Joel Torres, our taxi driver we retained for our excursions in and around Monterrey (+ 52 1 44 81 1382 5862) built our travel itinerary. A hike up Chipinque National Park, a visit to the small town of Santiago and the adjacent Presa de la Boca, Cola de Caballo and the Grutas de Garcia.
The Chipinque National Park not far from downtown has almost 20miles of hiking trails through wooded area with panoramic views of Monterrey on the one side and abundant flora and fauna on the other.
For the most the trails are well maintained wooden steps, though I would have preferred a natural dirt track. For mountain bikers there is a well maintained paved mountain road. Beware though that you will be accosted by individuals who may ask for money for “permission to take pictures”. There is a a restaurant at the end of the trail and a hotel, refreshing to get some nourishment after a long hike. However do not forget to carry your restaurant receipt as the guard at the entrance demands to see that. Not sure what may happen if you do not have one:
20 Miles heading south from Monterrey is the small town of Santiago designated Santiago Magico or the magical Santiago. Santiago is a picturesque town with waterfalls (nearby Cola de Caballo), colonial churches and getaway homes for the rich. In 2010 Santiago made National news when the Mayor was assassinated by 6 of his own police force working for drug cartels. Since then there have been others in the region that have been kidnapped or missing.
Presa de la Boca is a lake contained by a dam in the town of Santiago. Ideal for water sports and fishing, this also supplies water to the town of Monterrey:
Joel kept his promise as he led us to Pollo San Javier to let us savor some local food, educating us on the different types of avocados or on how we were to eat – we wrap everything in a tortilla…
Good food and good music go together, what better than a mariachi…
From here it was Cola de Caballo (Horse Tail Falls) …… in the next blog.