Planning a solo trip to Monterrey, Mexico? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit:
- Capital city of the state of Nuevo León, Monterrey has a population of ~1.14 million.
- Monterrey has one of Mexico’s highest standards of living and its population are considered the most educated and cultured of any Mexican city. Has the highest per capita GDP of any Mexican city.
- Widely known as the most Americanized city in Mexico.
- Nickname: Sultana del Norte (“Sultan of the North”)
- Currency: Mexican Peso (MXN).
- Spoken languages: Spanish.
- Best time to visit: year round (summers can get very hot, with mean daily temperatures of 28 C, or 83 F).
- Arriving from the airport (Monterrey International Airport): a taxi from the airport to downtown will cost around 200 pesos, while a bus service (SKYBUS) can get you downtown for 130 pesos.
WHERE TO STAY
- Best hostel for solo travelers: My Family in Monterrey (no, not my family – that’s the name of the place!) Clean, with very friendly hosts. Best of all: it’s located in the heart of Barrio Antigua, close to restaurants and all the nightlife you may want. Book ahead of time, as there are very few hostel options in town!
- San Pedro Garza Garcia and Zona Rosa have good lodging options from mid-range to upscale hotels.
- Taxis are arguably the best way to get around – an inner city trip costs around 50 pesos.
- Buses are available at varying prices and are common, but the system can be difficult to understand for visitors.
- There is a good subway system, though its coverage is minimal. It is great for traveling from one downtown area to another.
- Drinking age is 18, and last call is 4 AM.
- The majority of Monterrey’s nightlife is in Barrio Antiguo (Old District) near the Macro Plaza, which has a particularly bohemian feel and has much live and DJ music. Note: this area has gained a reputation for being a little dangerous as of late.
- San Pedro Garza García is a great (and safe) area, with a bustling nightlife scene.
- Casual / low-key bars to check out: Cafe Belmonte Bar, La Divina (food and drinks), Bar Beto’s, The British Pub, Principia Monterrey Taproom, Almacén 42 (can get busy).
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Cerro de la Silla, the mountain around which Monterrey is built, dominates the skyline.
- The Macroplaza in Zona Rosa is Mexico’s largest plaza and is lined with monuments, gardens, historical buildings, museums, and the Monterrey Cathedral.
- Cascadas Cola de Caballo, a park a few miles out of Monterrey, features some stunning waterfalls.
- Presa de la Boca is centered around one of the city’s dams and here you will find a more traditionally Mexican flavour with handcrafts, regional cuisine and music. Here, you can try activities such as sailing, karting, and horse riding.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, hike to the peak of Cerro de la Silla.
- Originally for industrial use, Parque Fundidora is now open to all visitors. Walk around this beautiful space, and visit some of the museums sprinkled throughout it.
- Bullfights still take place in Monterrey with professional matadors. While many may find this cruel, it can hardly be beat for an authentic local experience.
- Lucha Libre is where professional wrestling came from. Catch a bout at the Coliseo!
- Great American restaurants: Ladys BBQ, Old Jimmy’s BBQ (two locations), La Grange Deli, Texas Smokeyard.
- Where to find good cheap food: the city has an abundance of places to eat, particularly in Zona Rosa. As is the case in all of Mexico, the street vendors offer some of the tastiest and cheapest meals.
- Dangerous areas: Monterrey’s crime rate has increased in recent years – shootings and kidnappings are not uncommon. Be careful. Stick only to well-lit tourist areas at night, and don’t flash around expensive valuables.
Recommended trip duration: 1-2 days