The Cholula Great Pyramid just outside of Puebla

Everything To Know About Visiting The Cholula Great Pyramid

The Cholula Great Pyramid

Below is our complete guide on the best time of year to visit, what healthy and allergy friendly food to eat, and everything else to know about the Cholula Great Pyramid. The pyramid is located about 20 minutes outside of Puebla and almost 2 hours outside of Mexico City. Once you reach the top by the church, there are fantastic views of Parque Nacional Iztaccíhuatl – Popocatépetl (the National Park with two volcanoes).

Generally we always have healthy travel options for every destination, including things like healthy food, active things to do, or even sports and exercise. Visiting the Cholula pyramid doesn’t really provide many options for this other than exercise from roaming the park and getting up to the top where the church is located. Nearby Puebla has a few healthier restaurant options but there is not a lot to choose from.

Keep reading to find out the best time to visit, where to find healthy and allergy friendly food, and all the other things to know about The Cholula Great Pyramid.

When is the best time to visit Cholula?

Average temperatures in Puebla and Cholula are even cooler than Mexico City. They tend to stay below the 70s but not go below the 30s. Rainy season is usually from June to October and the altitude is just over 7000 feet above sea level.

March and April are probably the best months to visit Puebla for both dry weather and a little bit warmer temperatures. The winter season is also dry but temperatures can be much cooler especially at night.

About the Cholula Pyramid

Beneath the brightly colored yellow church that sits on the top of the hill, is a hidden ancient pyramid that went unnoticed for many years. Excavations of the pyramid started in the 1930s and ended in the 1950s, and began again in the 1960s. Many human remains were recovered during excavations, including those of sacrificed victims.

Not a lot of facts are known about the pyramid, but it is thought to have been constructed somewhere around 300 BC. An interesting fact about this underrated pyramid is that its base is four times larger than that of the Egyptian Pyramid at Giza. The Cholula Great Pyramid is actually the largest in the world as well as the largest monument ever constructed by any civilization.

The pyramid is a definite must see in Mexico and is a super easy day trip from Mexico City. Even if you’re not that in to history, you can get a bit of exercise walking around the archaeological park and up the hill to the church, you can see great views of the city of Puebla, and on a clear day, you can get some good photos of the volcanoes to the east.

The backside of the cholula great pyramid

How to get to the Cholula Great Pyramid

By car, the pyramid is just under 2 hours from the center of Mexico City. Tours or bus transportation are the best ways to get there.

With a tour from Mexico City, you can expect to pay around 40-60 dollars per person for the tour not including tips. They generally last a full day and include a few other stops in addition to the pyramid.

By bus, you can expect to pay around $26 roundtrip per person, around $10 total for additional Uber rides, $4 per person to enter the grounds of the pyramid, and a $5 tip per person for a free walking tour in Puebla.

We chose to go by bus because we wanted to be free to explore at our own pace, and it ended up being cheaper for both of us anyway. We were staying in a hotel at the airport so we were able to easily hop on a bus straight from there and Uber from the bus station in Puebla to the pyramid. It was super simple and we didn’t have any problems at all.

If you are not near the airport, there are other stations that you can go from around the city. For more time and freedom, we definitely recommend going by bus but if you prefer more structured tours, there are plenty available.

Walking through the inside of the cholula great pyramid

What to see at the Cholula Great Pyramid

If you’re not too claustrophobic, start off on the North side of the archaeological zone towards the Tunel de la Piramide. This is the best part of the pyramid in my opinion.

We purchased our tickets just outside the tunnel but went in the small museum across the street first. They will ask you if you want a guide to go along with you, but if you don’t want to pay extra, just say no thank you.

Inside the Pyramid

After you take a look inside of the museum, you get to walk through the inside of a portion of the pyramid. It was a warm day outside when we visited, but inside the tunnel it was so nice and the temperature was much cooler.

The tunnel is pretty narrow but it only takes a few minutes to get all the way through. If you are claustrophobic, it may not be the best option for you, in which case you should start on the South side (the location that Google maps pulls up when you type in Zona Arqueológica de Cholula).

Once you make it through the tunnel, you’ll have to walk down to the corner and turn right to find more ruins. There is a good amount of walking and going uphill at the park so you should get plenty of exercise while you site see.

The church on top of the cholula great pyramid

We did not choose to hire a guide so we just admired all of the ruins and sometimes listened in a little to the school field trip groups. They do have information plaques scattered throughout in both English and Spanish.

Before you start heading up the hill, you may want to see the San Andrés Cholula sign (with the church on the hill in the background) down on the east side of the park. We went to see it first but just keep your ticket with you for when you go back.

After a little hike about halfway up to the top, stop on the west side to get some good view of the Iztaccíhuatl – Popocatépetl Volcanos. The day we went it wasn’t super clear outside, but if there aren’t any clouds or smoke, you might be able to get some really good shots of them.

The Church on top of the pyramid

When you are finished viewing the volcanos, there will be some more steps to go up to make it up to the top where the Santuario de la Virgen de los Remedios church is located.

There are some great views of both Cholula and Puebla down below on the east side behind the church.

5 De Mayo Avenue in Puebla, Mexico

Once you finish at the archaeological park, you can include a little visit down to the city of Puebla. The town is best known for its Mole (a Mexican chocolate sauce for meat) and for the battle of Cinco de Mayo against the French (which is not Mexico’s Independence Day).

We signed up for a free walking tour to get a little info about the city and walk around before we ate. The historic center is the best place to find food and stroll around.

Where to find Healthy + Allergy Friendly Food in Cholula + Puebla

Inside of the archeological park all the way up on the top near the church, they had a few snacks for sale but unfortunately nothing was allergy friendly for us. We brought a couple of snacks with us, like always, and we were glad we did after all of the walking around and climbing up the hill. Although the weather usually has spring time temperatures, it can get a little warm when it is bright and sunny out so you may also want to be sure to bring some water with you.

If you are including a visit to Puebla on your trip, you might want to try some of the famous Puebla Mole (pronounced Mo-lay). It is a Mexican marinade or sauce made with chocolate and usually poured over chicken. At least in the US, a lot of restaurants put flour in their mole so make sure to ask if it is “sin gluten: no harina, no pan, no trigo”.

When we visited, we ate at Sabor a Puebla in the historic city center and asked our very nice waiter about the food and our allergies, and we had a really great meal. A few of the other options we saw, were a vegan place called El Rincón de Tacotlan, and El Mural de los Poblanos which has a menu listing vegetarian and dairy free items.

Below are some phrases you can use (or show) at restaurants to ask about their food.

– Tienes comida sin gluten? (do you have gluten free food?)

– Tienes comida vegana o vegetariana? (do you have vegan or vegetarian food?)

Listen for Sí (yes) or No (no)

– Tengo alergias a… gluten, lácteos, soya, nueces, maní, carne, huevos (I have allergies to gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, peanuts, meat, eggs…)

– Que tipo de aceite usas? (what type of oil do you use?) ~ Girasol (sunflower), Oliva (olive), Coco (coconut), Soya (soy), Ajonjolí (sesame), Maní (peanut), Maíz (corn)

There is definitely more you can see and do in Puebla and Cholula so you can stay a few days, but it is also still a great option for just a day trip from Mexico City if that’s all the time you have. We loved the Cholula Great Pyramid and the Puebla Mole cuisine, and we definitely recommend a visit here. Let us know if you have any questions or if you visit this awesome place!

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