I’ll start off by saying that I am not an expert when it comes to Monterrey. I’ve only spend 8 days there and I’ve only been to the centre once.
Does that mean you should stop reading here and look for an article written by a Monterrey native or at least somebody who’s spent some time there? It definitely wouldn’t do you (or me) any harm (actually, it would be a good idea) but I honestly think that you should give this one a try because what are the chances you’ll actually go and live there? IF you would ever make it to Monterrey, it probably won’t be for any longer than a week anyway, right?
Indeed. Who goes to Monterrey for a full week? Unless you’ve got family or friends there (but then they’ll show you around obviously) or you’re on a business trip – which I don’t think is the case, those people have better things to do than reading a blog by some crazy person who doesn’t give a sh*t about anything business related.
“Sooo…”, I hear you thinking, “why did YOU go to Monterrey for 8 days then?”. Ah, good question. My boyfriend and I are on a roundtrip through the centre and the north of the country. We really wanted to visit the state of San Luis Potosi and the white desert in the state of Coahuila (which we did and it was awesome). San Luis Potosi borders with Nuevo Leon, where the famous city of Monterrey is, and kind of borders to Coahuila, but then we’d have to stay in Torreon, Coahuila’s capital. We compared both cities and Monterrey seemed like the most interesting one.
I could go on like that forever but instead I’ll just tell you what I liked and disliked about the city and why it could be worth it (or not).
– The biggest reason why we spent 8 days here is the apartment. The apartment we’re staying in has the most amazing view you can think of and was quite cheap as we’re 2 persons. I can imagine, if you’re staying in one of the very few but expensive ho(s)tels in the middle of the polluted city, you wouldn’t want to be there that long…
– The city is surrounded by impressive mountains. Of which the most impressive one is the Cerro de la Silla (you can climb this one. Only recommended if you’re a pro though).
– Even though Monterrey is the third biggest city of the country with over 1 million inhabitants, it is also a perfect place for hiking. The Parque Chipinque is only half an hour away from the centre but it feels like another world. No noise, no pollution, forest trails and even wildlife! You can make a short hike to a viewpoint which will take you about an hour to get there. For the professional hikers among us, there’s possibilities to do some really long and challenging hikes as well.
– There’s a big park, Paseo de Santa Lucia, in the centre with an artificial river, can be nice to hang out in the late afternoon. During the day it’s simply too hot (unless you’re visiting in winter, in that case you’ll freeze).
– Monterrey isn’t as expensive as every Mexican you meet outside of Monterrey tells you it is (even though I have to admit, it really is more expensive than other Mexican cities, it’s just not as exaggerated as I expected)
– Close by are the Grutas de Garcia (caves) and a pueblo magico; Santiago. We haven’t visited any of those because, believe it or not, our budget didn’t allow it…
– Many people speak English
– There is no beautiful centro historico like in so many Mexican cities in the south and central part
– The city isn’t particularly beautiful
– It’s quite polluted
– It’s far from the main tourist destinations
– The hostels are a lot more expensive than the ones in the tourist destinations (which is… logical)
– It’s way too hot in summer and too cold in winter. It’s not close to the beach either and I haven’t heard of any place where you can swim. Which means that during summer, you’ll just have to spend your days inside with airconditioning.
– For as far as I know (and I’m not the best person to tell you this) but it seems like there isn’t that much to do there. Of course, it’s a huge city so there are many things to do there for sure but I’m talking about typical tourist stuff; like visiting beautiful old buildings, visiting museums, strolling around in the centro historico (cuz there is none)
I am very happy that we stayed in Monterrey but like I’ve said before; that’s because of the apartment. Other than that, I LOVED the parque Chipinque. The view on the top is one of the most beautiful and impressive ones I’ve ever seen.
Is it worth coming to Monterrey just for a city trip? No, I don’t think so… Like I said, the centre isn’t that beautiful.
Do you have a lay over there? Extend your lay over and spend a full day in the city to explore the park and see the amazing view (you can also go there by car but that’s a bit lame…).
Cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara are diverse.
But a city like Monterrey is impressive.