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Side Trips from Mexico City

san diego
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Side Trips from Mexico City

Hello everyone:

My husband and I are planning an 8-day trip to Mexico City the last week of September and we are really looking forward to it. We would really like to squeeze in Queretaro, San Miguel Allende or Guanjuato as a side trip and only have one full day to dedicate to one of these towns. I know each town has so much to offer but any recommendations on which to choose if only one? Your input is greatly appreciated! Thank you.

Mexico City
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1. Re: Side Trips from Mexico City

You will get mixed replies. Personally, I would choose Guanajuato which is interesting for its underground streets, center and overall bohemian charm.

The other options are very nice. Queretáro is a big city with a lovely centro histórico and is closest to Mexico City by 40 minutes if time is an issue.

San Miguel de Allende is probalby the most popular and tourist focused of your choices. It has many arts and crafts shops and restaurants and is a charming old town with a lot of foreign visitors.

Queretaro City...
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2. Re: Side Trips from Mexico City

I would probably suggest Guanajuato since it's that bit different. San Miguel is what many Americans think "real" Mexico is - although the endless expensive craft shops and restaurants is anything but! Querétaro has a great Centro for walking but..... I have to say to do any as a day trip is going to be tiring. Even the closest (Querétaro) is going to take you 4 hours door-to-door each way. I really think you need to overnight - these are not places for day-trips.

san diego
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3. Re: Side Trips from Mexico City

Thank you so much for the quick reply! I've always wanted to visit Guanuato.

san diego
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4. Re: Side Trips from Mexico City

Thank you SteveMex. We"ll have to think about that and perhaps make a change and stay overnight instead of trying to make it in one day. I appreciate the quick reply!

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Side Trips from Mexico City

I'd do Guanajuato as well. Incidentally I believe that taking the bus you'd use to get to Guanajuato would require a stop in Queretaro, so you'd have the option to look around the city briefly. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Washington, DC
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6. Re: Side Trips from Mexico City

There are lots of direct buses from Mexico City to Guanajuato (along with pretty much every other city in Mexico). You could stop in Queretaro if you were coming straight from the airport, though.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Side Trips from Mexico City

Thanks for the clarification, jcs27. :-)

Mexico City, Mexico
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8. Re: Side Trips from Mexico City

Hi kokoa,

my suggestion would be:

Go to Guanajuato , stay a night and next day on your way back visit Queretaro or the wineries of la Redonda or Freixenet with good wines and cheese.

Minnesota
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9. Re: Side Trips from Mexico City

Kokoa,

I agree with other posts that state your day will be a long one with long bus rides coming and going and only the afternoon for a quick look where ever you go.

Guanajuato is the most unique of those cities. It is quite different in its layout and has enough to keep you busy for a couple of days. Half of one day will just scratch the surface. One full day could work but choose what you do and see.

Queretaro is a favorite of ours with the lovely plazas/parks in the centro historico plus the old aqueduct. In one full day you could check out the highlights here. Besides it has the reputation of being very safe and often not on the North American tourist list plus it is closer to Mexico City than the others.

SMA is not a large town and it would work best for a quick trip. But the presence of so many expat North Americans really stand out and I think prices are inflated because of them. The cathedral is unique but I would not choose this place as it is not typical of Mexican cities. If you do choose SMA also check out the local library and you might be able to take in some music or a special program there.

So, what is my recommendation. I agree with others who said to enjoy an overnight in whatever town you go to. That would give you a full day in whatever town you go to with the first afternoon and evening and the following morning with an afternoon bus ride back to DF. First choice would be Guanajuato because it is unique. Second choice would be Queretaro. I suggest skipping SMA.

But I also have another thought. Closer than the cities you listed is Puebla which is about a two hour bus ride away. It has a truly lovely center of the city with terrific architecture and a grand zocalo and some famous churches. It's our favorite Mexican city. There is enough there to keep you busy for a couple of days and an overnight there would be good. Also closer to Mexico City than the places you thought about is Cuernavaca. It could work as a day trip since it is not too far away and has a relatively compact center of the city plus two big attractions in the museum which is attributed to Cortez and the expat Brady house with its color and art.

Whatever you choose will be a good experience. All of these places are neat and have enough to keep you interested.

san diego
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10. Re: Side Trips from Mexico City

Thank you EVERYONE for the advice and additional info. This is what makes TripAdvisor one of the best, if not the best, travel resource.

Thanks again!!