The city of Queretaro is the masterpiece and centerpoint for your colonial Mexico visit.
The Historic Monuments Zone of Queretaro was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. The property was inscribed on the basis of two if its cultural criteria and considering that the site is of outstanding universal value. It is also endowed with a wealth of outstanding buildings, notably from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Queretaro holds several treasures, and a friendly sense of civic pride prevails. The historic city center is filled with lovely colonial mansions, immaculate pedestrian walkways (andadores) and quaint plazas little changed since colonial days. Explore the city via a double-decker bus that operates in the downtown historic center.
The city was founded in 1531 by Franciscan monks. It is both literally and figuratively an important crossroads of Mexican history. Four of the most significant events in Mexico’s history took place here. First, plans for Mexican independence from Spain were hatched here in 1810. Second, in 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was ratified in Queretaro, ending the Mexican-American War, and surrendering 55% of Mexico’s territory to the U.S. Third, in 1867, Austrian Archduke Maximilian was executed on a hill overlooking the city. And finally, in 1917, the Mexican Constitution was signed here.
The State offers a wide variety of natural, historic and recreational attractions. Its northern region is home to pine-clad mountains (the Sierra Gorda), giving way to rolling hills and fertile farmlands to the south. Most visitors spend their days exploring the state’s handsome capital city adorned with lovely architecture, quiet plazas and pedestrian walkways lined with color-splashed, colonial-era homes and mansions.
Day trips to outlying areas include the attractive villages of Tequisquiapan and San Juan del Río. The Sierra Gorda region north of Queretaro City is home to several splendid Franciscan missions, founded by Junípero Serra (of California mission fame) in the 1750s. The Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda of Queretaro were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003.
Day trips to the monarach butterflies, charming towns like San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Bernal, and Tequisquiapan are all musts.
The city and region is completely safe, and I consider it to be much safer than US cities I have lived in such as Pittsburgh, Denver, Chicago, and New York City.