Your Ultimate Queretaro Travel Guide 2023
Are you planning a trip to Mexico and looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination? Look no further than Queretaro! This charming colonial city is located in central Mexico, just north of Mexico City, and offers visitors a blend of history, culture, and gastronomy. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an art enthusiast, Queretaro has something for everyone. In this ultimate Queretaro travel guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to plan your perfect trip to this hidden gem of a city. From the best things to see and do, to the top places to eat and drink, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started and explore the wonders of Queretaro together!
Top 5 Things To See And Do In Queretaro
- Explore Queretaro’s Historic Center: Queretaro’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-see for any visitor to the city. The center is full of stunning colonial architecture and plazas, including the Plaza de Armas and the Jardin Zenea.
- Visit The Aqueduct: The Aqueduct is one of Queretaro’s most famous landmarks, built in the 18th century to supply water to the city. You can take a walk along the aqueduct or even climb up to the top for incredible views of the city.
- Take A Trip To The Sierra Gorda: The Sierra Gorda is a stunning natural area just outside of Queretaro. You can take a day trip to explore the natural beauty of the area, including waterfalls, caves, and stunning vistas.
- Sample Local Cuisine: Queretaro is known for its delicious cuisine, which combines traditional Mexican flavors with local ingredients. Be sure to try the chicharrones, cecina, and enchiladas queretanas while you’re in the city.
- Attend A Festival Or Event: Queretaro is known for its lively festivals and events throughout the year. Some of the most popular include the Santiago Apostol Festival in July and the Festival Internacional de Cine de Queretaro in October. Check the calendar before you visit to see what’s going on during your stay.
Where To Stay In Queretaro
- Centro Historico: This charming neighborhood is the heart of Queretaro and home to many historic buildings and landmarks, such as the Templo de Santa Rosa de Viterbo and the Aqueduct. Here you can find luxury hotels like the Casa de la Marquesa and affordable options like Hostal Galerie.
- Jurica: Located on the outskirts of the city, Jurica is known for its luxurious resorts and quiet, upscale neighborhoods. It’s the perfect choice for those looking for a more peaceful, residential atmosphere. Some top-rated hotels in the area include the Hotel Misión Juriquilla and the Grand Fiesta Americana Queretaro.
- San Juan Del Rio: A bit further from Queretaro, San Juan del Rio is a charming colonial town known for its picturesque architecture and vibrant cultural scene. It’s a great choice for travelers looking to experience a different side of Mexico. The Hacienda Jurica by Brisas and the La Casa de los Dos Leones are two popular hotel options. You may also want to check out our San Juan, Puerto Rico travel guide.
- El Campanario: This gated community is home to some of the most exclusive resorts in Queretaro, with amenities like private pools, golf courses, and spa services. The Live Aqua Urban Resort and the Grand Fiesta Americana Queretaro are both highly rated options in the area.
- Queretaro Industrial: If you’re visiting for business, the Queretaro Industrial neighborhood is a great choice, with easy access to the city’s major industrial areas. Some hotels to consider in the area include the Holiday Inn Queretaro Zona Diamante and the City Express Queretaro Jurica.
Top Queretaro Hotels
- Hotel Doña Urraca: Located in the heart of Queretaro’s historic center, this boutique hotel is housed in a beautiful colonial-style building. With only 24 rooms, it offers an intimate and personalized experience for guests. The hotel features a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the city, a spa, and a restaurant that serves traditional Mexican cuisine.
- Casa De La Cuesta: This elegant hotel is situated in a restored 18th-century mansion in Queretaro’s UNESCO-listed historic center. The rooms are decorated with antique furniture and feature modern amenities such as air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. The hotel has a beautiful courtyard, a rooftop terrace, and a pool.
- La Casa De La Marquesa: This stunning hotel is housed in a 18th-century baroque palace in the heart of Queretaro. The rooms are individually decorated with traditional Mexican motifs and feature modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. The hotel has a beautiful garden, a restaurant that serves gourmet cuisine, and a bar.
- Antigua Alqueria De Carrion: This charming hotel is located just outside of Queretaro’s historic center, in a peaceful countryside setting. The rooms are housed in a restored 19th-century hacienda and feature traditional Mexican decor. The hotel has a large garden with a pool, a restaurant that serves regional cuisine, and a spa.
- Misión Juriquilla: This modern hotel is located in the upscale neighborhood of Juriquilla, just outside of Queretaro. The rooms are spacious and feature contemporary decor and amenities such as flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. The hotel has a large pool, a fitness center, and a restaurant that serves international cuisine.
Where To Eat In Queretaro
Food is one of the many highlights of Queretaro, and you’ll find everything from street food to high-end dining options. Here are five of the best places to eat in Queretaro:
- El Huateque: If you’re looking for authentic Mexican cuisine, El Huateque is a must-visit restaurant. The restaurant is decorated with colorful murals, and the menu features dishes from different regions of Mexico. The star dish is the cochinita pibil, a slow-cooked pork dish marinated in citrus and achiote.
- Las Delicias Del Marques: This seafood restaurant has been a local favorite for over 30 years. The menu features dishes like shrimp cocktail, ceviche, and grilled octopus, and the portions are generous. Make sure to try their famous aguachile, a spicy shrimp dish.
- La Mariposa Vinos & Cuisine: For a more upscale dining experience, La Mariposa Vinos & Cuisine is a great choice. The restaurant has a beautiful outdoor terrace overlooking the city and a great wine selection. The menu is a fusion of Mexican and international cuisine, with dishes like lamb shank and sea bass.
- El Faisán Y El Venado: This charming restaurant is located in a beautiful colonial-style house and has a cozy courtyard. The menu features traditional Mexican dishes like chiles en nogada and mole, and they have a great selection of tequilas and mezcals.
- La Casa Del Faldón: This restaurant is known for its impressive wine cellar and upscale atmosphere. The menu features contemporary Mexican cuisine with a focus on local ingredients. The standout dish is the short ribs, which are slow-cooked in red wine and served with mashed sweet potato.
Whether you’re looking for street food or fine dining, Queretaro has something for everyone. Don’t be afraid to try something new and explore the local cuisine!
How To Get Around Queretaro
There are various methods of transportation available in Queretaro, ranging from taxis and buses to rental cars and bikes. Here is a breakdown of each option:
- Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Queretaro and are a convenient option for those looking for a private ride. You can easily hail a taxi from the street or find one at a taxi stand. Just make sure to negotiate the fare before getting in to avoid any surprises.
- Buses: Queretaro has an extensive bus system that connects most parts of the city. The buses are cheap and reliable, making them a popular option for locals and tourists alike. Just be prepared for crowded buses during rush hour.
- Rental Cars: If you prefer the flexibility of having your own transportation, renting a car is a great option. There are several rental car agencies located in Queretaro, and the rates are usually affordable.
- Bikes: Queretaro is a bike-friendly city, with several bike rental services available for those looking to explore on two wheels. The city also has dedicated bike lanes and trails, making it a safe and enjoyable experience.
Overall, getting around Queretaro is easy and affordable, regardless of your preferred method of transportation. Just make sure to plan ahead and choose the option that works best for you.
Queretaro has a pleasant climate throughout the year, with mild to warm temperatures and low humidity. However, like most cities in Mexico, it can experience extreme weather conditions at certain times of the year.
- Spring (March – May): Spring is one of the best times to visit Queretaro as the weather is warm, with average temperatures ranging from 19-26°C (66-78°F). It’s also a great time to explore the city’s many parks and gardens, which come alive with colorful blooms during this season.
- Summer (June – September): Summer in Queretaro is hot and humid, with temperatures averaging between 25-30°C (77-86°F). However, despite the heat, this is peak tourist season due to the summer holidays, making it a good time to enjoy outdoor activities such as swimming and hiking.
- Fall (October – November): Fall is a pleasant time to visit Queretaro, with temperatures ranging from 16-24°C (61-75°F). It’s the best time to visit if you’re looking for fewer crowds and cheaper hotel rates. The autumn foliage is also a highlight during this season.
- Winter (December – February): Winter in Queretaro is mild, with average temperatures ranging from 12-20°C (54-68°F). It’s a great time to explore the city’s museums and indoor attractions as the evenings can get quite chilly. You might even experience some light rainfall during this season.
Overall, the weather in Queretaro is great for year-round travel, but be sure to pack accordingly for the season you’ll be visiting in.
Best Time To Visit Queretaro
Queretaro is a city with a pleasant climate throughout the year. However, the best time to visit Queretaro is during the months of October to April. During this time, the temperatures are mild, and there is little chance of rainfall, making it perfect for outdoor activities. This time of year also coincides with the Dia de Muertos and Christmas celebrations, which are among the best in the country.
If you want to experience the hot air balloon festival, then plan your visit in November, as this is when the festival is held. If you’re a wine lover, then visit Queretaro during the harvest season, which is from July to September. However, if you prefer to avoid the crowds and save on accommodation costs, then the low season, from May to September, is an excellent time to visit Queretaro. The weather can be hot, but there are fewer tourists, and prices are more reasonable. Just be aware that this is the rainy season, so bring your rain gear.
Overall, Queretaro is a city that can be visited all year round, but it’s always best to plan your visit according to your preferences and interests.
How To Stay Safe In Queretaro
Queretaro is generally a safe place for tourists to visit, but like any other city, there are some safety concerns to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you stay safe during your visit:
- Be Aware Of Your Surroundings: Pay attention to what’s happening around you, especially at night or in less touristy areas. Avoid walking alone in dark and isolated streets, and always stay on the main roads.
- Don’t Flaunt Your Valuables: Keep your valuables such as jewelry, expensive cameras, and electronics out of sight when you’re in public. This will reduce the likelihood of being targeted by pickpockets or thieves.
- Be Careful With Your Belongings: When visiting crowded areas such as markets or festivals, be mindful of your belongings. Keep your bags and backpacks in front of you and zippered shut to avoid having them stolen.
- Use Trusted Transportation: It’s important to use safe transportation, such as licensed taxis or ride-sharing apps like Uber, instead of hailing down a random car on the street.
- Avoid Scams: Be wary of scams or people who try to sell you something that seems too good to be true. Also, avoid withdrawing large sums of money from ATM machines in public places, and always cover your pin number.
By following these tips and exercising common sense, you can have a safe and enjoyable visit to Queretaro. Don’t let safety concerns stop you from exploring the beauty and charm of this vibrant city.
Queretaro Customs and Etiquette
Queretaro is known for its rich culture and traditions, and as a visitor, it’s important to understand the customs and etiquette of the city. Here are a few tips to help you navigate your stay in Queretaro:
- Greetings: When meeting someone, it’s customary to shake hands and exchange pleasantries. Use formal titles such as señor or señora unless invited to use a person’s first name.
- Dress Code: Queretaro is a conservative city, so it’s best to dress modestly. Shorts and tank tops are fine for the hot weather, but avoid overly revealing clothing.
- Religion: Queretaro is predominantly Catholic, so it’s important to be respectful when visiting churches and religious sites. Dress modestly, turn off your phone, and avoid loud conversation.
- Tipping: Tipping is common in Queretaro, but it’s not expected at every establishment. If you receive good service, a tip of 10-15% is appropriate.
- Language: While Spanish is the official language of Queretaro, many locals speak English, especially in tourist areas. However, it’s always appreciated if you can speak a few basic phrases in Spanish.
- Punctuality: Mexicans are generally relaxed about time, but it’s still important to be punctual for appointments and meetings.
- Personal Space: Mexicans are generally friendly and welcoming, but they also value personal space. Don’t stand too close to someone or touch them without permission.
By respecting these customs and etiquette, you’ll not only avoid offending locals but also get a better understanding of Queretaro’s unique culture.
Other Things To Know About Queretaro
Queretaro is located in central Mexico, and its currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN). Spanish is the official language of Mexico and is the primary language spoken in Queretaro. The time zone in Queretaro is Central Standard Time (GMT-6).
Queretaro has a rich history and culture, which is evident in its beautiful architecture, museums, and art galleries. The city is known for its vibrant nightlife, delicious cuisine, and friendly locals. Visitors to Queretaro should keep in mind that the city has a semi-arid climate, which means hot summers and mild winters. Be sure to pack appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
Travelers should also be aware of local customs and etiquette, such as greeting locals with a handshake or a hug, and showing respect for the country’s national symbols. Overall, Queretaro is a wonderful destination for those looking to experience Mexico’s rich culture and history, and to immerse themselves in the country’s vibrant way of life.
Queretaro Travel Costs
If you’re planning a trip to Queretaro, it’s important to budget for your expenses. Overall, Queretaro is an affordable destination, especially compared to other popular Mexican tourist destinations. However, prices can vary depending on your travel style and preferences.
- Accommodation: Accommodation costs in Queretaro can range from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. You can expect to pay around $15-$25 per night for a bed in a hostel dorm, while mid-range hotels cost around $50-$100 per night. For those looking for more luxurious accommodations, you can find hotels ranging from $100-$300 per night.
- Food And Drink: Food prices in Queretaro are reasonable. You can enjoy a hearty Mexican breakfast for around $3-$5, while a basic lunch or dinner at a local restaurant can cost around $5-$10. If you’re looking for more upscale dining experiences, expect to pay around $20-$50 per meal.
- Transportation: Transportation costs in Queretaro are affordable. The city has a reliable bus system, and a one-way ticket costs around $0.50-$1. Taxis and Ubers are also available, with fares starting around $3-$5.
- Activities: Other expenses to consider include attraction admission fees and souvenir shopping. Most of Queretaro’s top attractions are free or low-cost, but entrance to some museums and historical sites may require an admission fee.
Regardless of your budget, Queretaro has something for everyone. With its affordable prices and range of activities and attractions, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience in this charming Mexican city.
Finding Affordable Flights To Queretaro
When planning a trip to Queretaro, finding affordable flights is essential to keeping your travel budget in check. Here are some tips for finding the best deals on flights to Queretaro:
- Search For Flights In Advance: The earlier you book your flight, the more likely you are to find a good deal. Start your search at least three months in advance of your travel dates.
- Use Flight Comparison Sites: Websites like Skyscanner and Expedia allow you to compare prices across multiple airlines and find the best deals.
- Look For Flights With Layovers: Flights with layovers are often cheaper than direct flights. Consider booking a flight with a layover if it doesn’t significantly increase your travel time.
- Consider flying midweek: Flights on weekdays are usually cheaper than flights on weekends.
- Join Airline Loyalty Programs: Sign up for loyalty programs with airlines you frequently fly with. You’ll earn points that can be redeemed for future flights or upgrades.
- Be Flexible With Your Travel Dates: If possible, adjust your travel dates to find the cheapest flights.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to finding affordable flights to Queretaro and saving money on your trip.
Backpacking Queretaro Suggested Budgets
If you’re looking to explore Queretaro on a budget, then backpacking is a great option for you. It allows you to experience the city’s rich culture and history while staying within your financial means. To help you plan your trip, we’ve put together some suggested budgets for backpacking in Queretaro.
Low Budget: $20-30 per day
This budget level is for those who want to experience the basics of Queretaro without breaking the bank. You can expect to spend around $5-10 on food, $5-10 on transportation, and $5-10 on accommodation. Staying in hostels or dormitories will be your best option for lodging, and you’ll likely need to cook your meals or eat street food to stay within budget.
Mid-Range Budget: $30-50 per day
With this budget level, you’ll have a bit more flexibility to explore Queretaro’s attractions. You can expect to spend around $10-20 on food, $10-15 on transportation, and $10-20 on accommodation. You may be able to afford a private room in a hostel or budget hotel, and you can try out some of the local restaurants without overspending.
Luxury Budget: $50-100 per day
For a more comfortable backpacking experience, this budget level allows for a bit more indulgence. You can expect to spend around $15-30 on food, $15-25 on transportation, and $20-50 on accommodation. This budget level will allow you to stay in mid-range hotels, eat at nicer restaurants, and splurge on some of Queretaro’s attractions.
No matter what your budget is, there are plenty of ways to explore Queretaro without overspending. By planning ahead, eating local food, and choosing affordable accommodations, you can have a memorable and affordable backpacking trip in this beautiful Mexican city.
Queretaro Money Saving Tips
Visiting Queretaro can be an unforgettable experience, but it’s important to manage your budget wisely. Luckily, there are several ways to save money without compromising your enjoyment of the city. Here are some top money-saving tips for your Queretaro trip:
- Use Public Transportation: Instead of hiring taxis or renting a car, take advantage of Queretaro’s affordable and efficient public transportation system. Buses and taxis are readily available, and you can easily navigate the city using a map or GPS.
- Eat Like A Local: The city’s street food is delicious and inexpensive, with a wide variety of tacos, quesadillas, and tortas available. You can also save money by eating at local markets and avoiding high-end restaurants.
- Book Your Accommodations Wisely: While Queretaro has plenty of luxurious hotels, there are also many budget-friendly options. Look for hostels or guesthouses that offer basic amenities like free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and a clean room.
- Explore For Free: Queretaro has several historic sites, plazas, and parks that are free to visit. You can also join a free walking tour or visit museums during their free admission hours.
- Shop Like A Local: Queretaro is known for its handicrafts, such as pottery, textiles, and jewelry. Look for these items at local markets or artisan workshops, where you can haggle for a better price.
By following these money-saving tips, you can stretch your budget and enjoy all that Queretaro has to offer. Happy travels!
What To Pack For Queretaro
When packing for your trip to Queretaro, keep in mind that the city has a warm climate all year round. You’ll want to pack lightweight, breathable clothing that’s suitable for exploring the city on foot. Here’s a quick packing list to get you started:
- Comfortable Walking Shoes: There’s a lot of ground to cover in Queretaro, so be sure to pack comfortable shoes for sightseeing.
- Lightweight Clothing: Choose clothes made of breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen to help keep you cool in the warm weather.
- Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays with a high SPF sunscreen.
- Hat Or Visor: A wide-brimmed hat or visor will help shield your face and eyes from the sun.
- Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the bright sunlight with a good pair of sunglasses.
- Water Bottle: Staying hydrated is important in the hot weather, so bring a refillable water bottle to carry with you.
- Mosquito Repellent: Mosquitoes can be a problem in some areas of Queretaro, so pack a mosquito repellent to protect yourself.
- Lightweight Jacket Or Sweater: Even though it’s warm during the day, the temperature can drop at night, so it’s a good idea to bring a lightweight jacket or sweater.
- Travel Adapter: Mexico uses 110-volt, 60-Hz electrical current, so bring a travel adapter to use your electronic devices.
- Camera: You’ll want to capture the beautiful sights and colorful architecture of Queretaro, so bring a camera or smartphone to take pictures.
By packing these essentials, you’ll be well prepared to enjoy all that Queretaro has to offer. Happy travels!
Can You Drink Tap Water In Queretaro?
When it comes to drinking water in Queretaro, it’s best to err on the side of caution and stick to bottled water. While the tap water is technically safe to drink, the taste and quality may not be up to par with what you’re used to. If you do decide to drink tap water, it’s important to ensure that it’s been properly treated and filtered. This is especially important for travelers who may have weaker immune systems and are more susceptible to water-borne illnesses.
To be safe, it’s best to rely on bottled water or invest in a portable water filter. This will ensure that you’re getting safe and clean drinking water throughout your travels in Queretaro. In addition to drinking water, it’s also important to avoid ice cubes made from tap water and to brush your teeth with bottled water. By taking these simple precautions, you can avoid any potential stomach troubles and enjoy your time in Queretaro to the fullest.
Other Things To See And Do In Queretaro
While the top attractions in Queretaro are undoubtedly amazing, there are many other interesting things to see and do in the city. Here are a few recommendations:
- Visit The Museo De La Ciudad De Queretaro: This museum is located in the historic downtown area and offers an excellent glimpse into the history and culture of Queretaro. The displays cover everything from pre-Hispanic times to the present day.
- Walk Along The Aqueduct Of Queretaro: This impressive structure dates back to the 18th century and is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. The aqueduct stretches for miles and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
- Explore The Convento De La Santa Cruz: This stunning convent is located just outside the city and is worth a visit for its beautiful architecture and peaceful atmosphere.
- Visit Guanajuato: Guanajuato is an amazing destination for travelers who love history, culture, and adventure. Whether you’re exploring the city’s winding alleys, taking in the colorful architecture, or tasting the local cuisine, you’re sure to have a memorable time.
- Try Some Local Cuisine: Queretaro is known for its delicious food, so make sure to try some of the local dishes while you’re in town. Some popular options include enchiladas queretanas, gorditas de maiz, and tamales.
- Go Shopping At The Mercado De La Cruz: This bustling market is the perfect place to pick up souvenirs and try some of the local street food. The market is located in the historic downtown area and is open daily.
Overall, Queretaro is a fascinating city with a rich history and culture. Whether you’re interested in exploring its many landmarks, trying the local food, or simply soaking up the atmosphere, there is plenty to see and do in this vibrant destination.
The Bottom Line
Queretaro is an incredible destination for travelers who want to experience the rich culture and history of Mexico. From its colonial architecture to its vibrant culinary scene, this city has something to offer for everyone. Whether you’re backpacking on a budget or looking for a luxurious getaway, Queretaro has plenty of options to choose from. It’s important to keep in mind that safety should always be a priority when traveling, so be sure to stay aware of your surroundings and take precautions to protect yourself. With its warm weather and friendly locals, Queretaro is the perfect destination for anyone looking to explore the beauty of Mexico.