The north-central region of Mexico is defined as several states in the northern part of the country that do not border either the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. It includes the states of Coahuila, Nuevo Le√≥n, Zacatecas, Aguas Calientes and San Lu√≠s Potos√≠. Although it is one of the more sparsely populated zones of Mexico, it has much to offer the visitor, including adventure travel, historical sites and indigenous culture.
Coahuila, which means ‚Äúflying serpent‚ÄĚ in the dialect of its ancient residents, is a large, dry northern state. The capital, Saltillo, is known for a number of reasons. Founded in 1577, it is the oldest Spanish city in northeastern Mexico, and one of the best-preserved. One of Mexico‚Äôs most famous presidents, Benito Ju√°rez, was from the region and made Saltillo the seat of his government in the nineteenth century. There is still a museum in the town that commemorates his time in the presidency, one of the most interesting and turbulent in Mexico‚Äôs history. Today, the city is famous as the origin of the colorful blankets that are synonymous with Mexican native art. The tiny town of Cuatro Cienegas is a good place for some eco-travel with a second helping of stunning natural scenery.
San Lu√≠s Potos√≠ is a beautiful, rugged state once known for mining and still known for shops full of fine silverwork. Stop off in tiny Matehuala to visit the famous Templo de la Concepci√≥n before heading to the better-known Real de Catorce for some hiking and tours of the old mines.
Nuevo Le√≥n is in the northeast of Mexico, bordering Texas. The extreme climate of desert mixed with forests, ravines and mountains makes the place a natural for adventure travel. The capital of the state is Monterrey, a modern, industrial city. The combination of industry and proximity to the United States makes Monterrey a good place for shopping: there are several nice malls in the city. About 40 kilometers south of Monterrey are the Garc√≠a grottoes, a cave system with over a kilometer of passages and caverns. Rock climbers will want to check out the cliffs at nearby Potrero Chico: the 700 meter vertical walls attract climbers from around the world.
Zacatecas, Nahuatl for ‚Äėplace where grass is plentiful.‚Äô The area was home to several nomadic indigenous groups when the Spanish arrived. Today, the capital city (also called Zacatecas) is a traditional one, and is known for its cowboys, silver and leather work. Travelers can take a ride on the city‚Äôs cable car or take a trip to the old mines.