We were sad to leave San Miguel but the city of Puebla was next on the list and we wanted to make good time. We’d been told Mexico City traffic could take hours and even though our route took us around the city, we had no way of knowing how far out the congestion extended.
We took highways 110, 57d, and 75d (but I’ll be honest it’s a little unclear which one you’re actually on). It’s possible we were on 40/45d during our brief drive through the state of Hidalgo and 75d could have also been 80 or 150d. It sounds more confusing than it actually is. We never got lost and the road signs lead us clearly to our destination. Plus our GPS was accurate the entire drive and definitely led us on the fastest route.
Miles Driven: 242
Total travel time: 4.5 hours
Cost in Tolls: $26 USD / 455 Pesos (we’ve been using a conversion rate of 17.5 but depending on where we exchanged money it’s between 17-18 pesos per 1 USD)
Yet again, smooth sailing. Not only were we surprised by how quickly we made it to our destination, but also by how beautiful Puebla is! We chose it because we didn't want to drive through the center of Mexico City, and Puebla was on the South East side (which is the direction we were headed).
Road Conditions: GREAT! The toll roads up to this point are well kept and well worth the money we’ve been paying (in our opinion). The topography is still mountainous, but where Monterrey and San Luis were a bit drier, the mountains/hills from San Miguel to Puebla are lush and green… which can be explained by the light afternoon rain everyday so far.
P.S. beware of the altitude. It’s so gradual that it’s definitely something we didn't think about until we'd had dull headaches for a few days. Stay hydrated (difficult to do while on a road trip but better than the headaches)!
Driving in, the highway was practical and easy to navigate. Puebla is actually a large city so its possible the route we came in on was just simpler than others… but the streets were landscaped nicely and the restaurants we passed were modern and very upscale. The size of the city was refreshing (not too big but not too small). The city center is definitely more difficult to drive than the outskirts where we were staying, but overall, traffic was light and the road signs were clear.
As you know, we’ve been staying in hotels throughout Mexico. We budgeted more money for the first two weeks of this trip (still getting our sea legs here…) but even really nice hotels have been very reasonable. It won’t take long to make up that money camping.
We had lunch in the Zócalo at a place called Casa Real Poblana.
We explored the square for a bit before heading to the La Estrella de Puebla (The Star of Puebla, Ferris Wheel) where we got to meet and ride up with this wonderful local family. These sweet little girls asked to take a picture with us and their parents asked about our trip. Their English was about as good as our Spanish (sub-par) so it was a learning experience for all… but somehow we all seemed to understand each other, had a few laughs and everyone walked off smiling while waving adios :)
There is SO much more to do in Puebla but with limited time, we had to choose a few and move on, with the promise to re-visit.
The rest of the evening was spent visiting the sky deck at the hotel and getting in a quick arm circuit at the gym before bed. We noticed a little too late that we forgot to eat dinner (this seems to be a common theme – driving all day and eating lunch between 3-5pm and then going to bed without dinner). But the Barcelo Hotel served the best breakfast we’ve had in Mexico so far.
Time to wander further south (actually I guess we’re headed mostly East this time) to the little town of Catemaco in the state of Veracruz.
See you down the road!
Meg + Tyler