Puebla, Mexico by Turibus - My Family Travels

The double-decker tour has come to Puebla, and there are plenty of culturally intriguing stops for families. Here's a guide to getting on the bus and seeing what's on the way.

Just as it did in Madrid, New York, Dublin, Paris and London, the double-decker tour bus has taken historic Puebla, Mexico by storm.

Puebla, founded in 1531, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its beautifully preserved colonial architecture and is the country’s second city, after Mexico City (80 miles away), to offer visitors this type of guided tour service. With or without the bus, there are many worthwhile museums and landmarks at this traditionally friendly destination.

Turibus’ bright red, roofless double-deckers will provide a top-of-the-world view of the main square or Zócalo, Mexico’s tallest cathedral and several plazas lined with colonial buildings decorated with local hand-painted talavera tiles. Talavera ceramics are also a great buy here, with pots and dishware in wonderful colors.

Puebla’s locals, called poblanos, are known for their warm hospitality and mole poblano, a chocolate chili sauce. And be sure to walk down Santa Clara Street, known as the street of candies for the specialty sweet shops that line both sides.

Specific Sights En Route

Poblanos might suggest visiting other renowned landmarks like the Palafox Library of Theology. This library, housed in a 17th century building that used to be an archbishop’s palace, is the most important library in Latin America for theology, philosophy, and language. Bishop Juan de Palafox’s original 1646 collection of 5,000 donated books has grown into over 40,000 valuable volumes.

Fort Loreto, orginally established during the Mexican-American War, is the birthplace of Cinco de Mayo–the Mexicans defeated the French here in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Some other museums are a must in Puebla, including the Amparo Museum (+52/22 229-3850) with its collections of prehispanic, colonial, modern, and contemporary Mexican art. The prehispanic areas feature interactive compact disks, which for an extra fee will interpret works in one of several languages.

The Bello Museum (+52/22 232-9475), short for the José Luis Bello y González Museum, is full of art and decorative domestic objects from Europe, Asia, and Mexico itself, thanks to the wide travels of the museum’s wealthy namesake.

The Puebla Regional Museum of Viceregal Art (+52/22 246-5858) is located in what was once a 16th century hospital. Objects related to medicine are still on display in an old drugstore setting, in addition to exhibitions of paintings from the times of the Viceroys.

In addition to Puebla’s fine art museums, families should be sure to pay a visit to the Museo del Ferrocarril (+52/22 232-4988) to inspect its collection of vintage locomotives. Diverse temporary exhibits accompany displays of old railcars, tools, whistles, ticket office equipment, telephones, and other railroad-related paraphernalia.

Back on the double-decker bus, all passengers will receive complimentary earphones with pre-recorded messages about Puebla’ sites and heritage, available in five languages. Turibus’ one-day pass is a real bargain at only 100 Mexican pesos (about US$11); families may hop on and off the buses at any time, at any stop throughout the day, at no additional charge. It’s an especially welcome service during the occasional heavy rains which can pelt the city between April and November.

Puebla’s Turibus departs from the centrally located convention center daily, operating every half-hour between 9am-9pm. A loop on the bus takes about 90 minutes and passengers will receive coupons for discounts on attractions.

For more information, ask your hotel concierge, call the Turibus office at +52/55 63-6693 or stop by Puebla Tourist Information at 5 Oriente No. 3 Centro (+52/ 22 2777-1519).

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