Pachuca/hidalgo

Old Sep 21st, 2018, 03:18 PM
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Pachuca/hidalgo

I'm looking for a destination I can easily reach from southern Florida. Love the barbecue from Hidalgo, and very food-centric. I learned from a Mexican friend that there are some great hot springs near Pachuca, near Actopan. Would this be an destination worth of a week or so-long stay? I would be a solo female but have been many, many times to Mexico and not at all nervous about solo travel in that country. I speak near-fluent Mexican Spanish.

Thinking maybe of a couple of days in DF and then taking bus to Pachuca and from there, maybe taxi to the hot springs (??) Is Pachuca itself worth of a few days for just meandering eating barbacoa, soaking in the atmosphere??

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Sep 21st, 2018 at 03:19 PM. Reason: spelled wrong in title
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Old Sep 21st, 2018, 06:34 PM
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I wonder if the hot springs your friend is thinking of might be Tolantongo? If so, they are very worthwhile, perhaps among the best in Mexico. There may be another I'm not aware of, however. There is a hotel there, but they don't take reservations. First come, first served. Very busy with chilangos on the weekend as you can imagine.
As far as Pachuca, we were there for a very short time a couple years back, on a longer trip to Veracruz. Traffic delays due to peregrinos (día de Guadalupe) put us way behind schedule and we only spent an hour or so in centro before moving on to Huasca De Ocampo, our ultimate destination. What we saw was OK, but it was no Oaxaca. The nearby Pueblos Magicos of Huasca, Mineral Del Chico (and its national park) and Mineral Del Monte are the more popular destinations. Other sites nearby are the ex-haciendas of San Miguel Regla, Santa Maria Regla, and the Prismas Balsaticas. The haciendas are now hotels but can be visited by non-guests. Mineral Del Monte (or Real) is where soccer was introduced to Mexico by Cornish miners. They also introduced 'pastes', kind of an empanada type thing. You'll actually see more paste places than barbacoa. Anyway, the area is for sure worth 4-5 days. And while we liked Huasca (very charming) there's not much going on midweek. Real's handsome centro has been recently restored. There are probably more bars (not rowdy ones) there than in any other town its size in Mexico, probably due to its mining heritage. The 'Montes' and Huasca are close enough to Pachuca that you could base yourself in either and day trip to the other. I think ideally if you want to go to the hot springs and don't mind switching hotels, I'd suggest 2-3 nights in Pachuca and 2-3 nights in either Chico or Monte. Unfortunately, we didn't get all the way to Chico because of fog. I've been wanting to include the area on a trip report, but I've not even finished my last one. Ugh.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 04:47 AM
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Great info, thank you! Yes, the hot springs he raves about are Tolantongo. But wow..how could I chance a hotel first come first served? Let me investigate this. But overall, it sounds like I could include some of the towns you mention..will take a look at various hotels. The problem is that I am scared to drive alone in Mexico, not for fear of crime, I am just a very timid driver--you know how us New Yorkers are! But I'm sure I could cook something up of find a taxi guy to take me around from place to place.....

I'll do some reading and come back here....

Also, which airport, MEX? Then how to get to Pachuca? Do not mind private driver if no bus from airport.

Most important, can I find barbacoa?

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Sep 22nd, 2018 at 04:56 AM.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2018, 06:45 PM
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No doubt you'd find these links on your own. But it seems Futura has several daily departures to Pachuca from MEX: https://futura.com.mx
And, the grutas: Grutas Tolantongo | Un Oasis A Su Alcance (Página Oficial) I know you read Spanish, but for those that don't that might be reading this, you can rent a tent and buy a blanket and air mattress if the hotel is full. I think if you went midweek during a non-holiday period, you'd easily get a room.
For sure you'll find plenty of barbacoa. It's just that the paste shops are ubiquitous as fast food and it seems they're on every corner and in truck stops in the area as well. Again, I know you speak Spanish, but for those that don't it's 'pah-stay' (NOT 'pastie' with a long 'a' as in what strippers wear) as I saw on one site.
The highway from Pachuca to Real is indeed very switch-backy. There are small colectivos that serve as public transportation. When we went, we drove in and out of fog/clouds. My wife hated it, even though it was only about a 20 minute drive. I don't know if those weather conditions were the norm or not. But it was similar to what we experienced in the nearby Sierra Gorda where warm gulf air mixes with the cooler, drier air of the central highlands.
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