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Introduction

Saltillo is the capital and largest city of the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila and the municipal seat of the municipality of the same name. As of the 2015 census, Saltillo had a population of 807,537 people, while the population of the metropolitan area was 923,636 inhabitants, making Saltillo the largest city and the second largest metropolitan area in the state of Coahuila and the 19th most populated metropolitan area in the country.

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Sights and Activities

  • Alameda Zaragoza, located just west of the downtown plaza, has a rather unique pond in the shape of the Mexican Republic. This park is a pleasant place to stroll about and settle in for a relaxing time.
  • Catedral de Santiago is located on the Plaza de Armas and is easily the most attractive cathedral in the north of Mexico. The central dome features carvings of the Aztec god of rain, Quetzalcóatl.
  • Museo Del Desierto focuses on the different geology and ecosystems of the desert landscapes that dominate this part of the country. There is also a reptile house showcasing lizards and rattlesnakes as well as a botanical garden.
  • Museo de las Aves de Mexico. Mexico ranks 10th in the entire world for the diversity of bird species and this museum pays tribute to that accolade. Almost 800 different native species of birds are on display here. These specimens are stuffed and mounted, rather than live.
  • Coahuila State House (Palacio de Gobierno de Saltillo). Attractive colonial era state house featuring bright open courtyards and a series of murals depicting Coahuila history, painted by Salvador Tarazona.
  • Vito Alessio Cultural Center (Centro Cultural Vito Alessio Robles). Relatively small museum, located a block from the cathedral at the corner of Hidalgo and Aldama. Not a lot to see, but admission is free and it is the site of a fascinating series of murals depicting the history of Coahuila, and life of Vito Alessio, a revolution-era general born in the local area.

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Events and Festivals

Day of the Dead

Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries except Mexico (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexico where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying both are common as well.

Other Events and Festivals

  • Grito de la Independencia - September 15th is Mexican Independence Day! A massive celebration involving plenty of singing, dancing and fireworks takes place in the Zócalo. Everyone here awaits an appearance from Mexico's president who rings a bell from a central balcony of the Palacio Nacional overlooking the Zócalo. The president then shouts out the Grito de Dolores, or the Cry of Dolores which was Father Hidalgo's famous call to arms against Spanish rule in 1810.
  • Dia de la Candelaria. Candlemas is held February 2nd and commemorates Jesus being introduced into the temple 40 days after his birth. This nationwide celebration sees many different ways of celebrating with many towns holding processions, bullfights and dances. Of course, plenty of delicious, traditional foods are served during Dia de la Candelaria as well.
  • Carnaval is held in late February or early March throughout Mexico. This big party is meant to celebrate the 40 day penance of Lent. Carnaval always takes place during the week or so prior to Ash Wednesday, 46 days before Easter Sunday. Mexicans celebrate this holiday with fireworks, food, dancing, parades and drinking.
  • Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a huge celebration which starts on Palm Sunday. This is a very popular time for Mexicans to take a short break; as a result, it seems most of the country is on the move, with buses and hotels often booked out. As for the celebration of Semana Santa, expect colorful processions and many masses at churches everywhere.
  • Día de Nuestra Seňora de Guadalupe, or Day of our Lady of Guadalupe, is held December 12th. There is a week-long build up to this religious celebration in honour of the Virgin who appeared to the indigenous Juan Diego in the year 1531. Since then, the Lady of Guadalupe has been Mexico's religious patron and her veneration is very significant. It is traditional for young boys to be dressed as a Juan Diego and for young girls to be dressed in indigenous garb and brought to a special mass, held at many churches throughout the country.
  • New Year's Eve. Mexicans celebrate New Year's Eve or locally known as Año Nuevo, by downing a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one. Mexican families decorate homes and parties, during New Year's, with colors such as red, to encourage an overall improvement of lifestyle and love, yellow to encourage blessings of improved employment conditions, green to improve financial circumstances and white to improved health. Mexican sweet bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, the recipient whose slice contains the coin or charm is believed to be blessed with good luck in the new year. One can expect a lot of firecrackers, fireworks and sparklers being fired. At midnight there is a lot of noise and everyone shouts: "Feliz año nuevo!" People embrace, make noise, set off firecrackers, and sing Auld Lang Syne.
  • Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration held on May 5. The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. The victory of the smaller Mexican force against a larger French force was a boost to morale for the Mexicans. A year after the battle, a larger French force defeated Zaragoza at the Second Battle of Puebla, and Mexico City soon fell to the invaders.

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Weather

Saltillo has a semi-arid climate. The city is located in the Chihuahuan Desert; temperatures are cooler than other desert cities in Mexico because it is located in an altitude of 1,600 m. Summers are slightly hot with cool nights, and winters are sunny but cool. Rainfall is scarce but much more prominent in summer. When it does rain the water tends to roll off the hard ground rather than become absorbed; due to this localized flooding is a possibility.

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Getting There

By Plane

Plan de Guadalupe International Airport (IATA: SLW, ICAO: MMIO), also known as Saltillo Airport, currently only receives flights from Mexico City.

By Car

Several Federal Highways enter Saltillo; Highways 40, 54 and 57.

By Bus

The main bus station, Terminal Central De Autobuses Saltillo, serves the following routes: Ciudad Acuňa, Guadalajara, Matehuala, Mazatlán, Mexico City, Monclova, Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, and Piedras Negras.

For an overview of schedules and connections, check thebusschedule.com. Also check out rome2rio.com.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Intra-city buses ply nearly every main street in the city and are cheap; expect to pay a few pesos for any route. Major points along the way of each route - markets, plazas, malls, hospitals and so on - will be displayed in the front window of the bus. Most people wait for their bus at designated stops but it is often possible to flag down a bus anywhere.

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Eat

  • Bahía Barcelona, Blvd. Los Fundadores Km. 17 Arteaga, 844 483 9000. Spanish restaurant.
  • El Mesón Principal, Blvd Venustiano Carranza y Ave. Egipto, 844 415 0015. Traditional Northern Mexico cooking, as the racks of kid goat slow-roasting over hot coals prove beyond any doubt.
  • Hong Kong Restaurant, Blvd. Venustiano Carranza No. 3801, 844 415 5313. Chinese.
  • Nikkori, Blvd. Venustiano Carranza 2665-7, 844 416 7997. Japanese cuisine.
  • Terrazo Romana, Purcell across from Alameda Zaragoza, 844 414 9743. Wood-fired pizza is the star of this casual restaurant.
  • Galpao du Brasil, 25204 Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico 844 432 1257. Brazilian meat, waiters walk around with skewers of meat.
  • La Casa del Caballo, ☎ +52 844 432-4729. Boulevard Venustiano Carranza S/N. Col. Saltillo Centro. Saltillo Coah. Expect big slabs of meat.

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Drink

  • Boss, Blvd. Venustiano Carranza 2665-7.
  • Carlos’n Charlie’s, Blvd. Venustiano Carranza No. 3070, 844 416 4842.
  • Faisanes, Carretera Los González between Blvd. Colosio y Moctezuma, 844 439 8008.
  • Joy Bar, Blvd. Cuahutémoc, Col. Los Pinos, 844 485 0251. Discotech.
  • El Olmo Disco Bar, Blvd. Valdés Sánchez, Col. Jardines del Valle, 844 415 6838.

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Sleep

  • Holiday Inn Eurotel, Blvd. Venustiano Carranza 4100, ☎ +52 844 438 8888. Pleasant moderate hotel on outskirts of Saltillo. Off-street parking makes it a good bet for motorists. TranVia trolley stop.
  • Quinta Real Saltillo, José Sarmiento 1385, ☎ +52 844 438 8450. New luxury hotel about 10 minutes north of downtown.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are internet cafe's in most cities and towns in Mexico. Sometimes photocopy stores or photo processing stores will double as an internet cafe with a couple of computers. Look for signs reading "Acceso a Internet" or "Cibernautica" or "Cibercafe". Charges range from approx. US$1 an hour to US$3 an hour, depending on the location.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Phone cards can be purchased anywhere in the country and are needed for the majority of public phones. To call any number outside your region you have to dial 01 then followed by the area code. If calling a cellphone from a normal phone start with with 044. If calling cellphone to cellphone just dial the 10-digit number. To make an international call dial 00 followed by the country code then the local number. To call to Mexico, also dial 00 (most of the times) followed by the national code 52.

Post

The Mexican postal service is operated by Correos de México. The post service in Mexico is pretty good although not very cheap. It is reliable regarding the sending of postcards, but it takes at least a week to send it to other countries (US/Canada), more so if you send it to Europe or Australia. For packages it is better to use international services like FedEx or UPS. If you are sending a package internationally with the Mexican postal service, take the package OPEN to the post office, they may want to inspect it. Seal it up at the post office. Post offices typically open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 1:00pm Saturday. You will find post offices (Oficina de Correos) is almost any town or city in Mexico, and some are actually very pretty buildings. To buy stamps it is best to go to the post office, although you can also get them at stamp machines, located outside the post offices, at bus stations, airports and some commercial establishments.

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This is version 12. Last edited at 21:13 on Jun 1, 19 by road to roam. 5 articles link to this page.

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