Monterrey, the largest city in Nuevo León, México, is also known as México’s third largest city and the wealthiest in regards to business and education. Often referred to as “The Powerhouse”, Monterrey boasts the headquarters of many of Mexico’s largest businesses. In addition, as a lively city with many events going on, Monterrey is also considered a family-friendly vacation destination boasting quality restaurants, modern shopping malls, museums and cultural attractions.
Having travelled to this area, Pro QC account manager Nancy Barroso shares her insights into this distinctive and inspiring region.
Located in México’s northeast desert area, Monterrey is at the edge of the Sierra Madre Mountains. With quick changes in the weather occurring at any time, visitors should plan accordingly and pack a variety of clothes to accommodate.
Because Monterrey is one of the largest cities in northeast México and a major commercial and industrial center, it also has one of the nicest airports in México, The Mariano Escobedo International Airport, which is located about 30 to 45 minutes from central Monterrey. There are several airlines that offer flights, including Continental, Delta, AeroMéxico, Mexicana, United and Aviacsa.
Visitors should be advised that there are no public transport options from the airport. Taxis and rental cars are the primary choices.
Several taxi companies provide services to and from the airport. Travelers can buy pre-paid tickets at designated airport desks.
Suburban (www.suburban.com.mx) - Tel: (081) 8352 2511: The average cost for a pre-booked taxi is about 180 pesos.
International and local rental car companies are represented at the airport, including Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty.
In Monterrey, there are a variety of accommodation options, with costs averaging about US$85 per night in most of the local hotels.
The Hampton Inn - Monterrey Airport (www.hamptoninn.com) - Tel: (081) 8196 8500
The Best Western Monterrey Airport (www.bestwestern.com) - Tel: (081) 8220 3200
The Courtyard by Marriott - Monterrey Airport (www.marriott.com) - Tel: (081) 8196 7900
The Fairfield Inn Monterrey Airport (www.marriott.com) - Tel: (081) 8196 8900
The Ibis Monterrey Airport (www.ibishotel.com) - Tel: (081) 8196 4040
All of the options listed above are less than five minutes from the airport.
One of the specialties of Monterrey and a must try is the Cabrito, meaning “the small goat.” Most of the best restaurants feature this as their special dish, with an average dinner costing about US$11.
Dining recommendations include:
Restaurante El Regio: Gonzalitos y Vancouver, Monterrey, Mexico 64620 • 52-8-346-5614
Locals know that this is the restaurant of choice when it's cabrito (young goat) you're after. The menu also includes a hearty variety of light salads, grilled meats, vegetables, side dishes and other authentic Mexican fare. Live mariachi music is provided for a dynamic atmosphere.
El Refugio: Av Eugenio Garza Sada 2760, Monterrey, Mexico 64700 • 52-8-387-0487
El Refugio serves up grilled meats and other Mexican specialties. The menu includes a wealth of tacos and salads, while a large buffet remains stocked with tasty fare.
El Rey del Cabrito: Constitución 817, Barrio Antiguo, Monterrey, Mexico 64000 • 52-8-345-3232
One of three quality chain stores in the city, this restaurant specializes in the savory cabrito. Grilled meats, fajitas and excellent fondues also keep diners well satisfied. The interior is quite interesting, as it displays a number of mounted wildlife heads that give it a hunting cabin feel. Those in the know agree that this eatery should be a must-stop during your visit to the city. The prices are reasonable, which also make it a great value.
Sites to see:
The Chipinque Ecological Park is just a 20-minute drive from the city center. This is where the locals come to jog or ride their bikes while enjoying the gift of nature. The mountain view can be best appreciated while enjoying breakfast at the Mirador Restaurant from the Chipinque Hotel, which is perched virtually on the summit. If you have an adventurous spirit, you can continue the journey along the Carretera Nacional to Presa de la Boca.
For an enjoyable afternoon, take a walk around the historic part of the town. The buildings of downtown Monterrey, known as the Barrio Antiguo, were founded in the 17th century. The antique stores that line its cobbled streets are to be found behind the cathedral and the Modern Art Museum (MARCO). There are many interesting cultural places in El Barrio Antiguo.
Should you opt to spend the afternoon shopping, there are two places you simply must visit. The first of these is Plaza Fiesta San Agustin, where you will find all the top-of the ranger clothes stores like Kenneth Cole's Extravagant, an ultra sophisticated boutique. The other highly recommended store is La Bodega, owned by Maurisio Jasso. This is a warehouse-style outlet selling practically everything from lamps and jewelry to rugs and photo frames, all imported from exotic places like the Philippines, Thailand, India and Eastern Europe.
Monterrey also has several furniture factories with products sold locally at reasonable prices. Arts and crafts from all over Mexico are sold at numerous locations. Local leather products are prominent. In fact, Monterrey offers probably one of México's largest inventories of cowboy boots. The Zona Rosa, adjacent to the Gran Plaza, is the center of shopping in the downtown area. A large pedestrian mall is now open and proven to be very popular.
To learn more about travel to Monterrey, Pro QC recommends the following websites: