We will start with our trip from san Miguel de Allende to Cholula and Puebla. We
had to make sure we bypassed Mexico City which has a population of 20+ million
in the outskirts. It is a huge city and you cannot drive into it as a foreigner.
Locals can drive in it on certain days depending on their license plate number.
This is to reduce pollution.
Coordinates 19.99452 N 99.47830 W ( about 1 Km in front of the
actual ramp )
The Arco Norte is also known as "Mex 40D" -
at KM 88
The ramp is still the original so don't be looking for a fancy new one. Toll
booth is a card dispenser that you get a card from indicating where you entered.
There was someone there to reach it for us as they are too high to reach.
Suspect that will change after the ramp is modernized.
Toll road is good, concrete so a little rough in some spots. The first part is
older pavement. Overall a good experience. No completed gas stations. Fill your
vehicle up before you get on the toll road. Some pictures
Looks like they grow a lot of Prickly Pear Cactus
John and I stayed at a very nice RV park in Cholula
Trailer Park Las Americas
It had all utilities( sewer, water, hydro) and Wifi if you go
into the small clubhouse.
GPS Coordinates: 19.07242 N 98.29568
W 7,100 ft
It is only 14 blocks ( 20 min walk) from the
pyramid and a $6-8 cab ride to Puebla
Quoted from Wikipedia:
a city in the Mexican
state of Puebla.
The official, though little used, full name of the city is Cholula
de Rivadavia. The city of Cholula is divided into two municipalities, San
Andrés Cholula and San
Pedro Cholula, which are considered to be part of the conurbation
of the city of Puebla, and a third, more rural municipality called Santa
is located about 15 km west of the city
of Puebla, at an approximate elevation of 2135 meters (about 7000 ft) above sea
level. The population of Cholula de Rivadavia as of the 2005 census was
82,964 people, the population of San Andrés Cholula was 35,206 and the
population of Santa Isabel was 12,349. The municipality of San Pedro Cholula has
an area of 51.03 km² (19.7 sq mi) and a population of 113,436, and the
municipality of San Andrés Cholula has an area of 61 km² (23.55 sq mi) and a
population of 80,118. Most of the residents of the municipality of San Andrés
Cholula who do not live in the city of San Andrés Cholula reside in the city of Tlaxcalancingo,
which, at a population of 38,541, is actually more populous than the municipal
seat. Santa Isabel Cholula has an area of 67.61 km², which make it the largest
municipality of all three by surface alone and the one with the lowest
or in Nahuatl Cholōllān,
was an important city of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica,
dating back to at least the 2nd
century BC, with settlement as a village going back at least some thousand
was a major center contemporary with Teotihuacan and
seems to have avoided, at least partially, that city's fate of violent
destruction at the end of the Mesoamerican
Cholula thus remained a regional center of importance, enough so that, at the
time of the fall of the Aztec empire,
Aztec princes were still formally anointed by a Cholulan priest in a manner
reminiscent, and perhaps even analogous, to the way some Mayan princes
appear to have come to Teotihuacan in search of some sort of formalization of
the time of the arrival of Hernán
Cortés Cholula was second
only to the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan (modern Mexico
City) as the largest city in central Mexico, possibly with a population of
up to 100,000 people. In addition to the great temple of Quetzalcoatl and
various palaces, the city had 365 temples.
the Spanish Colonial period, however, Cholula was overtaken in importance by the
nearby city of Puebla.
John and I are about to climb the road to the top of
the pyramid (Great Pyramid of Cholula) and then there is another set of stairs
up to the church on top. You want to be physically fit for this trip or walk
There are people selling food and drink along the path and
vendors at the top by the church.
She was selling fruit, peanuts, etc
Did I mention she was also selling fried grasshoppers (Chapulin).
It is quite common here. John and I each tried one, but it was too salty and you
have to get past the idea it is a dead critter!!! Not my taste
Quoted from Wikipedia:
Chapulines are grasshoppers
of the genus Sphenarium.
They are collected only at certain times of year (from their hatching in early
May through the late summer/early autumn). After being thoroughly cleaned and
washed, they are toasted on a comal
(clay cooking surface) with garlic and lemon
juice and sal de gusano, lending a sour-spicy-salty taste to the finished
product. Some people will toast their chapulines with chiles, but some vendors
and cooks feel that chiles are used to cover for stale chapulines and only show
up in the poorest quality grasshoppers.
Chapulines are available only in certain parts of Mexico, the state and city of Oaxaca
being one of the better known regions. There is debate over how long Chapulines
have been a food source in Oaxaca. There is one reference to grasshoppers that
are eaten in early records of the conquest..
Today, Chapuline are harvested throughout the summer and enjoyed largely in and
around Oaxaca City, Oaxaca. They are sold as snacks at local baseball games and
are enjoying something of a revival among foodies 
The taste is unique, but not especially strange. They may be eaten
individually as a botana (snack) or as a filling, eg: tlayuda
filled with chapulines.
Chapulines must be cooked prior to consumption. As with other grasshoppers,
they may carry nematodes
that can infest human hosts.
The word chapulín for grasshopper is specific to Mexico
and derives from the Nahuatl
language. In Spain
and most Spanish speaking countries, the word for grasshopper is saltamontes
Pictures looking out over the area from up top
This an active volcano which last erupted in 1998.
Popocatepetl - most active volcano in Mexico
Church of Nuestra Senora de los Remedios
Great Pyramid of Cholula
Quoted from Wikipedia:
Pyramid of Cholula, also known as Tlachihualtepetl (Nahuatl for
"artificial mountain"), is a huge complex located in Cholula,Puebla, Mexico.
It is the world's largest monument and largest Pre-Columbian
pyramid by volume.
temple-pyramid complex was built in four stages, starting from the 3rd century BCE through
the 9th century CE, and was dedicated to the deity Quetzalcoatl.
It has a base of 450 by 450 m (1476x1476 ft) and a height of 66 m (217 ft).
According to the Guinness
Book of Records, it is
in fact the largest pyramid as
well as the largest monument ever
constructed anywhere in the world, with a total volume estimated at over 4.45
million m³, even larger than that of the Great
Pyramid of Giza in Egypt which
is about 2.5 million m³. However the Great Pyramid of Giza is higher at 138.8 m
(455 feet). The
Aztecs believed that Xelhua built
the Great Pyramid of Cholula.
the pyramid at first appears to be a natural hill surmounted by a church. This
is the Iglesia
de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
of Our Lady of the Remedies), also known as the Santuario
de la Virgen
de los Remedios (Sanctuary
of the Virgin of the Remedies), which was built by the Spanish in
colonial times (1594) on the site of a pre-Hispanic temple. The church is a
major Catholic pilgrimage destination,
and the site is also used for the celebration of indigenous rites. Many ancient
sites in Latin
America are found under
modern Catholic holy sites, due to the practice of the Catholic Church
repurposing local religious sites.
of the historic and religious significance of the church, which is a designated
colonial monument, the pyramid as a whole has not been excavated and restored,
as have the smaller but better-known pyramids at Teotihuacan.
Inside the pyramid are some five miles (8 km) of tunnels excavated by archaeologists.
We took a guided tour which cost us 150 pesos and included a
tour of the museum. Our guide had been giving this tour for 30 years was a
native of Cholula
This is where they use to have human sacrifices. they would
burn the bodies in this pit
The glass cover is just for protection of the ruins
Mural ( it has mostly faded away)
reconstructed part of the pyramid to show what it would have
Original portion of the pyramid
You can climb the stairs at your own risk. There is a rope at
the side of the stairs you can hang on to, but I decided it was safer to stay at
Model of what the pyramid would look like if fully excavated
Copy of what the murals looked like in their day
Pottery found on the sight
Time to walk go for lunch at a local restaurant: La Lunita
Our meals were excellent. Johns was only $8 and mine was $15 (
I had the Chiles en Nogada)
Chiles en Nogada
Quoted from Wikipedia:
en nogada is a dish from Mexican
cuisine. The name comes from the Spanish word for the walnut tree, nogal.
It consists of poblano
chiles filled with "picadillo"
(a mixture usually containing chopped or ground meat, aromatics, fruits, and
spices) topped with a walnut-based
cream sauce and pomegranate seeds,
giving it the three colors of theMexican
flag: green for the chili, white for the nut sauce and red for the
traditional "Chile en Nogada" is from Puebla. The Chiles en nogada are
tied to the independence of this country since it is said that they were
prepared by the first time to entertain the emperor Agustín
de Iturbide on the occasion
of his onomastic one. This dish is a motive of pride for the habitants of the
state of Puebla
Mexican historians believe that the inventors of this dish were the Monjas
Claristas, although for others think that were the "Madres Contemplativas
Agustinas" of the convent of Santa
Monica, Puebla.  The
"Chiles en nogada" arise from the purest patriotic and national
picadillo usually contains panochera apple (manzana panochera), sweet-butter
pear (pera de mantequilla) and criollo peach (durazno criollo). The cream
usually has milk, butter and washed nuts. The traditional season for making and
eating this dish is August and first half of September.
The portion was huge, so I had John help me eat it!
Tomorrow we will tour Puebla