QUERETARO TRAVEL GUIDE
Places to Stay - Click here for price key
A budget hotel just a few blocks from downtown plazas, Hostal de Carolina ($, Calle Reforma 36 between Vergara and Corregidora streets, tel. 442/224-0333) has two stories of humble, undecorated rooms. On the plus side are a friendly staff, a restaurant offering breakfast and changing daily lunch specials, and an inexpensive internet café. There's no parking lot but if you park at lot around the corner and down the street from the hotel you'll get a small discount on the room to offset the cost. Cash only.
Another inexpensive downtown hotel, Hotel Hidalgo ($$, Av. Madero Pte. 11, tel. 442/212-0081) has battered furnishings, small bathrooms, and firm beds. It's centrally located near the main plazas and shopping, and a nice restaurant, La Llave (see below) occupies its central courtyard. No parking, cash only.
For something much more luxurious, the Hotel Quinta Santiago ($$$$, Calle Andrés Balvanera 4, tel. 442/224-1985) is recommended. Within a converted historical building, it offers large guest rooms and bathrooms, reliable internet access, firm king or queen beds, and friendly service. Continental breakfast is included, otherwise, no restaurant/bar. Credit cards are accepted. It's a nice alternative to the pricier (and more formal) Casa de la Marquesa, about a block away.
Places to Eat - Click here for price key
El Globo ($, Calle Independencia at Av. Corregidora) is a great pastelería that produces fresh pastries throughout the day. The first was established in 1884 in Mexico City.
For ice cream and other sweets, locals recommend the iconic La Mariposa ($, Calle Angela Peralta 7). You can also have their famous enchiladas or other savory snacks.
Within Hotel Hidalgo, La Llave ($$, Av. Madero Pte. 11, tel. 442/212-0081) serves Mexican specialties and appetizers at café tables under blue umbrellas on its outdoor patio.
El Rincón de los Sentidos Café/Bar ($$, Calle Reforma between Corregidora and Vergara) has a good sound system and plays the latest Latin fusion tunes. Thursday through Saturday evenings after 8 or 9 PM there's live, mellow music. Sit on the central patio surrounded by schflera and fichus trees or in one of several interior spaces. They sell coffee, specialty teas, and liquor as well as breakfast, smoothies, large salads, enchiladas, tacos, burgers, hot dogs, and other snacks.
Like its counterpart in San Miguel de Allende, Harry's ($$$$, Juárez Sur 7, Plaza Constitución, tel. 442/214-2620) is a class act. The trendy bar is popular with upscale Queretanos as well as visiting foreigners, and the cuisine meanders from grilled steaks and seafood to Cajun dishes.
1810 ($$$--$$$$, Andador Libertad 62, tel. 442/224-3324) is an upscale restaurant facing the action on Plaza de Armas. Sample overpriced wine along with Mexican and international dishes. Waiters are attentive.
Things to Do & See
Museo de Arte de Querétaro (Calle Allende Sur 14). Open Tuesday through Sunday 10 to 6. Entrance: 15 pesos.
Trolley Tours depart from Calle Corregidora between Plaza de la Constitución and Plaza Zenea. There are morning and afternoon tours (check with the tourism office for current schedule), and the 100-peso tours last a little over an hour. On Saturdays a full day tour to Bernal includes a buffet lunch and stops at Cavas Freixenet and Tequisquiapan as well as Bernal.
Most of the bars and nightlife downtown are found on Avenida 5 de Mayo and around Plaza de la Constitución. Near Plaza de Armas, La Veijateca (in La Casona de los Cinco Patios, Andador 5 de mayo 39) is popular with locals and visitors.
The Tourism Office (tel. 442/238-5067 or 01800/717-1742) is located at Pasteur 4 Norte, in the historical center.
How to Get There & Away
See bus schedules and buy tickets ahead of time through TicketBus (tel. 01800/702-8000, www.ticketbus.com.mx). Other bus lines serving Querétaro are ETN (tel. 442/229-0017 or 01800/360-4200), Omnibus de Mexico (tel. 442/229-0329 or 01800/765-6636), Primera Plus (tel. 01800/375-7587), and Transportes Amealcenses (tel. 442/229-0015). The bus station, Terminal de Autobuses (tel. 442/229-0181) is located about 5 km southeast of the city center.
You can get a bus directly to or from the Mexico City Airport from the Queretaro bus station, which is very convenient if you're flying in or out of Mexico City, 222 km (138 miles) away. It's a little over an hour by bus to San Miguel de Allende, 64 km (40 miles) to the northwest.