Teds Travels – Mexico’s Colonial Cities: Part IV
Perhaps the most overlooked colonial city in Mexico is Queretaro. Over the last few years it has become one of the fastest growing cities in the country due to its industrial innovations (the city is in fact a pioneer in the aerospace industry and has its own international airport) and closeness to Mexico City (only 2.5 hours away by car). Such achievements, however, have perhaps overshadowed the fact that it is also a colonial gem.
The city’s heart will charm you with its bohemian vibe. Its quaint craft shops, colourful plazas, and exquisite restaurants are enough to enrapture any traveller; and its majestic aqueduct, a gift of an infatuated Marquis to a local nun, will inspire many more.
Allow plenty of time to explore the city centre for it is rich in history: Mexico’s independence movement, for instance, was born within its cobblestoned streets. The country’s constitution was also signed in its ‘Teatro de la Ciudad’. Make sure to try a traditional ‘mantecado’ milkshake at its oldest café, ‘La Mariposa’, and to watch elderly couples dance at the Jardin Senea square on a Sunday afternoon before you leave.
Outside of its colonial centre, the state of Queretaro has attractions for every type of traveller in store. Food lovers will find quality wines and vineyards along the Cheese and Wine Gourmet Route in Tequisquiapan. Active travellers and spiritualists will enjoy climbing the ‘Peña de Bernal’, the world’s third largest monolith; which is also said to be charged with positive energy. Every March, Bernal welcomes thousands of people dressed in white to celebrate the spring equinox.
Finally, those looking for a relaxing holiday should definitely plan a daytrip to San Miguel de Allende, a ‘magic town’ located 45 minutes away from Queretaro that features hot springs, beautiful colonial buildings, and cosmopolitan cuisine. More than 12,000 foreigners are believed to live or have houses here given its laid back feel and charming weather.
Next week I’ll talk about a surreal castle in the middle of the jungle and other weird places you can visit as part of your Mexico trip.
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au