Hello everyone! Welcome to this blog. Today I’m sharing with ya’ll my Nuevo Leon, Mexico trip 2022. If you didn’t know, I’m originally from Nuevo Leon, Mexico. I was born in Monterrey (the capital of Nuevo Leon) and I grew up in Santa Catarina. About 20-30 min (16.0 km) by car from Monterrey.
This is the first time I stepped foot in Mexico and my hometown after 3.5 years of being overseas during my Thai Internship, going to New Zealand and then Covid-19. This is also the first time of my boyfriend Jono in Nuevo Leon. He had been in the south of Mexico by himself before we met but never past the center up so it was an experience for sure.
Many people imagine Mexico the same way no matter where you come from. The truth is that Mexico is the fifth-largest country in the Americas and the 14th largest in the world. Mexico has 31 states and one federal district, Mexico City. Nuevo Leon is one of them.
Where is Nuevo Leon?
Nuevo Leon is located in the Northeast area of Mexico. Touching the border at the north with Texas, USA. Although it sounds awkward. I might as well say it now… No, we don’t have drug cartel problems in Nuevo Leon or dense migration in the border. As you can see, the state only touches a tiny area of the border. The metropolitan area is located towards the center left (west) of the state.
According to Google Maps, it’s a 2 h 31 car drive and a5 h 35 (224.9 km) (224.9 km) by Autopista Monterrey – Nuevo Laredo/Mexico 85D and Carr. Monterrey – Nuevo Laredo/Mexico 85 bus drive from Monterrey to Laredo, Texas (the border city).
A 6 h 18 car drive and a 10 h 57 (601.9 km) bus drive through I-35 N from Monterrey to Austin, Texas. Although, I don’t remember doing the drive myself, I’d expect it to be more than that with traffic and other components in mind.
The whole state is mostly an industrial and business oriented place but you’d be surprised… We’re in the middle of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range and we have pretty cool landscapes and mountain climbing. If you’re into that, you’re in for a treat!
The Monterrey Metropolitan Zone is made up of Monterrey city, and twelve other municipalities in the state of Nuevo León. According to the 2020 Census, it is the 2nd most populous metropolitan area in Mexico with 5,046,743. It is also the second with the largest territorial extension, it is also the 81st largest metropolitan area of the world. It is a hub for industry and business.
The 13 municipalities are: Monterrey, San Pedro Garza Garcia, Santa Catarina, Garcia, General Escobedo, San Nicolas de los Garza, Apodaca, Guadalupe, Juarez, Pesqueria, Santiago, Cadereyta Jimenez and Salinas Victoria (that’s a new one for me).
The metropolitan area is constantly growing and new municipalities keep being added as it does. A little bit before I left for overseas, the Korean car company Kia was brought to Pesqueria. Reason why direct flights from Monterrey to Korea (which I took to go to Thailand) started being a thing. New big electric car industries are coming to Santa Catarina and Garcia soon and the demand for mechatronic engineers is on the raising.
It’s crazy to think that in this day and age, many of these places are still small rural areas that are getting overtaken by huge industries and becoming big populous cities so quickly.
What did we visit?
This is all the spots we visited in our trip. We went around seeing family members and showed Jono a few of the staples. I certainly hoped I had more time and resources to see more since there’s lots of adventure and natural tourism to do around. Unfortunately, this is a destination that requires a car and knowing how to drive in one of the cities with the most dangerous drivers in the whole of Mexico!
I have a dream of doing a road trip around the state and visit a few of the Magic Towns we have around but I’ll leave the talking for that for whenever we end up doing it!
Monterrey, the capital of the state, is a sprawling industrial and business center surrounded by mountains. In the center of the city is the Macroplaza (the largest plaza in Mexico and the 5th largest in the world), which houses the impressive Museum of Contemporary Art and the Faro de Comercio tower, which emits a green laser into the sky. At the top is the Palacio del Obispado, an old Baroque construction with a regional museum.
Santa Catarina is located 9 km west of Monterrey, (16.0 km according to google Maps) by Blvd. Antonio L. Rodríguez and Carr. Monterrey – Saltillo/Matehuala – Monterrey/Mexico 40.
It is patron of philosophers, students, teachers and preachers. In fact, most of my mom’s family is or used to be a teacher. The House of Culture “Efraín Díaz de la Garza” in La Fama is named after my great grand father, as well as a school nearby and a street! Picture that.
This is where I grew up. Going back and forth between my home, my parent’s work place and my school in a radius smaller than 2 km until I went to high school and university in downtown Monterrey.
It is weird to google your hometown which is a tiny place that nobody knows about and yet have your roots so deep in there. I have yet to do a DNA test and go back to where my family migrated from but as far as being from this land goes, my mom’s side grandfather’s family most likely goes far back to the first settlers.
I get excited with history and the origin of things but I’ll try to contain myself and let you click on the full Santa Catrina post where I talk more in depth about the city’s history and my personal roots.
It is definitively not most touristic place in Mexico but beautiful none the less.
It should be noted that its proximity to San Pedro gives it access to the best areas, shopping centers and luxury residential complexes. Reason for which, people seek housing in the entity to enjoy the security and development that the town has had.
San Pedro Garza García is another city and in turn one of the fifty-one municipalities into which the Mexican state of Nuevo León is divided. It is part of the metropolitan area of Monterrey. It has established itself as an area with high purchasing power.
Santiago is a town located in the state of Nuevo León, in the northeast of Mexico. It is the head of the homonymous municipality. The town was declared a “Magic Town” in 2006. Hidden between the Sierra Madre Oriental and the Sierra de la Silla, Santiago is a Magic Town that awaits your visit.
Santiago is Monterrey’s metropolitan area backyard. Where everybody go to laydown and put their feet up on Sundays. At least for me, it was a big part of my upbringing in the area since my uncle has a holiday house, a “Quinta” if you will. This is where my family and I would go to enjoy the pool and indulge in some home made carne asada and cabrito al ataud.
Mina is not a part of the metropolitan area and I must confess, I’ve never been here before this trip. My parents recently acquire a piece of land here where my dad was hoping to start his retirement project. Its territorial extension is 3915.8 square kilometers. It receives its name in honor of General Francisco Javier Mina, who participated in the independence of Mexico.
There’s lots to say about Mexican food, am I right? Similarly to the general aspects of culture and terrane, the north of Mexico’s food is quite unique and distinctive. Specially compared to the center and south. In the south there’s lots of dishes, stews filled with colorful veggies and such. In the north, the food color pallet is more, well… Brown. The gastronomy of Nuevo Leon has meat as its protagonist. But don’t be fooled, the depth of flavor from the dishes in the north is rich and complex. Being a melting pot of cuisines such as middle east and other areas that influenced the region.
Where we’ve been?
This was also just a part of a bigger trip to the Americas that included Vancouver, Canada and New York city in the north as well as 7 countries in Central America. Check out the links here:
Before Nuevo Leon
After Nuevo Leon
If you’re still curious about this region of the world, don’t hesitate to check out the whole catalogue of blogs about Nuevo Leon, the Northeast of Mexico and Mexico in general.
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