Nestled in the state of Puebla lies the ancient city of Cholula, home to one of the world’s most impressive archaeological sites: the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
Rising over four hundred feet into the sky, this awe-inspiring structure is a testament to the ingenuity and skill of the pre-Columbian peoples who inhabited the region thousands of years ago.
Today, the Cholula Pyramid and its surrounding archaeological zone remain a popular attraction for tourists and history enthusiasts alike, offering a unique glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of this fascinating corner in the state of Puebla.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the Cholula Pyramid in Puebla, exploring its history, significance, and why it makes for the perfect day trip spot for travelers looking to delve into the wonders of ancient Mexico.
Getting to Cholula
The Pyramids are located in the town of Cholula in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Cholula is about 12 km west of Puebla City.
To get to the Cholula Pyramid, you can take a taxi or ride a public transport bus from the city of Puebla to Cholula.
It’s important to note that there are actually two structures that are commonly referred to as the “Cholula Pyramid.”
The larger of the two, known as the Great Pyramid of Cholula, is the one most visitors come to see.
However, there is also a smaller pyramid, called the Iglesia de los Remedios, which is located on top of the Great Pyramid.
Both structures are easily accessible in the center of town.
The Great Cholula Pyramid
Its name in Nahuatl is Tlachihualtépetl which means “handmade hill.”
This Great Pyramid is the largest in the world at exactly 400 square meters. However, it’s not very tall, as it barely reaches 63 meters.
Cholula’s archaeological zone is really incredible, you must see it on your next trip to Puebla.
This archaeological site is located in the federal zone between San Pedro Cholula and San Andres Cholula, and the pyramid is one of the oldest and most incredible settlements in Mexico.
The Temple of Tlaloc
Also, the home of Tlaloc, “the God of rain,” this sacred temple is considered one of the most voluminous and important pyramids of Cholula, this one was ignored for a long time since it was always believed to be a mountain.
The history of this temple is really interesting; at the time of colonization, the Spaniards believed that this pyramid was a mountain – one of the highest in Puebla – and built the church of “Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios,” (see photo below) to later realize that it was actually a pyramid (the home of Tlaloc).
There are good services in Cholula’s archaeological zone such as restrooms, lockers, rest areas, and tourist guide services (not included in the entrance fee).
Hours: Every day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
General admission: $65 pesos.
Main temples in Cholula Puebla
It is said that Cholula was called the “Rome of Anahuac” because you could find 365 churches, one for each day of the year.
In reality, the number of churches is not that high, but it is considerable.
The reason why Cholula has so many churches is that it is the oldest living city in the world and at the time of colonization, the Spaniards placed churches on top of all the pre-Hispanic temples they found.
Each church is the home of a patron saint and all are celebrated equally with cuetes (fireworks), fiesta, and food.
No matter what day you visit Cholula, you are sure to find a patron saint celebration.
For now, I will recommend you the two most important churches so you can get a taste of the wonders that this beautiful magical town has to offer.
Sanctuary of the Virgin of Remedies
This church is the most important and the largest in Cholula because of its history, it was built in 1594. Its foundation is located on top of the temple of Tlaloc.
The Spaniards dedicated this construction to the Virgin of Remedies and in the month of September, the patron saint of this sanctuary is celebrated.
Thousands of people come to leave offerings and it is one of the most important festivities in town.
This impressive sanctuary has unique decorations, baroque style ornaments, and the huge wooden altars are in charge of granting magic to its visitors.
To reach this sanctuary in Cholula it is necessary to climb 48 steps to the atrium, and, because it is located at the base of the pyramid, you will need to climb around 250 meters to visit the Virgen de Los Remedios.
San Pedro Cholula Parish Church
This building was completed in 1782, and as its name suggests, it is the parish of San Pedro. Located downtown, it’s one of the most important because of its architecture.
It has a vaulted ceiling and domes in the baroque style with 8 beautiful windows and in the niche, you can see the image of the apostle San Pedro.
The tower of this church is the tallest in all of Cholula since its cornice is higher than normal and stands out giving it an incredible view of the city.
It is true that practically on every corner you will find a church, so if you are interested in another building or to know the sanctuaries of a particular saint you will surely find it walking around Cholula.
If possible, tour the downtown area for a while and you will hear the bells ringing. It’s the official invitation to “go to church,” a unique experience.
Taste Food in Cholula: A Delightful Experience
Cholulteca Cecina: This is a typical dish of the region, a delicious Cecina (beef jerky) is accompanied by fresh cheese, red rajas (red pepper stripes), and avocado slices. This dish is very easy to find in any restaurant or market in Cholula.
Cholulteca soup: This typical soup is prepared with various vegetables; onions, squash, corn, and mushrooms. The star of this soup is the sliced poblano chile and small cubes of panela cheese are added, a real delight.
Elephant ears: This traditional dish of Cholula (with a funny name) has a base of huge corn tortillas filled with seasoned beans, with poblano seasoning, accompanied by sauces, fresh cheese, and delicious finely chopped onions.
Cuetlas, nature’s delicacies: If you visit Cholula during the month of September you must try this incredible dish, cuetlas are edible larvae that have a lot of flavors. The magic of this dish happens when is served in a corn tortilla accompanied by chile pasilla sauce. In some restaurants, they add fresh cheese and avocado, they are really delicious!
Try the Cacao!
Cholula is also known for making one of the most delicious concoctions, thanks to the pre-Hispanic heritage it is one of the regions where the “Elixir of the Gods” is prepared in a traditional way.
Water, ground corn, and cocoa are all that is needed, however, the seasoning is what gives this drink all the magic.
Of course, I can’t leave out some of the best poblano dishes that you will surely find in Cholula (these are signature dishes from all of the state of Puebla):
- Mole poblano
- Chiles Rellenos en Nogada (In September)
- Rajas Poblanas
- Arab Tacos
Where to stay in Cholula Puebla?
There are hotels for all budgets in Cholula, I recommend you make a reservation or arrive early so you can get the best deals.
And of course, searching online it’s a lot easier.
Xoxula Boutique Hotel: The average per night is $1,200 pesos including taxes. (continental breakfast included)
Cholula Archaeological Villas: The average per night is $1,160 pesos with taxes included. Room only
La Huerta Golf and Hotel: The average per night is $1,300 pesos including taxes. Room Only
Hotel Posada Maria Sofia: The average per night is $575 pesos including taxes. (Breakfast Included)
Cachito Mio Hotel and Spa: Children are not accepted. Continental Breakfast Included
Casa Calli: The average per person is $298 including taxes. Room only
If you prefer to stay in the city of Puebla, then you can consider the following options:
Hotel Presidente Puebla: The average per person is $841 pesos including taxes. (Breakfast included)
Misión Arcángel Puebla: From $582 pesos per person including taxes. (Breakfast included)
There you have it, now you know everything about the Cholula pyramid and the town.
I hope you have a good time in this magical town. Don’t forget to share your comments with us or any suggestions in case you’ve already been there. Vamonos!