Jul 4th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors Enjoy Exploring Puebla, Mexico

Many senior travelers to old Mexico enjoy taking in colonial cities. Puebla is one of those and was one of the five most important Spanish cities. A colonial era planned city, it is located to the east of Mexico City and west of Mexico’s main Atlantic port, Veracruz, on the main route between the two in Central Mexico. The fourth largest city in Mexico, Puebla serves as one of the main hubs for eastern Central Mexico. The city is important because of its industry, with one of the world’s largest Volkswagen factories outside of Germany.

Puebla was built as a planned city in 1531 in a place called Cuetlaxcoapa which means “where serpents change their skin“, at the foot of the mighty Popocatepetl volcano, one of the highest in Mexico. The city’s main claim to fame, however, is Cinco de Mayo, a festival commemorating the May 5, 1862 defeat of a French expeditionary army by Mexican general Ignacio Zaragoza.

In Puebla, seniors can experience the sights, sounds, tastes and the culture of central Mexico. Once you arrive, start your sightseeing at the center of town at the zocalo (main square). From this place, it’s easy to reach many of Puebla’s highlights on foot. If you’d rather not walk, Turibus runs bus tours of Puebla that depart every half hour. Passengers can get on and off its red double-deckers at whatever stop they’d like, using the same ticket, throughout the course of a day. Those kinds of tours save a lot of foot stress.

Something’s always happening in Puebla, and an excellent way for visitors to take in the local culture is to attend an event. The Casa de la Cultura (5 Oriente #5), located a block south of the zócalo, puts on all sorts of free shows, from regional art exhibits and concerts to contemporary film festivals and Day of the Dead altar-building contests. Puebla’s regional cuisine is a strong contender, alongside that of Oaxaca and the Yucatán, for being the best and most iconic in Mexico. It is said that “Puebla is a state with a culinary richness that carries serious weight throughout the Republic.” Seniors will find affordable accommodations in the city’s historic center. If you arrive without a reservation, look for signs bearing a big letter H on downtown buildings — and shop around until you find a place that suits your needs, tastes, and budget.

There is much to experience just a short distance from Puebla with archeological sites, pyramids, rodeos, as well as carnivals. East of the capital, the road to Puebla climbs steeply, with glorious views of the snowy heights of two volcanos: Popocatépetl and Ixtaccíhuatl along the way. All this and it is only little more than an hour on the bus from Mexico City.

Seniors Discover National Historic Site

In an untouched urban network, the Historic Center of Puebla comprises major religious buildings such as the Cathedral Santo Domingo, as well as the host of old houses whose walls are covered in gaily colored tiles. The center is one of the oldest colonial cities on the continent and a UNESCO World Hertiage Site. The city of Puebla was founded on April 16, 1531 as “La Puebla de los Ángeles”. It was the first city in central Mexico founded by the Spanish conquerors that was not built upon the ruins of a conquered Amerindian settlement. The compact central area (50 blocks or so) is well preserved and conveys a distinctive impression which sets it apart from other Mexican cities.

Along with fine hotels, B&Bs and fine eating establishments, you will find 28 things for seniors to see and do to keep you busy. Lonely Planet has their own preferences to help fill your itinerary. And how about these beauties? You will want to explore La Purificadora that is the new incarnation of a late 19th-century factory long used to purify water for the production of ice, renovated by the renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta. Bring a good camera as you will find a plethora of sites to fill that album. Maybe do what I did years back and spend some time learning Spanish in Puebla.

Although modern Puebla is highly industrialized, its historic downtown remains a Spanish-colonial treasure filled with elegant 17th and 18th century European architecture and art. When you add a temperate climate year-around, friendly and courteous residents (called poblanos) and delicious regional cuisine, Puebla becomes the ideal place for seniors to visit. Puebla is well worth a visit, with 70 churches in the historic center alone and more than a thousand colonial buildings. Enjoy it all. jeb

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