Saltillo is the capital city of Coahuila, a desert state in central northern Mexico. One hour from the bustling metropolis of Monterrey, Saltillo is often overlooked on the tourist circuit throughout Mexico. Mainly an industrial city, it was never designed with the tourist scene in mind, but surprisingly there are a few things worth exploring if you are passing through the area.
5 Best Things to Do in Saltillo
1. Visit the Museum of Birds (Museo de Aves)
Ok, I’m a bit biased. Since spending way too much time observing the pigeons of Vondelpark, Amsterdam, my fascination with all things avian has persevered. From the humble pigeon to the most decorated parrot I find all birds (not you pelicans) remarkable. And I may be a little bit jealous that they can just fly anywhere and everywhere they want.
Luckily, Eddie has embraced (or at least indulges) my love of feathered friends and found for us to visit the Museo de Aves, or the Museum of Birds, in Saltillo. The museum turned out to be excellent.
Often I will avoid going to museums because of a high ticket price, or worse I will go only to stay long beyond the point of enjoyment, trying to squeeze my money’s worth out the experience. This is not the case with this museum. At only $2 USD for an adult ticket ($1 USD for a child’s ticket), you can enjoy the museum at your own leisure without feeling as though you need to see or read everything.
About the Museum
The museum is home to over 2,000 species of birds representing approximately 75% of the birds in Mexico. It is the only collection in the world dedicated to cataloging and presenting the birds of one country.
Recreation of ancient and giant birds, taxidermy birds in models of their natural habitats, and interactive multimedia displays are impressive and informative. How often have you been to a museum and wondered why you are there? Trust me, you won’t be thinking that here. The visual representations of each of bird is worth the cost. We enjoyed simply walking around marveling at the size (or lack thereof) of some of the birds with the harpy eagle and bumblebee hummingbird being particular favorites. Or giggling to ourselves over the ridiculousness of the ruff which looks very muck like the bird version of Queen Elizabeth I.
Overall, a trip to the museum is definitely worth the visit. You can learn about the birds of Mexico which may come in handy if you plan to explore more of the country. The museum also carries an important message about conservation, highlighting the devastating impact of humans on bird species and habitats. Plus, the air conditioning is a nice reprieve from the Saltillo’s fierce heat.
Bonus: If you haven’t got your museum fix or if your predilections differ from mine, Saltillo is home to a surprising number unique museums including museums dedicated to the desert, the revolution and the cult of the dead.
2. Stroll Through the Bosque Urbano
Living in a van, outdoor space is an extension of our home. Luckily for us, we usually can find a park to explore even in the most concrete of jungles. Saltillo was no exception. Not your typical city park the aptly named Bosque Urbano is a man made (planted?) forest. Coniferous trees dot the pathways providing shade. A small pond where children can rent pedal buggies provides (apparently) endless entertainment to the local families. The staff are extremely hospitable and interested in learning about you and where you come from. It is a great place to spend a few hours working out, reading a book or simply people watching.
Bonus: For those overlanding, this is a great place to camp overnight. The toilets are available from 7:00 – 22:00 and there is no problem staying the night here.
3. Take in the Views from the Mirador de Saltillo
Most towns have at least one viewpoint or mirador and most of them are worthwhile. Take a Tecate and head up to the view for a sunset over Saltillo. Only 1.3 kilometers from Plaza de Armas it is walkable from the city center and easily one of the best things to do in Saltillo.
4. Relax at Alameda Zaragosa
Another well executed green space in the middle of the industrial city, the Alameda Zaragosa is a great place to walk, to sit, and to admire the beautifully pond as well as a number of commemorative statues and busts. Or perhaps rent a boat at 30 pesos for four people to pedal around at your leisure. The best time to go is earlier in the morning or in the late afternoon to avoid the heat of the sun.
5. Check Out the Tuesday Markets
While the historic centre is worth a visit any day of the week, every Tuesday the historic city center fills up with street vendors selling everything from clothes to kitchen utensils to delicious tacos. Wander the labyrinth, eat to your heart’s content (or stomach’s discomfort) and get a little shopping done Mexican style. But keep an eye on your belongings.
Where to Stay in Saltillo
Head to the Bosque Urbano. The safe and quiet parking lot attached to the public park is free with access to the parks toilets between 07:00 – 22:00.
- Address: Dámaso Rodríguez González 750, Nuevo Centro Metropolitano de Saltillo, 25022 Saltillo, Coah., Mexico
- Hours of Operation: 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
- Cost: Free
An industrial hub there are plenty of chain hotels from Quality Inn to the Marriott to choose from. Unfortunately at this stage there is not a huge selection of independent hotels or bed and breakfasts.
Where to Eat in Saltillo
Grab a sit down lunch on the cheap from one the many delicious pop up restaurants in the Plaza del Armas during the Tuesday markets.
Where to Grab Coffee in Saltillo
Enjoy a coffee from the cute Flor y Canela cafe in the town centre.
4g is available throughout the city.
We have no information as to whether the water supply is treated. Don’t risk it, avoid tap water, ice from unknown sources and washed (fresh) vegetables from restaurants.
Let us know what you thought about Saltillo in the comments below!
Where to Next?
If you are angling to stay in Northern Mexico, there are plenty of places to explore. Head over to Monterrey, Mexico’s wealthiest city, or explore the nearby wine region of the Parras Valley and the oldest winery in America!
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