Cholula in central Mexico is a short distance from Puebla and about an hours drive South of Mexico City.
We stayed in Puebla on a short trip from San Miguel de Allende and visited the town of Cholula for a day.
A short bus drive away from Puebla you’ll find the charming and picturesque town of Cholula wich is considered the oldest city in
Popocatepetl volcano dominates the landscape with it’s snowcapped peak rising above the plains.
The centre of town is very walkable and all the main sites are within a small area.
Sitting atop what some say is the widest pyramid in the world ( although it’s covered over with vegetation ) is the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, a very pretty church built by the Spaniards with great views of the surrounding city and countryside.
Here’s What We Did
Santuario de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
Perched on what appears to be a hill overlooking the town of Cholula is the beautiful Church of our lady of Remedies built by the Spanish.
A staircase winds it’s way around the hill to arrive at the church with it’s astounding views of the not only the city below but of the volcanic landscape surrounding Cholula.
We got to the top early before all the other tourists and school groups were there and it was just idyllic taking in the view.
The yellow paintwork of the church contrasted beautifully with the early morning blue sky.
The interior of the church was adorned with more flowers than we had ever seen and the aroma as well as the sight was stunning.
It’s such a peaceful place to hang out, sit and contemplate.
The astonishing thing is that in fact the hill the church sits on top of isn’t a hill at all but what is said to be the biggest pyramid in the world.
You can read more about it in the section below.
The Archaeology Park
At the base of the hill that the Church of our lady of remedies stands on is a ticket office and doorway into the Archaeological Zone.
This is in fact the base of the biggest pyramid in the world (by volume) The Great Pyramid Of Cholula and not a hill at all.
Once we bought our ticket for the zone we entered a dimly lit passage that winds its way under the entire width of the pyramid.
It’s quite narrow so not good if you’re claustrophobic but Annabel loved it and thought it was quite creepy.
We crept along the tunnels amazed at how silent it was inside ( no one else was in the passages ways).
Other side passages stretch off into the darkness but there is only one main passage to follow which eventually leads out into the daylight and the opposite side of the pyramid to which we entered.
A path led us around to another ticket booth where we showed our purchased tickets and we were allowed to enter the park.
In the park information boards guided us around the ruins of the ancient Aztec city that once dominated the area.
It’s easy to imagine this once great city with its magnificent pyramid at its centre, you can even climb some still intact steps up one side of the pyramid.
From the park you can definitely see that the hill the church is built on is in fact a pyramid.
Some of the unearthed parts of the ancient city are very intact and you can clearly see the walls to structures and paved pathways.
There is even a sacrificial alter below ground level where priests sacrificed lucky citizens ( it was believed to be an honour to be chosen as a sacrifice ).
Cholula is overlooked by not one but two volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl
Popocatepetl or Popo as it’s known locally is the second highest peak in all of Mexico at 5,426 meters and Iztaccihuatl sits beside it at 5,230 meters.
Popo is the most dramatic of the two with its classic cone shape stretching into the sky but Iztaccihuatl has four peaks and resembles a female figure laying down.
On the day we were in Cholula both volcanoes were clearly visible with snow on their summits and a plume of smoke rising from Popocatepetl’s crater.
It’s better to get to a view point early in the day as later on the peaks disappear behind cloud formations.
We climbed up to the Church of our Lady of Remedies for the best views from this vantage point.
We don’t mind admitting that we were mesmerised by the sheer beauty of the volcanoes especially Popocatepetl which happens to be the most active volcano in Mexico.
Cholula is a pretty town and it’s just nice to wander around its narrow streets and take a look at the many churches.
The town suffered heavily in the 2017 earthquake with many buildings damaged and awaiting repair with wooden frames holding them in place.
The main plaza is somewhere nice to sit and watch local life going on around.
The buildings in town are all painted colourfully which adds a quaintness to the town centre.
We went to Cholula on a day trip from Puebla and thoroughly enjoyed it.
We’d read that people generally only come for half a day but we found there was enough to do for a whole day.
The views from the Church of our Lady of Remedies at the top of the Great Pyramid of Cholula are stunning of the surrounding areas and of course the magnificent volcanoes.
Annabel absolutely loved wandering through the passageways deep within the Great Pyramid.
The archeological park got us really interested and curios about the ancient civilisations in the area so that we could go away and find out more.
There really wasn’t anything we disliked about Cholula and would really recommend visiting.
How To Get To Cholula
Puebla and Cholula are about an hours drive from Mexico City but we came on a day trip as part of our trip to Puebla.
Cholula really isn’t far from Puebla city and in fact we would say it’s really just an area on the outskirts of Puebla.
We discovered that there is a direct local bus from Puebla to Cholula that departs the local bus station in town and takes about 30 minutes to reach Cholula.
We didn’t really know where to get off in Cholula so we just waited until the bus got to its final stop at the bus station and walked the 15 minute walk into the centre of town.
There is also a very new and modern tram/train that runs between Puebla and Cholula but it only does the trip three times a day at 7.40am, 12.20 and 17.40 with an extra tram on holidays.