Following are a few recommendations from a recent trip I took to Puebla Mexico. Puebla is a lovely non-touristy colonial city full of friendly people, beautiful architecture and delicious cuisine. I recommend visiting in August when the weather is perfect during the day with rain showers at night. August is also the season for the regional dish of Chiles en Nogada, a complex dish of chiles stuffed with a meat and fruit filling and topped with a vanilla nut sauce. Tastes much better than it sounds!
I stayed at the lovely eight room Mesone Sacristia de la Compania boutique hotel. The location can't be beat and is within walking distance to the Zocalo and historic center of town. The rooms are filled with antiques. It's like staying at your great aunt's house and I felt cozy and safe. The staff were friendly and helpful and very attentive to a woman traveling alone. I took several cooking classes at Mesone Sacristias and it was the highlight of my trip. They also can arrange other classes such as; photography, Talavera pottery making and tours. Meals are served in their courtyard restaurant and they have a full bar with entertainment on the weekends. www.mesones-sacristias.com (address: 6 Sur 304, Centro Historico, Puebla, phone 52 (222)232-4513.)
I had an in-room massage from Gaby Breton of Medical & Spa. Gaby and her staff provide massages to guests at many of the boutique hotels which do not have their own spa. She is professional, brings all her own equipment and speaks English, as she spent a year studying English in Cleveland, Ohio. It was quite convenient to have the massage in my room and her charges were very reasonable. She just opened her own spa and can be reached at:
L.A.E. Gabriela Bretón S.
Medical & Spa
HOSPITAL PUEBLA - Consultorio 811
Priv. de las Ramblas No. 4 Desarrollo Atlixcáyotl C.P. 72197
Tel: (222) 4 30 24 36
Cel: (222) 4 96 00 72
A great tour guide in Puebla is Gerardo Vasquez. Gerardo has a masters degree in tourism and speaks English, French and Spanish fluently. He is knowledgeable and professional and I enjoyed his company and commentary. He also provides airport meet and greet service and tours to surrounding areas of Mexico. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (044)22 23 06 88 01.
If you need a coffee fix head for Zaranda Cafe at Av. Juan de Palafox 412-A in Puebla (near El Parian craft market). They roast and grind their own coffee on site and the cafe has a modern upscale appearance. In addition to coffee drinks they have pastries and wi-fi. I purchased coffee beans to bring home as gifts. Prices are very reasonable, I paid $3.90usd for a 500 gram bag of coffee roasted and ground to my specifications.
If coming from the USA, I suggest flying directly into Puebla. Continental Airlines provides direct flights from Houston. It's a small, clean airport and even with going through Customs and Immigration, I was in and out very quickly. On my way home I flew out of Mexico City which should be a two hour drive from Puebla. Unfortunately, my driver and I were stuck in a flood and the main highway had been washed out due to mudslides from the rains the previous night. What ensued was a nearly three hour adventure through flooded mud covered streets and bumper to bumper traffic. My driver was terrific! He did his best to try and get me to my flight on time. He is a professional driver in Mexico City and I highly recommend him. He has many corporate clients. His name is Domingo Patino, telephone 044 553 043 2764.
I speak Spanish fluently and I didn't hear much English spoken in Puebla. The city is delightfully laid back and free of high pressure vendors and timeshare hawkers. The architecture and history are wonderful. Chapel of the Rosario is well worth a visit, it is stunning. The cuisine is the best i've tasted anywhere in Mexico and the prices were well below what one would find in a tourist destination. I felt safe during my entire week in Puebla and can't wait to return.