Querétaro, a city located in central Mexico, is a large city that offers an enchanting mix of history, culture, and natural beauty. It's no wonder why it has become one of the fastest growing destinations for travelers. Yet few have even heard of it.
With its cobblestone streets, colorful colonial architecture, and vibrant atmosphere, Querétaro has something to offer everyone. Nestled in the heart of Mexico's Bajio region, Querétaro boasts a rich history that dates back to the 16th century.
The city's historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to numerous architectural marvels that reflect its colonial past. As you wander through its streets, you'll be greeted by splendid plazas adorned with ornate fountains and statues.
The iconic aqueduct of Querétaro stands tall as a testament to the city's engineering prowess during the Spanish colonial era. One of the highlights of Querétaro is undoubtedly its lively cultural scene.
The city buzzes with music festivals, art exhibitions, and theatrical performances throughout the year. Whether you're into traditional Mexican folklore or contemporary art installations, there's always something happening in Querétaro to satisfy your cultural appetite.
Nature enthusiasts will also find solace in Querétaro's breathtaking landscapes. Just outside the city lies Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts with its rugged mountain landscapes and lush forests teeming with diverse flora and fauna. Hiking trails crisscross through this natural wonderland, offering majestic views at every turn.
Food lovers will be delighted by Querétaro's gastronomic offerings as well. From mouthwatering street tacos served on makeshift stands to upscale restaurants serving gourmet Mexican cuisine fused with international flavors; there's no shortage of delicious food to sample in this culinary corner.
Querétaro captures the essence of Mexico's richness and diversity. Its historic center, vibrant cultural scene, stunning natural landscapes, and tantalizing cuisine make it an irresistible destination for anyone seeking an authentic Mexican experience. So, pack your bags as we dive in on this destination and the recommended areas to stay.
Don't miss out on all the things to do in this amazing city. We list on the details in our Querétaro city guide.
A Lively Destination
Let's start with its history; Querétaro boasts an illustrious past that dates back to pre-Hispanic times.
It was once inhabited by the Otomi people before being conquered by the great Aztecs. However, it was during the Spanish colonial era that Querétaro began to grow and flourish.
The city played a crucial role in Mexico's fight for independence and served as a meeting place for revolutionary leaders such as Miguel Hidalgo and Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez. But it's not just about history here; Querétaro offers something for everyone!
Nature enthusiasts will be mesmerized by its stunning landscapes - think lush vineyards, majestic mountains, and picturesque valleys. Adventure seekers can venture into Peña de Bernal, one of the world's largest monoliths, for an adrenaline-pumping climb.
As you stroll through Querétaro's charming streets, you'll encounter architectural marvels at every turn. The historic center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to magnificent Baroque churches like La Santa Cruz and San Felipe Neri.
Take a moment to marvel at their intricate facades adorned with colorful tiles and ornate carvings. And let's not forget about food!
Querétaro is renowned for its gastronomy, offering mouthwatering dishes that will satisfy any palate. From traditional Mexican delicacies like enchiladas queretanas to local specialties such as gorditas de nata (sweet cream-filled cornbread), there's no shortage of delicious options to indulge in.
But what truly sets Querétaro apart is its warm hospitality. The locals here are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, always ready to assist visitors with a smile.
You'll feel like a part of the Querétaro family as you immerse yourself in the city's vibrant culture and traditions. So, whether you're a history buff, an adventure seeker, a foodie, or simply someone looking for a memorable vacation, Querétaro has it all.
Prepare to be enchanted by its captivating history, awe-inspiring architecture, natural wonders, delectable cuisine, and the warmth of its people. Querétaro truly is a destination that will leave an indelible mark on your heart.
The locals here are known for their warmth and friendliness towards visitors. They embrace their heritage with pride and are always eager to share their stories and traditions with anyone willing to listen.
From here, you can easily embark on day trips to magical towns such as Tequisquiapan or Bernal – both just a stone's throw away. Both have the status as pueblo magicos and are worth visiting if you can get out of town.
Overall Querétaro has the ingredients for an unforgettable stay. Its rich history, vibrant culture, welcoming locals, and strategic location make it a top choice for travelers seeking an authentic Mexican experience.
Explore the Picturesque Historic Center of Querétaro
The historic center of Querétaro is like stepping into a time capsule filled with charm and history. As you wander through its cobblestone streets, you'll be greeted by stunning colonial architecture at every turn.
The main square, known as Plaza de Armas, is a bustling hub of activity with its vibrant gardens, ornate fountains, and impressive buildings that date back centuries. Take a moment to admire the iconic Aqueduct of Querétaro, an architectural marvel that stretches over a kilometer across the city.
One must-visit site in the historic center is the Templo de Santa Rosa de Viterbo. This baroque-style church is simply breathtaking, with its intricate facade adorned with colorful tiles and exquisite carvings. Step inside to witness its grandeur firsthand – the high ceilings, elegant altars, and beautifully ornate details will leave you in awe.
Another gem nestled within this area is the Casa de la Corregidora Museum. This historically significant building was home to Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, a key figure in Mexico's fight for independence.
Explore the museum's displays to learn about her pivotal role and immerse yourself in the rich history of Querétaro. If shopping is your thing, head over to Calle 5 de Mayo – a charming street lined with boutiques selling handmade crafts and traditional souvenirs.
You'll find everything from handwoven textiles to intricate pottery and stunning silver jewelry. As night falls upon Querétaro's historic center, it transforms into an enchanting wonderland illuminated by twinkling lights and lanterns casting whimsical shadows on ancient walls.
The narrow alleyways come alive with music pouring out from lively bars offering live performances by local musicians. Dive into the lively atmosphere, mingle with locals and fellow travelers, and soak up the vibrant energy that makes the historic center of Querétaro an absolute must-visit destination.
Staying in the Historic Centro Area
If you're looking for a fool-proof choice when considering where to stay in Querétaro, you simply can't go wrong with the historic area. This enchanting part of the city is like stepping back in time with its cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and vibrant atmosphere.
Aside from being centrally located, it is highly walkable. That’s what I loved about this area. It’s also an area filled with many plazas and gardens to sit and relax in while taking in the sights.
Within the historic center, you'll find a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. You can easily choose between anything from cozy boutique hotels to luxurious colonial-style resorts.
Imagine waking up in a beautifully restored hacienda-style hotel with gorgeous courtyards adorned with blooming flowers and fountains. Staying in the historic downtown area also means you're just steps away from some of Querétaro's most iconic landmarks and attractions.
Take a leisurely stroll down Calle 5 de Mayo and immerse yourself in the rich history of this city. Admire the stunning architecture of buildings like Casa de la Corregidora, where important events related to Mexican independence took place.
One of the highlights of staying in this area is undoubtedly exploring Jardin Zenea, a charming park located right at its heart. Here, you can relax on benches under towering trees while enjoying live music performances or indulge in delicious local snacks from food vendors scattered around the park.
When evening falls over Querétaro's historic downtown, you'll discover an array of lively restaurants offering mouthwatering traditional cuisine as well as international flavors. Whether you're craving authentic Mexican fare or feel like trying something new and exciting, this area has it all.
If you want an unforgettable experience during your visit to Querétaro, I recommend you consider staying in the historic downtown area. With its enchanting ambiance, proximity to major attractions, and diverse range of accommodations and dining options available nearby - it truly has everything needed for an amazing stay that will leave a lasting impression on your memory.
Top Luxury Hotels in Querétaro
Here are our W-Awarded top rated luxury hotels in the Querétaro Centro area:
Located in the heart of Querétaro, just 400 meters from the main plaza (Plaza de Armas) and close to 5 de Mayo Avenue, Hotel Criol is a trendy and well-designed boutique hotel. This luxury hotel features a year-round outdoor pool and a terrace, offering guests a relaxing and delightful stay. The rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with modern amenities, including a flat-screen TV, seating area, and private bathroom with free toiletries and a hairdryer. The hotel provides free WiFi throughout the property and a 24-hour front desk for guests' convenience. With its central location and superb interior design, Hotel Criol is an excellent choice for travelers seeking luxury and comfort in Querétaro's historic center.
Situated in Querétaro's historic district, Tá Hotel de diseño is a unique and historic 5-star luxury hotel. Opened in May 2021, this boutique hotel offers concierge services, allergy-free rooms, and an outdoor swimming pool, ensuring a memorable and comfortable stay. The hotel's interior design is charming, and some rooms feature a balcony with captivating city views. Each air-conditioned room is well-appointed with a desk, coffee machine, minibar, flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom with a shower. Guests will also enjoy the hotel's bar, adding to the overall experience of sophistication and luxury. For those seeking a historic and unique luxury stay in Querétaro, Tá Hotel de diseño is an excellent choice.
Situated in a unique colonial house on 5 de Mayo Street, one of the most tourist-friendly areas in the Historic Center of Querétaro, the 3-star hotel offers guests a cozy atmosphere reminiscent of the 18th century. The central location provides easy access to the city's best hotels, theaters, bars, and restaurants, leading to the emblematic Plaza de Armas. As part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Historic Center, guests can explore the heart of Querétaro and enjoy the city's rich cultural heritage
This hotel is a 3-star property located in the heart of Querétaro, Mexico. The hotel is situated within walking distance of Zenea Garden and other natural sites. It offers 17 rooms and provides free WiFi in public areas. The accommodation features a 24-hour reception and non-smoking rooms. Guests praise the great location of the hotel, as it is close to the historic center and various attractions. There is no parking available on-site, but the staff is known for being friendly and helpful. The hotel provides a quiet and comfortable atmosphere, allowing guests to rest after exploring the bustling city. The property offers a good value for its central location, making it an excellent option for travelers seeking a convenient and affordable stay in Querétaro.
A Final Note
As we conclude this journey through the enchanting city of Querétaro, it is impossible not to be captivated by its enduring allure. This hidden gem in central Mexico beckons travelers with its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes.
The historic downtown area, with its cobblestone streets and beautifully preserved colonial architecture, offers an immersive experience like no other. You'll find yourself stepping back in time as you explore its charming plazas, awe-inspiring churches, and lively markets.
Whether you choose to wander the historic streets or embrace the modern energy, Querétaro's allure will leave you enchanted and yearning to return. So, dear wanderer, if you seek an authentic Mexican experience filled with history, culture, and natural beauty, Querétaro awaits your arrival.
Prepare to be captivated by its timeless charm, immerse yourself in its vibrant ambiance, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. The heart of Mexico beckons – come and discover the magic of Querétaro. You won't be disappointed.
Now that you have your places to stay picked out, make sure to hop over to our guide for what to pack for Querétaro. We cover all four seasons to make sure you know what to put in your luggage. Read more in our next article for the many reasons to visit Querétaro.