Monterrey, better known as the “Sultan of the North” (La Sultana del Norte), is the capital of one of the most prosperous states of Mexico, Nuevo Leon. It is thanks to the industrial progress of this ultra-modern and high-tech, constantly changing city that the north-east of the country has become one of the pillars of the national economy. Third in population, ahead of Mexico City and Guadalajara, Monterrey is the first in terms of per capita income. Check bridgat for other cities and countries as well as climate and weather in North America.
The rapid pace of development could not but affect the appearance of one of the most “Americanized” cities in Mexico. There is almost no typical Mexican flavor to be found here. However, the amazing nature: mountains, canyons, deserts, combined with a few elements of colonial style and modern art, make Monterrey an object of close attention of tourists.
History and culture
In 1596, 12 families, led by Diego de Montemayor, founded a small settlement in the Extremadura Valley, which until that moment had practically not attracted the attention of the Spanish colonialists, and named it after the Count of Monterrey, the viceroy of the king. The future commercial center of Mexico was located on the territory of the current Museum of Mexican History and until the 19th century was nothing special. Since 1900, the first factories in Latin America specializing in heavy industry began to operate, and gradually the name “Mexican Pittsburgh” was assigned to the city.
In addition to continuous industrial growth since the beginning of the 20th century, there has been cultural growth: theaters, universities, galleries, cultural centers are being built. All this leads to the fact that it is in Monterrey that the best museum of modern art in the country opens.
How to get there
Monterrey is served by two airports: General Mariano Escobedo International and Del Norte Airport. Both are located in the town of Apodaka (30 km from the centre). Del Norte is responsible only for private flights, passenger flights to all major Mexican and not only cities are served by another airport.
The easiest way to get from the airport is by taxi. However, it must be remembered that often local taxi drivers do not have a basic knowledge of English, so it is better to prepare in advance for such a development of events.
One of the largest bus stations in the northern part of Mexico (Central de Autobuses) serves transfers between cities. There are both first and second class. Everything here is organized for the convenience of passengers: restaurants, pharmacies, Internet cafes, left-luggage offices, telephone communications. The main office is located in the western part of the bus station and is open around the clock.
Geographically, the station is located in the heart of Monterrey – Cristobal Colon Avenue (Av. Colon). The nearest metro station for new arrivals is Cuauhtemoc. The station serves as a transfer station and is located at the intersection of the aboveground and underground parts of the metro (line 1 and line 2).
Getting around the city is quite easy. First of all, you can use the already mentioned metro. The cost of one trip is 4.50 MXN. The prices on the page are for December 2021.
The Monterrey Metro was built not so long ago. The opening was celebrated in 1991. Line 1 (19 stations) was the first to start working, passing from northwest to east, past the Fundidora Park (Parque Fundidora). The trip from the beginning to the final station takes no more than half an hour. Line 2 was built later (13 stations): some of the stations are underground (Macroplaza Square), some are above ground (northern outskirts).
Another way to travel is by buses, which can take you to places where the Monterrey metro has not yet reached. The cost of the trip varies within 10 MXN. You are not in danger of a long wait for this type of transport, however, if you are late, it is better to use a taxi, as the Monterrey bus routes are not the shortest way to the intended destination.
The price of a taxi ride does not exceed reasonable limits. All cars are equipped with counters.
Until 2007, Monterrey was called the safest city in Latin America. Today the situation has worsened. However, a late night walk through the city center is still quite possible.
Cuisine and restaurants
Mexico is a paradise for food lovers. Connoisseurs of meat dishes will be able to discover especially many new and unexpected tastes. Moreover, the northern part of the country actually specializes in cooking different types of meat, and each city has its own signature recipe. In Monterrey, it’s roast goat, or cabrito al pastor. The kid is cooked on a spit, over an open fire, and served by all means in huge portions. Supporters of European cuisine will also be able to find a response in the hearts of Mexican restaurateurs.
Shopping and shops
The number of shops, shops, shopping galleries in Monterrey will satisfy any shopaholic. The list of must-sees includes Galerias Monterrey (open Monday to Friday from 11:00 to 20:30, Saturday from 11:00 to 21:00) and Galerias Valle Oriente (open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 21:00).
Entertainment and attractions
The heart of the city is the Grand Plaza, or Macroplasa, decorated with green spaces, created in the 80s. 20th century. On the square there is another attraction of Monterrey – a fountain with eight bronze figures, where the god of the sea Neptune plays the central role. Perhaps there is nothing more surprising than this sculptural composition, since there are neither large and full-flowing rivers nor the sea in Monterrey. Only the Santa Catarina River, which is practically underground for most of the year, and the man-made Santa Lucia Canal, along which you can take a water excursion.
The tallest monument in the city is the Lighthouse of Commerce (Faro del Comercio). The height of the monument is more than 70 m. The author of the project, the architect Luis Barragan, built the lighthouse in honor of the first anniversary of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The oldest and most Spanish quarter of Monterrey is the Pink Zone (Zona Rosa). It is in this quarter that the most expensive hotels and fashionable buildings are concentrated.
Museum expositions of Monterrey are dedicated to various spheres of human activity. Topics range from baseball to public transportation. Among all, it should be noted:
- Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey). Opening hours and ticket price: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – from 10:00 to 18:00, Wednesday – from 10:00 to 20:00. The museum is closed on Mondays. On Wednesdays admission is free. Students with an ID and children from 6 to 15 years old receive a discount. Children 5 years and under enter the museum free of charge.
- Museum of Mexican History (Museo de Historia Mexicana). From Tuesday to Friday – from 10:00 to 19:00. Saturday and Sunday – from 10:00 to 20:00. The museum is closed on Mondays.
- If you are relaxing with children, then by all means go to the museum and puppet theater in the Barrio Antiguo Baul Teatro area. Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 18:00, Sunday – from 15:00 to 19:00. The museum and theater are closed on Saturdays. The ticket price for the museum is MXN 40 (on Sundays – MXN 60 for adults and MXN 50 for children). The ticket price for a theatrical performance is from 50 to 90 MXN.