Queretaro…pronounced Kare rah taro, is a large city of over a million people. It is only about an hour bus ride away from San Miguel. If you come to San Miguel via Mexico City you will stop in Queretaro to switch buses.
Once we were settled in San Miguel we decided to go back into Queretaro to check it out. It’s very easy to do as a day trip between the two places. The bus depot for in San Miguel is located about a mile west of the town center on Calle Canal. There are frequent buses going back and forth between the two cities several times per hour. It is approximately 100 pesos for the one way trip and takes about an hour.
The city of Queretaro is spread out for as far as the eye can see. There are lots of large buildings and some sky scrapers. There is no shortage of shopping, there is a large modern shopping mall as well as a Costco, two Walmarts, Home Depot and the usual fast food places like McDonalds.
Querataro has an older historic town section and that’s where we would recommend to stay. We managed to find a place with a charming courtyard. It is called Hotel Hidalgo.
The rooms of the two level hotel face into the open courtyard where the seating is for the restaurant. The service was good. The rooms were quite outdated and nothing fancy, but we found everything to be very clean. We paid $45 USD for a double room. Considering the excellent location one block away from the main square it seemed to be a reasonable price.
Exploring The Historic Old Town
The old town was another great place to explore on foot. We had never seen a place with so many parks, every time we turned a corner there was another one. The grounds and gardens were beautifully manicured, some of them had elaborate fountains.
It happened to be Valentine’s Day. The parks and surrounding areas were loaded with vendors selling foil balloons. We’re not sure if this was an everyday event or something extra special happening because of the date. The main park square (Jardin) typical of most of the Colonial towns is surrounded by street side cafes. Having lunch while people watching was the perfect way to waste away the afternoon.
We loved the architecture of the old buildings and beautiful churches. We came across a church that had unusual carved stone faces. The stonework and colours used on the exterior of the church were pink and blue.
The inside of the church was just as colourful and detailed.
There is a lot of upscale shopping in Querataro. Shoes and purses seem to be the most popular items and there were a lot of small shops selling colourful decorations and trinkets. One street was dedicated to vendors with goods on mobile carts. There were numerous little cafes and restaurants.
We enjoyed spending time here. It gave us the opportunity to experience a larger city in Mexico. A lot of people skip Querataro which is a shame as it has a lot to offer.
Querataro Has A Very Easy To Use Taxi System
Queretaro was so easy to visit from San Miguel that we went there on several occasions during our stay. Since we we were staying for several months we wanted to stock up on items from Walmart and do some shopping at a large mall. From the Querataro bus depot we took a taxi to Walmart. There is a taxi booth right at the depot. A large colour coded map outside of where the booth is located shows different areas of Queretaro. You look to see what colour your destination is in and pay the associated price. You pay at the booth, not to the taxi driver. The booth gives you a ticket with your destination stated on it, in our case Walmart. You hand the ticket to the next taxi in line out on the street. As visitors it made the whole process very easy
The Walmart we went to was the second to be opened in the city. It was much larger than the first one and we happened to be there at it’s grand opening. There was a giant shopping cart that had grocery items in it, including a huge package of toilet paper! They also had a larger than life blow up figure of the yellow smiley Walmart character. There was loud music playing and a lot of chaos.
The Walmart was pretty much the same as any other, but of course there were items tailored to suite the needs of what people buy and use in Mexico. There were lots of different food items we don’t have in our Walmarts in Canada. It was a familiar feeling to be in a Walmart but strangely different at the same time.
Why Was I Surprised That I Ordered A Quesadilla In Mexico And It Was Super Spicy!!!
When we got to the mall we were hungry so we headed straight to the food court area. I ordered a quesadilla from one of the stalls. It had tomatoes and avocado on it with some kind of sauce. I don’t know what I was thinking. I cut into it and shoved a mouthful in. It felt like I was on fire, the spice heat was extremely intense! I realized at this point I could not eat it and passed it off to Jack. He managed to eat some of it but as a lover of fairly spicy food, even he found it a bit much to tolerate.