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5 Fantastic Reasons Why You Should Study in Mexico’s Best Kept Secret City

5 Fantastic Reasons Why You Should Study in Mexico’s Best Kept Secret City main image

Sponsored by Universidad de las Americas Puebla

The city of Puebla is one of the oldest in Mexico, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that history and a sense of preservation is all it has to offer. Although steeped in tradition, Puebla is a city that doesn’t shy away from color, culture, cuisine and celebrations.

With all that Puebla has to offer as a must-visit travel destination, studying here means you’re in for the adventure of a lifetime.

Time to get acquainted with one of Mexico’s best kept secrets…

Puebla city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Puebla Cathedral

The history of Puebla is impressive to say the least. Founded in 1531, Puebla is a city of two halves as the Spanish and indigenous population were initially divided. The only evidence left of this are the Talavera tiles that adorn houses, benches, fountains and steps on the Spanish side, and the commemoration of Cinco de Mayo on the indigenous side.

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 – a notable accolade to have, and one that not many other cities in the world can boast – the historic center of Puebla has much to offer those who live here and visit. 

As one of the best-preserved and oldest colonial cities in Latin America, there are a number of archaeological sites of real significance, including the Mural of Los Bebedores, Yohualichan, and Tehuacán Viejo.

The city itself boasts more than 50 museums and a vast collection of exhibits. From natural history to pre-Hispanic culture and art, as well as its impressive colonial and religious museums, art, war sites, and contemporary art museums, there’s no doubting Puebla’s World Heritage Site status. Poblanos (people from Puebla) won’t be shy in telling you about how proud Puebla is of its rich culture and history. 

So be sure you make time to play ‘tourist’ during your studies and take advantage of the monthly ‘Museum Night’ where you can visit Puebla’s museums and cultural sites for free. Our favorites are:

  • Forts Loreto and Guadalupe – where the battle of Cinco de Mayo against the French army took place
  • Secret Convent of Santa Monica, Puebla
  • José Luis Bello y González Museum
  • Bubas Bridge – which tells the stories of many legends of the city of Puebla
  • Puppet House and Mexican Puppets
  • Museum of the Mexican Revolution
  • Sacred Art Gallery
  • Amparo Museum
  • International Baroque Museum
  • Art Chapel at the Universidad de las Americas Puebla (UDLAP) – located in a beautiful Art Nouveau building that is a space open to local, national and international art exhibitions. It’s also the venue for all types of cultural events.

You’ll be part of Puebla’s impressive international student population

Speaking of universities…

Puebla is one of Mexico’s most popular destinations for international students. The smaller city of Cholula, no more than a 30-minute drive from the city of Puebla, is where one of the most prestigious higher education institutions in the country can be found.

Recognized as a top-50 institution in the QS Latin America University Rankings 2020, the Universidad de las Americas Puebla which is renowned for its research and investment in research programs, welcomes students from all over the world where they can choose to study from over 50 bachelor’s degree programs, 20 master’s programs and six doctoral programs.

Experience celebrations and festivals all-year round

Day of the Dead

More often than not, you’ll find yourself in the midst of some sort of celebration during your time studying in Puebla.

Perhaps the most famous one of all is the Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos, which takes place every year on November 2. Where death is often considered an upsetting and grim subject, this Mexican holiday commemorates the dead with the offering of prayers, remembrance and celebration by their loved ones. Bright colors and flowers (marigolds in particular), adorn these celebrations as a way to signify the vibrancy of life.

Get a taste for Puebla’s self-proclaimed ‘Kitchen of Mexico’ and satisfy your sweet tooth on the ‘Street of Sweets’

Mexican cuisine

Dining in any one of Puebla’s eateries will give you a real taste of the city’s rich culinary history.

Puebla is home to some of Mexico’s revolutionary foods. From the famous ‘Street of Sweets’ (Calle de los Dulces), to the hearty family kitchen where recipes for Puebla’s renowned mole poblano, a wonderous sauce made with herbs, chiles, chocolate and aromatic spices, are never quite the same.

Be sure to also try some of Puebla’s other delightful dishes while studying here, or forever regret it:

  • Chalupas – small fried tortillas covered in shredded meat such as chicken and pork, chopped onions, peppers, as well as red and/or green salsa
  • Molotes – fried quesadillas stuffed with different ingredients and covered in sauce and cream
  • Chiles en nogada – chiles stuffed with a mixture of shredded meat and dozens of delicious and aromatic ingredients, including fruits and spices. It is said this dish was prepared for the first time in Puebla to welcome the future emperor Agustín de Iturbide
  • Santa Clara cookies – covered in a delicious layer of pumpkin candy
  • Cemita poblana – another famous Puebla dish

Explore the nine ‘Magical Towns’ in the state of Puebla

City of Cholula

Studying abroad comes with all sorts of new opportunities, including trying new foods, speaking a new language and learning about a new culture. Rarely does it also provide the opportunity to explore ‘Magical Towns’ though.

In the state of Puebla, there are nine ‘Magical Towns’, named due to the unprecedented preservation of their cultural and historical roots and ancestral traditions. In these ‘Magical Towns’ visitors are welcome to explore wonders and sites which date back as far as 200 BC.

See how many you can tick off this list while you’re in Puebla:

  • Atlixco – visit here and you’ll get the chance to see one of the most important volcanoes in Mexico, the Popocatépetl.
  • Chignahuapan – a colorful site in the mountain ranges where you’ll be able to visit its hot springs and waterfall in Quetzalapa.
  • Cholula – an impressive archeological zone with an impressive number of churches. The locals will tell you there are 365 churches here – one for each day of the year. It’s also home to the largest pyramid in the world, on which the Temple of the Virgin of Remedies now stands.
  • Huauchinango – its incomparable natural beauty is surrounded by rivers and waterfalls.
  • Pahuatlán – a natural site where beautiful crafts are made with amate (bark) paper and coffee of the best quality is produced.
  • Cuetzalan – found in the middle of the mountains and notable for its cobbled streets, traditional white-painted houses and temples.
  • Tlatlauquitepec – located in the mountains, Tlatlauquitepec still preserves its pre-Hispanic traditions and houses caves and hills for sports activities.
  • Xicotepec de Juarez – one of the most important coffee towns in the region. The perfect place for all you coffee aficionados out there!
  • Zacatlán de las Manzanas – where large areas of fruit grow, and different foods and drinks are produced.

And of course, the opportunity to go crazy for adventure

Iztaccihuatl volcano

After a long week of studying you’re going to want to get out there and explore a little bit – and there’s no better place for doing this than Puebla.

The state of Puebla is home to a vast wealth of mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, lagoons, waterfalls, caves, and even volcanoes, all ready for you to explore to your heart’s content.

Excursions to the Popocatépetl volcano, nicknamed the ‘smoking mountain’ and Iztaccíhuatl volcano, also known as ‘the sleeping woman’, are a popular venture for students and tourists alike.

But if climbing up a volcano isn’t quite your thing, how does climbing into a volcano sound? A curious visit to Cuexcomate, an inactive geyser and thought to be the world’s smallest volcano, allows visitors to make their descent into the crater using a spiral staircase.

Salem S & Emilio A saved this
Written by Stephanie Lukins
As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Stephanie creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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