Recently, I had the chance to visit Mexico to see the intriguing cities of Puebla and Mazatlán. I’ve decided since that trip that I’m leaving a suitcase permanently packed by my door, so I can fly back at a moment’s notice. Yes—it was that incredible! The enthralling architecture, the vibrant colours, the unforgettable food…and the way that Mexican sun tans you so perfectly! There are so many places to visit in Mexico and so many things to do in Mexico. You need to make a plan to travel to Mexico soon!
If you’re thinking of vacationing in Mexico, keep reading to find out the things I saw, the activities I did, and the food I ate. By the way, I travelled to two cities on this trip: Puebla and Mazatlán. Each city is unique in its own way, so follow along closely for some of the best things to do when you come to visit Mexico yourself!
I started my trip in Puebla, Mexico, which is a convenient two-hour drive from Mexico City. Puebla is the 3rd largest state in Mexico and is known for its outstanding architecture, culinary heritage, and mix of colonial and indigenous history throughout. We delighted in exploring the old town, making notable stops at its historical chapels, unique museums, and of course, the wonderfully colourful streets! There are so many pleasing sights to see, so keep reading to find specific places you should visit. You will soon see that there are so many bucket list worthy places to visit in Mexico.
What to do in Puebla
So, what should you make sure to see while visiting Puebla? Here’s a list of some of the best stops to make during your visit. If you plan to travel to Mexico with a stop in Puebla, keep this list for ideas.
So Many Things to do in Puebla
- The Rosary Chapel—This is the chapel attached to the Church of Santo Domingo. This gleaming, intricate work of art inside the chapel was such a wonder to stare at.
- The Street of Candies—This iconic street is located right in the city centre. They’ve intuitively named it based on the sweets sold by family businesses all up and down the street.
- Uriarte Talavera Factory—This is a well-known artisan pottery company that produces beautiful ceramic works of art. You can tour the factory, too!
- Estrella de Puebla—Directly behind the big, colourful “Puebla” letters, you can find this landmark. It’s a huge observation wheel that gives riders amazing panoramic views of the city.
Even More Things to do in Puebla
- Biblioteca Palafoxiana—This is a historic library in the city centre. It’s recognized by UNESCO as the first and oldest library in the Americas!
- Temple of Saint Francisco—This temple was so beautiful. The artistic design was hard to tear the eyes away from, and definitely a must-visit.
- The Domes at the Amparo Museum—The museum alone is a must-visit, but the view of the church domes from atop are an added bonus!
- Cholula Pyramid—This stop consists of a huge archaeological site featuring an Aztec temple in the form of a pyramid.
- The Puebla Cable Car—A cheap and fun way to get some great city views, especially if you’re tired of walking!
- Church of Santa María Tonantzintla—This was a very old church with a unique design, built in the 16th century.
The Food in Puebla!
If you like spicy food, you are going to love Mexico. I have never had so much good food in one trip. I repeat. So. Much. Good. Food. Puebla happens to be known as one of the gastronomic regions in the country, so it makes sense!
Usually, for breakfast I opted for eggs, fruit, beans and spicy salsa. My lunches and dinners varied a bit more! I tried cactus soup for the first time, which was simply delicious—and not at all prickly. I had the salmon quite a few times as well. One of my favourite dishes was taco atlixco, which is a little taco covered in tons of spicy sauce. It has beans and a little bit of meat inside as well. Drooling as I write this.
Popular Dishes in Puebla
I’ve also compiled a list of some of the best-known foods to try in Puebla (although some I couldn’t eat):
- Mole Poblano—This is a signature dish in Puebla and consists of two very different things: chocolate and chillies. That alone should intrigue you enough!
- Cemitas—This is a type of sandwich named for the bread used, which is brioche-style with sesame seeds atop. It usually has meat, cheese, and spices in-between.
- Molotes—These are similar to empanadas and are usually a meat filling encompassed in a corn tortilla.
- Chile en Nogada—They created this dish right here in Puebla and it consists of a roasted poblano pepper, which they stuff with meat, fruits, and spices. They then cover it in a walnut sauce and usually adorn it with pomegranate seeds.
If you’re looking for things to do in Mexico and all else fails…just take part in the country’s amazing cuisine. It will be sure to please. There are so many places to visit in Mexico with amazing cuisine!
If you are looking for some food inspiration, check out my post with all my favourite Cinco de Mayo recipes.
The Hospitality in Puebla
Thankfully, the locals I met in Puebla were all such kind and caring people. They were as warm and welcoming as the Mexican sun itself. I felt incredibly safe while I was there. The city has “tourism police” whose role essentially is to ensure that tourists are able to safely navigate their way through the town. This was especially helpful given the language barrier between the locals and tourists.
Everyone at the resorts and shops were equally kind and I found that everyone really went the extra mile for guests.
With its rich culture and history plus the fun, lively atmosphere and amazing food, Puebla is one of those cities with so much to discover. The area has a lot more magical little towns that I didn’t get to visit this time around, but hope to one day explore. (Again, suitcase perma-packed by the door)! You will want to add Puebla to your list of places to visit in Mexico.
If you plan to travel to Mexico, you can watch my Visit Mexico vlog below for ideas or on YouTube for higher quality.
In Mazatlán, the people were equally warm, welcoming and accommodating as they were in Puebla. I stayed at The Local Hotel which had the most amazing view! If you’re looking into Mexico resorts for your next trip, I’d recommend this spot for sure.
I was actually in the city of Mazatlán for Tuanguis Turistico. This is an event where the tourism board brings all the hotels, airlines, travel writers and bloggers together for a conference. I felt very lucky that I got to experience this!
The Tuanguis Turistico Conference
The guest speaker this year was Steve Woznick, co-founder of Apple. He spoke about his many business ventures and philanthropic endeavours. He also emphasized just how important travel has been in his life and career.
The first day of the conference, we went to visit the town of El Quelite, which is just outside Mazatlán. There, we watched a traditional dance and horse show and enjoyed some tasty eats. I really enjoyed learning about many Mexican traditions, food, and celebrations. I am so glad that I decided to travel to Mexico and attend this conference.
After the conference, I had some free time, most of which was spent lounging on the beautiful Mazatlan beaches and visiting quaint food markets.
While in Mazatlan I stayed at The Local Hotel which had the most amazing view! If you travel to Mexico with a stop in Mazatlan, I suggest you consider the Local Hotel.
Popular Dishes in Mazatlán
Speaking of tasty eats, I got into some of my own taste-testing after the conference during my free time. I made a point to visit a few of the quaint food markets in Mazatlán, which led me to experience some more amazing food. Take a look at the best dishes to try while in this city, listed below.
- Aguachiles—This dish is a flavourful shrimp cocktail marinated in lime and green chili.
- Ceviche—This dish is somewhat similar to aguachiles, but is different in the sense that it’s actually cooked by the acidity of the citrus.
- Mexican antojito—This is essentially shrimp stuffed with cheese, and wrapped in bacon. It might sound like a unique creation you’d find at one restaurant, but it’s actually a common dish you can find throughout the city!
- Pozole—A soup with varying meats, cabbage and onions in it, but generally always made from hominy, which is a different kind of corn.
- Birria—This is another type of stew, usually made from beef.
- Lengua—If you’re a little more adventurous, you can try this dish, which is literally a cow’s tongue.
What to do in Mazatlán
Known as the ‘Pearl of the Pacific,’ this city’s main attractions tend to be water-related. Most of my time was spent lounging on its beautiful beaches. However, there is still plenty to check out if you’re looking for things to do in Mazatlán. If you plan to travel to Mexico, keep this list for ideas!
Below is a list of some of the best sites to see if you find yourself traveling through this charming Mexican city.
So Many Things to do in Mazatlán
- Walk down the Malecón, which is a long boardwalk lined with monuments and other works of art you can stare at along the way. You may also get a glimpse of a few street performers and cliff divers!
- Explore the Centro Histórico—Also known as Old Mazatlán, which is the historic city centre. You can find lots of shops, art galleries, and amazing architecture to marvel at when you purposefully lose yourself in these old streets. There are also street food vendors you can sample from.
- Take a ride in a pulmonia—this is an open-air kind of taxi unique only to Mazatlán. It can be a cheap and fun way to get around when you’re doing taking the sites in by foot.
- Visit the Ángela Peralta Opera House—If you’re a big fan of classical music, or if you simply want to see a piece of history, this might be a stop to take. You can have a tour of this enchanting opera house to learn all about its history.
Even More Things to do in Mazatlán
- Walk around Plaza Machado—The locals consider this plaza to be the heart of the Centro Histórico. Fun fact: it actually used to be a marshland! Nowadays though, there’s much more of a draw to the area. It definitely isn’t swampy anymore.
- El Faro—Anyone who loves a good hike and great views won’t want to miss out on visiting this lighthouse. It’s a fully functioning lighthouse, but the main reason visitors flock is the scenic vista from the climb.
- The Basilica of the Immaculate Conception—You should definitely make a stop at this basilica. It’s pretty on the outside, but the inside is worth seeing, too! The biggest chandelier in the whole country lives inside it, hanging from one of the domes.
- Hit some of the beaches—Finally, just because there’s a variety of things to do in Mazatlán doesn’t mean you should miss out on the beach time! Some of the main options are to check out Playa Olas Atlas, which is known to be the preferred spot for locals because it’s more relaxed and intimate. This is compared, of course, to Playa la Gaviotas, which is much louder and more high-energy. The vibes are more for partying, water sports, and generally very touristy. Either way, you have options!
So Many Reasons to Travel to Mexico
Overall, my travel to Mexico was super fulfilling. The cities I visited are very different, but both were versatile. They had activities and sites for everyone, so you can’t really go wrong. If you’re looking for places to visit in Mexico, you should seriously consider adding these two cities to your itinerary.
I hope to return to visit Mexico again soon and see more of the states. Next on my list: Oaxaca and Chihuahua! Do you have a list of places to visit in Mexico on your bucket list?
This blog post about places to visit in Mexico and things to do in Mexico is brought you in collaboration with Visit Mexico. Thank you for supporting the destinations that support me.