going to visit the city, I recommend staying in a hotel that is close to the main plaza, called el zócalo. This is the main tourist area and you can find dozens of restaurants, bars and shops within walking distance.

Costs:

We booked the hotel and flight together on Expedia because it worked out cheaper than booking them separately. So, here’s the damage:

2 round trip tickets (Volaris)+
6 nights at a hotel (rated 4.7 on Expedia) located only two blocks from el zócalo with breakfast included =

$638 USD

Not bad at all. That definitely passes the thrifty test.

We were within walking distance of most things, but anytime we wanted to go somewhere a bit further, we used Uber.

The average fare was around $55 pesos ($2.89 USD).

Wining and Dining

Since Puebla is a large city, you can find any restaurant that you’re looking for from traditional Mexican family-run places to major chain restaurants like PF Changs.

PF Changs is one of the few restaurants that Linda really misses from the States so we had to eat there at least once. She smiled the whole time. In case you’re wondering, the food tasted exactly the same as in the U.S. but the prices were substantially lower.

Linda getting her PF Chang’s fix in Puebla

Speaking of prices, the prices for food and adult beverages everywhere we went were about 20% -30% cheaper than in the Riviera Maya. We didn’t have any trouble staying on budget.

Tours

There is a lot to see, so I recommend booking a tour or two. We ended up booking two through the hotel’s concierge and they were less expensive than any of the tours offered through Expedia.

The tours were only $500 pesos ($26 USD) per person for 10+ hours touring the city and surrounding areas.

We ended up booking two tour days back to back. There were so many cool places to visit, like Cholula and Tlaxcala, that even 20+ hours of touring really wasn’t enough to see it all.

The active volcano Popocatépetl. Smoke can be seen coming out of the top. (Source: Linda Kurtzweil)

One piece of advice. If you do book a tour, make sure that it will be in English or at least a language that you understand.

When we booked our tour, no one mentioned that it would be 100% in Spanish. That wasn’t a problem for us since we both speak Spanish, but it was for an American who booked the same tour with us. I ended up translating for him the whole day.

Cholula, Mexico

Let’s Wrap This Up

We had a wonderful time in Puebla and the whole trip was very affordable. It served as a reminder that the cost of living where we live in the Riviera Maya is significantly higher than it is in the majority of the country.

That should come as good news to those folks who would like to one day retire in Mexico but thought it was too expensive after reading the article we posted about our living expenses.

Rest assured, there are plenty of less expensive, but absolutely fantastic destinations out there.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. In 2016, they started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) sharing their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border. The blog has been viewed over two million times and the articles have been republished in numerous periodicals across Mexico.

36 Comments on "Beginning the Low Season With a Trip to Puebla, Mexico"

  1. Giovanna Cantoni | August 28, 2018 at 9:55 am | Reply

    We visited the city of Puebla in March and I do confirm it is a wonderful destination. Thank you for all your tips. Looking forward to meet u and Linda in person on our next trip to Yucatan.

  2. Are you worried about violence, after what we just read about in Cancun?
    I have been going to Cozumel for years, after reading about Cancun Family very nervous about going back.

    • For the most part, the violence in Cancun is very target specific and is the result of rival criminal groups fighting for control. Millions of tourists visit the area each year without any problem whatsoever.

      In fact, the only homicides we have had involving tourists have been domestic-related (i.e. killed by someone they loved and trusted).

      As far as being the victim of a crime here, the chances are about the same as visiting any other tourist destination like Orlando. We get some petty thefts, pickpockets and the occasional burglary of a vacation home.

  3. Man in the Middle | August 28, 2018 at 10:21 am | Reply

    Interesting! My sister just this week reminded me that in 1965, when I was 16, we flew to Mérida, and then drove to México City, via Puebla, in a month-long vacation to Mexico. It was, indeed, a long drive, but lots to see all along the way.

    • I’m sure has changed quite a bit since those early days. It would be great if you could find some old pics from that trip.

  4. A must see in Puebla is the Palifox library (Biblioteca ALAFOXIANA), the oldest library in the Americas. much MORE INTERESTING THAN IT SOUNDS. Puebla is a wonderful town to visit. So much to see, so much to eat.

  5. Love the selfie of you two. You both always look so happy! 🙂

  6. Can you share what hotel you stayed at please. pubelais on my list to visit.

  7. Ingrid C Royle | August 28, 2018 at 11:47 am | Reply

    Thank you Paul. I read your email as soon as it comes in. Unfortunately I had a pizza in the oven and for about it. O well.

  8. Bonnie Edwards | August 28, 2018 at 11:48 am | Reply

    So glad you are introducing people to some of the interior areas of Mexico. I enjoyed Puebla too. Was there in January after spending Christmas in Oaxaca, another fabulous and interesting place. So much amazing history and culture to enjoy in both areas. Thank you for your wonderful blog which always makes me smile.

  9. Puebla is a great city! My partner is from there. Looks like you guys really enjoyed yourselves. 🙂 Jorge and I will be in Cuetzalan, Puebla (a pueblo mágico), in the norhtern part of the state, September 29 – October 8, for their coffee festival. They crown the Queen of Coffee, and she gives her speech in Spanish and the Indian language Náhautl. A beautiful town surrounded by mountains, pine and cedar trees, waterfalls, and caves.

  10. I’m sure you know this, but there is a P F Chang’s in Merida in the mall at Alta Brisa. I love it too.

  11. The part about cinco de mayo (visible in the email) was missing from the blog.

  12. Glad you had a good time. I enjoy reading your blog. Thank you

  13. Hi Paul,

    Nice to see you travelling into the interior. You commented on cost of living, so I took a look at Puebla…

    https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/comparison/cuernavaca/puebla?

    Where I live (Cuernavaca a city of 600,000), it appears we did OK. haha

    The extra 6,000 pesos savings per year will come in handy next month when I visit Huatulco on the pacific.

    –Bob

    • I’m not surprised that it is higher. The tour guide commented that many people who live there make more because they work in the auto industry. That’s probably why they have stores like Prada at the mall too…lol.

  14. Kris Royan Sauer | August 28, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Reply

    Great review…great pics! I so appreciate your blog, & all your very well researched information, comments, and advice; I visited Puebla years ago, on an ‘excursion’ from a Spanish study group stay in Cuernavaca; now, live part-time on Isla, as retired, but ready to do more exploring, and this is def. worth a ‘re-do’ trip; thanks

  15. I went to an interactive music museum – which was more of a tour than just a museum. It was all in Spanish. My Spanish is “sketchy” but I managed to enjoy most of it.

  16. Javier Macías | August 28, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Reply

    Great city to live in being an expat! We living in Mexico city all get surprised by how Puebla city has become a great place to live in when we visit it. It has rich history and new huge avenues, new malls, hospitals, schools, great location and is very close to many other touristic places. It has a new residential area that is as big as a small city (Angelopolis) and has it all. I´d say the quality of living in Puebla is comparable to that of living in the Riviera Maya except for it has no beach. But it´s the gate to Oaxaca and Veracruz (1.5 hour drive to Mexico city´s airport too) and the whole south. Very nice article!!! Saludos.

  17. Ruth Williamson | August 29, 2018 at 1:04 am | Reply

    Gracias Paul y Linda. I really enjoy your blog. Timely piece as I’m thinking of going to Spanish school in Puebla for 2 weeks in October.

    I’m about to retire and thinking about Mexico options. Any thoughts you want to blog about re being a single expat would be welcome.

    Ruth

  18. Thanks for sharing your experience. Will definitely put it on our list of go sees.

  19. After so many trips to the Yucatán and Riveria Maya, we’ve discussed visiting other parts of Mexico. The majority of my students in Brooklyn are from Puebla, so it’s naturally on our list. Also, sorry we didn’t run into each other while we were down this July

  20. Hi Linda and Paul! Hope you got to taste the authentic MOLE while in Puebla. If you like a thick consistency sauce with chocolate and peanut butter, it is great when served with chicken. Have you planned on going to Saltillo, Coah.? We used to vacation there every summer when growing up during the months of July and August. Happy travels!

  21. I read your blog ‘religiously’. We live in Melaque 6 months, then Canada 6 months. Although I have some Spanish, I’ve started your Spanish course, so I’ll be able to recommend it from a position of knowledge.
    Thank you for all your insights into our favourite place! We love our Canadian home too. Hard to say which we live more! Best wishes for continued Health and Happiness in Mexico!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.