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The Cholula Pyramid is the most popular tourist site in the state of Puebla for a reason.
Even though it may not look it – because most of the pyramid is buried underground – it’s the biggest pyramid in the world with an impressive base spanning 1,300 ft. on each side.
The town of Cholula itself is a worthwhile day trip from Puebla as well because it’s an artsy college town with good food and lots to do after you check the Cholula Pyramid off your bucket list.
So, are you ready to go?
This article has everything you need to know to visit the Cholula Pyramid, including:
- How to get to the Cholula Pyramid (by Uber, bus, train, and colectivo)
- The basic info you need to know before you go
- The four main sites of the Cholula Pyramid
- How much does it cost to visit the Cholula Pyramid?
- What else is there to do in Cholula?
And so much more!
Let’s dive in.
View of Popo Volcano on the stairs up the side of the pyramid
How to get to the Cholula Pyramid
There are four ways to get to the Cholula Pyramid from Puebla, so even the pickiest travelers will find something that works for them.
Puebla to Cholula by Uber
This is the best way to get to the Pyramid of Cholula and what I did. From central Puebla, an Uber to the base of the pyramid costs 100 mxn and takes about 20 to 25 minutes.
Puebla to Cholula by Train
This option is more fun than the Uber, but definitely not as flexible.
The Puebla – Cholula tourist train between the two towns runs twice in the morning and once in the afternoon on weekdays, but more on weekends and holidays.
It’s completely free and will drop you off right at the base of the pyramid. Click here to see the exact schedule (I don’t want to publish it here because it’ll probably change) and then catch it at 11 nte esq 18 pte in the city center.
Puebla to Cholula by Bus or Colectivo
If you miss the train and don’t want to spend money on an Uber, there are also cheap buses and colectivos that run pretty much constantly between Puebla and Cholula.
The colectivos cost 10 mxn per person and I’d assume the buses are about the same. Because Cholula is so close it’s on the city bus route (you don’t need to take one from ADO) and you can find the bus stops on the route here.
I don’t know where exactly the colectivo station in Puebla is, but I know it’s in the center, so if you’re staying there I think it’d be easy to ask around to find it. (If you do, can you comment below with the address so I can update this?)
Because the buses and colectivos stop to pick up and drop off people along the way, this option will take longer than the 20-minute Uber we took to Cholula.
Colorful side street in the Cholula city center
Pyramid of Cholula: Know Before You Go
The Cholula Pyramid is centrally located and basically looks like a hill in the middle of the city with a church on top.
The church on top is called Our Lady of Remedies and it’s free to visit. It’s open from 7 am to 7 pm and all you’ll have to spend is some effort climbing the steps to the top (but it’s really not that bad).
I recommend going early to photograph the site in the morning light because that classic Mexico smog will roll in and obscure the views pretty fast. From the church on top of the pyramid, you can see Popo Volcano erupting with adorable puffs of smoke and his neighbor Izta, a dormant volcano nicknamed ‘the sleeping lady’.
On the other side you also get views of Cerro Zapotecas. It looks similar to Izta, but you can tell them apart because Cerro Zapotecas stands on its own.
By the way: if you go wanting to catch that iconic shot of the Pyramid fo Cholula you see alllllll over the internet – the one with the yellow church in front of the snow-covered volcano peak – temper your expectations. That was either done by a done or a super-zoom camera, because the site, while beautiful, honestly looks nothing like that in real life.
The golden interior of the church at the peak of the Cholula Pyramid
The Four Main Sites at the Cholula Pyramid
The Pyramid of Cholula is made up of four main sites: the church, the ruins, the tunnels, and the museum.
This was mostly covered above. The Our Lady of Remedies church was built in the early 1600s and has sweeping views of Puebla and the surrounding volcanoes. It’s free to visit and open from 7 am to 7 pm.
The Cholula ruins are located at the base of the pyramid and cost 80 mxn per person to visit
The Cholula Ruins
The ruins of a ceremonial site have been excavated at the base of the pyramid. So, how do you get to the Cholula ruins?
When you exit the church, go back down the stairs – about half-way – until you reach the open field. This has a pleasure path running to the left – follow it down and you can enter the ruins on your right.
The Cholula ruins cost 80 mxn per person but the ticket includes entrance into the Cholula tunnels and the museum as well. The ruins are open from 9 am to 5:30 pm and have info in both Spanish and English about the inhabitants that settled here more than 2,500 years ago.
The Cholula tunnels wind through the interior of the pyramid and are not for the faint of heart
The Tunnels under the Cholula Pyramid
The Cholula tunnels wind through the base of the pyramid and are the highlight of the site in my opinion.
The entrance is on the opposite side of the ruins (exit them and turn right at the train station and you’ll find the tunnels) and you can just show you ruins ticket to enter for free.
There are guides offering their services outside or you can go on your own. The Cholula tunnels are dark and small and not suitable for people with claustrophobia because with groups in front of you and behind you, it would definitely be difficult to get out in a hurry.
Walking through the tunnels takes about 15 minutes and then you can head to the last stop at the Cholula Great Pyramid: the museum!
This aerial view of the Cholula ruins in the Cholula Pyramid Museum gives a better sense of scale of the ancient site
The Museum of the Pyramid of Cholula
The Museum of the Pyramid of Cholula is located across the street from the entrance to the tunnels. It has some pottery from the site and a pyramid reproduction so you can see it from above and get a sense of scale.
The museum is small, so unless you’re super into history, it’ll really only take about 15 to 20 minutes to go through.
Yeah it is
How much does it cost to visit the Pyramid of Cholula?
If you take the train there and back for free, you can visit the Cholula Pyramid, tunnels, ruins, and museum for only 80 mxn per person on a day trip.
Lunch will run you another 100 to 150 mxn more per person for a sitdown meal (Dan and I got breakfast sandwiches, fresh orange juice, and coffee at Divara after our pyramid visit).
Finally, there are a few more things to see and do in Cholula before you leave – listed below – but almost all of them are free as well! So, for us, the Cholula Pyramid ended up being a super budget-friendly day trip from Puebla.
Brunch at Divara restaurant
What else is there to do in Cholula, Mexico?
Cholula is a town of 60,000 people and has lots of college students, so it’s pretty lively and there’s plenty more to fill your day trip itinerary, like…
Puebla is an underrated foodie destination in Mexico, so there’s lots of good food in next-door Cholula. Check out the 101 Mexican foods you need to try before you die and see how many you can cross off while you’re there!
The Franciscan Convent of Saint Gabriel was built in 1549!
Visit the San Pedro Zocalo and Franciscan Convent of San Gabriel
The San Gabriel Convent is built next to the San Pedro Zocolo (Cholula’s central square) so you can visit them both in one go. While there, make sure to:
- Step inside the San Gabriel church. Built in 1549, it’s one of the oldest in Mexico.
- Get nieve (Mexican ice cream) in the square
- Snap a photo of the Plaza de la Concordia, where 46 arches make up the longest stretch of portals in the country.
A peaceful moment in the Cholula Botanical Garden
Visit the Cholula Botanical Garden
This was a surprising highlight of Cholula for me. We walked from the Zocolo to the Francisco Palaez Roldan Ethnobotanical Botanical Garden and it took 35 minutes in the afternoon sun, so the fresh air and shade of the tranquil botanical garden was extra relaxing. Plus, entrance is free!
Volunteer at the Refugio Blamis Dog Shelter in Cholula
We stumbled on this shelter on our walk to the Botanical Garden because it’s only a few minutes down the street.
We stepped inside for a few minutes to learn more about it and met the manager, Pablo. He told us they’re always looking for volunteers to walk the dogs and give them some much-needed love (just make sure you contact them first to set up an appointment before you go).
Bar in Cholula’s Container City. We stopped by out of curiosity, but it’s mostly for nightlife and was completely empty during the day.
Get a Drink in Container City
If you stay in Cholula after dark, go back up the pyramid for sunset photos of Puebla and the surrounding volcanoes, then reward all your hard work with a drink in Container City, a group of bars built into a maze of stacked shipping containers.
Take a Tour
There are plenty of tours in Puebla and Cholula where you can learn more about the history of the sites from knowledgeable guides. Visit the Cholula Pyramid on a 6-hour tour on a double decker bus or take the Pre-hispanic Cholula tour to make the most of your trip.
If you want to skip the planning completely, Intrepid Travel – a small group adventure travel company – offers multi-day tours through Mexico that stop in Puebla and Cholula as well.
Ready to go?
Explore unique accommodation on Airbnb – like rooftop glamping and this sustainable home with an indoor pool – or check out the top-rated hotels in Puebla to book your stay. Then, plan your trip with the complete Mexico guide for 50+ articles on what to see, do, eat, drink, and discover in the country!
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