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Daniel_Williams Feb 12th, 2004 02:10 PM

Excursions around Monterrey or Mexico City

As some of you may have read, I just got back from a fantastic trip to Monterrey. I was thinking I might like to return to the city next winter, as I'd like to explore the city a bit more, and there were a lot of things I didn't get a chance to do in the region.

Now two possibilities entered my mind: I could either do side-trips from a friend's place Monterrey, visiting perhaps Saltillo, Real de Catorce or Zacatecas or even San Luis Potosi, all of which seem to have their fans, but always keeping Monterrey as a base.

Another possibility is to spend part of the vacation in Mexico City. I've never been to D.F., and I must say, from what I've read about crime, pollution and taxi kidnappings, I had never even been tempted to go, closed-minded as that may sound. Monterrey appealed to me in that I felt totally at ease and unafraid walking around at all times. Despite all its problems though, I'm wondering if el D.F. is somewhere I should go once in my life, just to see it for what it is. I've met people who had an amazing time there (while warning me about its problems) and certainly there's the history, cultural opportunities and that people say it's an exciting city: these three factors appeal to me! Add to this that I generally like cities.

Anyhow, let me know what you think!


SusanInToronto Feb 12th, 2004 03:58 PM

Dan, I love Mexico City - it's a wonderful place to visit - loads to see and do. While there are security concerns, I didn't feel particularly unsafe there when I've visited. You have to be alert and street smart, but I think that applies to most places. I think you could get a direct flight from Montreal to DF and easily spend a few days there. There are some very nice colonial cities north of Mexico City (within a 4 - 5 hour bus trip) or you could visit Cuernavaca, Pueblo, places like that that are closer to DF. I'd probably go for that, although I'm also interested in Zacatecas and Real de Catorce. I've been to Mexico more than a dozen times and always find more places I want to visit!

Dude Feb 12th, 2004 05:52 PM

I think if you continue to explore Mexico you will be surprised at the incredible variety and how different other places are than Monterrey. I would surely recommend Saltillo amd Real which would allow you to use Monterrey as a base. If you plan a winter trip both can be really cold. I I have been in Saltillo in the snow and trying to stay warm was hard with no central heat anywhere. Anyway, you can do day trips to or overnighters to explore Saltillo. Real, to be worthwhile, would be three days with two nights spent there from Monterrey. If you want to do something that will give you a very different view of Mexico than your current experiences, fly to Mexico City check out the highlights then bus to the Oaxaca valley for a few days. I think you would really like it and be amazed at the difference betweeen your northern Mexico experience.

TioGringo Feb 12th, 2004 09:49 PM

As much as I love Monterrey, I would definitely do the Mexico City trip. There is just *SO* much to see and do in the capital that it could keep you busy for weeks. Worry about security, but don't let fear keep you away -- if you use common sense, you'll have zero problems.


Jean_Valjean Feb 13th, 2004 02:49 PM


If those are your options, I'd definitely go to Mexico City. There is crime, and it is not the safest city on earth. It is chaotic, stressing, and pollution can get really bad. Nevertheless, it is a fantastic city, with lots to do and see. It is really one of the world's greatest cities.

If you time it right, say during easter week or the week between Christmas and New Year's day, you'll see Mexico City at its most gentle. Little traffic and not too many people around. There are a few places near Mexico City that are also worth a visit, like Puebla, Queretaro, Cuernavaca and Taxco.

Daniel_Williams Feb 13th, 2004 10:28 PM

Hmmm...well, it's clear none of you are with the Mexico City tourist board :) and are still recommending a visit! Dude, you've almost sold me by saying that I will be amazed at the difference between Mexico City area and my northern experience (I was already amazed enough by the north!). For those of you who've been to Monterrey and Mexico City, do you find DF feels not at all, slightly, somewhat or A LOT more dangerous? At least this way I can prepare myself mentally if I decide to go...

Thanks for all your advice. I'm still torn but will definitely post a trip report whatever I decide to do!


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