Monterrey



Not to be confused with the two cities, Monterey (California) and Monterey (Massachusetts) in the United States of America.

Monterrey is the third largest city in Mexico and the capital of the state of Nuevo León. It is the commercial, industrial, educational, and transportation hub of northern Mexico, also third in economic importance after Mexico City and Mexico State. Although it is historically an industrial and commercial city (in fact most foreign visitors come for business purposes), tourists will be surprised at the wealth of cultural and entertainment attractions that the city has to offer.

Cerro de la Silla

Understand

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Mural depicting the founding of Monterrey.

Monterrey traces its modern history to its founding in 1596, when Diego de Montemayor founded the city, together with 12 first families. The story is told by a mural on one of the modern grey concrete and black glass government office towers downtown, just off the Macroplaza. The mural seems odd in its juxtaposition of Spanish conquistadors set next to a modern city of skyscrapers and factories. It does capture the spirit of Monterrey though -- a city that isn't so much a product of its past as it is a product of its future.

Monterrey is an aggressively modern city, unlike most destinations in Mexico. Although it does have some colonial era sights, and its Barrio Antiguo district preserves a sense of Monterrey as it was in its once "sleepy town" days, the city is very much a product of the industrial age of the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Today, Monterrey has a culture that values education and business ethics. Often referred to as "an industrial giant", the label is more true in the imagination than it is in reality. Monterrey's big steel and iron works have been shut down for almost three decades, and even the concrete, glass, and brewing industries don't dominate the economy as they once did. Instead, people in Monterrey are today more likely to work in retail, in banking, in telecommunications, IT, health care or education.

The city enjoys one of Mexico's highest standards of living, and the population is more educated and cultured than average.

Monterrey's MUNE museum opened September 2007.

Monterrey is also a large city. The central downtown has a population of about a million, but the metropolitan area that includes all of its adjacent suburban municipalities brings its total city population to just over 5 million --- similar in size to the San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S.

While it is true that visitors seeking the traditional flavor of colonial Mexico find little to love about Monterrey, the city has emerged as a leading cultural center: it likes cutting edge contemporary architecture (like the visually stunning Puente Atirantado or Puente Viaducto de la Unidad in San Pedro Garza Garcia, the new circular Tec business school in el Valle, or the physics-defying twin leaning bookends look of that shocking white concrete and black glass building that you see as you drive past the ITESM campus). It's also a youthful city that tends to prefer cutting edge rockeros like Plastilina Mosh or Kinky to the cowboy-hat wearing cumbia groups that built the city's music industry in the 1970s and 1980s. Monterrey is a city where international cuisine finds a welcoming reception, and where high-speed broadband internet connections are more commonplace than in many U.S. communities. Monterrey is a progressive, modern city that likes to learn, likes to work, and likes to live for the weekend.

Districts

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Map of the Monterrey Metropolitan Area
  Centro
Contains most of the city's top attractions, including the Barrio Antiguo, Macroplaza, and Parque Fundidora.
  Outer Monterrey
The rest of the Monterrey municipality, except for Centro. The southern part includes the TEC campus.
  Western suburbs
San Pedro Garza Garcia and Santa Catarina
  Eastern suburbs
Guadalupe, San Nicolas and Apodaca (airports)

Get in

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Monterrey is a large city with a wide variety of transportation options. Bus, plane, or personal car are the most practical ways to get to Monterrey.

By plane

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Monterrey has two airports. All commercial flights use Monterrey International (MTY) -- the city's main airport. Private and cargo carriers use Del Norte Airport.

1 General Mariano Escobedo International Airport (MTY  IATA Monterrey International Airport), +52 81 83-45-44-34. Daily international flights to Detroit, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Havana. Aeromexico flies direct to Madrid. The airport has several flights a day to all major Mexican destinations, including Mexico City, Guadalajara, Toluca, Cancún, Mérida, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Tijuana. Several low cost airlines fly from Monterrey to different parts of the country, including Volaris and Viva Aerobus. MTY is a hub for Viva Aerobus. The airport is about 30 minutes from downtown, in the suburban municipality of Apodaca. There are ATMs in all terminals. Terminal A is often considered the "main terminal building" and serves international flights and some national flights. Terminal B is a new terminal building that will serve primarily national (domestic) flights. Terminal C serves only Viva Aerobus flights (both domestic and international), though these also may arrive at Terminal A. As of 2023, a free inter-terminal shuttle is available. Monterrey-Gen. Mariano Escobedo (Q767660) on Wikidata Monterrey International Airport on Wikipedia

Ground transportation to/from MTY

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Taxi kiosks inside Monterrey International Airport
  • For a taxi, you have to locate a bank of kiosks inside the terminal, outside the baggage claim area. Use these kiosks to select a taxi company and pay the fare to the part of the city (zone) where you want to go. Once you pay you are given a ticket that has to be shown to the driver in order to be let into a cab. The usual taxi fare to go from the airport to the city and vice versa is about M$600. From the city, any taxi will take you and the fare will be the same from any point of the city to the airport. Local taxis and ride-share services are not permitted to pick up passengers at the airport.
  • Noreste Bus offers a one-way fare of M$115 (March 2022). It takes you from the airport to the central bus station (25 minutes with no traffic). The buses have air-conditioning. You can find the Noreste counter next to the domestic arrivals or visit the website to make your reservation. The buses departs about 50 m in front of the arrivals building. The bus goes to the Terminal Fierro and then to the central bus station. The VivaBus from the airline VivaAerobus is a cooperation with Noreste, it's the same bus. The VivaBus is an economical option to reach downtown destinations and it stops at the main bus station (Central de Autobuses).
  • Another possibility is to take a Ruta Express bus from the airport to the metro station "Y Griega" for M$15 (January 2024). There change to the metro or local bus. Moovit shows you a public transport transport connection with this bus from the airport to your accommodation.
  • Rental car counters are located inside the terminal building and just outside the domestic arrival area (to your right as you exit customs from the international arrivals door). Rates are no higher than in the U.S., and you can book online through any major car rental company web site. Companies with rental locations on-site at MTY airport include: National, Advantage, Europcar, Thrifty, Alamo, Payless, Hertz, Budget, and Avis.

Airlines serving MTY

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  • International Service: Foreign airlines serving MTY include Air Canada, American, Delta, Spirit, and United.
  • Both International and Domestic Service: Aeromexico, Magni, Volaris, and Viva Aerobus.


2 Del Norte International Airport (NTR  IATA), +52 81 80-30-90-90. Private planes flying to Monterrey can use the smaller Del Norte Airport. There is no bureaucracy involved in entering Monterrey through this airport. There are various FBOs that will be glad to assist you with your every need, and the hospitality of every single employee of the airport and the FBOs give you a very warm welcome to Monterrey. The FBOs can get you in contact with a car rental company or can take you to your hotel. This airport is also in Apodaca but it is a little closer to the city than the Mariano Escobedo Airport. Del Norte International Airport (Q1657885) on Wikidata Del Norte International Airport on Wikipedia

By bus

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3 Central Bus Station of Monterrey (Central de Autobuses de Monterrey), Av. Cristóbal Colón 855, +52 81 8372-9324. Monterrey's Central de Autobuses is the hub of bus transportation in the city. It is served by more than a dozen first-class bus lines and dozens more second-class bus lines. Trans-border buses go between Monterrey and cities throughout the United States. Long distance buses go from Monterrey to other major Mexican bus hubs and to every notable city in northern Mexico. (Q18810089) on Wikidata

Inside the bus station are Mexican fast food chains like Doña Tota, El Carbonero and El Sabor de Villa de Santiago. They have main dishes from M$49 (March 2022). There is also the US-American Popeye's.

Inside the station's building is a luggage storage for M$10 per hour (March 2022). And there is a BanBajío ATM behind the Domino's right next to the branch of Taxi Seguro. You can also find a Santander ATM behind the luggage storage.

Central de Autobuses is located in the heart of Monterrey on Av. Colon. You can get to the Central de Autobuses using the Metrorrey subway system.

Monterrey's Central de Autobuses, Metrorrey subway line running overhead.

From San Luis Potosí this first-class bus has a considerably lower price: Apolo Platinum for M$400 (March 2022). They are with air conditioning and run at night. In San Luis Potosí they depart near the central bus station at Hotel Sand's. In Monterrey they arrive near the bus station. The whatsapp number of the bus company is +525565788344.

Bus lines operating between Monterrey and Texas and other southern U.S. state destinations include (among others):

First-class and executive-level bus lines operating between Monterrey and other Mexican cities include (among others):

Some bus lines also have small company-specific bus stations on the outskirts of the city, for example, Grupo Senda has a stop near the Cintermex, which can be convenient for passengers arriving by way of the McAllen/Reynosa border crossing.

By car

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Faro Comercio is a monument to Monterrey's business culture.

Monterrey is about 200 km south of the U.S./Mexico border. The most common border crossings, both in South Texas, used to get to Monterrey are Laredo/Nuevo Laredo and McAllen-Hidalgo/Reynosa. The travel time from either Reynosa or Nuevo Laredo is about two hours. Many regios (As residents of Monterrey are nicknamed) drive to San Antonio and all points north through Puente Colombia (Colombia Solidarity Bridge) outside of Nuevo Laredo. This might sometimes be attributed to safety concerns following press coverage of Nuevo Laredo's international drug trade violence, but most often, knowledgeable travelers prefer the Colombia checkpoint because crossing is faster and easier, especially at peak crossing times. [1]

From points in the United States, take Interstate 35 south. The highway ends at International Bridge 2 in Laredo. The Aduana office for handling vehicle import paperwork is on the river road in between Bridge 1 and Bridge 2. Mexican auto insurance can also be purchased there. From Nuevo Laredo, take Mexico Highway 85 south and it brings you right into Monterrey.

Guia Roji maps to Mexico are indispensable for drivers in Mexico. You can buy them online ahead of time, or they are sold in every Sanborns store in Mexico. You will need a map to drive in Monterrey because the city is large and complex, though today, Google Maps will usually serve travelers better than paper maps --- just make sure you have international roaming enabled and/or a plan that includes Mexico coverage.

Get around

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E-hailing and walking are the best choices. Buses are common. The subway is good, but has limited coverage.

By e-hailing

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Uber, Didi and Cabify serve the city. Usually Cabify has the lowest fares.

By taxi

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Taxis come in two color schemes: older ones are lime green and white, while the newer ones are yellow and white. The difference is just cosmetic as they are both affordable and plentiful. Taxis use meters in Monterrey, and to avoid overcharges, insist that the driver use the meter.

By public transport

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For finding a connection, Moovit and Google Maps cover the city.

City bus

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City bus in Monterrey

One ride costs about M$12 (March 2022) and is paid to driver when entering. Buses stop only at dedicated bus stops. Not every bus stop has a sign. Just have a look where other people are waiting or ask somebody around where the bus stop is.

Buses with route numbers 1-199 are local/urban buses that stay in a certain part of the city. Numbers 200-300 go to most part of the city (multiple colonias/municipalities). 300-502 are minibuses. Also there is a Metrobus service in Guadalupe and San Bernabe area. There are three routes in San Bernabe and one in Guadalupe. For more info go to Metrorrey website.

Ecovia

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Ecovia is a bus-rapid-transit (BRT) system operating large, new articulated buses on dedicated transit lanes. As of 2023, one route with 39 stations is operational with a second route under construction. The Ecovia route follows Av. Ruiz Cortines for 30 km from northwest Monterrey (Lincoln) to downtown Monterrey and then east to San Nicolas and Guadalupe. Ecovia travel times average 50% faster than using a car or taxi.

Transfer points from Ecovia to Metrorrey are at Ruiz Cortinas (Line 1) and Mitras (Line 3). Ecovia passengers can transfer to Metrorrey without additional charge.

The new Ecovia route will go from Guadalupe through San Pedro and Santa Catarina to Garcia. The two routes will not intersect.

Metrorrey

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Map of Monterrey subway system (as of 2022).

The Metrorrey subway system is clean, modern, and very inexpensive. One ride costs M$6 (November 2022) and at some stations, can be paid in cash without having the metro card. At several stations, a rechargeable metro card is required as no single-ride tickets are sold there. A metro card costs M$20 (March 2022) and can be recharged in any amount.

The Metro can be used to go between downtown areas like Macroplaza or Barrio Antiguo and the Central de Autobuses bus station. It also stops near the Cerveceria Cuahtemoc and the Coliseo and is a good choice if you are staying in the Eastern suburban municipalities of Guadalupe or San Nicolas. The useful stops for a tourist include:

  • Central: main bus station, Coliseo
  • Cuahtemoc: transfer point, brewery
  • Padre Mier: shopping near Morelos (Zona Rosa), iStay, Mision hotel
  • Zaragoza: Macroplaza, Barrio Antiguo, MARCO, Hotel Monterrey, Krystal, Gran Ancira, Santa Rosa Suites
  • Parque Fundidora: Parque Fundidora, Museo Acero Horno 3, Cintermex, Arena Monterrey, Holiday Inn Fundidora
  • Universidad: Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León, Parque Niños Héroes, Estadio Universitario (Tigres)
  • Santa Lucia: Paseo Santa Lucia, Parque Fundidora, Baseball Hall of Fame, IMSS Hospital

In 2021, line 3 of the system opened which connects a major hospital in San Nicolas with downtown and is operated together with line 2 in a rough u-shape.

Rolling stock is quite diverse with Mexican and Chinese made trains as well as 1980s built former Frankfurt-am-Main rolling stock refurbished for service in Monterrey.

By car

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Street near the Macroplaza in downtown Monterrey.

Renting a car is a possibility, though it can be expensive and navigating the streets can be a bit tricky. As with any major metro area, parking is always an issue, though parking is generally easier in Monterrey than in other cities of similar size. Many downtown hotels offer free parking and free valet parking for their guests. A large public lot under the Macroplaza usually has spaces available.

Downtown tourism transportation

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In the downtown area, there is a tourist trolley that does regular circuits around the Macroplaza and Barrio Antiguo areas.

Riverboats on the Paseo Santa Lucia can be used to go between the Macroplaza area and Parque Fundidora. The boats leave from the waterway below the Museo de Historia Mexicana, near the Palacio del Gobierno.

See

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Individual listings can be found in Monterrey's district articles
Museo de Historia Mexicana in downtown Monterrey
  • 1 Cerveceria Cuahtemoc (Centro). Tours and sample of Carta Blanca, Dos Equis, Bohemia, Sol, or one of the other beers brewed here.
  • 2 Macroplaza. In the east of the Zona Rosa is Mexico's largest zocalo, or central plaza, a stretch of green space lined with fountains, statues, gardens, and monuments. Ringing the park are many historical buildings and museums, including the Monterrey Cathedral, the Mexican History Museum, the Monterrey Contemporary Art Museum, and the former palace of the governor.
  • 3 Puente Atirantado - (Also known as 'Puente de la Unidad San Pedro'). Futuristic suspension bridge set against a dramatic backdrop of nearby mountains. You can walk on it and enjoy the view of Monterrey.

Do

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Map
Region around Monterrey

Monterrey offers a wide array of activities, celebrations, and special events.

Adrenaline junkies will find ample opportunities for mountaineering activities, including rappeling, caving, canyoneering, mountain biking, and hiking in the mountains and parks surrounding the city.

Families will want to check out the 1 Paseo Santa Lucia and modern architecture downtown. Visit 2 Parque Plaza Sesamo to experience a Mexican amusement park.

Events

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Festival Internacional Santa Lucia, October 2023
  • Festival Internacional Cine (International Film Festival) - since 2005, movies have been the talk of the town during the month of April when film makers come to show off their work.
  • Expo Feria Guadalupe (Guadalupe) - For more than 70 years, Regios have gathered each May for northern Mexico's biggest and boldest livestock show and fair. There's food, there's music, there's games, and so much more.
  • Luztopia (Parque Fundidora) - every year throughout the month of December, the pathways around the Paseo Santa Lucia light up with colorful lights and Christmas displays delight the entire family.
  • Festival Internacional Santa Lucia - the festival is a celebration of art and culture in Nuevo Leon with participation from communities throughout the state. The festival includes films, concerts, regional music and dance, and exhibits of visual arts.

Sports

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Commencing the bull fight, Plaza Monumental, Monterrey
  • Fuerza Regia (basketball) - Professional basketball seems to be taking off in Mexico and the Fuerza Regia play in the massive, ultramodern new Arena Monterrey.
  • Sultanes(baseball) - Monterrey's AAA-level Mexican League Baseball team is the Sultanes --- one of the best and most enduring teams in Mexico. Now 2 teams in 1 since the Sultanes have also joined the AAA-level Liga Pacifica (a winter league), letting fans enjoy baseball year round. Kick back in the 40,000-seat Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey on any warm evening, have a couple ice cold Carta Blancas, and cheer when the Sultanes smack in another jonron!
  • Rayados (football/soccer) - The Rayados (sometimes also called La Pandilla) are one of two professional soccer teams --- both very good --- playing in Monterrey. Games are played in the newly built Estadio BBVA with a capacity of 53,500.
Salon de la Fama Beisbol Profesional Mexicana
  • Tigres (football/soccer) - The Tigres are Monterrey's "other" first-division professional soccer team, playing at the 43,000 seat Estadio Universitario. (A new 65,000 seat stadium is being built on the UANL campus.) The biggest game of the year is the Clasico Regiomontano, pitting the two hometown teams against each other.
  • Borregos Salvajes (football/American) - College football with a Mexican accent, the Borregos Salvajes are the team for ITESM (also known as "Tec de Monterrey").
  • Autenticos Tigres (football/American) - College football with a Mexican accent, the Autenticos Tigres are the team for UANL.
Bungee jumping at the mesa, Parque Ecologico Chipinque, Monterrey

Hiking

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  • 3 Cerro de la Silla. - Monterrey's most famous landmark is the saddle-shaped mountain that dominates the local skyline. After hiking about 25 min uphill there is already the 4 viewpoint La Virgen. On the rocks you have a terrific view over the city. There are hiking trails continuing in the direction of its peak.
    To the 4 start point of the trail you can take an Uber or city bus. Bus lines 223 and 93 go very frequently from the Zona Rosa. At the 5 bus stop near the trail is a minimarket, where you can buy water for the hike.
  • 4 Cama de Piedra. This hiking destination is inside the Sierra Las Mitras. It's mountains are up to 1,000 m higher than the elevation of Monterrey. Cama de Piedra is a 30 min hike uphill. From there the trail continues in the direction of the mountain top. Near the start of the trail the bus line 23 is said to operate coming from the metro station Alameda in the center of Monterrey.

Other activities

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  • 5 Overground trip. You can take the overground metro for a nice view over the city. The trains of new built section are almost empty, even in rush hour, so you can sit and enjoy the view. That new section is between the metro stations Félix U Gómez and Hospital Metropolitano. The price for the trip is M$4.50 (March 2022) altogether.
  • 6 Lucha Libre. If WWE is too tame for you, check out Lucha Libre --- the original professional wrestling. Tuesday evenings at 7pm seem to be the best time to catch some wrestling action. It happens at the Coliseo, across the street from the Central de Autobuses.
  • 7 Bull fights. Some people find it bloody and barbaric, but it's an authentic slice of Spanish heritage and the bullfights in Monterrey feature top-tier professional matadors. Bullfights no longer take place in the historic Plaza Monumental bullring, but instead, are typically held indoors at the Arena Monterrey in Parque Fundidora.
  • 8 Chipinque Park – 13 km. Mountain next to San Pedro Garza Garcia, hiking trails, recreation areas, full-service restaurant with panoramic vistas of Monterrey, rustic cabins and lodge for overnight guests.

Out of town trips

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  • 9 Saltillo – 85 km. A beautiful colonial city. The temperatures are colder than in Monterrey because of the higher altitude. From the central bus station of Monterrey several bus companies depart frequently. The price is about M$160 (March 2022) and the ride takes around 1:45h. There are buses going back to Monterrey even in the late evening and during the night.
  • 10 Cascada Cola de Caballo – 45 km. Take a day trip out to the park and see the waterfalls.
    There is a bus from the central station to El Cerado, a neighborhood of Santiago, for M$30 (March 2022). It departs every half hour. At the Plaza del Cercado is said to be a bus to the waterfalls. Otherwise take a taxi for the 7 km.
  • 11 Presa de la Boca – 40 km. This is one of the dams that provides the water supply for the city. This is a popular recreational spot for the local population. Here you will find lots of traditional products, handcrafts, regional cuisine and some other goods. It is recommended for its traditional atmosphere. Also you may hire a service to do horse riding, sailing, karting or biking. The shops are magnificent.
    At the lake is the so-called magic village of Santiago. The historic center is up on the hill around the church Parroquia Santiago Apostol. An elegant lunch in the historic center can be enjoyed at the restaurant Las Palomas.
    From the central bus station you can take a bus to Santiago for M$30 (March 2022). They leave every 30 min and the ride takes about 1:30h. Departures back are until 22:30. Going back from Santiago to Monterrey you could also take the white buses marked Alamo. They go hourly and cost M$15 (March 2022).
  • 12 Grutas de Garcia – 45 km. About 45 min away. See the caves, there is a cable car that takes you to the entrance. Then you have to pay for a guided tour that lasts for about an hour.
    To García take an intercity bus from the bus station for M$30 (March 2022). Or you could take the regional bus line 107 for M$15 (March 2022), which departs in front of the bus station about every 10 min. Leave the regional bus in Garcia at the Soriana. In Garcia take a taxi, Uber or Didi for about M$50-100 (March 2022) to the cable car of the caves. The cable car costs M$80 round-trip (March 2022) or you walk uphill to the caves. For the way back to García you could also try hitchhicking.
  • 13 El Potrero Chico – 45 km. An internationally renowned rock climbing area 1 hr ride outside the city. It is also great for biking and trail running.
  • 14 Matacanes – 95 km. A Mecca for the rugged outdoors sportsman, it's a narrow, whitewater river rushing through the Sierra Madres, cascading over waterfalls, and forcing its way with all due haste towards the Gulf of Mexico. People come to Matacanes to hike the verdant green mountain trails, to swim in the cool pools, to rappel down sheer cliff faces, and to see a side of Northern Mexico that few guide books take the time to explore.
  • 15 Bioparque Estrella – 80 km. (Also called Safari Parque Estrella). Located about 1 hour from Monterrey this wildlife safari park features treks through the Serengeti, a petting zoo, and a variety of attractions for the whole family.

Buy

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Inside the MARCO Museum.

ATMs

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Low withdrawal fees in the Zona Rosa are:

  • Banco del Bienestar for just M$12 (March 2022)
  • Banca Inbursa
  • BanCoppel

In the Barrio Antiguo you find:

  • Banorte

And there are ATM with low fees around the bus station:

  • BanCoppel inside the Coppel Store
  • BanBajío inside the bus station behind the Domino's
  • Banamex inside the Soriana Hiper
  • Santander inside the Soriana Express

Groceries

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In the Zona Rosa, Barrio Antiguo and around the bus station are Oxxo, 7-eleven and minimarkets (tiendas) around. A bigger variety has Waldo's and 1 Merco Aramberri. Large supermarkets are near the central bus station: 2 Soriana Express and 3 Soriana Hiper.

Shopping

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The shopping scene in Monterrey is excellent. You'll find many international labels and designer houses in the upper-end malls. The downtown area is full of small shops selling everything you never knew you needed.

Several shopping malls are located throughout the city, but especially in San Pedro Garza Garcia. These malls are like malls elsewhere in the world, and they're usually anchored by Mexican chains (like Liverpool or Palacio del Hierro) and U.S. chains (like Sears or JCPenny). The downtown Zona Rosa area is Monterrey's traditional shopping area and features a pedestrian shopping mall with several department stores (Liverpool, Sears, el Nuevo Mundo, Del Sol) on major roads.

Local character is on display on the Carretera Nacional (MEX 85), heading south of the city. A 1.6-km (1-mile) stretch of highway near the town of Santiago is lined with small open-air shops, restaurants, and marketplaces. You can get great deals on rustic furniture, clothing, household goods, homemade food products, and just about anything else you can imagine. Parking can be difficult on weekends, but the selection is at its best and the atmosphere is the closest thing you'll find to the big outdoor markets boasted by cities in the rest of the Latin world.

Although Monterrey is not known for any specific types of popular folk art, their regional candies are widely sold throughout the city and make excellent gifts to bring back home. Look for any kind of "leche quemada", especially the deliciously carmelized "Glorias", crusted in chopped pecans.

Eat

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In the beer garden at the Cerveceria Cuahtemoc.

Monterrey is a paradise for spicy food lovers and anyone who loves the smoky flavor of fresh meats grilled over smoldering wood embers will be right at home in any restaurant serving authentic Northern Mexican cuisine. Worthwhile local delicacies are:

  • cabrito - Whole kid goats are splayed over hot coals and slow roasted for hours. Usually served with hot tortillas, fresh sliced onions, and house salsa.
  • machacado - Breakfast in Monterrey often includes machacado con huevo, dried salted beef is shredded into a pan and lightly braised, then eggs are scrambled in -- serve with warm tortillas and salsa.
  • atropellado - Dry meat with tomato, onion and peppers, really good!
  • cafe de olla - Rustic-style coffee brewed with a touch of cinnamon. Delicious!
  • arracherra - What's known as fajitas in some places is arracherra in Monterrey -- grilled marinated skirt steak topped with melted white cheese and served with hot tortillas and caramelized onions.
  • leche quemada - Nuevo León is famous for its succulently sweet caramel candies made from scorched sweetened goat milk. The candies are available in several forms, including small balls dusted with fine granular sugar, rolls, and of course, Glorias -- the queen of leche quemada, with a healthy dollop of chopped pecans to enhance its already nutty sweet flavor
  • discada - It gets its name because traditionally you make in a used plow disc that's been welded shut. Meat, pork, chicken, sausage, chilaca, onion, beer and bacon with some tortillas.

Some good restaurants for authentic Northern Mexican food include El Regio and El Rey del Cabrito, or, if just looking for a quick sampling, the cafe chain Dona Tota for some gorditas.

For eating recommendations including street food in the popular Centro district, have a look into the dedicated article.

Drink

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By day, the Barrio Antiguo has stylish colonial charm, at night, it's a club-hopper's scene.

Monterrey is a famous brewing city and is the home for popular brands like Dos Equis and Bohemia. You can stop by the beer garden in front of the brewery anytime during the day for a free glass of beer under the towering oak trees. If you like craft beers, the buzzword to ask for in bars and restaurants is cerveza artesanal. You'll find several craft beer bars in the Barrio Antiguo. In other parts of Monterrey, stop by the Sierra Madre Brewing Company (several locations throughout the city, each featuring fresh beer and brick-oven pizzas). The clubbing scene in Monterrey is very hot. Nightclubs range from the typical "dive bar" to the very expensive, valet-please-park-my-Lamborghini places. Because Monterrey is home to the top colleges in Mexico, thousands of young people from all over Mexico party as early as Wednesday. You will surely find a club that suits your taste. There are 2 major clubbing areas to know about, downtown in the Barrio Antiguo and the Centrito, in San Pedro Garza Garcia.

  • Casino gambling is not permitted, but off-track horse race betting is. If gambling is your game, head to Caliente. The larger, nicer location is near Galerias Monterrey, just off Gral. Pablo Gonzales Garza by the Hampton Inn. Another location is downtown in the Macroplaza area, on Zaragoza next door to the Hotel Monterrey Macroplaza.
  • A night out is not complete until you finish eating "breakfast" at a local taqueria or hot dog stand. It is very common to find outdoor grills going full-tilt on city streets at 04:00 Tacos del Julio and Tacos del Güero are two of the most sought-out establishments for this purpose.
  • The traffic fine for being caught driving under the influence can reach up to US$2,500 or three days imprisonment. Police roadblocks on Saturday nights are common. It's not worth the risk.

Sleep

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From basic lodging to modern class hotel towers that almost look like they could compete with something out of Dubai, Monterrey offers a full spectrum of lodging choices, including hostels and camping options. The most popular neighborhoods for staying are Zona Rosa and Barrio Antiguo. The newest and most upscale hotels are found in the municipality of San Pedro Garza Garcia.

There are several decent low-priced hotels clustered within a few blocks of the bus station. The guest rating on Google Maps gives you a hint of the quality.

The hotels near the bus station along the street Miguel Nieto can only be booked for 4 or 12 hours. 4 hours for 2 persons are M$280 (March 2022).

To see the sleeping suggestions of the popular Centro district, have a look into the dedicated article.

Connect

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High-speed broadband internet is widely available and most hotels provide wi-fi hotspots. Cyber cafes provide short-term internet access for about US$1 per hour. Yes, there are still some cyber cafes around Monterrey, but they are an endangered species as everyone has messaging on their cell phones.

Newspapers are still a viable business in Mexico and several daily papers are sold in Monterrey, including:

Stay healthy

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The sun is bright in Monterrey with high solar radiation, and while higher elevations can feel cooler, the sun still burns. Sunburn and premature skin aging are preventable. Use SPF 50 sunblock.

Water

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Most areas in Monterrey have potable tap water. Although the careful traveler will probably still heed the general advice to not drink the water in Mexico, you actually can drink tap water in most of Monterrey, particularly in areas with newer development, such as the hotel zone in San Pedro. It's probably still safer to stick to bottled water, since visitors won't know where the safe (or unsafe) areas are, but there's definitely no need to freak out because you inadvertently brushed your teeth or chomped on an ice cube.

Stay safe

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Every large city has public safety issues and Monterrey is no exception although the city is mostly safe and is well patrolled by several municipal police departments as well as by the Nuevo Leon state police.

Police generally patrol with their red and blue emergency lights on. Municipal police vehicles are light yellow and white within the city of Monterrey, and black and white in the municipalities of Guadalupe, San Pedro, Santa Catarina, San Nicolas and Apodaca. State police usually drive black pickup trucks.

Avoiding high-crime areas

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Tourists sometimes encounter trouble by straying into neighborhoods that have no touristic sights, no hotels, and no upscale restaurants. Well-trafficked neighborhoods are very safe. Tourists are unlikely to ever have safety issues in San Pedro Garza Garcia or in most areas of el Centro (including Parque Fundidora, Barrio Antiguo, and the Macroplaza). There are non-tourist friendly areas in some of the more working class neighborhoods in Guadalupe, San Nicolas, and Santa Catarina. In Monterrey, Colonia Independencia is regarded as an unsafe neighborhood due to the presence of drug crime. Pickpockets may be in any crowded area and have been reported in and around the main bus station (Central de Autobuses). Use caution in those areas and avoid carrying valuables. Use common sense and avoid being alone in unfamiliar areas.

Avoiding crime when getting around

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Walking in tourist areas is generally safe, though it would be prudent to avoid walking at night in unfamiliar areas without people around.

The safest way to get around the city is by Uber or a known taxi (meaning one you call, or get from a populated sitio, not one hailed on the street). Although rare today, there were problems in the mid 2000s to mid 2010s with taxis robbing or sometimes kidnapping riders. These were generally fake taxis operated by criminal gangs. The crimes generally stopped when people began using more Ubers and by taking precautions like having a friend (or hotel doorman) take note of the taxi numbers and license plate numbers even when using known taxis called to a hotel or restaurant.

Several kinds of public transportation exist in Monterrey and many are quite safe. The Metrorrey subway system is generally safe as is the Eco-Via bus rapid transit (BRT) system. The state of Nuevo Leon operates an extensive bus network throughout the greater Monterrey region. The buses are calle Trans-Metro and are modern green and white buses emblazoned with "Muevo Leon" on the side. These are generally safe, particularly in daylight hours, but they do serve some sketchy areas that are best avoided at night, especially if you are alone.

Natural disasters

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Monterrey is generally safe from natural disasters because it is a warm climate (no snow and ice) that is inland (not subject to hurricanes). Monterrey does suffer from high temperatures and low precipitation. Heat stroke can be a serious problem in summer months and drought can sometimes occur.

Cope

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Consulates

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Go next

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Monterrey in the summer can be hot, so you may want to head for higher elevations. Your next destination can be...

To the west

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To the north-west

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To the north

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To the south

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  • Real de Catorce – 350 km. A ghost town, which still has several open hotels.
  • Matehuala – 320 km. On the way to San Luis Potosí.
  • San Luis Potosí – 510 km. To see the details of the buses have a look into the Get In section of the SLP article.

By air

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Monterrey has many direct low cost flights, especially from Viva Aerobus and from charter airline Magni. Dirt cheap fares are usually available to Mexico City and all of the major beach resort areas on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Monterrey can be an excellent gateway to every major destination in Mexico.


This city travel guide to Monterrey is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.