monterrey mexico villages

Visit one of the best natural history museums in Latin America. (Photo: Alamy)

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Discover the Tranquility of Monterrey, Mexico’s Surrounding Villages

From time to time, all urbanites get the urge to leave the chaos of the city and enjoy the tranquility of vacation time. When you visit Monterrey, don’t forget that there are some nearby destinations that will surprise you.

These five villages are approximately an hour from Monterrey, the City of Mountains, a perfect distance to jump in a car and go on a day trip.


Although it isn’t a proper town, the capital of the state of Coahuila is an excellent option for an excursion from Monterrey since it is less than an hour away and offers a rich culture you should know about. Visit the Centro Histórico (Historic Center) starting with the Plaza de Armas—a place full of folklore and history—and walk around while enjoying the architectural beauty of the colonial churches and other historic buildings.

Later, head to the Museo del Desierto (Desert Museum) an icon of the city and considered one of the best natural history museums in Latin America. Here, your children can better understand how the planet was formed, see the bones of a few dinosaurs extracted from the subsoil of the region and become familiar with the desert ecosystems of northern Mexico and southern United States.

Don’t leave without having bought one of the traditional sarapes, those multicolored blankets known around the world as typically Mexican. They are produced here and are sold at a much more accessible price than at airports.


The old town of Linares, the most important city in the region during colonial times, is the ideal place to savor the delicious regional gastronomy. It relishes its nickname, Pueblo Mágico (Magic Town) and is internationally famous for its glorias and marquetas—sweets made with cooked milk and nuts. No table in Mexico’s northeast is without these treats.

In addition, in 2014 an eighteenth century aqueduct was discovered here—the only one in the region. If you’d like to travel to the past, to a town where it appears time has stood still, come here and lose yourself in a pharmacy over a century old, peep at the interior of the San Felipe Cathedral and discover the history of piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar), of a spirit called aguardiente and of local mead.


monterrey mexico villages
The Grutas de García are grottoes sculpted on rocks for millions of years. (Photo: Getty Images)

To get to know the national history, Icamole is your first destination to visit. This town, located a few miles from Monterrey, is famous because it bore witness to one of the fiercest battles of the nineteenth century.

It’s a small town—about 180 inhabitants—in the middle of the desert and with spectacular landscapes. Nearby, in Paredón, you’ll discover a train cemetery—ideal for giving an exotic touch to your Instagram—and the majestic Grutas de García, grottoes sculpted on rocks for millions of years.


In the past, this village was a genuine oasis. Proof of this is found in the countless petroglyphs found in the municipality, the second most important place in Latin America to study this type of art—turning Mina into a key site to investigate.

In the 1980s, the remains of a mammoth were found on the banks of the Salinas River, which runs across the town. This finding allowed for the opening of the small but well-positioned Bernabé de las Casas museum, located in the center of town. This visit is absolutely recommended to learn more about the country’s northeastern region, from its mining and megafauna to its indigenous traditions and cultures.

San Antonio de las Alazanas

If you visit Monterrey in winter, it’s a good idea to escape for the day to San Antonio de las Alazanas, located in the municipality of Arteaga in Coahuila. Nestled in the middle of partially mountainous forests, this little town is an ideal place to enjoy the “whiteness” of snow— considered a luxury item in Mexican geography.

This is a paradise of apples, quince and peaches, which you can enjoy as is, canned or as a liqueur. At the Museo de las Momias (Mummy Museum) you’ll see a family… mummified. In the nearby Monterreal forests you’ll discover the only alpine ski slope in Mexico and if you are an aficionado, play nine holes of golf at the highest-elevation course in the country.