The Journey

All 3 of these spots; Puebla, Nevada De Toluca, and Teotihuacan, were visited on separate occasions.

The reason I grouped them, was because they are located within an 2-3 hours outside of Mexico City, by car, in completely different directions.

Mexico City Surrounded by: Nevada De Toluca, Volcanoes, Puebla, Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan is a simple 45 minute to one hour drive outside of Mexico City.

Puebla is about 2 hours outside of Mexico City if you take the toll highway. But I went through the volcanoes, out of curiosity, thus it took more than 3-4 hours.

Nevada De Toluca, which is another massive Volcano outside the city of Toluca, took about 3 hours (although I was driving from outside of Guadalajara to get to here).

Teotihuacan (City of the Gods) / Teohuacan (City of the Sun)

Teotihuacan was founded around 100 BCE, with its peak strength around 250 CE, and a population of more than 125,000.

By 550 CE, the city was pillaged and burned, most likely due to the ruling class not being able to guarantee crop yields and rain with their religious activities of sacrificing other humans but themselves.

A theory suggests that crop yields collapsed due to the volcanic eruption of the Ilopango Volcano all the way in El Salvador.

The name of the city originally meant ‘City of the Gods' or ‘Birthplace of the Gods', but more recent evidence from 2018 suggests that the name is actually Teohuacan, which translates to ‘City of the Sun'.

Overlooking the Citadel complex in Teotihuacan

Tourists climbing the Citadel complex in Teotihuacan

The stairs leading up the ‘Temple of the Feathered Serpent

The ‘Avenue of the Dead' facing towards the ‘Pyramid of the Moon'

Explanation of the Avenue of the Dead Complex

There is a sufficient number of locals selling trinkets and souvenirs in Teotihuacan

The Pyramid of the Sun

The enormous path leading up the enormous Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan

Overlooking the Citadel Complex and the ‘Temple of the Feathered Serpent' from atop the Pyramid of the Sun

Facing towards the Pyramid of the Moon from the Pyramid of the Sun

The little town beside Teotihuacan

Leonidas Getting some strong sunshine in Teotihuacan

The Avenue of the Dead in Teotihuacan

Relaxing under a tree, and walking around the city of Teotihuacan

A closeup of the Pyramid of the Moon

Posing like an explorer atop the Pyramid of the Sun

You either need a tour guide, or you need to research before hand, to understand this enormous complex of structures

Walking towards the Pyramid of the Moon

Looking at the Pyramid of the Sun, from atop the Pyramid of the Moon

The Pyramid of the Moon Plaza in Teotihuacan

Popocatépetl Volcano

On the way to Puebla from Mexico City, you can cross right in the middle of two volcanoes: Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl (the former is active, while the latter is not).

In Mexico City, it was around 25-30*C when I left earlier in the day, but up in the mountains, the tempurature drops to about 15-20*C.

Unfortunately, I didn't stick around long enough to go hiking in these volcanic hills.

Popocatépetl Volcano

Selfie in front of Popocatépetl

Driving down the dirt roads towards Puebla from the Volcanoes.

Puebla, Mexico

Originally founded as Cholula, this city was largely active between 800-200 BCE. By 100 BCE, the Cholula was a vital point in Mexican trade and civilization due to its proximity with Volcanic minerals

The residents of the city constructed enormous pyramids, such as the Pyramid of Cholula, which is now covered in dirt, and has a church sitting on top of it. By 800 CE, just like Teotihuacan, the city of Cholula was mostly abandoned.

For the next 700 years, the city of Cholula was occupied by various tribes, until they were all assimilated into an alliance with the Aztec Empire in Mexico City.

Eventually the Spanish empire came by the 1520's, and began annihilating, enslaving and viciously exploiting the indigenous populations.

A new Spanish city was built just 15 km east of Cholula called Puebla, which rapidly became popular due to its proximity with the port of Veracruz, and Mexico City.

After 11 years of war, Mexico declared itself an independent country in 1821 in Puebla City.

The ‘Iglesia Sobre Piramide' was built on top of a giant pyramid complex called Cholula

Another shot of the Iglesia Sobre Piramide in Cholula

The exterior of the ‘Iglesia Sobre Piramide' in Cholula, outside of Puebla. Also says, Santuario De La Virgen De Los Remedios Cholula Puebla

This translates to: For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be in it forever; and my eyes and my heart will be there forever.

The church atop the Pyramid sculpture representation in the ‘Zona Historica De Los Fuertes' in downtown Puebla

A Ford Mustang GT that has had better days

Looking out towards a church in Cholula area near Puebla

A closeup of the church from a distance from a distance

A view of San Gabriel Convent from a distance

A large bridge in downtown Puebla

Looking towards Puebla City

Making friends just outside a church in Puebla

Very interesting graffiti in Puebla

The festival about Cholula. The murals speak of the defense of mother nature

The suburban streets of Puebla are grey and bleak

Every house is wired with internet or TV, thus a large bevy of wires shoots around everywhere

Taking the cable car in Puebla for a nice view of the city

Children play soccer/football in Puebla

Children playing soccer/football in Puebla

Maybe facing the business district in Puebla?

A bridge cuts atop the cramped streets of Puebla city

Facing the old histroci central core of Puebla

A view from distance of the Church atop the Pyramid

A Ferris wheel shoots out from the city of Puebla

A small district, with all blue rooftops in Puebla

A birght red church cuts the monotony of the view in Puebla city

The different Pyramids that may have existed in Puebla, pre-Colombian conquest in the ‘Historic area of ​​Los Fuertes' (The Forts) in Puebla

“Peace guide you, and be with you”

‘Danza de los Voladores' or Dance of the Flyers originated from the Nahuatl, Otomi and Huastec people of central Mexico.

Some kind of interesting architecture and mountain next to it from a pre-Colombian period

The various monuments that commemorate the 5th of May (Cinco De Mayo) in Mexico

The monument to the Revolution. A civil war that took place in Mexico between 1910 and 1920, where almost 1.5 million people died as a result.

The pond in the ‘Historic area of ​​Los Fuertes' (The Forts) in Puebla

Memories of the Second French Intervention in Mexico (1861-1867)

In 1861, the president of Mexico, Benito Juarez suspended loan-repayments to foreign governments.

This upset Spain, France and England creditors, whom launched an invasion of Mexico to reclaim their debts.

But when Spain and England discovered that France planned a full-scale invasion of Mexico, Spain and England withdrew.

France intended to open the Mexican markets to free trade, and extract as much Mexican silver as possible.

The United States could not support the Mexican government at the time because it was involved in its own civil war.

As a result, the ‘Second Mexican Empire', a puppet state of France, was established in Mexico and Maximilian the 1st of the House of Habsburg was declared Emperor of Mexico.

Due to extensive Guerrilla warfare by Mexican forces over the next 5 years, the French military eventually withdrew, and Maximilian the 1st was executed in 1867.

Mexican forces battle French forces

French troops fire upon Mexican forces


Inside Fort Loreto in Puebla. This fort was strategic, but was never involved in the Second French Intervention

The battle of Puebla, with the volcanoes in the background

Puebla being defended by Mexican troops and assaulted by French troops

A man of importance (perhaps Benito Juarez) poses for the painter

Maximilian the 1st of the House of Habsurg is sworn in as Emperor of Mexico. He was supported by the corrupt Roman Catholic church, the elites, and a few indigenous groups.

A painting of generals discussing their battle strategies in Mexico

The battle in the mountains of Veracruz

Various important politicians enacting various laws, reforms, and revolutions in Mexico

A monument to General Ignacio Zaragoza. He led the Mexican army to victory against the French army in the battle of Puebla City in 1862

A french soldier during the French intervention

A Mexican soldier or peasant fighting imperialist France

A monument to General Ignacio Zaragoza. He led the Mexican army to victory against the French army in the battle of Puebla City in May 5th, 1862. Celebrated as 5 de Mayo

A view of the Monumento a Ignacio Zaragoza from the air

Above the Historic Park in Puebla City

While these might look like suburbs, this would still be considered central, and downtown Puebla. Most houses in Mexico are low-rise.

The dome of a blue church in central Puebla city

The ‘Iglesia de Santo Domingo' in the historic center of Puebla City. Built in the 1600's.

The front exterior of the Iglesia de Santo Domingo in Puebla City.

Inside the ‘Iglesia de Santo Domingo', which is known for its many gold-plated artifacts and designs

Inside the Iglesia de Santo Domingo in Puebla City

The beautifully designed interior of the Iglesia de Santo Domingo in Puebla City

The beautifully designed interior of the Iglesia de Santo Domingo in Puebla City

The beautifully designed interior of the Iglesia de Santo Domingo in Puebla City

The beautifully designed interior of the Iglesia de Santo Domingo in Puebla City

Small red and white flags hang down from the Iglesia de Santo Domingo, commemorating something special

The historic center in Puebla City

The historic center in Puebla City, facing towards the Iglasia De Santo Domingo

The beautifully designed central historic plaza of Puebla City

A group of Mexicans, who are either jewish, or just acting, performing Jewish music, in central Puebla City

A ‘trio' playing some tunes for a few pesos (Mexican currency) in central Puebla City

Nevada De Toluca

Nevada De Toluca is a volcano that is no longer active, that I wanted to drive into after my road trip to Guadalajara.

The fun part was that the entire drive was on insanely bumpy dirt roads… basically off-roading the entire way, hoping that my rental car will not fall apart.

The bad news, was that at a certain point, due to deep treads in the dirt, and soft sand, the car was not able to climb up further.

Driving towards the mountains of Nevada De Toluca. It's about a 2 hour drive up the mountain in a car

The mountain is also a natural park reserve, so there is plenty of greenery

The trees are as vivid green as you can get, and the air is fresh and cool, compared to the humid air at the start of the mountain

Driving further towards our destination

A view of Mexico from the mountain sides of Nevada De Toluca

Driving higher and higher. Some of the climbs were quite steep to go up to the Nevada De Toluca

Ultimately, this is as far as I could get. Although it doesn't seem like it, this part was un-passable by car, on all sides, and angles, and even going backwards, and trying to use a blanket as friction support.

A view with my ride and the view at where I could go no further

The 2018 Volkswagon Polo is an amazing car, I have to admit. It gave me about 400km on a single tank of gas, AND was able to manage going up and down almost 90% of the mountain on an unpaved dirt road.

The crazy mess I made with the VW Polo

While driving back, I took the wrong road, and got lost for about 20 minutes. This arrow points back to the main city of Toluca, with a flag of Mexico



  1. Nice posts!

    The pictures are excellent, didn’t know the French invaded Mexico have to look more into that…

    Leo do you have a YouTube channel or something or do you only post your trips on the blog?

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