As you make your Mexico travel itinerary, why not consider getting off the beaten path? Visit Querétaro, Mexico—one of central Mexico’s hidden gems! Find out what Querétaro is known for, if it’s safe to visit Querétaro and the best things to do in Querétaro, Mexico!
Image Credit & Text Overlay: Backpacking Brunette
When I first considered moving to Querétaro, Mexico, I scoured the internet for information. But, there wasn’t much. The one guidebook I managed to get my hands on only had a sliver of a chapter on the city I was more and more wanting to call home.
Yes, more and more. Because the less I found on Querétaro, the more I wanted to live here.
>> Wondering how I ended up in Mexico? Check out THIS POST! <<
When I lived in Madrid, I had a wealth of information at my fingertips. Best rooftop bars in La Latina? Google. Where to eat in Lavapiés? Google. How to get from Plaza Mayor to Fuencarral? Google. What time to go out in Chueca? Google.
Because Madrid was my first time living abroad, I appreciated (read: relied on) the recommendations. Why wander around and end up in a crap place when you can do a quick search for the top ten brunch spots?! After two years though, I wanted to move somewhere I could discover on my own. I felt up to the challenge.
Popular vacation spots like Cancun, Cozumel and Cabo get a lot of attention. I like snorkeling as much as the next person, but there’s more to Mexico!
If you want to get off the beaten path in Mexico, visit Querétaro.
Pretty much smack dab in the middle of the country, Querétaro makes the perfect base for exploring Mexico. In only a few hours, you can be in some of the country’s biggest cities.
- 132 miles northwest of Mexico City
- 216 miles east of Guadalajara
- 120 miles southeast of San Luis Potosí
- 39 miles east of San Miguel de Allende
- 93 miles southeast of Guanajuato
>> Visiting central Mexico? Check out this super helpful guide for Guanajuato, Mexico! One of Mexico’s most colorful cities! <<
Best day trips from Querétaro
If day trips are your jam, there are several pueblos mágicos (magic towns) nearby. Two of my favorites are San Sebastián de Bernal and Tequisquiapan. If you have a little more time, rent a car and check out the mountainous communities of the Sierra Gorda.
Check out these posts to learn more about awesome day trips from Querétaro!
- Get Your Hike On In Querétaro’s Sierra Gorda Moutain Range
- San Sebastián de Bernal: The BEST Day Trip From Querétaro
Can we just forget everything you’ve heard about Mexico for a second? With its high quality of life and strong economy, Querétaro is recognized as one of the safest—if not the safest—cities in Mexico.
Is Querétaro safe for tourists?
Personally, I feel comfortable walking around the city center at pretty much any hour. Of course, it’s always important to be cautious when traveling (or living, for that matter), but don’t unnecessarily fear somewhere.
After two years of pushing past people on the sidewalk and waiting in line for everything in Madrid, Querétaro’s roughly 1 million inhabitants is nothing. That’s probably because, in comparison to the sprawling city, the centro histórico seems small.
Not only is it incredibly walkable and easy to navigate, the city center is also beautiful. When you visit Querétaro, you won’t have any trouble seeing why it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. I live in the center and spend most of my time in it, but from time to time, I’ll take a taxi to the big shopping centers in the suburbs. It’s nice having options.
Because Querétaro isn’t an international tourist hot spot, you don’t have to worry about tourist prices. In Madrid, I could have spent a week’s worth of pay eating at a restaurant in Plaza Mayor.
However, I can eat (and eat well) in Querétaro’s Plaza de Armas for about $12 USD at El Mesón de Chucho el Roto. Budget travelers who visit Querétaro will go wild for the city’s food stands. Get classic Mexican food for as little as $1 USD. Affordable accommodation abounds with hostels as cheap as $10 USD per night and hotel rooms for less than $40 USD.
Want to know what it’s like to live in Querétaro, Mexico? Check out these posts!
- An Expat’s Guide For Living In Querétaro, Mexico
- How Much Does It Cost To Live In Querétaro, Mexico?
#5 Just enough to see and do
While I was living in Europe, I visited a lot of big cities. Sometimes, with how much there was to see and do, planning out an itinerary felt a bit overwhelming.
Things to do in Querétaro
If you visit Querétaro, it won’t be difficult to see all the main sites in one day. Then, you have the opportunity to customize your visit to your tastes!
As you’re making your Mexico travel itinerary, be sure to check out this post with my recommendations for what to do in Querétaro.
Even before I found an apartment, I felt at home in Querétaro. The people are so friendly and open! From the chicken stall at the market to the convenient store on the corner, I’m constantly having little conversations (which is great for my Spanish).
People seem genuinely interested in what I’m doing here. Foreigners are definitely still a novelty in Querétaro, and locals will often go out of their way to help.
>> For evidence of just how nice people in Querétaro are, check out the story of how I found my apartment! <<
Even if you’re just passing through, get connected at the weekly Couchsurfing meet up and language exchange which is held at a bar in the center. You’ll get the chance to meet Querétanos and expats (most of whom aren’t American).
To better connect with locals in Mexico, brush up on your Spanish with The Ultimate Spanish Learner’s Resource Guide! All the tips and tricks I used to learn Spanish!
So often, the cities that first come to mind when we think of a country are rarely its truest representatives. Over the years, tourism has shaped and changed many popular destinations. In order to get the full picture of Mexico, you need to leave the resorts.
What is Querétaro known for?
Visit Querétaro for a more well-rounded understanding of this diverse country. Drink in the same bars as locals. Shop at a working market. Be a part of the classic Mexican vibe this underrated city offers.
Some travelers have already discovered Querétaro. When they really start arriving in droves, maybe I’ll regret telling you to visit Querétaro. For now, though, I can’t resist sharing Central Mexico’s best-kept-secret. You’re welcome.
What off the beaten path places have you fallen in love with? Let me know in the comments!
Psst…Don’t forget to pin this post for later!