Considered a pole of industrial development, the city of Monterrey is unique for its combination of industry, tradition and natural landscapes. It is surrounded by imposing mountains, and offers a host of places to visit, from splendid natural parks spreading across the highest parts of the city to a wide range of museums, shops, sports facilities, historical monuments, theaters, cinemas, and restaurants. Monterrey's rapid growth has blurred the boundaries between neighboring towns, such as Guadalupe, San Nicolás de los Garza, San Pedro Garza García, Santa Catarina, Escobedo and Apodaca. When speaking of Monterrey, its most famous feature comes to mind, the aptly named Cerro de la Silla, (Saddle Hill) a double-peaked peak that can be seen from many parts of the city. What is known as Gran Plaza or Macroplaza , a large tree-lined park located in the heart of the city, features intriguing underground shops and restaurants and is surrounded by important historical and governmental buildings, as well as theatres and beautiful landmarks such as the Catedral Metropolitana . The city's source of pride is the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey , one of Mexico's most prestigious universities, founded by businessmen to train a pool of future employees in a strong background in technology and business. A sight-seeing tour should begin in theZona Centro (city centre), where many museums are located, including the Musep de Arte Contemporáneo (MARCO) and the Museo de Historia Mexicana . The Zona Hotelera (hotel area) is situated here along with many commercial areas. The Barrio Antiguo (Old Neighbourhood) has a concentration of the first buildings constructed here, many of which have been converted into excellent bars and restaurants. The Parque Fundidora (Fundidora Park), few blocks away is where the impressive convention centre, Cintermex is located and towards the north the Museo de la Fauna y las Ciencias Naturales (Museum of Fauna and Natural Sciences) is found. One of the most prosperous areas of Monterrey is the municipality of San Pedro Garza García, where the sumptuous residential Colonia del Valle is situated, with an array of refined shops and restaurants.
Monterrey is a city of contrasts. Part cosmopolitan hub with a top rate infrastructure, and part human, infused with friendly townsfolk, proud of their traditions and customs. This paradigm is apparent in the bars and restaurants in Monterrey, where it is equally easy to find excellent local cuisine as well as a variety of dishes from almost any country. Cabrito (kid goat) is a delicacy which should not be missed and can be savored seasoned and roasted over coals at El Regio and El Rey del Cabrito , with branches throughout the city. Bars are for the most part night-clubs where good music is played for dancing, or to enjoy an intimate conversation, music video, or team up for a sports match. Try the Bar Río Antiguo . The Barrio Antiguo is where the young crowd gathers for dinner early in the evening and later a night at the trendiest night-spots.
Beautiful landscapes along the national highway
This tour is perfect for those who enjoy nature and discovering small towns and their way of life. Its best to leave Monterrery on a Saturday or Sunday, taking the Avenida Garza Sada until it turns into the Carretera Federal No. 85, widely known as the Carretera Nacional. This national highway will take you to several points of interest. Santiago is found thirty kilometers to the south. A small colonial town with cobblestone streets and beautiful landscapes to be appreciated from the town's look out point, or the temple to Santiago Apóstol which dates back to 1760. The waterfall, Cascada Cola de Caballo is found in a recreational park with grills and tables for picnics. Getting back on the Carretera Nacional, next stop is at Allende to appreciate the Museo de Historia y Antropología (Anthropology and History Museum) in the Templo de San Pedro Apóstol . Next on to the town of Montemorelos to stroll the fragrant rows of orange blossoms and fruit trees which has earned this town the title, "Capital de la Naranja" (Orange Capital). The Bioparque Estrella is located a few kilometres away, taking the detour towards Rayones. This biosphere covers some 270 hectares of natural reserve for numerous plant and animal species to thrive. Beyond the Serengeti safari, there is also a park for children and a lake.
Visit the Grotto of García
Adventure, extraordinary beauty and ancient history await the traveler upon a visit to the Grutas de García. Located 40 kilometers from the city, there are several ways to reach the grotto. Tourist agencies offer bus excursions during certain days of the week. By car, take Carretera 40 to the town of Saltillo and then drive 50 minutes along to the town of Villa de García, where signs will pinpoint the way to this natural wonder some nine kilometers down the road. This is a journey through curvaceous, cavernous "salons," formed by millenniums. A guide is on hand to explain what is seen along the two kilometers and a half of passageways oozing with stalactites and jutting stalagmites with names of objects they are shaped like.
A day in the countryside at Chipinque
Garza García is practically a continuation of Monterrey, and one of the most prosperous towns of the region. Many exclusive commercial and residential neighborhoods are found here framed by the expansive beauty of a natural forest. Take Avenida Gómez Morín to the detour to arrive at the entrance to the Parque Ecológico Chipinque (Ecological Park), which forms part of the Parque Nacional Cumbres de Monterrey (National Peaks Park). The excellent climate, superior infrastructure and services makes this a perfect place for day camping on a sunny weekend. Chipinque offers several options for sports enthusiasts including, trekking, biking to be enjoyed by the whole family, or for the more daring, alpine climbing, rappel, mountain trekking. Do not forget your camera.
Ecotourism in Monterrey
In Monterrey and throughout the state of Nueva León, there are several different sites to participate in adventure sports. Rock climbing is common in the Cañón de la Huasteca, the Parque Ecológico Chipinque and the Cañón de Potrero Chico. The extreme sport, Rappel, can also be practised here, especially at the Potrero Redondo, in the municipality of Santiago.