San Miguel de Allende shops carry the best handcrafts of Mexico. Only the size of your
suitcase will limit your shopping.
6. Also South: Queretaro boasts plazas, fine restaurants, a Sunday dance in the center
plaza, beautiful colonial mansions and churches, a spectacular aqueduct, history around
every corner, fine museums, theater and an opera house.
If you stay in Queretaro, consider Hotel Mansion La Marquesa. Then take side trips
to Bernal, which is so colorful that you will think of a Hollywood musical set and to
Tesquisquiapan with its enormous plaza and curative hot springs.
7. Northwest: Zacatecas . Here is where Mexico begins. If you can only visit one city,
make it Zacatecas.
From the El Paso border to Zacatecas, you cross 800 miles of desert, but when you arrive
in Zacatecas, it's like Dorothy landing in Oz after a tornado and opening the door of her
twisted house, and watching black and white change to color. Zacatecas is Technicolor,
a city of colonial beauty, historical importance, medieval pageantry, and it's easy to visit,
with world-class museums.
Take a taxi to La Bufa. This is where one should start. See the city from the La Bufa, the
rose-colored outcropping shaped like the humped back of a prehistoric stegosaurus, ride
the aerial tram that glides over Zacatecas and arrives near the entrance to El Eden, the
mine that gushed silver.
Spend a day visiting marvelous museums. There are almost a dozen, from abstract art
to popular arts, a mask museum, Huichol religious fabric art, international collections
brought to Zacatecas by the Coronel brothers and contemporary art housed in the former
Governor's Mansion. Rest and recharge at Café Acropolis, which is an art gallery and mu-
seum that occupies a corner of the old classic market in the city's center.
Rose and green cantera stone enhances the beauty of Zacatecas' buildings. Boutiques and
restaurants occupy the old central market, which was built of iron girders and columns that
reminds one of the Eiffel Tower. The cathedral is a Baroque masterpiece.
A night walk is a must. Zacatecas is a city caressed, adorned and highlighted in a spectacle
of light that accents the carved beauty of its buildings, and it glows with multicolored