- The faqs, and only the faqs
Tehuacán is the 2nd largest city in the state of Puebla. It was founded in 1540 and became an official city in 1660; it is one of the oldest cities in Mexico. The population today is over 300,000 people and growing. Tehuacán has the heart of a small town but the soul of a big city! People are friendly and you might be surprised by how many people will try to speak English to you. We are in a high desert region making cactus the most common flora. Tehuacán is an hour and a half bus ride from Puebla, the state capital and 4th largest city in Mexico with a population of over 7 million.
The great thing about Tehuacán is that it is a hub to go in many different directions to visit many amazing parts of Mexico - Puebla, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Hidalgo and the Mexico City metropolis and surrounding areas.
Tehuacán offers a variety of attractions -- from outside activities (like the Zapotitlan Cactus Biosphere) to historical places and museums (Convents and the Corn Museum) that guard years of history not just from the region but from ancient times and establishment of the Mexican Republic.
Our school has been in the community for 15 years now and we are well known for bringing teachers from around the world to Tehuacán to teach English. The relationships you build with your fellow teachers and locals will last a lifetime. We support the local community in many ways: participating in International fairs at local elementary and junior high schools so students can meet people from different countries and learn about their cultures; at university conferences where students can practice their English; and we even serve as judges at elementary school spelling bees. Help! loves being a proactive and service-oriented part of our community.
The average temperature during the day is 26°C, making it quite pleasant. From December to January it can get nippy (7 - 10°C), March to May are the hottest months (24 - 30°C) and June to August is the rainy season. There is no air-conditioning or in-door central heating as the climate is fairly mild year-round.
Forget Taco Bell or Chilis...Mexican food is AMAZING and the state of Puebla is renowned for having some of the best food in the country. Hand-made tortillas; fresh green, red, and orange salsas and a variety of guacamoles; fresh cheeses; deliciously refried beans -- YUM!!!! Get ready for tasty treats on every corner.
You can eat at any price range and have a good meal. From a $10-peso taco to a $1100-peso Tomahawk Steak you can find whatever you are looking for - Mexican that is. A great meal 3-course (fresh juice included) will cost between $45-75 pesos which is about $2.75- 3.50 (USD). There are some ethnic restaurants in the city owned by Japanese, Italian, Lebanese and Chinese immigrants. There are many American stores like Walmart, Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Burger King. Native delicacies include “head tacos”; Mole. Avocado or Chicharon creamy Popsicles, Mole de Caderas and Chiles En Nogada (seasonal in the fall).
Depending on the time of year, there are many different festivals, events and marathons around the city. During the Winter semester you will be able to take part in: The City Anniversary Celebrations and Holy Week. In the Spring you will witness: Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day and The Harley Davidson motor show. The Fall is the most colorful time of the year with: Independence Day, The Pan American Car Race, Day of the Dead, the Mole de Caderas - Matanza Celebration, and the Posadas (Christmas feasts).
There are gyms close to the school with a variety of standard work-out machines. Membership runs between $300 - $500 pesos/month. Zumba is an incredibly popular aerobic dance given in mini-gyms all over the city. There is a city sports complex about 20 minutes walking from the teachers’ house that has tracks; tennis, fronton and basketball courts; and soccer pitches that can be used for FREE. Swimming pools are also found in different points of the city. Some cost $30 pesos a day and others require a membership running around $500 pesos/month. There are trails to hike, places to run and things to explore all through the city to keep fit.
Diarrhea is the most notorious health issue you will come across...some people (those who wash hands frequently) never get sick, others (those that like to eat street food) can be plagued again and again. Medical care however is incredibly inexpensive - $30 - $500 pesos ($1.50 to $25.00 an appointment with a generic doctor or specialist). There are pharmacies every few blocks and most medicine doesn’t require a prescription.
There are a few ways to get around Tehuacán….your two feet are a great and free way to do so. Most things are walking distance (teachers’ house to school 15 minutes, school to downtown 15 minutes, and downtown to big mall shopping complex 30 minutes). But, if you want a quick ride, the combis (hollowed out VW buses) carry people all around the city for a comfortable $5.5 pesos. There is no mass-transit map, so you have to ask locals which combis to take - the destinations are posted on the front window of the van. Taxis galore run about $35-$40 pesos for a one-stop trip. There are two bus stations in town that connect you with all major cities in the region.
MEXICAN PESOS are the official currency. Dollars (US, Canadian or Australian) and Pounds or Euros are NOT accepted in Tehuacán. This is not a big tourist hub, so only pesos are accepted. You can exchange US Dollars in Tehuacán, but there are not money exchange services for other foreign currencies. If you are going to be using cash, the Mexico City airport is the place to exchange upon arrival. There are several banks (HSBC, Scotia, BBVB and Banamex) that have ATM machines where you can pull out cash for a small fee. Debit cards are accepted at large establishments (like Walmart or fast food places) but most little mom and pop stores only take cash. Tips are only given in restaurants, and they are typically 10%. Hair stylists, Taxis, or other services do not require tipping.