Dating back to the 16th century when it was first built, the impressive Church of Santo Domingo towers over the historic center of Puebla, Mexico. Painted in deep reds and built with faded gray stone, the Roman Catholic cathedral and square is a major landmark for the town. It was constructed by the order of the Dominicans and was once part of a larger Dominican convent that stretched more than two blocks. The main altarpiece of the church is its most impressive sight, opulently decorated in gold life-size statues of religious figures. The interior stretches four stories from floor to ceiling, with domed ceilings and windows letting in soft, natural light.
Behind the facade lies the Capilla del Rosario, or chapel of the rosary, one of the most ornately decorated interiors in all of Mexico. Its detailed use of gold leaf, tile, and gilded stucco is widely regarded as a masterpiece of Mexican Baroque art and architecture.
The Church of Santo Domingo is located on Calle 5 de Mayo three blocks from the Zocalo, or main square.
The Estrella de Puebla, or ‘Puebla Star,' is Mexico's 263-foot-tall (80 m) observation wheel, and the largest observation wheel in South America (with the Guinness World Record to prove it). It has 54 gondolas, each carrying up to 8 passengers and offering magnificent panoramic views of Puebla, but for the most dazzling vistas, opt for one of the 4 luxury gondola, featuring glass floors and plush leather seats.
The Estrella de Puebla is the dramatic centerpiece of the Linear Park complex, which includes the Garden of Art, the Metropolitan Ecoparque, and the Atoyac River Walk, as well as the planned International Baroque Museum.
The Estrella de Puebla is located in the Linear Park in downtown Puebla and is open Monday through Friday from 4pm to 9:30pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 9:30pm.
With more than 2,500 animals and over 300 species, the Africam Safari makes for a thrilling day out and it’s earned a reputation as one of Mexico’s leading zoos. The majority of animals are free roaming within the park, and visitors can either drive through the safari trail or take a bus tour. Lions, Bengal tigers, rhinos, elephants and giraffes are among the most popular residents, while the herds of zebra, deer and antelopes often venture right up to the cars.
Additional highlights include an Adventure Zone, where it’s possible to spot Mexican wolves, kangaroos, meerkats and red pandas, alongside a bat cave, butterfly pavilion and botanical garden; a thrilling treetop zip-line course; a bird and falconry display; and a boating lake, as well as a restaurant, café and souvenir shop.
Africam Safari is located around 20km south of Puebla, Mexico, and is open daily from 10am-6pm. Adult admission at the time of writing is Mex$232.
Address: Blvd. Capitan Carlos Camacho Espiritu Km. 16.5, Tecali de Herrera, Heróica Puebla de Zaragoza, Pue. Mexico 75240, Mexico
Modest from the outside, yet stunningly ornate and garnished with gold on the inside, the Capilla del Rosario of Puebla stands as a brilliant example of Mexican Baroque architecture and style. Walking in, you’re completely surrounded by elaborate decoration covered in gold leaf, talavera tile, and onyx stone, often bathed in natural light. Its highly detailed artistry is not just overwhelming to see, it is considered a masterpiece of craftsmanship. Sculptures of angels and saints adorn the walls alongside golden vines framing oil paintings. The paintings depict the life of Jesus Christ as well as the mysteries of the rosary. The centerpiece of it all is a beautiful altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
In all of its splendor, the chapel is considered by many to be the eighth wonder of the art world. Joined to the larger Iglesia de Santo Domingo, the chapel is the first dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary in Mexico. For many, it is a primary draw to the historic town of Puebla, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The chapel is located beside the Church of Santo Domingo in the Zona Colonial of Puebla, Mexico. Puebla can be reached in approximately two hours driving time from Mexico City.