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 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.
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 =
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.