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North-Central Mexico

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 León, Zacatecas, Aguas Calientes and San Luís Potosí. 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 Luís Potosí 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 Concepción before heading to the better-known Real de Catorce for some hiking and tours of the old mines.

Nuevo León 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 García 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.









By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
19 Dec 2008

Hiking in North-Central Mexico

Monta√Īa Sagrada

107485A guide is essential on this three-and-a-half to four hour trek as the paths can get a little confusing. Heading south out of town the route leads to the ruins of an old mine then climbs to a plateau ...
Hiking
Real de Catorce, Mexico

Poza Azul and Las Arenales

107516Cuatro Cienegas' two main tourist attractions are havens for endemic species. Poza Azul, one of many desert pools connected by underground rivers, is home to the visitor's centre, a bright blue pool ...
Eco-Tour, Hiking
Cuatro Ciénegas , Mexico

Poza la Becerra

107517This Poza has been turned into to a recreational area where you can swim, something you cannot do in the other pools. There are straw pagodas for shade but bring drinks as the shop is only open on ...
Eco-Tour, Hiking
Cuatro Ciénegas , Mexico

The Top Hotels in North-Central Mexico

Hotel Ciénegas

107520This rundown spot is in need of a lick of paint but it could be the only budget option available if the Ibarra is busy. There is no sign, but the entrance is by an alleyway opposite the Hotel Plaza ...
Hotel
Cuatro Ciénegas , Mexico

Hotel Plaza

107519This is the plushest place in town but the quality, and the large swimming pool, comes at a price. The grounds are lovely, the decour, although a little garish, is actually quite smart, and the staff ...
Hotel
Cuatro Ciénegas , Mexico

Hotel Ibarra

107518This is the best budget place to stay if you can secure a room for 200 Pesos, if not it is the only mid-range option in town. Rooms are set around a carpark courtyard, motel style, but they are ...
Hotel
Cuatro Ciénegas , Mexico

Rincón Mágico

107478This is a beautiful spot to stay and is worth the extra cash if you can afford it. Well appointed rooms, with warm blankets and wall hangings, open out onto a table-filled patio with an awesome view ...
Hotel
Real de Catorce, Mexico

Hotel San Juan

107477This is probably the best economical place to stay in town as it offers clean, if sometimes musty, rooms with bathroom at a bargain price (try to bargain too, as with most places here you may get a ...
Hotel
Real de Catorce, Mexico

Hotel Santa Fe

Hotel Santa Fe features a relaxed environment, rustic decor and comfortable rooms, as well as a pool and varied lounging ...
Hotel
Cuatro Ciénegas , Mexico

Hostal Reyna Soledad

Central location valet parking, pretty colors throughout, cable, WI-FI, hairdryers, and a rooftop terrace. There are 17 rooms with 2 new rooftop accommodations to be added soon. The water well in the ...
Hotel
Zacatecas, Mexico

Hostal Del Vasco

Perhaps the sort of lodging one thinks of when one imagines Mexico, rustic bird cages with singing birds line the balcony of the soft pink lobby. The furnishings are older but complement the feel of ...
Hotel
Zacatecas, Mexico

Meson de la Merced

The most centrally located of three Don Miguel properties in Zacatecas, the Meson de la Merced is a moderately priced option with ample underground parking. The lobby leads to a large atrium with a ...
Hotel
Zacatecas, Mexico

Quinta Real Zacatecas

One of the most unique hotels in Mexico, the structure incorporates a bull fighting ring ‚Äď no bull! The ring is a popular spot for celebrating special occasions, such as weddings and formal ...
Hotel
Zacatecas, Mexico

Santa Rita Hotel

Located just across the street from the Cathedral, but with a distinctive sleek and modern design, this boutique hotel feels light-years away. Plush towels, mini-bars, fresh-cut flowers, in-room ...
Hotel
Zacatecas, Mexico

The Best Places to Grab a Bite in North-Central Mexico

El Pueblito

107451This is a good bet to try some local specialties but what it offers in tasty traditional food it lacks in traditional atmosphere. Music is international and the multicoloured decour gives it the feel ...
Restaurant
Zacatecas, Mexico

La Casona

107521The smartest place to dine in town, this bright and colourfully decorated restaurant is a surprisingly pleasant find in an otherwise functional town of cafe diners. Smart tables and fine picture ...
Restaurant
Cuatro Ciénegas , Mexico

Malambo

107482Tables at this Italian restaurant are set around a fountain in a pleasant little courtyard or in a European cafe-style room inside if it gets too cold. Relaxed music sets the scene and the food is ...
Restaurant
Real de Catorce, Mexico

Mesón la Abundancia

107481This is a plush place with a nice dining area that offers fantastic value for money whatever time you decide to eat. Big empanadas are on offer for a good value lunch, wash it down with a 10 Peso ...
Restaurant
Real de Catorce, Mexico

Disco El Malacate

107452This plush place offers the unique experience of disco dancing in a silver mine! A little childish train transports revelers to the entrance where the cave opens to reveal a dance floor and bar. ...
Bar
Zacatecas, Mexico
Mapa
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